Baseball

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Baseball

Tug-McGraw
“You Got to Believe!”

A true story – told by a friend.

Everyone had a nickname
mine, “All-star,”
from baseball – a
pitcher named “Tug McGraw”
he said, “You got to believe.”

Well, in my mind I could
see me standing on the
mound, staring at the
catcher, giving me the
pitch –

people in the
stands watching as my
head motioned and then
the wind up – first
straight like a pin, my
left leg bends, my right
arm feels power -

“Believe.”

I deliver a fast ball –

a batter swings –

“Strike One”

“Believe, believe…“

Out of habit I glance
to first base, no ones
there, this pitch, again
straight – still – stare
and then a bent leg, power

“Strike Two.”

The crowd is roaring,
they begin to chant,
and my heart is beating
faster -

Take your time, I tell
myself, and believe.

I’m not there, physically,
I am sitting here in
English with a cord
in my ear connected to
a transistor radio –
paying no attention to
my English teacher – she’s
reciting work by Walt
Whitman, and today,

It’s Tug McGraw, and
It’s the bottom of the
ninth!

My left elbow bent
leaning slightly
while holding my head
and tucked inside
my shirt – a little
transistor radio – I
wanted to stand up -

tell Tug, “You can do
it!” Forgetting where
I was, and wondering
why they had baseball
in the middle of the day?

The teacher kept reading,
now even louder. I had to
hear, so I covered my
left ear, lowered my
head, as if to follow
her words.

Then the voice of the
announcer:

“Next batter is up, and
this could be the big
win from pitcher Tug
McGraw – who no one
believed he would even
make it into baseball,
let alone, become the
possible ALLSTAR of
this series.”

Straight as a pin Tug
stares at the
catcher, glancing down,
kicking some dust with
his shoe, you can see
see him now, turning the
ball, and he’s taking his
time.

The crowd on the
edge of their seats -

My teacher looking
at me, but she had to know
a little white cord hung
from my left ear; I had to
hear the last pitch. He
believed, he will – do it.

Tug is taking his time,
he knows what this single
pitch can mean for the Mets”
the announcer whispers as
his lips meet the mic over
the loud speaker -

“Ball one,” and the crowd
booed – “Ball two” and
the crowd stood – began
stomping their feet.

My foot was stomping
too, I probably was rocking
back and forth, wanting to
yell, “Believe Tug, believe.”

This – the critical moment,
he will do it – he will believe.

My teacher glanced my
way and gave me a knowing
look –

He stood on the mound, looked
the catcher straight in the eye,
and he lifted his leg, and his
back arched, his arm flung
back and quickly releasing
the ball – “Strike Three.”

I heard the crowd go
wild, I heard the people cheering
old Tug McGraw. I knew the
team would be tackling him,
then he would be lifted up on
shoulders, carried off the field.

I saw the eyes of my teacher,
and I knew – she knew from
a smile. I glanced around
the room, and smiled at
others. They knew too.

It all happened because he believed.

You got to believe.

Baseball was last modified: January 28th, 2013 by Nancy Duci Denofio

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