One Sunday, I saw a group of kids standing by the stick ball court in the schoolyard. There was a kid who was taunting the pitcher along with some friends of his, while standing and waiting for the next pitch.
It was a full count and a one run game. If the pitcher walked the batter the game would be tied.
The pitcher stood and smiled. From his smile, I think I knew what he was going to throw at that kid who was holding the broomstick like bat in his hands and rocking it back and forth, trying to be cool.
“OK loser, it’s 3 balls and 2 strikes – you have to throw a strike and I am aiming to hit that window on the old mans house just to piss him off.”
As the batter kept yapping, the pitcher just kept a stoic look on his face, save for a smile every couple of seconds. He was taking his time.
“Come on throw the ball already. Stop being such a wuss.”
The kid went into his windup, looking like a schoolyard David Cone. As the ball left his hand the trajectory was high in the air, an eephus pitch. The hitter was not expecting this and he swung and missed as the ball bounced before hitting the strike zone painted on the wall.
The pitcher raised his arms up in triumph while the hitter started calling him a cheater. “That wasn’t a strike, it didn’t hit the wall!” He screamed.
“Yeah but you swung and missed.” The pitcher responded.
“I foul tipped the ball. Everyone heard it. Right guys?” He said pointing to his friends.
“Of course it did, even the old man across the street heard it and he isn’t even wearing his hearing aid.” They all laughed.
“Even Stevie Wonder saw it.” Laughter.
They kept at it – making fun of anyone that would come to mind. Each playing the bully.
“If you don’t throw another pitch that means you quit and I won. Cheater, get back there and throw a real pitch. Cheater! I won, I really won!”
He began to get angrier when his friends didn’t back him up. “Hey pimple face get back and throw a real pitch, a man’s pitch.”
The pitcher just smiled and said, “Good game.” That seemed to throw fuel into the fire.
“What’s the matter, you have to go pop your pimples? Or does your mom do that for you while she is sitting on her wheelchair?”
The pitcher stopped walking, he kept a cool exterior but inside he was fuming. How could this idiot make fun of my mother who is sick and confined to a wheelchair?
“I really won because you cheated! Cheater! I won!” He thrust his arms up in triumph and the kid just let out a quick laugh and walked away.