Two long-time baseball fans (and players of a “certain” skill level) air their views on current baseball happenings and trends. With 2014 season now underway, we’re fully-armed with cogent comments on what’s happening in the major and minor leagues, observations on how the game’s past impacts its present and how what’s going on in the present might impact baseball’s future. Welcome!
Friday, January 16, 2015
Preview of KING of the HALL of FLAKES a baseball novel based on the extraordinary life and career of Rube Waddell.
Available in soft cover at Amazon.com, as a Nook Book via Barnes & Noble, and as a Kobo at chapters.indigo.ca. Soon to be available in both hard and soft cover.
pay 50 cents to see a big league ball game, though sometimes you decide to be
thrifty and pay two bits to sit on the bleacher benches. But today you splurge
and shell out a dollar to sit in a box seat. You know you’re in for a treat.
Rube Waddell, the most exciting twirler in baseball, will be in the pitcher’s
It turns out you’ve
wasted your money. The phenom does not pitch. In fact, he’s not even in the
stadium. You later learn that he chose to play sandlot ball with some kids he
passed on his walk from the hotel to the ballpark.
delighted the next time you go to see him and Rube actually shows up, though a
bit late - he was playing miggles with kids under the grandstand. But in the
second inning, after breezily striking out the side in the first and then doing
handsprings off the mound, he suddenly and inexplicably drops the ball and his
glove and runs off the mound and straight out the centerfield exit. You have
neither seen nor heard anything that might explain such bizarre behavior. But
then, outside the stadium walls, you hear what he has heard – the clanging of
the bell of a fire wagon. Rube is off to save more lives.
You try one
more time and the twirler is late again. You ask the booster sitting beside you
what might be the holdup. He matter-of-factly tells you that Rube often soaks
his pitching arm in cold water.
“Before the game?” you ask.
“Ya, he says he
needs to take some of the speed out of it, otherwise his shoots’ll burn up the
When the star takes the mound he is
virtually untouchable. When his fastball smacks into the catcher’s mitt the
sound echoes through the seats as if a gun’s been fired. His curveball seems to
break two feet and batters just watch helplessly as it drops over the plate.
Then he curves one just as sharply the opposite way! He blazes two more
incredibly fast pitches over the plate and the hitter barely gets his bat off
his shoulder. The next pitch seems to dance up to the plate and the crowd roars
in delight as the batter actually swings at it twice. Somehow, this lovable,
unsophisticated twirler has taught himself how to throw a knuckleball. “He
calls it a wobbler,” the booster next to you explains.
anything he can’t do?” you ask the cranks around you.
A man with a
red handlebar moustache says, “Ya. Rube can’t throw at batters to keep them off
the plate like other twirlers do. He’s afraid of killing somebody. And he
refuses to throw spitters. Says it ain’t sanitary.”
resting between innings the phenom coaches first base. He makes faces, does
spot-on impressions of the opposing pitcher and the umpire, and pretends to
drive the runners around the bases like dogies in a cattle drive. Then he goes
up and sits in the stands and shares a bag of peanuts with some of the rooters.
You’re close enough to see that he has clear blue eyes, a permanent grin, and huge
hands. He compliments a pretty girl on her bonnet and parasol before heading
back to work. She blushes.
The Tigers try
to distract him by holding up kittens. They know how much Rube loves animals.
He does his best to focus. Ty Cobb comes off the bench holding an adorable
“You like this
one, hayseed? Well I’m gonna drown the little fucker!”
stories of Rube’s incredible strength and wonder if he’ll go after Cobb and
throw him over the fence.
In the ninth
inning Rube calls time and instructs the infielders and outfielders to sit on
the grass and he effortlessly fires nine straight strikes as the hitters stand
and stare. Then he does cartwheels all the way to the bench.
“No wonder the
stands are full on a Wednesday,” you say to yourself on your way out.