A Baseball Flop

A Baseball Flop

Some small boys were playing baseball after school in a field when a strange man came along who seemed to think that because he was a big, grown-up man he could show little boys how to play baseball.

This man, I am sorry to tell you, had just come from a tavern where he had drunk intoxicating liquor. The alcohol he drank sent its poison through his body though he did not know it. His muscles could not pull together quickly, his eyes were slow to see things, and his lips could not sound his words correctly. Still he swaggered and thought he was the "Cat's pajamas."

He walked up to the plate, took the bat out of Billy's hand, and said, "Hullo there, boyshs. Let ME showsz you boys how to play basheball." Because he was so big and strange, the boys didn't dare to say. "You can't take Billy's bat." They knew that they would have to let this bully have his way, at least for a time.

Jimmy was the pitcher of the team and he thought he would pitch the stranger a good, straight ball to see what he could do with the bat. Jimmy sent a ball right over the plate, but the grown-up man didn't see the ball until after it had passed him, and then he swung his bat at the air with all his might. In fact, he swung it so hard that he could not stand on his feet and fell to the ground.

While the boys watched him, he picked himself up shouting, "Where's the bashe?" and started to run for third base. You see, the alcohol made him think that when he hit the ground, he had hit the ball, when he hadn't hit the ball at all. He ran from third base to the plate again and put his thumbs to his shoulders and crowed, "That wash a home run, boysh."

The boys knew that it wasn't any home run at all and were they disgusted! Even half-grown boys can see through a faker. The boys went into a huddle to find out what to do with this big "buttinski" who was breaking up their game.

The drunken man said, "Here, you let me be the catchsher and show you how to catsch the ball."

"All right," the boys answered and gave him the catcher's glove.

"I'll showsz you some big league baseball," said the staggering catcher, who did not even notice that he was standing in a muddy, greasy place. The rain had made the place where the catcher would stand very slippery. Jimmy pitched a high ball, and when the grown­up man tried to reach for it on his unsteady legs, he went down in the mud with a tail spin, kersplash in mud and goo. He pulled himself slowly up, his hands and face dripping and smeared with mud, and shouted angrily, "I'm going home. You boysh are dumb. You can't learn anything. You don't know how to play basheball."

As he walked away, the boys said, "Boy, are we glad to see him go away! We'll say that he is the dumb one. So stiff and lousy with drink that he couldn't even see the ball coming I'm glad he's not my father."

"Well," said Jimmy, "he didn't teach us how to play baseball, but he did teach us that if we ever want to be Mickey Mantles, we'll have to leave that poison alcohol alone."

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