Academic journal article Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature

Fungo

Academic journal article Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature

Fungo

Article excerpt

The tweener dropped in front of the Waste Management Inc. center fielder, and Mangieri's son still barely beat out the throw to first. Behind him in the dugout, old Cedric had started up muttering again. "Boy ain't got no wheels to speak of." This remark he punctuated by spitting a gob of coagulated sunflower seeds over the railing. "Moves his self like a carthorse with the lumbago."

Mangieri gave the steal signal. His Little League coaching manual intimated that 60% of base runners score, given the proliferation of wild pitches and fielding incompetence. Observation didn't seem to hold true for this team, though.

The ensuing wild pitch thudded off the rusty backstop and was booted by the addled catcher, who still had time to throw Seth out at second to end the inning.

"Slide next time," he hissed at the boy when he sauntered into the dugout.

Seth smiled affably at Cedric while he retrieved his pitching glove.

"Hustle out there, hustle," Mangieri yelled. "Let's hold them now."

"I can't find my chest protector anywheres," announced Chance Morling, petulantly. "Left it over by the cooler and now it ain't noplace."

"Let's sure enough try to hold them," sighed Cedric.

Only the coaches were in the dugout now, the three men leaning forward in a row along the peeling railing, draped in the swamp-green uniform of Mangieri Electric. Though slightly stooped by the weight of his seven decades, Cedric was still the tallest and, arguably, the most vigorous. He gobbed another meditative spray of sunflower seeds across the dirt.

"I reckon we're last on merit," he observed.

"Second from last," corrected Dunphy.

"Keeps going like this wait and see," said Cedric. "Unless we're reckoning to go backwards to get ourselves forwards." He wiped a clotting of pips from his uniform and stared out at the mound. "I don't think nobody should ever send that boy 'cept there's a circumstance like an earthquake take down that there backstop."

"I'll take that under advisement," said Mangieri.

"Best ball advice I ever got was back in '57 from Satchelhead McDonald. Know what Satchelhead said?"

"No," said Mangieri, irritably. "Matter of fact I don't."

"What old Satchelhead said is 'When you run, don't ever look back. Something might sure enough be gaining on you.' That's a wisdom," Cedric added, "for life generally. That's how the first wife caught me."

Seth had gone 3-0 on their opponent's number nine hitter. Behind the ballpark a Burlington Northern freight strummed the track, shrilling its blast across the empty prairie. The young pitcher stopped his motion to watch its cornfield snaking.

"Back yonder is where that new Super Wal-Mart'll be," Cedric observed. "Wonder what'll be super about it? Suppose it'll be a surprise." He glanced at Mangieri. "You look a mite ghosty tonight, mister, don't mind me noticing."

"Tell you the truth, Cedric, I don't feel real well. Something I ate most likely." Mangieri patted his paunch. "Indigestion."

"It's best to avoid fried meats which angry up the blood."

"Well, I'll be sure and remember that too."

The coaches watched the batter jog slowly down the base path in front of them.

"Then in times when your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts. Also Andrews' liver salts. If you're constipated as an addition." Cedric sipped a cup of Gatorade. "I expect they'll stock liver salts at that new Super Wal-Mart."

"Can we get focused here?"

Seth smiled over at his father, shrugging.

"Bend your back!"

"When you're not 100%, it's also advisable to keep the juices flowing by jangling gently as you move."

"I have no idea what that means," Mangieri snapped.

The next batter hit an impossible ground ball so short that Sherman scooped and flung to second in one fluid motion, eliciting gasps from the opponent's bleachers. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.