The Nervous Outfielder


Section 19


In the bottom of the seventh inning, as the score is tied with two outs, you hear the bat collide with the ball. You hear a sharp cracking sound that sends the orb soaring into the air like a shooting star. Through the dark cool night air, the projectile travels deep into the vast green outfield. This could be the moment that you have been waiting for, or maybe the one that you have always dreaded. The preparations and the many thoughts that speed through your head, (do I stay where I am or do I run forward, backward, left or right) will determine if it is another glorious out or a fatal error costing the game. As you anxiously stand with your hands tightly gripping your knees, watching the powerful swing of the batter, you try to calculate which way the dirt stained ball will be directed when hit. By timing the expeditious swing and the stance with which the batter addresses the plate, the fielder can estimate where the leather encircled sphere will go and the distance it will travel.


Once you have made the proper adjustments, it is time to focus. Many things race through your head as an outfielder before the rondure is hit. Where should it be thrown, first, second, third or home? Are runners on base? How many outs are there? After all these and many other calculations have been made, it is time to focus on the bantam ball that may be coming your way at blazing speed. As you stand slightly hunkered down, with your knees bent and hands perspiring, you see the lilliputian ball come off the bat with tremendous power. At the first wood splitting sound, or sight of the dirty orb streaming away from the bat, the muscles all over your body begin to tighten up. You stand perfectly erect. Your heart races as you try to find the tiny speck in the bright lights. As the ball shoots upward into the night air like a white bottle rocket, it is lost for a second. The adjustments you make, from noticing where the iota was when it disappeared, will determine if you make the catch.


You run in the direction that you last saw the white dot as it entered the lights. Your legs feel sluggish and you feel like you won’t arrive in time to make the catch. It feels like the small sphere of yarn will never come down as you run, farther and farther into the depths of the outfield. Ah! You see your coveted powdered donut hole, as it finally leaves the domain of the bright lights and contrasts against the black night sky. It is coming down fast now, and you have to make a decision. Do you dive for your beloved orchis and make an incredible catch, or do you play it safe and let the bollock strike the fence so you can catch it and cut off the runner. There are only a few milli-seconds left to decide. What will you do?