The Frozen Iceball

“Ten million years from now, when then sun burns out and the Earth is just a frozen iceball hurtling through space, nobody’s going to care whether or not I got this guy out.”

How chill is that?

These words were spoke by Tug McGraw, the best reliever in baseball for many years. He, not entirely surprisingly, threw a mean screwball. Oddly enough nobody seems to throw screwballs in baseball anymore.

I learned how to throw a screwball. You turn your hand in the opposite direction of a curveball. Which is to say, your arm goes left and your hand twists right.

My father was a big time baseball fan. Every summer his idea of a vacation was to put his seven kids in a station wagon and drive us to a major league baseball game. I saw Mickey Mantle in his decrepit last playing days in the old Yankee Stadium. I saw the Mets, well before the miracle of ’69, from the scary steep upper deck of Shea Stadium. (Truth be told, the jets flying in and out of LaGuardia were more interesting than the game.) And I saw the Montreal Expos play the San Francisco Giants in Jarry Park in Montreal. Willie Mays took the day off. Ken Henderson of the Giants hit a home run that bounced into the pool beyond the right field fence.

My father told me the Tug McGraw quote long before McGraw said it. In my father’s version, the pitcher is in a bind. He is down to his last pitch. It is either do or die. He turns to his bench and says, “Either I do, or I don’t.” And throws the pitch.

All you can do is the best that you can. And, in the final analysis we are all bozos on this bus headed further into the universe. So give it a rest. Move on. Let it go. Because, as Tripper Harrison said in Meatballs, it just doesn’t matter.

Starting Monday, there are no more ties. Play ball.

[This blog post was inspired by Norman Wilson McCloud, the designated driver in section 418.]



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