Bonnie, who has finished her toenails, stands up and yawns. She looks down at her toes and wiggles them. "How do they look, Bo?" she says. Belinsky looks at her, openmouthed, stunned. "What, Babe?"
"My toes, Bo! How do they look?"
Belinsky says wearily, "Babe, they look really beautiful."
Bonnie, satisfied, looks around the room, sighs and says, "Bo, there's nothing to do. I'm bored."
"Why don't you read a book, Babe?"
"Oh, Bo, I can't stay still long enough to read a book. Maybe I should go swimming."
"Sure, Babe, that's it." Bonnie walks out of the room, her hands contorted behind her back, unhooking the top of her bikini.
He sinks back into his chair and begins cracking his knuckles. He is staring straight ahead again. His eyes pass through and beyond a picture of Lennie in a full-faced beard. The photo is superimposed over a poem that reads: "The drafter has vanished/The dreamer, with age, has gone blind." Belinsky turns suddenly, and the room is reflected in miniature in his dark glasses. "You know, I played 15 years of baseball and never made a dime off it. I wasn't that interested in success, that's why. I loved the game, Babe, not success. Do you think Seaver or Harrelson play the game because they love it? You bet they don't. They love what it brings them, Babe. I could never give up enough of myself for success. Len Shecter talked to me about a baseball book long before he ever sniffed out Jim Bouton. I told him I wasn't interested. I couldn't rat on guys I'd played with. That's not my style. I was the last of baseball's true sportsmen. I never stashed baseball. You know what I mean? Stash! Stash! Stash!"
He stands up and thrusts his hand down his leg as if into his pants pocket. He repeats the gesture again and again while saying, "You can't stash sport. Those other guys talk about sport and they mean business, they mean something they can stash in their pockets. Man, you can't stash baseball. If you're lucky, you capture it awhile, you go through it at some point in your life, and then it goes away and you go on to something else. Some guys try to live off it forever. It's a sin to live off sport."
Belinsky sits down. He is trying to compose himself. Then he says softly, "I mean, baseball is a beautiful thing. It's clean. It stays the same. It's an equalizer. It moves slowly in a time when everything around us is rushing like mad. It's a...gee, what am I trying to say...it's a breath of fresh air blowing across the country. Don't laugh. I mean it! Listen, during World War II when those Japanese kamikaze pilots Hew down the smokestacks of our ships, do you know what they screamed? '—— Babe Ruth!' That's right. Not —— Knute Rockne or Bronko Nagurski, but Babe Ruth! That's the way I feel about the game, even today. I just never knew how to express myself properly, that's all. I loved the game, but I loved it my way, not the way people told me I should love it. I have a debt to baseball. It kept me straight. Who knows what I might have been without it? Baseball was the one big thing in my life—if my life contained any big thing. My running around with broads, that was just passing time. It was baseball that mattered. I mean, sport keeps you clean, but only for a while. In the long run it isn't even sport that matters, it's you. You've got to know when to get off, or else you start handing out too many transfers."