In a typical exchange between the duo, Posada once put down one finger for a fastball. Hernandez shook him off. Posada put down two fingers for a curveball. Hernandez shook him off. Posada put down three fingers for a slider. Hernandez shook him off. Posada put down four fingers for a changeup. Hernandez shook him off. Out of pitches and patience, Posada stormed out to the mound. "What the hell do you want to throw?" he remembers having asked Hernandez in Spanish.
"Fastball," Hernandez replied.
"That's what I called for first!" Posada said.
"I know," Hernandez said. "I just wanted to make the batter think."
"What do you want to be, a psychologist or a pitcher? Just throw the ball!" Posada yelled and then wheeled around and headed back to the plate.
"I like it when we go at it," Hernandez said last week. "In fact, I was saying to him five minutes ago that we haven't been fighting enough lately. We need to start yelling at each other again."
Laura, Jorge and Jorge Jr. arrive at a Manhattan restaurant for lunch, Jorge toting the diaper bag. Jorge saw Laura at a party in Puerto Rico after the 1997 season and told a friend, "If I ever get to go out with her, this is the girl I'm going to marry." Soon they did go out, and a thought struck Jorge: This girl looks familiar. The softball pitcher!
"Eight years [after high school], and he knew my uniform number, the color of our uniform, how I wore my socks and my hair, everything," Laura says.
Laura, a law student at the time, decided she wasn't interested in dating someone who was about to leave for a nine-month baseball season. Right about then, in January 1998, Jorge kissed her for the first time. "I'll see you tomorrow," she said, swooning. They were married three years later.
Jorge Jr. has a checkup scheduled for August, one year after his surgery. Doctors will determine then if he should undergo another, similar operation. "In the mirror," Jorge says, "you can still see his head is a little uneven. I want him to be exactly right." Last fall Posada established his own charitable foundation, which devotes most of its resources to craniosynostosis. "Sometimes I can't believe how everything has worked out for me," he says.