Walter's body is
limp, his neck bent back. I suddenly realize that Walter is not a young man at
all, but is possibly the oldest person present. "Someone should call a
doctor," I say.
forces in a run for Chicago hut the IBC All-Stars score in the bottom of the
inning and the game is still not over.
Day 35 dawns. The
Cubs' hunchbacked mascot has died during the night.
That day, the
Cubs do everything but win. The Confederacy's seven players are virtually
unable to score. Time and again the Cubs take themselves out of the game with
amateur mistakes. Chance passes a Cub base runner to nullify what would have
been a game-winning hit. On another occasion Battleaxe Steinfeldt slips
rounding third, flies into the air as if he had stepped on soap in a bathtub,
lands like a sack of wet grain and lies there while the Confederacy retrieves
the ball and fires it in. Two runners are queued up behind Steinfeldt as if
they are waiting to buy tickets to something. All three are tagged out.
Drifting Away is
visible to us all now, a bedraggled Indian lurking in the corn alongside
rightfield. The Black Angel is growing smaller day by day, smaller but more
magnanimously offers to allow the Confederacy to replace its dead and missing
players. O'Reilly refuses, with disdain. Now, only Stan and the Black Angel
patrol the outfield, generally leaving rightfield untended except when a
lefthanded hitter is up.
Day 40. Today,
O'Reilly, with Southern courtliness, offers Chance the opportunity to replace
the injured Steinfeldt, whose knee is swollen and swathed in a bloody
third base while lying on a cot, his injured leg straight out in front of him.
Anything hitting his cot is declared a base hit. He does not bat.
In the bottom of
the 2,614th inning, O'Reilly approaches the umpire with the first lineup change
in many days. Klem casts a baleful glance toward the on-deck circle, where,
ankle-deep in water, a huge Indian stands awkwardly, holding not a bat but a
piece of root from a huge tree by the river, gripping it like a weapon, staring
at the ground as though it is a river and he is looking for a fish to club for