If anyone had
been keeping a score-card, the entry would look like this:
D. AWAY PH
takes a spot in the right-handed batter's box. He hefts the root, twitches his
shoulders, stares around uncomfortably. Brown rears back and the ball whizzes
past Drifting Away; the big Indian swings after the ball is already in Kling's
"Way to go,
Brownie," chirps the catcher.
The next ball is
a rising curve that crosses the plate at cap level. Drifting Away swings late
and lamely, like a girl.
The big Indian
looks over at the bench, steps out of the batter's box. O'Reilly calls time. He
and the Indian confer. O'Reilly shrugs. I can read his lips saying, "Why
not?" When he returns to the plate, Drifting Away moves to the lefthanded
Chance moves the
outfielders around accordingly. Three Finger Brown winds up and sends another
blue screamer toward the plate; it, too, is cap-high but on the outside corner.
Drifting Away begins his swing about the time the ball leaves Brown's hand.
The root makes
full contact. The ball rises high and deep into the foggy right-field sky.
Schulte begins backing up almost before the crack of the bat. The ball soars as
if it has a life of its own, as if it has grown feathers, and like a white dove
it flies toward infinity. Schulte sprints up the slope toward the highest point
of land, his back toward the plate, his glove outstretched, his feet pumping.
Drifting Away is on his way to second when the ball lands just beyond the tips
of Schulte's fingers. It must be at least 500 feet from home plate.
toward the third base line, with me and most of the players behind or beside
bases," O'Reilly roars, frantically waving Drifting Away on. The big Indian
seems to glide over the water-covered infield, his moccasins barely touching
earth. Evers runs to deep right-field to receive Schulte's cut-off throw, which
is right on target. Evers in turn fires to Kling, who is blocking home plate.
The play is not even close. Drifting Away, in a blur of buckskin, appears to
race right through Kling, across the plate, as the perfect throw from Evers
whangs too late into Kling's glove.