"Gentlemen," says Mott with great patience. "There will be no more
baseball today. This is July 4th, a celebration of our independence, and we
shall celebrate. We shall retire to the Community Hall and eat a meal the women
of Big Inning have prepared for us. We shall then watch the fireworks display,
which will be followed by a dance and musicale. There will be no more baseball
today. Do I make myself clear?"
here at dawn," growls Chance.
we," says O'Reilly. He turns to Mott. "And you, sir?"
studying the depth of emotion in the eyes of both managers. "I'll be
here," he says quietly. "I'll pass the word tonight, so any fans who
care to may also be here at sunrise."
Gideon is too excited to sleep so he goes for a walk in the moonlight and comes
upon a giant Indian brave named Drifting Away, who has haunted this part of
Iowa ever since his wife was murdered by white settlers in the 1830s. Gideon
discovers that it is the magic of Drifting Away that has caused the time warp
around this strange game. The cloud that slipped across the sky in the
afternoon was definitely shaped in the profile of Drifting Away. Gideon asks
the Indian why he has chosen baseball as the vehicle for his vendetta against
the white race.
stares at the sky for a few seconds. At last, he says, "Baseball is the one
thing the white man has done right." He chuckles deep in his chest, a soft,
soothing sound like a mother plumping a pillow. "Think of the circles—the
ball, the circumference of the bat, the outfield running to the circle of the
horizon, the batter running around the bases. Baseball is as close to the
circle of perfection as white men are allowed to approach."
I said, "Are
you really taking revenge against baseball? That seems so narrow. If I had your
powers, I'd devastate, I'd destroy. I'd make the doomsayers of the Old
Testament smile with righteousness as all their prophecies were
"But think of
how a cat teases and tortures a mouse," Drifting Away replies. "If the
cat snaps the little animal's neck with one flick of his paw, the revenge is
very short-lived, but when it allows the wounded mouse the illusion of freedom,
then snatches it away again and again...." He pauses, then says coldly,
"Swift retribution is not very satisfying."
disappears into the darkness. The game resumes in the morning.
When we arrive at
the field, the eastern horizon looks as though it has been insulated with pink
cotton batting. The sky becomes an expectant robin's-egg blue as Mott calls,