"That's enough," Colbert said, waving Aron deep. Colbert picked up a bat and hit fungoes that Aron glided to meet, snapped from the sky and sent back on one lazy hop.
"How's your arm feel?" Colbert yelled.
Early in April, Aron and the Irvine Senior League Orioles (for kids 13 to 15) played their final preseason game. "Everybody wants him to pitch," Bob says. "His mom even wants him to pitch. Aron says, 'Dad, I wanna pitch, I wanna pitch.' But I know him better than he knows himself. He's not a hundred percent yet. He's got a little hitch in his motion. He doesn't want to follow through, can't quite bring himself to cut loose."
"Right now, when I throw," Aron says, "it doesn't go all straight. My dad says I need to stretch it out. He says I'm just flicking the ball, and if I keep doing that I could ruin my arm worse."
Playing shortstop in a BIG WAVE DAVE'S SURF SHOP T-shirt, Aron ranged into the hole, scooped up a grounder and threw a strike to first—hard enough to make the first baseman wince. Aron turned a diving catch into a double play. One of his smaller teammates had to jump to high-five the 5'9" shortstop. At bat, Aron doubled and soon scored headfirst in a cloud of dust. "Peteys," he calls his headfirst slides (in honor of Pete Rose, of course).
"Aron loves to do his Peteys," says Colbert.
"It's not the fastest way to slide—you're slowing down the whole time you're in the air," Bob tells him. "But it expresses aggressiveness."
Aron's aggressiveness, training and speed came together late in this meaningless game. Leading off first base after a walk, he danced toward second. The batter lifted a fly ball to right. Outfielders converged; when Aron saw that neither of them would catch the ball, he put his head down, rounded second base, cut the inside corner of third and slid—feet first—around the tag at the plate.
"It is a joy to have him on my team," says Orioles manager Bob Jones. "Aron is a smart, mature, totally dedicated athlete. Right now he's dying to pitch, but he won't pitch until I get the green light from all concerned."