"Spider," said LaRocca, "you were saying about being like a father."
Spider looked at him in mild alarm.
"That reminded me," said LaRocca, "about something my father told me that I don't understand."
"Go ahead, boy, speak up, get it off your chest," said Spider.
"Weil," said LaRocca, "my father was telling me that when he was a little kid, 40 years ago maybe, they used to have terrible winters in New York. It snowed all the time. Then, for 40 years, it didn't snow hardly at all. Then last year, Spider, it snowed all the time again and there were blizzards, and it was just like when my father was a kid. How come, Spider?"
Spider, who has learned to answer all questions promptly no matter how far out he has to reach, took a deep breath. "Why," he said, "that situation there is due to the tilting of the earth on its axis. Forty years ago the earth was tilted in such a way as to dump heavy snow on New York, and then it gave a tilt around the other way and the winters were mild. Then last year the earth tilted back to where it was 40 years ago. That accounts for the heavy snow and the blizzards."
LaRocca frowned and pondered.
"Yeah," he said after a moment. "O.K. Much obliged, Spider."
Dick Strutz, the 21-year-old infielder from St. Paul, walked up as LaRocca moved away.
"Spider," he said, "have you got any garters?"