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Often a writer can do in fiction what he cannot do with facts, just as a painter can catch essences and meanings and emotions that may elude the finest camera. This short story?the first to be published in SI ?might be called a "baseball story," but it is really about the community of people. Brooklyn is Brooklyn, and yet it might be any baseball town after the home team has blown a lead in the ninth.
It's one of those long, drawn-out games at Ebbets Field, and it's not over till nearly six o'clock. We come out hot and tired, and with a little headache?you know how it is after a game?and the kid says he wants a hot dog.
"I like the long ones, Pop," he says.
You know the kind they sell outside the park at those little hot-dog stands, long and skinny and rubbery.
"Never mind," I tell him.
We're hurrying for the trolley car, and the big crowd is pouring out of the exit gates. It's almost six o'clock and Madge has the supper on the table, and I can see her fuming, and the kid's talking about hot dogs.
"Forget it," I tell him.
Who thinks about food when the Dodgers lose? You sit there for nearly three and a half hours and you try to root them home. You're with them every minute, every play, and you have it in the bag, and then it's gone over the wall.
"That was some home run," the kid says.
"Shut up," I tell him. "Keep quiet."