The father looked around, spotted Coach George Susce and decided to try his luck. "Hey," he yelled to Susce. But Susce did not turn around to this vague reference.
Then the father turned to his son, asking, "Who's No. 55?"
The boy looked down at a sheet of paper, running his right index finger up and down the list, then going over it a second time before saying, "Fifty-five? That's Susce. He's a coach."
Again the father tried calling. "Hey, Susce. Hey, Coach." Susce turned around and walked to the fence.
"I brought my boy here over for a tryout," the father said proudly. "Can you help us?"
"Sure," Susce said in a warm and inviting voice. Then, holding up his gnarled right hand, on which no two fingers protruded in the same direction, the former major league catcher pointed down the left-field line. "See that guy out there along the line? He'll help you. Just go around to the gate by third. Go right on in and talk to him. He'll be glad to help you."
The father thanked Susce, turned to his son and said, "Let's go." Reluctantly, the boy pushed away from the fence. He was dressed in a white T shirt and white surfing pants that were tied with a little knot at the middle of the calves. He was tall and skinny and a trifle pale, and he walked with only half the determination of his father.
Susce started to shake his head as he watched them walk away. Then he changed his mind and said, "You can never tell. He might be a good one."
The new Senators pushed slowly through their calisthenics, George Susce serving as maestro. Before him were ranks and files of men and boys from Canada and California, from Missouri and New Jersey. Bodies were bent forward, sideward, backward; legs were stretched, strained, strengthened.
When the calisthenics were over, Susce walked to the right-field foul line. He took a five-minute breather there, then picked up half a dozen balls and called to a pair of passing players, "Over here, let's get started." Side by side the two ran back and forth as Susce rolled grounders to them. The man closer to Susce each time he threw a ball was always responsible for retrieving and returning it, but the other player always did the same running and bending.