For Baltimore this is the spring of John (Boog) Powell. Each morning in spring training he would walk under a clubhouse sign which said, "It Can Come True in '62," and he would think about that for a few seconds. When he got onto the field he would listen as his more famous teammates made television commercials exhorting the breathless populace back in Baltimore to "Be a Bird watcher in '62." He would chuckle at that. But wherever he went he carried his bat with him the way Linus carries his blanket.
And he can hit. One day, on five swings, he knocked three balls over the right-field fence and two up against it. The fans in the stands gave him loud applause; he tipped his cap, smiled and stumbled over the batting-cage wheels. He can sit, too, and in the late afternoons he would sit in the hotel lobby and smoke things over. He sits real good—feet spread wide apart, back flush against the chair, hands dangled over the ends of the chair arms.
But while he can hit and sit, he can't field. On the first fly ball of spring he made a bad error—also on the third. When the reporters came to him, however, he was marvelously straightforward about the errors. "No sir, the sun did not get in my eyes. I butchered it." Or, "It's not a new glove and it's not the glove at all. It's me." Or, "There was nothing wrong with the sky and the background didn't confuse me. I just got to learn to play left field. Man, I better learn to play left field or I'm gonna be gone."