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Opening day, 1991. I pick up the new story where the old story ended. I talk with Todd Benzinger, who caught the last baseball that flew through the air last October. He caught the final out of the 1990 World Series, a foul pop behind first base that gave the Cincinnati Reds a sweep over the Oakland Athletics.
"Do you still have that ball?" I ask.
"I certainly do," he says. "It's home. Randy Myers was pitching and he asked me for it once, but he never asked again, so I kept it. It's mine."
"You're keeping it?"
Let's see. A war has started and ended in the Middle Hast. Kevin Costner has switched from baseball player to Western hero. Snow has fallen and disappeared. Waistlines have shrunk and waistlines have grown. One of the New Kids on the Block has run into trouble in Louisville. Unemployment has risen. Bills somehow have been paid. Five months have passed.
"How's your wrist?" I ask Billy Hatcher. "How long was it in a cast after the Series?"
"Oh, it never was in a cast," he says. "I just couldn't use it for five weeks or so. It really hurt. I couldn't do anything with two hands, couldn't pick up a thing."
"It's all right now?"
"It still hurts a little on the cold days."