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FIVE-YEAR-OLD SLUGGER
THOMAS LAKE
August 30, 2010
THE VIDEO OF HIS BATTING-CAGE EXPLOITS HAS TURNED HIM INTO AN INTERNET CURIOSITY AND A MEDIA STAR. HOW CAN A KID SO SMALL AND SO YOUNG HANDLE 85-MPH HEAT? ARE HIS PARENTS UP TO SOMETHING? IS ARIEL ANTIGUA FOR REAL?
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August 30, 2010

Five-year-old Slugger

THE VIDEO OF HIS BATTING-CAGE EXPLOITS HAS TURNED HIM INTO AN INTERNET CURIOSITY AND A MEDIA STAR. HOW CAN A KID SO SMALL AND SO YOUNG HANDLE 85-MPH HEAT? ARE HIS PARENTS UP TO SOMETHING? IS ARIEL ANTIGUA FOR REAL?

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"He's not feeling so well," he said.

"Who's this?" I asked.

"My brother. The one who's playing."

"Oh, this is Yamil right here? He's not feeling so well, so he has to go to the bathtub?"

"Too much soap on him," he said, giggling. "Then it explodes."

ON THE RIDE HOME Ariel tapped my shoulder and asked me to empire the backyard game. Yamil said they always play baseball after getting home from baseball, and whenever else they can, not including winter, when they play tackle football in the snow. Their father prefers it this way, which is why video games are forbidden in their house.

Ariel struck out. "Ariel!" Yamil said. "Eye on the ball, O.K.?"

"I wasn't ready!" Ariel said, hurling his bat.

"Why are you hitting lefty?" said Luis Jr. the next time Ariel was up.

"It doesn't matter!" Ariel said, and bunted for a hit.

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