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"It was funny," Luis said.
"I felt like killing him," Ariel said. "Or I felt like, I felt like hitting the computer with a hammer."
Their father chuckled from the driver's seat.
"You touch the computer, I'll break your head," he said.
At the ballpark Ariel showed no sign of nervousness, except when he wanted a player's autograph. He asked me to get it for him. I handed the player Ariel's ball and my pen. "Sure," the player said, and signed the ball.
At least 10 people threw out "first" pitches. Ariel was last. "Five-year-old baseball phenom," the public-address announcer said. "Hit an 85-mile-per-hour fastball ... Ariel Antigua!" The crowd gave a hearty cheer. Ariel fired a high strike. Afterward, one of the grown-up first-pitch pitchers muttered, "The three-year-old threw better than I did."
The boys roamed the stadium during the game, even Gordo, the actual three-year-old. Ariel led them. They had a way of dispersing like shards of broken glass and reassembling 100 yards away. Sometimes their father watched them, and sometimes they watched themselves. Once I got worried and followed their trail through the tunnels only to find them back in the seats with Jessica, eating pellets of ice cream from tiny baseball helmets.
"You're just like Ariel," the younger Luis told me in the van on the way home. "He's a short 53-year-old."
"No," Ariel said. "Short 52-year-old."
"And all those hits?" Luis said, channeling Tomasulo again. "He makes contact, yeah, but he wouldn't reach first base on any of them. You got a ground ball, foul ball, fly-out, pop-out, ground ball. See?" Now Luis Jr. put on his Edwin Ortiz voice: "He's about five years old. Wait. Say that again? He's about five years old. Oh. Now he's about five years old. I believe this kid is just a short 32-year-old." We roared with laughter. The only one not laughing was Ariel himself.