Rachel beat me to it, and her letter was short and not all that sweet:
Where in God's name are you? I thought we were engaged!
I crumpled the page up on our front stoop, getting a weird look from the postman. Didn't she know I'd been traveling with the team for two weeks? What did she think I was up to?
Benny gabbed my ear off on the streetcar about how many runs we were going to score off Joe Genewich and his 3-16 record, but I wasn't even pretending to half listen. I'd been trying to talk to Rachel's father about our wedding plan for a long time, but my batboy job and colored exhibition game business got in the way every time. On the next Phillies trip to Brooklyn I had to take care of things.
Joe Oescheger got elected to start our next win-or-die game, but he was a creaky wheel from the second batter, when he botched Stuffy McInnis' little bouncer to put a man on first. After the second out, Stengel, Bancroft, Gibson and Padgett all singled, Tierney walked, and it was 4-0 in favor of the lousy Braves. We got a run back in the last of the 1st, and then three singles a walk and passed ball in the 3rd tied the score and got the dugout all electrified when we saw the Reds were up 4-0 on the Pirates across the state.
Oeschie just couldn't keep himself together, though. A Padgett single with two outs in the 5th put them up by one, and then in the 6th, his arm turned into spaghetti. A walk, two singles and a double began things, and after one out Tierney knocked home two more with a single and five Boston runs were across. Glazner took over to mop the bloody floor but we all knew our crazy pennant dream was over.
And that was when I'd had enough. It was another in a string of brutally hot days, and after Cy singled in our 6th to put two aboard, Wrightstone picked the worst time to start yapping at me because I'd handed him "the wrong stick". After arguing for a few seconds I just went back in the dark dugout, brought out the same one and he never knew the difference.
Or so I thought. With the score 11-5 Braves in the last of the 9th he started for home plate to start our last rites, then turned back and shook his bat in my face.
"Ever since you showed up and helped those colored boys take our jobs, we haven't had one piece of luck." When I tried to yell back he told me to shut up, so I yelled even louder.
"So do something about it, you dope! Hit a six-run homer and tie the game!" He raised his bat like he was going to club me with it and I snatched it out of his paw, ran over to a rail next to our dugout and smashed the bat in half, threw both pieces in his direction. Fletcher, every player on the field, in both dugouts and every fan in the stands was staring at me in shock but I didn't give a crumb. I ripped off my hat and uniform, dropped them in the dirt and walked down the left field line and right out the exit gate in my long johns.
I think the first time I looked up again was when I reached the Western Union office and grabbed a telegram form. The guy behind the counter took one look at me and said, "You better put some pants on there, son." I didn't say a word, just stood there and wrote out my message:
ROBINS SCHEDULED FOR DOUBLE-HEADER HERE ON LABOR DAY. BRING FATHER AND I'LL BUY HIM LUNCH BECAUSE DON'T THINK I'LL BE WORKING.
"Son?" the guy said again, "Your pants?"
"Never mind that. Where's the nearest flower delivery place?"
BOS 400 010 510 - 11 16 1
PHL 103 000 102 - 7 15 2
Other National League games today:
REDS 9-19-1, at PIRATES 6-11-1
Leave it to the Phils to drop through the pennant race trap door on a day when the Bucs actually lose. And give up 19 hits, no less. Sometime starter Rube Benton goes to 7-0, Bressler and Critz both rack up two singles and a triple, and Cuyler goes hitless for the first time in a couple of blue moons.
GIANTS 8-13-4, at ROBINS 5-11-1
Boy, no wonder Rachel was in a bad mood. Brooklyn drops their third straight as Grimes gets pummelled for four runs in the 5th after his team had gotten the game close. Kelly continues his late hitting charge with three more of them and three runs knocked in to help McQuillan get the win.
CARDINALS 5-9-0, at CUBS 3-8-1
Two homers from Ray Blades do in Elmer Jacobs and the Cubs, who always seem to lose when they're a win away from hitting the .500 mark. Geez, it's almost like they're cursed or something.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Mr. Scott Simkus of the great state of Illinois, well-known for his devout spelunking into the forgotten box score caves of colored baseball, graciously interviewed me for his Interweb page the other day. Click on this word to transport yourself at once!
|NATIONAL LEAGUE through Friday, August 29|
|New York Giants||68||56||.548||12|
|St. Louis Cardinals||61||65||.484||20|