November 18, 2006

A Play A Day #219



Setting: A pitching mound.

(Coach walks to mound, puts hand on Trent's shoulder)

Coach: Bad pitch, Trent.

Trent: Yeah, yeah... kind of lost the seam, Coach, and it never broke.

C: Yeah, saw that.

T: Yeah.

(long pause, both look at the ground, shuffle some dirt around)

C: I wouldn't be out here, Trent, but that bad pitch came after about 4 or 5 others.

T: Yeah, Coach.

C: What's going on, son?

T: Kind of losing the seam, Coach, and the ball isn't...

C: Those pitches were straight fastballs.

T: Yeah, Coach, I know.

C: Trent, we're in the first inning... no outs, down three-zip, bases loaded; I'm beginning to think you don't know what's going on.

T: No, maybe not, Coach.

C: Else ya woulda corrected the problem by now.

T: You're right, Coach.

C: So what problem are ya gonna correct here, Trent?

T: Pitching-wise?

C: Yeah, good start.

T: Gonna throw the ball over the plate, coach.

C: I'd like that.

T: Good, thanks, Coach.

C: Sure, Trent. Now get to it. I believe in you, son.

(makes pitching motion, winces, turns his back, kicks the dirt, soft adlibs of self-remonstration, Coach approaches)

C: What happened there, kid?

T: I was really on the seam, great snap, ball broke well...

C: Into the batter's eye.

T: Yeah, saw that, Coach.

C: You're killing me, son, and the other team.

T: Sorry, Coach.

C: You know, lotta people told me you were too young, weren't tested at this level, but I went to bat for ya, Trent, I told'em you had it, you could succeed at this level. If you can't get yourself outta this for the team, or for yourself, could ya maybe do it for your old Coach, huh?

T: You bet, Coach.

C: 'Cause the community is trusting me to make the right decisions for the ball club; I get strung up for starting the wrong guys. I put my trust in you, these guys... look at 'em, they wanna trust you... (T looks around the field, wincing all the the way, tries waving a bit)

T: They look kinda mad, Coach.

C: I don't blame'em, Trent. You're your own worst enemy right now... those guys are a close second through ninth.

T: Sorry, Coach.

C: Don't be sorry, kid, just throw strikes.

T: Right, Coach.

C: Well, the ambulance is pulling away from home plate. Always a good sign.

T: Yeah.

C: Let's show'em what you're made of, Trent! C'mon now!

(Pitching motion, a lot of wincing, same as before, Coach approaches)

T: Man... that wasn't good at all, was it, Coach?

C: Hey, Trent, at least, you didn't hit the batter in the face.

T: Right, Coach.

C: That's some sort of progress.

T: You think he'll be alright, Coach?

C: Their manager? Yeah, he's been hit in the head a lot over the years, you know... though usually more when he was actually playing as opposed to sitting on the bench, laughing at you.

T: I swear I wasn't trying to make him shut up, Coach.

C: We'll leave that for the review board to decide, Trent.

T: I just lost the seam...

C: (overlapping with previous) Lost the seam, and it got away from you. I know, Trent. I know.

T: Crowd's gettin' kinda sour, ain't they, Coach?

C: You don't worry about them, Trent. You pitch your game, son, and they should stop throwing the heavier objects, eventually.

T: Was a couch on fire out by the bullpen?

C: Think so. Sucker really flew, didn't it?

T: Maybe you should take me out, Coach.

C: Nonsense, the opposing manager doesn't count for anything; you can still hit two more batters this inning before I have to yank you, Trent.

T: That's good news, Coach.

C: Now, you see if you can't get the ball, say, really, really close to the plate, okay, kid?

T: Will do, Coach.

C: Doesn't even have to go right over, Trent.

T: Great news, Coach!

C: Throwing strikes is so passe, kid, let's just try throwing to the batter.

T: I can do that, Coach.

C: You do that, Trent, and everything will be alright, okay?

T: You got it, Coach! Alright!

(Coach turns to leave, a realization strikes Trent hard.)

T: Coach!

C: Yeah, Trent?

T: I figured it out!

C: Figured what out?

T: The pitching?

C: Pitching in general, Trent?

T: No! My pitching, Coach!

C: Hey! Great. Mind telling me what exactly you figured out about your pitching, Trent?

T: (laughing somewhat sheepishly) Well, it's kinda embarrassing, Coach.

C: As embarrassing as your pitching currently?

T: Good point, Coach.

C: What is it? Tell me, ump's getting a bit impatient, Trent.

T: Yeah... I'm.. uhhh... I'm not left-handed.

C: (long pause) Well... there you go...

T: That explains the glove problem, here... (put his glove on his left hand, puts the ball in his right)

C: Learn something new every day, don't ya, Trent?

T: Man! Don't tell anyone about this, okay, Coach?

C: I'm sure no one noticed a thing, Trent.

T: That's a relief.

C: Alright, kid, give'em hell.

T: (testing his right arm) This should work a lot better, Coach. Don't worry about a thing now!

(starts exiting, lights start to fade)

C: Never do, Trent, never do. (to himself) Probably shoulda noticed that myself, now that I think about it.

(T makes a pitching motion and freezes as the lights go out)


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