The Sidearm Sinker

by Jonathan Eig

My daughter grabs the pink plastic bat
And steps up to the chalk-drawn plate.
Who am I to stop her if she wants to hit lefty?
Let’s see what you’ve got, I say to myself.
The kid’s maybe three or four and
I’m maybe forty-three.
I lean in and pretend to look for the signs.
She squeezes the bat and grimaces
Like Annie in the scene where she rescues Sandy from bullies.
Then she takes a couple of practice swings.
I take my time.
“Come on, Meat!” she yells.
So I stick my fingertips in two of the holes in the ball
And go with the sidearm sinker
That used to get my brother every time.
Filthy stuff, absolutely filthy.
She misses so badly that
I think she’s going to cry,
But she doesn’t.
She just cocks her head, looks up at me,
And says, ““That’s one, old-timer.”

Published 7/5/09

Jonathan Eig is the author of Opening Day: The story of Jackie Robinson’s First Season and Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig. You can read more about him, and his upcoming book, Get Capone!, here.

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