Here’s my rough draft for my narrative essay. I really tried to convey the competition, historical and emotional aspects of baseball in this, since the rest of the assignment will be mainly the logistics. Please post editorial comments and suggestions.
Kevin Millar approaches home plate, the white polyester uniform stretching to contain his biceps as he takes quick swipes at the air. A bat made of ash gripped in his hands as natural as John Henry’s hammer. Millar stops just outside the batters box making eye contact with Mariano Rivera as he tightens his batting gloves. Rivera stands 60 feet away on the raised pitcher’s mound in the middle of the baseball diamond. He turns the baseball over in his right hand, feeling it’s smooth white leather and the red stitching snaking its way across it. Inhaling deeply, Riveria contemplates the importance of the following pitches. Three strikes, game over. We can be done with these nine innings, done with this game, done with this series and back on a plane headed for New York with the pennant, in one strikeout. He exhales slowly, letting Fenway Park and the screaming Boston fans blur and focuses solely on his teammate behind home plate, Jorge Posada. Pasada stretches his left hand, feeling the worn leather of the mitt gripping tighter around it. The lucky mitt, the mitt that caught the final strike last year, sending Boston home and us to the World Series. The pain in his legs from crouching for four hours is pushed out of his mind as he watches Riveria. The weight of the game resting on that grey Yankees jersey.
Millar steps into the batter’s box infront of Pasada. Tapping the plate with his bat before raising it to his shoulder. His cleats wiggling deeper into the dirt as his body sways with fervor. Rivera’s grip on the ball tightens as he reads the signal from between Pasada’s legs. Two fingers, fastball. Rivera begins his windup slowly, like a freight train. He brings his hands to his face, gaining momentum as his left leg raises. He accelerates, vaulting forward, the ball comes speeding from his fingertips.
Millar’s unblinking eyes follow the ball from Rivera’s hand. In a fraction of a second the ball is within Millar’s reach. He has already begun to shift the bat from his shoulder, the power within his trained arms exploding as he steps forward with his left foot. His shoulders rotate, pushing the bat from behind him. The motion is fluid, practiced, like a machine revolving and pivoting on an assembly line. His calculations were right on, the ball collides with the tree at its apex. Millar hears the crack of the ball against his bat, but the power of his swing isn’t lessoned as he follows through. Without watching the ball, Millar flicks his wrist, sending the bat bouncing back towards the Boston dugout. He leaps forward, claiming the steps to first base.
The ball, reeling from the collision, sails over the diamond formed by the four bases, and heads for left field. Hideki Matsui, who had been watching Rivera’s windup and anticipated the balls path, has already started to move. His feet seem to gently tickle the grass as he scurries across it. His eyes locked onto the white sphere hurling toward him.
Millar rounds first base, only now looking up to see the ball soaring towards the stands. The crowd is on its feet; Matsui hears nothing but the ball slicing the cool night air. He’s at the wall. It’s falling, the ball’s coming down. This is his chance. Matsui climbs into the air, pushing off the wall with his right hand, stretching with his left. Extending each finger in his glove to the point of pain. He closes his eyes. Millar stabs second with his foot, slowing. As Matsui begins to descend he feels a tug at his wrist. With a smile he snaps his glove closed and falls back to earth. Millar stops. The crowd goes quiet. Matsui thrusts the white trophy skyward. The grey jerseys on the field seem to be sucked together as the center of the Milky Way shifts from the sun to Matsui. The crowd is still, a quiet pond peppered with the twitchings of a few New York water bugs. Quickly, the stands drain, leaving only the Yankee fans writhing and reeling. For them the night has just begun.