The Bottom of the Order: Snap, Go, Fling



The cherry and strawberry seasons have passed; the apples are reddening. Only a few games remain. A Pit Spitter lays down a bunt, and the runner on third crashes in: a perfect suicide squeeze.

“Snap, Go, Fling,” for Hobart



The Bottom of the Order: Your 2003 Detroit Tigers

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The thing I can’t wrap my head around, when it comes to the 2003 Detroit Tigers, is what it must have been like to show up to work every day. What must it have taken, as the losses mounted – up to and including the 119th, the most defeats ever amassed by an American League team, and tied with the ’62 Mets for the most losses in major league history – to rouse oneself for the excruciating daily repetition of a very public abasement?

— “Your 2003 Detroit Tigers,” for Hobart

The Bottom of the Order: Dooley Womack

Horace Guy Womack was in the employ of four different Major League teams across five seasons, a serviceable bullpen righty who lost as many games as he won, but managed to keep his lifetime ERA a shade below three. There’d be no reason to know his name, probably, if he didn’t have such a great one: he went by Dooley, for reasons which are less than clear at this remove.

“Dooley Womack,” for Hobart

The Bottom of the Order: A Photograph of Gaylord Perry Being Investigated for Foreign Substances

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Gaylord Perry toiled for twenty-two seasons in the majors, and the look on his face suggests it was hard toil indeed. Wind worn, exasperated, he mutely submits to yet another examination of his cap, his head, his uniform, for a dab of Vaseline, a smear of K-Y. It might or might not have been there – Perry’s success rested on the twin pillars of a doctored ball’s unpredictability, and the thought, instilled in the head of each batter he faced, that the ball might be materially abetted in its tortuous journey from mound to plate.

“A Photograph of Gaylord Perry Being Investigated for Foreign Substances,” for Hobart

New Story at Hobart

I have a new piece up at Hobart. A short piece. Flash fiction. It’s about baseball. If you’re not a baseball fan, don’t worry, it’s very short. If you are a baseball fan, rest assured there is much baseball goodness packed into those couple of hundred words. Baseball flash.

I wrote the piece a while ago — when exactly? can’t say — but its publication has me thinking about length, probably because, despite my best efforts at concision, the story I just finished a draft of (title withheld, in case I decide it’s awful and I never want anyone to see it, so I spray it with perfume and then hold a match to it, whispering Goodbye, goodbye… as the smoke and ashes float up into the sky) came in at just over 15,000 words, or about 75 times longer than the Hobart piece. That’s quite a range. And yet they’re both complete stories, and recognizable as such, with beginnings, and middles, and ends. I don’t believe in the writer as medium, channeling something mystic that already existed in the ether but which required a sensitive conduit to lay it down in type. I think you make stuff up. But some stories, despite one’s belief in brevity, just need more words while others, apparently, need only a few.

Hobart, if you aren’t familiar, is a great magazine which exists on paper and in pixel form. The editors love stories and poems and baseball, which seems about right to me. April is dedicated to baseball-related content, in fact, which is why my piece gets the chance to grace their homepage.

A word of thanks to Aaron Burch for taking the story and for shining it up so.

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