© 2012 by Jon Sindell
Jon Sindell Fiction
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Baseball fans, has your team ever had a closer you just couldn’t stand? Meet El León, closer for the San Carlos Coyotes of the independent Cal-Heri League …
Bottom Of The Ninth, the game on the line. Our closer, the ebony-colored Dominican giant Alfredo Disculpe–the one over-nineteen player we are allowed under league rules, a man who has devolved from Double A prospect in the Dodgers organization to high A suspect for the Mariners to low A project for the Devil Rays to untamed reject in the Mexican League before landing finally at the sedimentary bottom of the food chain with us;–Alfredo Disculpe, who, because of his professional pedigree, rarely lowers the Times crossword or his English vocabulary-builder to talk to us because he has, broadly speaking, been with the Dodgers, Mariners, Devil Rays, Toreadors; Alfredo walks two batters right off. But that is no reason to panic! For this is his wont: “I need the pressure, hombres, to bring the high heat,” he has oft deigned to tell us. Fredo has pressure now, for here comes Rick Tanner, a tall, lean righty whom the fans have dubbed “The Ranger” for his cowboy build and drooping mustache as black as boot polish (he comes from L.A., a fact they ignore), possessor of a wicked-fast bat which has launched six home runs in just sixteen games already. They’ve got nicknames, we’ve got nicknames–and El León, as Roman calls Disculpe to feed his voracious leonine pride, lifts one heavy leg, reaches his elephantine trunk of an arm back and fires a fastball--which Tanner sends screaming on a rising line down the left-field line to scatter smooching teens and rattle metal bleacher seats ten rows deep--but five feet foul.