Several of the Indians were seen heading down the player’s ramp toward the clubhouse to pick up their belongings. Word of their appearance spread through the parking lot like an excited electrical charge running through a conductor. By the time the five players left the protective confines of the stadium, hundreds of heartbroken fans were gathered by the private gate, a thin row of security guards ensuring they kept their distance.
“Why are you doing this to us?” bellowed a deep voice from the crowd. “You’re garbage!” yelled another. The players ignored the remarks and continued their silent procession. Three photographers snapped pictures. “Don’t strike!” shouted a female voice. “Please don’t strike!” Again, the yelling went unanswered.
“Don’t strike! Don’t strike! Don’t strike!” a methodic chant began. Then another one started: “Strike four, you’re out! Strike four, you’re out! Strike four, you’re out!”
The five men, clean-shaven, carrying equipment bags, remained speechless, but the look on their faces indicated this was harder than anything they’d ever faced on the playing field.
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