He looked at the view of Detroit out the west-facing 10th floor window. “Then you get to bat, and the fans call out your name. I don’t think I’ve ever once stepped up to that plate and not felt like a ten-year-old. You’d think playing a game for a living would get old, but it’s just the opposite. It keeps you young, like nothing else. You take away the crowd, the stadium, the announcers, and it’s sandlot ball, every time you step up to the plate.”
Renée looked at Lew wistfully. “It’s not just a game, though, is it? Not now at least…”
“Nah, it’s still a game, just a bigger game. We’re only the pieces. Sometimes the players can’t see it. That’s what did in my dad. Eight seasons with St. Louis. He was going pretty well – or at least he thought so. Had a regular spot in the lineup, a career two-seventy-five average. Wasn’t a star, but a respected player.”
He fiddled with his belt, which was laying on the bed.
“Then one day, out of the blue, management gave him his unconditional release. They’d found someone better. Not much better as it turned out, but younger, so they could pay him less. They told my dad he ‘didn’t fit into the team’s long term plans’ – great line, huh? It just so happened that at the time, St. Louis was in last place, so it was like the ultimate rejection. No other team went near him after that. Until then, it was a game for him, too. Christ, he can’t even bring himself to watch a ball game now, not even mine.”
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