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SUMMARY: Two boys growing up together in an idyllic beachfront community share a passion for baseball. One excels at the game and plays it with reckless abandon; the other, less talented, studies the game and those who play it, hoping someday to share what he learns with others. Best friends since childhood, the two have seen how baseball can bring them closer together. Now, having just graduated from high school, it’s about to show them a crueler side of the game. Baseball is about to separate them even though neither wants that to happen. You can find a longer synopsis of the entire story here. Please note that italics are typically used to indicate what a character is thinking or saying to himself.
WARNING: This story is a work of adult fiction and intended for mature audiences only. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Unless otherwise indicated by context, all of the characters, leagues, stadiums, teams and clubs portrayed or mentioned in this story are fictional, not depictions of real people, leagues, stadiums, teams and clubs. Please note that the story may describe, depict or otherwise include graphic portrayals of relationships between men and/or adolescent boys that are homosexual in nature. If you do not like or approve of such discussions or it is illegal for you to read such material, consider yourself warned. If you continue to read this story, you are asserting that you are fully capable of understanding and legally consenting to reading a work of adult fiction.
NOTICE: This story is my property and protected by the copyright laws of the United States and other countries. It may not be reproduced in any form without my written permission. You may download a single copy to read offline and to share with others as long as you credit me as the author. However, you may not use this work for commercial purposes or to profit from it in any way. You may not use any of the characters, leagues, stadiums, teams, clubs, or other fictional locations described in the story in your own work without my explicit permission. Nor may you use, alter, transform, or build upon the story in any way. If you share this story with others, you must make clear the terms under which it is licensed to them. The best way to do that is by linking to this web page.
NOTES: Please check these notes every week. If there is something I want to alert you to as I post each chapter, this is where I will I do so. April 21, 2014: Thanks for reading the story. I appreciate it.
WARRIORS WIN THE WORLD SERIES
WASHINGTON 2, CALIFORNIA 1, IN SEVENTH GAME SHOCKER
By Mark Bradley
LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Washington Warriors won the seventh and deciding game of the Professional Baseball League of America’s championship series Sunday night in Los Angeles, clinching their first ever World Series title with a tense 2-1, 10-inning, win over the California Dream.
Sparked by another brilliant pitching performance from Elián Ramirez and strong offensive and defensive play from Ethan Williams, Washington’s controversial rookie shortstop, the Warriors eked out a hard fought victory over the Dream, a team that was heavily favored to win its third straight championship series.
Ramirez, who had previously won games one and four of the series, scattered four hits over nine innings, striking out twelve in the process and walking just two. He was pulled for relief pitcher Allen Reardon, who preserved the victory, in the bottom of the tenth.
But it was Williams, making his first appearance in post-season play, that made the win possible; first by scoring the tying run in the eighth inning, then by hitting a solo home run in the top of the tenth to break the 1-1 tie, and finally by tossing out California speedster Jacoby Pierce with a picture perfect throw to home plate that was just in time to nail Pierce and squash the Dream’s final comeback effort.
In the process, the Warriors left no doubt which team deserved to take home the championship trophy.
“We’ve had to fight hard all year and had our backs to the wall more than once, but I think tonight was a fitting end to the season,” Warriors Manager Edwin “Doc” Howard told reporters after the game. “Tonight was an incredible battle between two great teams and I’m proud we were able to pull it off.”
The clincher was more dramatic than any of the first six games. Behind a strong six hit effort from their starting pitcher, Juan Arias, California actually held the lead for most of the game, only to watch the Warriors tie it up in the top of the eighth when Williams doubled, stole third base and then reached home on a sacrifice fly to center field.
Neither team was able to score in the ninth inning. In the top of the tenth, California’s crafty reliever, Bill Pappas, easily retired the first two Washington batters. But then Williams, who the Warriors had been sitting after news broke he was gay, got all of a Pappas curve ball and lined it into the left field stands more than 430 feet away.
“I was lucky,” Williams said. “He just happened to leave that one hanging and I managed to get all of it. I was pretty sure it was gone the moment I hit it and I’m thankful I finally had a chance to make a contribution tonight.”
“It was an amazing feeling watching that ball disappear over the fence,” Warriors All-Star third baseman Ryan Hubbard said after the game. “This had to be one of the tensest games I’ve ever been in. For Ethan to come in and play like that after having to sit out most of the playoffs was just incredible.”
Allen Reardon, facing the top of California’s lineup, closed it out for Washington in the bottom of the tenth inning. After giving up a leadoff single to Jacoby Pierce, Reardon got the next California hitter out on a sacrifice bunt that moved Pierce to second. Wayne Otis grounded out to third. But it was the next play that determined the outcome of the game.
Pinch hitter Carlos Ruiz lashed a ball high off the left field wall. Warriors’ left fielder Teddy Jamieson got a good bounce and relayed the ball to Williams, who had moved twenty feet out from his shortstop position. Williams then threw a perfect strike to home plate to nail Pierce.
“In that situation, all you can do is to get the ball to the relay man and hope for the best,” Jamieson said. “I sure wasn’t looking forward to another extra inning. That was an incredible throw by Ethan and great effort to block the plate by Wilson Flores, our catcher. The whole thing was picture perfect and most of the time it doesn’t happen that way.”
For California, the World Series defeat was a stunning development after they captured the American League pennant with a sweep against the New York Pride.
“I’m a little bit flabbergasted to be honest with you,” California manager Jim Coughlin said. “I never would have thought we would sweep New York like that; and while I figured this series would go seven games, I liked our chances going into tonight.”
“We’ll be back. We got beat by a good team. It was close. We had our chances, but we couldn’t convert. That last play, where Jacoby got tossed out, I wouldn’t have believed that could happen in a million years. You got to give credit to that shortstop of theirs.”
“For us to play like we did tonight against this great club, I couldn’t be prouder of these guys,” Washington General Manager Jack Girardi said. “To bring a world championship back to Washington after so many years of losing; it’s just an amazing feeling and I’m looking forward to the parade.”
“Believe me, I know how difficult it is to get here and I couldn’t be prouder of this group of guys. Having gotten this close, they weren’t going to be denied.”
California scored its only run in the bottom of the third on an infield hit, a stolen base and a throwing error.
Girardi was asked after the game why he had waited until tonight to play Williams.
“That mistake is on me. I never should have sat the guy in the first place. He’s an amazing shortstop. Nothing gets by him in the field; his hitting has been more than we could have hoped for since we traded for him and you guys saw that throw to the plate. There aren’t many shortstops playing the game these days that could have pulled that off; not against Pierce. I was pretty certain we were headed for an eleventh inning.”
“But as for starting Ethan tonight? I just got up this morning and the guy whose face I saw staring back at me in the mirror was telling me not playing him was going to cost us a championship and did I want to be responsible for that?”
Williams, whose homosexuality has been the talk of baseball since it was first revealed before the start of the playoffs, was apparently welcomed back warmly by his teammates. Before the game, Scooter Reese and Kyle Nichols called a team meeting to stress the importance of having Williams’ back if the fans got on him.
“There were a few things said tonight that were pretty disgusting,” Nichols said. “But everyone just kept telling Ethan to stay positive. There are going to be bigots wherever we play, but it seemed like most of the people here tonight were just here to see a good game. Both teams gave them that tonight.”
Elián “Killer” Ramirez, who also pitched the Warriors to victory in games one and four, was named the Series MVP (Most Valuable Player).
“I still can’t believe it,” Ramirez said. “Seventh and deciding game of a world series; it’s the game you dream about playing in as a kid all your life and then you’re playing in it and you don’t ever want to wake up. I’m proud of all the guys, especially Ethan. He was clutch tonight, that’s for sure.”
Asked about his game winning home run in the top of the tenth, Williams grinned.
“It felt good,” he said. “I was just trying to make something happen, to contribute. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
“Winning like this makes it all the sweeter,” Washington GM Girardi said. “We have the best fans in the world. We won it for them. They deserve it and I know they’re going to give us a big welcome home; all of us, not just some of us.”
“Yeah,” Hunter said, tossing the paper across the bed to me. “That win was pretty sweet. I just hope the dude understands why the Warriors are the world champions today. There’s no way in hell they would have won that game without you, Ethan.”
“You don’t know that for sure, Hunter,” I said. “It’s the same old story: would have, could have, should have. You can’t really say for sure; besides, it was a team effort. Where would we have been without Elián? That was monster game he pitched last night. We wouldn’t have been in it at all without him.”
“It’s funny, you know,” I added. “After the celebration in the clubhouse was over and we were on the way to catch our bus to the airport, he came over and thanked me for getting him the win. He’s so cute, Hunter; he’s the same age as us, but he looks like he’s fourteen. I just told him he pitched an outstanding game; that he really had command of his pitches tonight, especially his fastball and slider, and he was the reason we won. You know what he said?”
“What?” Hunter asked.
“He looks me in the eye and says I love pitching, Ethan, but you know what? With the right battery mate I think I would be a terrific catcher as well. And then he winked at me. You know how pitchers are, Hunter. They stick to themselves pretty much. I would have never guessed in a million years. Do you believe it?”
“That’s incredible,” Hunter responded. “What did you say to him after that?”
“I just told him I had found the perfect battery mate for myself and invited him over for dinner. I mean, I know what it’s like not to have anyone you can talk to about things and I want us to be friends. He’s coming over Thursday evening. You’ll like him. The dude has the greatest sense of humor in the world; he’s always pulling some prank on someone.”
“But, you know, it isn’t just Elián. I’ve had an incredible number of calls from guys on other teams, guys who play other sports, thanking me for how I’ve handled myself throughout this whole thing; and while I’ve only done a couple of speaking engagements at some of the local schools, it’s always the same, Hunter. After I finish and I’m standing around signing autographs, I always see some boy standing a little further away, waiting to be the last one in line.”
“And when everyone else has left and the two of us are alone, it all comes out. Sometimes they volunteer it. Sometimes I have to give them a little start by asking something like how are things going in your life? They want to tell me everything, Hunter; it’s scary how important they think I am. It just makes me feel so good knowing they have someone they can relate to.”
“Did anyone ever tell you you’re an awesome dude, Ethan?” he asked.
“And what does being an awesome dude get me exactly?” I responded.
“It gets you all kinds of wonderful stuff,” he responded.
His face was down in my groin in a flash and that made me laugh. Hunter may have come out the previous fall, but from what I had learned he hadn’t been getting a lot until that night he came back to my room.
It made me laugh.
What was it Riley told me once about me being a little kid in a candy store? Hunter was the little kid now; and the truth is, I would be happy to feed him as many nickels, dimes and quarters as he wanted so he could have whatever piece of candy he chose.
He had agreed to come back to Washington with me. He was going to look for a teaching job up here. More importantly, the two of us were getting more comfortable with each other every day we lived together. This was different from what it had been with Riley. It wasn’t about roles. We talked a lot about what each of us liked; we did a lot more experimenting in bed and were discovering things about each other neither of us had ever suspected.
The sex was terrific and we were still figuring it out together; but what really made it fun was living with your best friend, someone you had loved all your life. That made all the difference.
When Hunter and I got back from California after the last game, there had been a message waiting for me from Riley.
“Congratulations to the starting shortstop of the World Champion Washington Warriors; awesome game, dude. I’m looking forward to seeing you when I get back to Washington in November. And give my best to that friend of yours, Hunter. Gina told me all about it and I’m happy for you guys. Maybe you can help me find the right dude or dudette for me.”
I wasn’t sure who would be the right person for Riley, but I was going to do whatever I could to help. For starters, I was planning to talk to Elián about Riley and what a terrific dude he was. Riley was definitely going to be part of the family, along with Gina and Marie, D.W. and Brady, and Cameron and Zachary.
Hunter and I were going to get a place with beachfront access down in Rehoboth and all of our friends were going to be able to use it whenever they wanted; and we weren’t going to just get together with them once or twice a year.
We were going to get together a lot more.
Maybe the next time would be when Hunter and I got married; if we decided to get married. We were still talking about that. Neither of us needed some document to validate our relationship.
All we needed was each other.