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Volume 3, Number 2
February, 1998

Topeka vs. Birmingham

by Shaun Smith

1st inning

 "Well, well, well, if it ain't Brett Freeman."
 "How you doin' Cowboy? I haven't seen you since I got traded to Topeka." He digs his right foot into the dirt, positioning himself in the batter's box. He takes a look at the infield; they're playing out, just the way he likes it.
 "Ain't doin' too bad Brett, havin' a decent season. Can't get the average up too high, but ain't nobody stole one on me yet! Hope you don't have any plans of tryin' to pull a fast one on me, you know I still have the fastest arm in the Southern League." He holds two fingers down, motioning for the slider. The pitcher sets and delivers. Brett swings as the ball comes across the plate.
 "Thought you had that one Brett, so how's the new house in Topeka? You like Kansas livin'?"
 "It ain't all too bad, I kinda miss the fast food restaurants. Once you get used to all the fields, you start to like it. Cowboy, don't have Ace throw me another one of them sliders, you know I can't hit'em low." Ace nods as two fingers are held in the down position. He sets and gets ready to pitch. Brett swings. After the initial crack of the bat, the crowd goes wild. It's a sure base hit, Brett just strides down the line toward the bag. When he gets there, he looks back at Cowboy and blows him a kiss. Cowboy responds with a lone middle finger, extended high in the air.

4th inning

 "Hey there sweetcheeks, glad to see you back again. Thought you were all cute with that little base hit, didn'tcha?"
 Digging into the batter's box once again, Brett adjusts his cup for a more comfortable fit. "So you liked that, huh Cowboy?"
 "Didn't mind it too much, just thought you was actin' a little cocky when you got to the bag, that's all." Cowboy reaches up and removes the catcher's mask to wipe a large drop of murky brown spittle off of his chin."
 "Maybe you won't have to see me stop at first base this time then. What d'ya think about that?"
 "Oh we'll see about that Brett, don't you worry. Let's just hope nothing happens to that prick teammate of yours there on first base." Cowboy brushes his left leg and hold down one finger. Ace nods and sets himself for the pitch.
 "HOLYMOTHERAGOD!" Cowboy yells as he jumps up from his crouched position to catch the high ball. Brett steps out of the batter's box. The umpire steps back and out of the way. Cowboy just barely snatches the ball from the air. He looks at the runner on first, he's going for second.
 "Here we go Bretty Boy," he says as he rockets the ball to the second baseman. The second baseman catches the ball and tags the runner out before he even gets close to the base.
 "OUT!" shouts the infield umpire.
 "Whoops," says Cowboy as he squats back down, "didn't mean to do that!"
 "Guess I'll have to make up for that myself."
 "Oh, you can try all you want Brett, but I think you're goin' down just like your little buddy on first did!"
 "Well the count is one and zero, I think that's against you."
 "I can handle a bad count, but can you back up your mouth?"
 "Sure as hell did last time, that's all I'm gonna say." Cowboy holds down one finger. Ace nods and sets himself for the delivery. The ball comes toward the plate. Brett swings his bat, a loud crack is heard and everyone watches as the ball flies straight up into the air.
 "Shit!" hollers Brett as Cowboy begins to laugh.
 "Shoooooo-eeeeee Brett, you sure did show me," he says through laughter as he runs forward about five steps and stops. He holds up his big catcher's mitt and waits. A distinctive leathery pop is heard and the umpire shouts, "HE'S OUT!" Brett hits the ground with is bat and mumbles some choice phrases under his breath.
 "That's it Brett, go back to the dugout and keep that bench warm! It looks lonely without you!"

7th inning

 "Oh Brett, long time no see. You and your new team are makin' it too easy for me and the good ol' boys. You gonna try harder this time around?"
 "Cowboy, if you'd get that pitcher to throw me a decent pitch then maybe I could get a decent hit in." He steps into the batter's box and digs his feet in. "I think this is going to be the one, Cowboy."
 "Well Brett, if you haven't already noticed, we took Ace out and put our new reliever in. You know where we got him? We got him on a trade with some crappy team from Kansas. He's about the only good thing to come out of there. Hell, he's the only good thing that's ever been on that team - WAIT A MINUTE, aren't you on that team Brett?"
 "Cowboy, you're hurting my feelings. We'll just see what good is on this team." Remembering what happened last time, Cowboy holds one finger down for the new pitcher to see. He sets and the pitch is on the way. Brett swings and the crowd goes wild before the crack of the bat is even heard. The outfielders don't even bother to run toward the fence. They can see as can everyone else, that the ball i