Dr. Baker the hurler was a man of youthful countenance, of calm, detached features; of rational, considered actions; embarassed in speaking, humble in manner, yet somehow lovable, even though he appeared to be an eleven-year-old bootblack. Batters quailed before his tosses, often twisting mightily but seldom able to produced the wanted effect. Parades of doomed pilgrims would proceed to the dish, and back again without success. Dr. Baker would dispatch all comers.
No doubt this was desirable for Baker; for he was richly rewarded for his feats, and widely hailed as the best there was to offer, a paragon, an example of his kind to be admired.
And yet, I have heard tales of his friendship with another, a Mr. Scott, a strange fellow that few would want to do with, a damnable man who sneers at the very principles Dr. Baker would uphold. The very look of him goes against the watcher's inclination. His public appearances are greeted with cowering and cries for sanctuary from the assemblage, and with baseballs disappearing into the lower reaches of the atmosphere. Look for yourself and see the horror of his being, the evil written on his face:
For some time now, rumors have persisted regarding this strange and horrible friendship of Dr. Baker and Mr. Scott. Two separate and trusted figures, a Mr. Anderson and a Mr. Gardenhire, have sworn that an even tighter relationship exists between the two figures. The two swear that these men, one upright, one bowed; one excellent, one inferior; are so closely bonded as to be of one, inseperable persona. The one is never seen in appearance with the other; those who search for Dr. Baker after coming across Mr. Scott are invariably unable to locate him, and the return of Baker is likewise coincident with the disappearance of Scott (and of the baseball.)
Indeed, one often substitutes for the other, and yet they cannot possibly be cut from the same bolt of cloth. On occasions Dr. Baker strolls to the embankment, his foes always leave his presence disappointed; yet when Mr. Scott is the one to summit the hill, the opposition seizes upon this as an opportunity, and regularly smashes the pill out of the sight of even the healthiest observers.
Take the latest incident involving the accursed pair. Six times, Dr. Baker appeared into the arena, and six times, the adversary quietly failed to dent his record. But for the seventh, it was Mr. Scott that emerged, and in quick succession the contest was out of hand.
The same had happened at the duo's last display; Dr. Baker's successful trials in the second through fourth innings were negated by Mr. Scott's thrashings and snarlings in the first and fifth frames. Like a fire devouring a forest, or young Prince Fielder devouring an eighteen-pound ham, in both instances the work of Dr. Baker was completely undone by the man Scott.
It is certain that I am no fit examiner of these coincidences, but any one who has seen them cannot deny both the shock and the truth of what I submit to you. It would be that Dr. Baker and Mr. Scott, for their plainly obvious differences, are less a twosome than they are the faces of a coin, struck as part of of the same piece of silver.
Dr. Baker is the side that would be presented; he is the obvious choice to be used as often as possible, especially considering the rate at which he is remunerated for these actions. Yet Mr. Scott is closer to his true nature. The latter is a more accurate - and more horrifying - representation of the lethal character of the man. Though Dr. Baker will succeed in pushing Mr. Scott to the rear for large stretches of time, it is Scott that lurks always not quite off-stage, just visible in the wings and ready to emerge without fair warning.
As interested parties, we must fear this transformation. Dr. Baker is likely to mutate into Mr. Scott at any time; his true self lurks below the surface, waiting to lose the horsehide at the worst possible time. This man is not truly one, but truly two. As incongrous as these denizens might be, we are forced to live with both.
How I wish it were not so.
(With thanks and apologies to Robert Louis Stevenson, who certainly never imagined that his work would be pillaged in order to make fun of a pitcher who cannot keep the ball in the ballpark.)