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The Tyniest Outfielder, Chapter 17

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(Ed. note - Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  Sorry, BatGirl.)

There was much merriment as the Twins entered the Comiskey Park clubhouse on Saturday.  Laughter rang throughout the room, jokes were told, pranks were played, music was blasted.  In fact, it was awhile before anyone noticed the small figure with the red eyes and the streaked cheeks huddled in the corner of the clubhouse.  If you strained, you could hear muffled sobs emanating from the corner, with just a hint of a Texas drawl.

The Canadian wandered over.  "Cheer up, Jason," he said.  "I only had six hits yesterday, that's not too many more than you had."

"Yeah, I only had five," piped up the All-American.  "And I struck out twice!  That's once more than you did!  And other guys had bad days too - Torii, how'd you do?"

"Uh, I was five for seven, with two home runs," said Torii quietly.

"See, that's only two more home runs than you had - uh - since, uh, middle school..." The All-American trailed off.  The sobs from the corner got slightly louder.

"Come on, Jason," said the pitcher.  "Only five of the rest of us hit home runs yesterday, it's not like you're alone here.  In fact, I looked ridiculous at the plate yesterday!  Although granted, I was the first pitcher in seven years to hit in an American League game, and I did get a sacrifice down, so you could make the argument that your one walk and my sacrifice were roughly equal in value..."

"I didn't get a hit either," said L-Rod.  "And I bet I wasn't the only one, right guys?" L-Rod looked wildly around the room.  "Didn't anybody else go 0-for-yesterday?"

The room was silent.  "I can taste colors!" volunteered Red.

"See?" said L-Rod.  "It could be worse.  You didn't get hit in the head with a bat, and you can remember what pants are for!  You're one up on Red, at least."

Jason raised his head.  "We scored 32 runs and had 35 hits, and I had nothing!  NOTHING!"  And nobody could think of what to say to that.

Just then Big Fella burst into the room, a manic gleam in his eye and a sheaf of letters in his hand.  "Jason, look at these!" Big Fella said excitedly.  "They're letters, and emails, and all sorts of things that have been coming in - for you!"

"For me?" gulped Jason.

"Yes!" said Big Fella. "Read them!"

Jason took the letters with a trembling hand and opened one to read it aloud.  "Dear Jason," he read, "we were sorry to hear about your 0-for-6 day.  We know what this must feel like, and we encourage you not to hang your head in shame.  Sincerely, the French military."

Wordlessly, he opened another.  "Jason, I know you must be feeling down right now, but you musn't feel bad.  These things happen.  Cheer up.  Your friend, Sen. George McGovern."

Jason's tears had stopped, and the light began to come back to his eyes.  "Dear Jason, you've got to get back on that horse.  Otherwise you'll be letting them win.  From Joseph Hazelwood, Captain of the Exxon Valdez."

Jason rose to his feet.  "These guys are right!  I can't let this get me down!  So what if the bullpen catcher, the traveling secretary, and the trainer all out-hit me yesterday!  Come on, guys, we've got White Sox to beat!"  And he marched out of the clubhouse and down to the field.

The smiles were back on his teammates' faces.  "Nice job with the letters, Big Fella," said the All-American.

"Thanks," said Big Fella.  "Now you have to keep up your end of the bargain - go tell him we're using him to pinch-run and nothing else until August."