Nine innings in Baltimore: Top of the Second

(This is the continuation of the serial novel Nine Innings in Baltimore. Read the previous chapter here.)

It was not for nothing that Alvarez and Basilio didn’t like each other.

[Mary Lou, Peggy Sue, Barbara Ann, Polly Jean just to name the B-sides.]

After their drunken dust-up earlier in the summer at Miss Bonnie’s Saloon (fists and bottles when Basilio learned that Alvarez kept a file on his cousin Nieves, had tracked her to Mexico City), they went out of their way to avoid one another.

Soon, one of them would begin change slowly for the better and one would sink below the ninth ring of hell.

Stump Merrill

But tonight, it is only the top of the second for the mediocre Baltimore Orioles against Stump Merrill’s even worse New York Yankees at Memorial Stadium in Crabtown, USA.

Yankee right fielder Jesse Barfield was the first man to the plate in the top of the second.

Alvarez didn’t cover baseball, or any sport unless the police got involved. Like the time a small gang of teenagers from Waverly were breaking into cars on the stadium parking lot and, as the crowd roared for an Eddie Murray homerun, found the body of a long-dead Pennsylvania housewife in the back of a Dodge Dart.

But the reporter was in good with the Orioles’ public relations office and in the summer months used his press pass to have a few beers at the ballpark on long supper hours from the City Desk.

As he settled into the press box with a cold one, Barfield hit a 2-and-2 pitch to deep left field for his 19th home run of the waning season.

One to nothing, Yankees.

As Barfield rounded the bases, Alvarez leaned over to the beat writer for the East Baltimore Guide and said, “Remember when Barfield dropped that can of corn in Milwaukee?”


“Said he saw a UFO, dropped the ball.”


The PA announcer gave the attendance at 24,589. As Yankee catcher Rick Cerone settled into the batter’s box, Alvarez thought he recognized someone sitting near the third base line and left the press box to get another beer.

to be continued…