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I’m tellin’ you, ball:


next pitch,


you gotta be a strike!  

Hooray!  Now the daily growing 7-Word Story (that started 42 days ago inside a coffin) that I’ve been carrying at the end of each daily post has it’s own home on a separate page (Click on the link to the right, or go to the “BOOKS” tab at the top of this page, and then to the lead headline link!).  Special thanks to Michael Infusino for making it happen.

     Much to my disdain, my second favorite team, the Boston Red Sox, after a valiant effort, lost last night.  Thanks, Red Sox, for a great battle.  You certainly outshined my Mets!

     And now it’s on to the big World Series stage for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (They dropped the “Devil” part–maybe why they won?–but I like the way the name sounds better when the Devil is in there. 

     Tampa Bay Devil Rays just sounds better, don’t you think?  The Devil adds more of a lilt to the pronounciation, not to mention a dose of intrigue to what goes on in the clubhouse and the hallway that leads to the dugout. 

     So, with apologies to the Tampa Bay marketing genius who decided to kill the Devil, I will continue to use the full birth certificate name.  I know, I know, I’m the same guy who clings to “Garden State Arts Center” in spite of a certain NJ Governor who uncouthly sold out the name to a bank!   

     Where was this headed?  Oh, right!  There’s this pitcher on the Tampa Bay Devil Rays that you absolutely must see.  If you’re a baseball fan, you already know of whom I speak. 

     But let’s say you HATE baseball and think nothing in the world can posssibly match the excitement level of, oh, for example, synchronized archery or a good Texas Hold ‘Em game.  Well, I can tell you, you’ve got another thing coming. 

     You haven’t yet experienced veteran pitcher Daniel Michael Wheeler, and you MUST watch a couple of World Series games just to see this squirrely little teddybear-looking guy (not actually so little, just looks it before each pitch) who bends over like a kid sticking his face into a bag of candy, puts his nose to his raised glove and talks to the ball as he swooshes it around in his glove, then stands up and pitches to the batter. 

     Yes, I did say “talks to the ball.”  It’s quite a sight, not to mention how long it takes batters to get past the distraction of this quirky pitch delivery process.  We’ve all seen players –Tug McGraw, who used to slap his legs to death with his glove when he got excited, comes to mind– act quirky, but I gotta tell you that THIS Wheeler guy is beyond weird. 

     Of course I suppose I could think he’s a walk on the wild side ta-dum, ta-dum, because I don’t know what it is he’s talking about to the ball, or if the ball is talking back.

     But you will thank me for making you tune in to Mr. Wheeler.  it’s worth a timeout to see this happening occur with EVERY single pitch he throws. 

     You’ll either come away dumfounded, and shaking your head, giggling because you figured out what the conversation with the ball is all about, or afraid to bet on the Phillies. 

     I mean, I talk to my pen and my keyboard sometimes, but on every pitch?  Hey!  Enjoy the games.                    halalpiar 

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