Major Gift From God
By ice rivers
You've sweated bullets in Panama.
You've batted with a tree branch and thrown a ball made out of fishnet.
You're the son of a fishing boat captain.
You're favorite athlete is Pele.
You want to play soccer but you switch to baseball.
Somehow, you find yourself, twenty years later on a major league baseball team in America. You're athletic. You've got a smooth delivery. You've got a decent fastball. You bring high heat. You're a long man. You're not a starter or closer. You're an innings eater. When your team is way behind or way ahead, and the team needs somebody to take up decided time, what the hell...they give you the ball.
You're barely hanging on to your pinstripes.
One day, you're playing catch before the game with a buddy of yours who, like you, is clinging to the major leagues on faith and prayer.
You're a man of faith. You pray.
During this game of catch, your fast ball starts to sink. Your catchmate notices and asks "what was that?"
"Can you do that again?"
You have a smooth delivery, a repeatable delivery.
You can do it again.
Again the pitch sinks, this time as it enters the swing zone.
You can throw this pitch.
It is a gift from God.
Not only can you throw it but you can control it.
You can hit the corners.
You're no fool.
You start throwing the pitch constantly.
Nobody can hit it.
You're throwing a buzzsaw.
One batter breaks three bats in one at bat against you.
The batters know what's coming but they can't do anything about it.
You're called on when the game is on the line, when the pennants on the line, when the championship is on the line.
You are the Sandman.
You have your gift, you use that gift right up until the end.
You announce your retirement. In the last inning of the last game that will ever be played at Yankee Stadium, you go to the gift one more time, one last time.
Once again, it works. Your job is over even as your legend continues to grow.
You're elected into the Hall of Fame unanimously. No baseball player has ever been unanimously selected.
You are the first as you were the last.
Your gift was the cutter.
You got your gift one day in a bullpen; out of nowhere.
It arrived like an Angel, with a wing and a prayer.