“Janoris was my best friend on my baseball team. The difference was that Janoris was the best player and I was the worst player on our team. Our baseball team’s name was the Bronx Bandits, and we were an okay team. The reason why I was so bad at baseball was that I only struck out.”
Chapter One: The First Game
“Oh hey, Janoris,” I yelled.
Janoris was my best friend on my baseball team. The difference was that Janoris was the best player and I was the worst player on our team. Our baseball team’s name was the Bronx Bandits, and we were an okay team. The reason why I was so bad at baseball was that I only struck out. My position was first base, and if there was a good throw I could catch it, but I couldn’t scoop any throws.
It was the day of our first game of the season, and we were playing the Burmington Sharks. We were the away team, so we batted first. The coach announced the lineup.
“Janoris is up, Josh is on deck, and Mike is in the hole,” Coach Dunlap announced.
Janoris worked the count to two and two and then swung and singled into center field. Four batters later, the bases were loaded and there were two outs, and I was up. We had scored no runs, but if I walked or got a hit, we would score. But I was probably going to strike out, and that was exactly what I did. Three pitches later, I was walking back to the dugout. In the bottom of the inning, when I was back at first base, a pop fly came my way, and I missed it.
Eight innings later, our team lost to the Burmington Sharks 5-1, and it was all my fault. I thought about quitting baseball. But after thinking about it, I decided not to quit. Baseball was too fun, even when you were really bad at it. As Babe Ruth said, “Don’t let the fear of striking out stop you from playing the game.”
After the game, my dad drove me home for dinner. My mom had made me my favorite meal to make me feel better. I ate two hamburgers, and then I went to my room. I thought it would be cool to swallow a baseball, so I did. I felt dizzy, and then I fell to the ground. Our next baseball game would be at a tournament at Ripken in Maryland. I was so excited even though I felt totally sick.
Chapter Two: Ripken
On the drive to Ripken, it was really bumpy, and I threw up the baseball that I had swallowed. I showed my parents, and they said I was just tricking them by pretending a baseball came out of my mouth. But I wasn’t.
When we arrived in Ripken, we were late. My team was already practicing. I thought they would be in our team’s dormitory, but I didn’t know the time. We were later than I thought. We were playing the Staten Island Badgers.
When I got to the field, I discovered that the fields were made of turf. That meant the baseball would bounce really high. I was sweating before the game even started.
I struck out every time at bat and made four errors, but we still won. No, actually, we crushed them 23-5. The tournament was a double elimination format. That meant that when a team lost twice, they would be out of the tournament.
In the afternoon, we played our second game of the day. It was a rematch against the Burmington Sharks. In the game, I was on the bench and not playing, so it was tied, and we went into extra innings. For the last inning, I played first base. They had scored no runs. The leadoff batter was me, and for once I got on base with a walk. Then, Janoris was up and hit a walk off home run.
Four days later…
“Yeah!” I screamed. We had just won the tournament.
“I don’t know why you’re so happy when you didn’t do anything to help,” Jerry said.
Jerry was the second best player on our team. I knew it was true that I never helped the team. I just struck out and made errors.
Chapter Three: The Mystery
When I got back to my house the next day, I wanted to go play catch with my dad, but my glove was missing.
“Dad, someone stole my glove,” I whined.
“No one took it. You just misplaced it,” he yelled back.
But someone did take it, and they were on my team. They didn’t want me to have my glove so I couldn’t play, and so they wouldn’t lose because of me. At the next game, I asked everyone on my team if they had seen my glove. “No” was the answer that everyone gave me.
“Guess you’ll just have to sit on the bench for the whole game,” Frankfort said.
Then right there I knew that Frankfort took my glove. I didn’t say anything to him because he would get mad and start throwing baseballs at me, and he was one of many pitchers on our team, and he threw like 65 miles per hour. When I was sure there were no baseballs around, I asked Frankfort.
“Did you take my glove because I’m bad and you don’t want me to play?” I asked him.
He looked offended. “I did no such thing,” he replied back.
After that, I got out of there really quickly because Frankfort was looking for a ball to throw at me.
Chapter Four: The Solution
For the past two weeks, I couldn’t play in any baseball games because of my missing glove. My dad was really mad that I couldn’t play in any games.
“How many times do I have to tell you, don’t misplace your baseball equipment!” he yelled.
I asked my dad if I could go to Frankfort’s house. I wanted to see if he had my glove. When I knocked on his door, Frankfort answered.
“Go away! I don’t want you in my house. My mom is not here!” he yelled.
“Please, just five minutes,” I begged him.
“Fine, but just five,” he said back.
When five minutes was up, I couldn’t find my glove. When I got home, all of my baseball equipment was gone. I convinced my dad to replace my equipment by saying, “You want me to play baseball, right? I can’t play without it.”
My dad agreed and went to get more equipment.
Chapter Five: The Guy Who ONLY Hit Homers
At the baseball store I got a new glove, a new bat, new batting gloves, and a new helmet.
At our next baseball game (which was the championship match) I was batting in the bottom of the second on the first pitch. I hit a long, high fly ball that was a home run! Everyone was so surprised, and even more surprised when I hit one again.
Then in the bottom of the ninth inning, the last inning, the bases were loaded. There were two outs, and we were down by three. My third home run would win the championship.
I pointed to right field calling my shot. Everyone started laughing and looking at right field. I ignored them. I let the first and the second pitches go by for strikes. Then, I hit a grand slam into right field. We had won the championship!