FOUR

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Baseball is spare: that's what I like about it, I think. Tiny figures on a vast expanse of green, and, as opposed to futbol, they're relatively stationary. Baseball is desultory. It's best in the minor leagues on an unimportant day, when you could count the crowd if you wanted to. And you can hear the chatter among the infielders. When I was young and on a Little-League-like team, I used to hate chatter. I felt so self-conscious having to shout "Come on, babe! Right down the pipe! He can't hit!" Or the hated "Batta batta batta!" I was very gifted at determining precisely how low my volume could be and still be defined as "shouting". When it was my turn at bat, the chatter turned especially vicious, in my opinion, usually consisting of speculation on how many years it would be before my testicles dropped. Testicle-dropping was a big issue in fifth grade, we boys being eager to get the ball rolling, so to speak, because after droppage came the hair, the B.O., the open sores, the growth spurts, all the things boys lusted after. Most of us hadn't even made the connection with girls, it was as if pubic hair were the end goal. Forever condemned as a "late bloomer" (that term even made its way into the infield chatter), i was despondent that my testicles were holding on for dear life to the suction cups or whatever were anchoring them well up in my abdominal cavity, to the point that I would do squat-jumps for hours in hopes of dislodging them, I even won a prize in Phys Ed for doing squat-jumps, to the shocked surprise of my classmates, who were unaware of my training regimen. Anyways, to wrap this up: the ball eventually started rolling, and the jury's still out on whether it was a good thing or not. Oh, and get this: that fifth-grade year, my father was the coach of our team, the Braves, and he traded me. He traded me! I should have my therapist send him a finder's fee.