Has anyone ever told you that baseball is more than a game, that it's really a metaphor for life? Have you ever wondered what they meant? This story imagines the answer.
A single mother moves to Kansas City with her young daughter and notices that everyone she meets - her new colleagues, neighbors, even the mailman - can't stop talking about baseball. "It's more than just a game," they tell the mother. "It's so much more. What you need is to come to a game and experience it." Again and again the mother makes her excuses - she is busy with work, and parenting, and fending off her ex, who keeps drunk texting, threatening to sue for custody - and just doesn't have time to get out to the stadium.
But baseball, it seems, won't take no for an answer. One day a Kansas City Royals outfielder moves into the neighborhood. And things only get stranger from there.... Soon enough the mother begins to realize that her participation in America's favorite pastime might not be optional - it might be compulsory, a mandatory part of American life. In fact, whether she keeps her daughter and her job might depend on her learning to play the game. She stalls as long as she can, until one day an unexpected confrontation with three of baseball's official representatives - a sort of existential World Series - determines her fate.
Christie Hodgen is the author of three highly acclaimed books of fiction, most recently Elegies for the Brokenhearted, hailed by The New York Times Book Review as "the literary equivalent of a hand grenade". Her awards include a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, two Pushcart Prizes, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in Kansas City.
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