Sunday, September 13, 1964
So much for my instant wisdom. Not a day later than my conversation with Hank, I started picking up scuttlebutt about the Fox and the boys.
“Hey batter-batter! You can’t hit.”
Loudmouth was right. Louis Dzinski couldn’t hit. The twelve-inch ball coming in at a slow arch might as well have been an atom bomb to the batter. He had no intention of hitting the thing. He hunched over, about four feet away from the plate, made a face and held out the bat like it was a three-foot turd. A fresh one.
The pitch. The turd moved in a half-hearted arc. Strike two.
“C’mon, Whiz, you can do it,” yelled Jack Carter, a junior monitor standing next to me behind the backstop.
“An encouraging word,” I observed. “Good for you.”
“Yea, well, I guess that’s my job,” Jack said. “Dzinski’s a twerp, but look around. Half of these freshmen never picked up a bat until September.”
“Hey batter-batter! Better get your fairy godfather to hit it for you.” The loudmouth again. It was Dan Johnson, a sophomore, about ten feet away, grinning like he had said something brilliant.
The pitcher wound up, underhanded a loop that Louis missed by three feet.
“Oh, fudge,” exclaimed Mick Clark from what passed for the on-deck spot.
“Oh, fudge yourself,” giggled the Whiz, relieved to be handing off the bat to someone else. .
“Fudge?” Carter queried.
“Fairy godfather?” I repeated, glancing over at Carter. “Where did that come from?”
“Hmm, probably a reference to the Fox. Some people say he’s taken a shine to the Whiz.”
“Really,” I said, trying to keep my tone even.
“The Whiz has been playing bridge with the Fox. He and Mick,” Carter said, keeping his voice low. “No big deal until the Fox ripped some of the guys in my class for picking on the Whiz. Now they’re paying him back.”
“So the guys are just having a little fun at the Fox's expense?” I asked.
“Something like that,” Carter said.
“You said anything to your mates,” I said. “This kind of talk can get out of hand.”
“Oh, they don’t mean anything by it,” he said.
“Right,” I said.