Day Twenty-Eight: Chuck Knoblauch

by Tom Noonan

It’s coming in softly, routine.  The fielder positions himself instinctively, there’s no critical thinking to it.  His body is his mind, his being.  Leather cushions the impact, and he raises up, recognizing the ball by its hardened stitches.  He eyes his target, pinstripes against a black-capped background.  His movements are crisp, precise, enchanting.  Hand grips then releases, the ball cutting through cold air like a sharpened blade through flesh.  His eyes widen, and he gasps for air.  All of a sudden there isn’t enough oxygen in the stadium.  The ball hits an empty chair in the fifth row.  The heavens open, and boos pour out.

A working stiff.  A flawed hero.  A man outside body.