Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"You Could Look It Up." James Thurber.

Review: A hilarious baseball story. The team is in a tight struggle for first place in the National League. Squawks Magrew is the manager. What really makes this story fun is the “baseballese,” the language used by the narrator.

Magrew encounters a midget. He puts a uniform on him and he tours with the team. It’s a crucial game. With two out and men on second and third base in a one-run game, Magrw sends the midget up to pinch hit for the best hitter on the team, telling the midget not to swing the bat because no pitcher is going to be able to throw a strike to a man 20” high.

Predictably, the pitcher misses the strike zone three times in a row. But somehow he underhands a pitch that is just too good not to hit and the midget swings and tops it fair along the baseline and tries to leg out the hit. With his little legs there is no way he can reach first base before the throw.

Magrew is furious at the midget. The opposing players are falling all over themselves trying to grab the ball to throw it to first base. The first baseman takes the throw and stomps on the bag well before the midget can reach it. Magrew grabs the midget and throws him into center field. The center fielder who is running in because the game is over, catches the midget in midi-air and the umpire calls the midget out. You could look it up.

Rating for this short story: ***** out of *****.

Short Story Masterpieces. Ed. RP Warren and A Erskine. New York: Dell Books. 1954.

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