Mayfield Titans

Chapter 59-Baby Brother

<Aiden and Kalie>
“Is the Clark Pass baseball team as bad as their softball team?” Kalie asked Aiden when he sat next to her on the morning bus to school.
“I told you, they’re good enough to beat anybody who doesn’t play well against them. And they are 2-3 which is just a game behind us. Why, do you think we’re going to choke the game or something?” Aiden replied.
“No, I was just trying to talk about baseball and softball since it’s game day. And since we’re undefeated and their team hasn’t won a game, I thought baseball would be more interesting. Especially since you’re pitching today.”
“Well, I hope that I pitch well enough to keep the game interesting,” Aiden said.
“Me too. And tomorrow you’re going to meet your new brother, right?”
“Yep, after our first Yard Goats practice. I thought you were thinking about playing baseball instead of softball this summer.”
“I was, but all my girlfriends play softball, and my mom says I only grow up with them once, so we should enjoy our fun together.”
“Do you think she’s right?”
“I dunno. Kinda yes and kinda no. I mean, yeah, I do most of my friend stuff with the girls on my team. But I think she thinks boys are only for going out with and not playing on teams with. I mean, I wanted to try it, but I like my friends a lot, too. Plus, our softball team is going to be really awesome this summer.”
“The Yard Goats will be good too. Plus, we are going to California,” Aiden pointed out.
“You sound like you want me to play for you guys.”
“It would be fun in a lot of ways. But I kinda see what your mom is saying too about how being on a team with really good friends pretty much happens only when you’re in school. Unless you’re good enough for college or pro ball, not that many Mayfield athletes are good enough for that.”
The bus pulled into the bus zone. “Well, in case I don’t get to talk to you the rest of the day, good luck to you guys,” Kalie told Aiden.
“Same to you. Kick some serious ass.”
<Mayfield Middle School baseball field>
Since the Titans were the home team the players had to stay in class longer. They were dismissed early enough to change into their uniforms, warm up, and complete infield practice in time to allow the Clark Pass Eagles to take their infield practice. As the starting pitcher, Aiden did not take infield practice nor did Mac as the starting catcher; instead, they were warming up on the practice mound behind their dugout.
“How do you think I looked?” Aiden asked Mac as the two walked around the chain link fence and onto the field area.
“Hey, you know you better than I know you. I’m still new at this,” Mac protested.
“I guess what I meant was, did I put my pitches where you wanted them?”
“I hardly had to move my glove, so I guess the answer would be yes. And the way your fastball was moving, that probably wasn’t easy.”
“Yeah, that’s as much as it’s zipped around all season. Even when it’s moving like usual it’s way easier to control the sucker warming up than it is with a hitter at the plate.”
“You’re right about it moving. I didn’t see it move like that in our workouts either. What are you doing different to get it to move more?”
“I’m not sure except I’m throwing it harder and with more snap,” Aiden replied.
What Aiden and Mac were referring to was how Aiden’s fastball wasn’t coming at the plate in a straight line.  As it reached the plate it was sinking a little and tailing slightly away from a right-handed batter.  
Whatever control Aiden had displayed during his warmup left him as soon as the Eagle leadoff batter saw his first pitch. It was a fastball low and outside for ball one. Then came ball two. Two pitches later it was ball four and a Clark Pass runner was on first. Aiden then walked the next batter, putting runners on first and second with no outs. He then gave up a run-scoring single on a bloop hit that dropped just out of the reach of Barry, who was playing left field, and Gordy, who was playing center. The runner on second left on contact, which was a baserunning mistake he got away with because nobody caught the ball. The runner on first stopped at second. There were now runners on first and second with no outs and Clark Pass up 1-0.
Seeing the frustration building in Aiden, Mac asked for time out and started out to the mound just as Coach Ecklund came out of the dugout asking for time. Coach Ecklund told Aiden he was overthrowing which was why his command was bad. “Do what you know,” the coach told him. “And trying to throw every pitch past the batter is not what you know. Let your stuff work for you.”
The ump stepped toward the mound and shouted that it was time to play ball. Mac hesitated a moment after Coach Ecklund left the mound. “Throw like you were throwing at the end of warmups, dude. They won’t hit you.”
“Come on, catcher, let’s play ball,” the ump yelled, and Mac turned and hustled back to the plate.
The next batter hit a nubber into the middle of the infield that nobody could field in time to make a play, loading the bases. Aiden then showed he had another walk left in him, walking the batter on a full count. A ground ball that Mason made a diving stop on became an infield hit when he didn’t have time to get a throw off. That scored another run, and the bases were loaded with no outs, and the Eagles holding a 3-0 lead.
The next Eagle batter belted what ended up being the Eagles’ only hard-hit ball of the inning, a line drive that went directly into Trent’s glove at third. The runner on third, thinking the ball was going through the infield for a hit, found himself too far off the base to get back before Trent dove at the base and tagged it with his glove for a double play.
As Aiden set his feet on the pitcher’s rubber, he thought about what Mac had told him during the time out. When Mac signaled for a fastball, Aiden wound up and took a little off his pitch, which crossed the plate at the knees for a strike.
Mac gave Aiden a thumbs up. “Looked good, dude,” he called out before tossing the ball back. The batter swung and missed at the next pitch, then took an outside pitch for ball one. He got a piece of the next pitch, hitting a routine grounder to the right side of the infield where Mason gathered it up and threw the batter out at first by four steps. The inning finally ended, but the Titans were now down 3-0. Aiden walked off the field kicking himself for pitching just as badly as the team had practiced before Mac threw his little tantrum.
Mac caught up with Aiden. “Good job on the last batter. Now you’re ready for some great innings,” Mac said.
“I kinda sucked out there.”
“Hey, now you just have to quit sucking and suck it up. And we all have to score some runs.”
Aiden nodded and took his seat at the end of the dugout bench. Everyone on the Titans knew better than to talk to him during a game he was pitching once he sat there. Aiden thought about how good he had felt during his pregame warmup and how nothing seemed to feel right as soon as he took his eight warmup pitches from the regular mound. Then he worked to shake those negative vibes from his mind by telling himself he had pitched better to end the first inning and that those pitches were what counted.
His thoughts were interrupted when Trent stroked a two-out single to right. Even though he threw right-handed, Trent was a left-handed batter. Three pitches later, Muddy drove a    2-0 pitch over the left field fence to cut the Eagle lead to 3-2. Aiden jumped up with his teammates to cheer as soon as the ball left the bat. There had been no doubt that Muddy hit the ball squarely.
The gloom that hovered after the Titan’s bad start had suddenly lifted.
After Max struck out swinging to end the inning, Aiden shed his jacket and dropped it on the shelf behind the bench. He picked up his glove and ran out to the pitcher’s mound to start the second inning.
Aiden faced only three batters in the inning, striking out one. The second hitter in the inning had a one out single, but Mac threw him out attempting to steal second on a 1-2 pitch that struck out the batter. It was a classic “strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out” double play. Aiden and Mac traded low fives as they walked off the field.
Calvin Loggins, the Eagles’ pitcher, put the Titans down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning.  Aiden, Mason, Miles, Trent, and even Gordy all mentioned that the blond, seventh grade pitcher was cuter than fuck. Plus, he was a decent all-around player. The Eagles went scoreless again in the top of the third after stranding a two out double on second.
A combination of timely Mayfield hitting and some sloppy Clark Pass fielding led to a big inning for the Titans. Aiden led off the inning with a single. Riley, who had been named the pitcher’s designated runner, took Aiden’s spot on first. Coach Ecklund knew that Aiden was the better runner, but he liked to have his pitcher resting on the bench rather than running the bases. Gordy flied out to left and then the wheels came off for the Eagles. A combination of two errors, three more hits, and a walk, led to a five-run inning and a 7-3 lead after three innings.
The Eagles answered with a run in the top of the fourth when the Titans had an error on the first play of the inning. Scott’s throw from deep shortstop to first was a little wide. Max came off the base and caught the ball but fumbled it and then dropped it as he turned to tag the incoming runner, who was called safe.  Gordy’s mother, who was the official scorekeeper for the game, scored the play an error on Max, a decision Coach Ecklund concurred with when he checked the scorebook after the game. A one out walk and two two-out singles led to an Eagle run.
It could have been worse. When the ball was put into play after the run scored, the Eagles had runners on first and third with two outs. When Aiden got an 0-2 count on the Eagles’ batter, Mac called for a curve in the dirt to see if the batter would go fishing. Aiden’s breaking balls were still a work in progress and he rarely threw one in a game. He mostly threw fastballs and changeups. He knew he could bury a curve in the dirt and nodded when he read Mac’s signal. He uncorked a curve that hit the dirt a bit too soon and a bit too far outside, but Mac deftly got down on the ball, blocking it with his mitt and his body and keeping it in front of him. That saved Aiden from a wild pitch and kept the runner on third. The batter then struck out on a called third strike, a fastball right down the middle. The fourth ended with the Titans holding a 7-4 lead.  
“Whoa, great block, mister catcher,” Aiden told him as he and Mac traded fist bumps.
“Thank you, mister pitcher. I certainly didn’t want to see a wild pitch get marked next to your name in the scorebook,” Mac grinned.
“Or let a run score,”
“Yep, that too.”
They had a 1-2-3 bottom of the fourth. Coach Ecklund then made a planned change, bringing Everett in as the pitcher. Aiden was moved to second base and Everett took Mason’s place in the lineup.
After holding the Eagles scoreless in the top of the fifth, they jumped all over the relief pitcher who had come into the game for Calvin, scoring four runs and ending the fifth with an 11-4 lead. The score was 12-4 at the end of the sixth. With a big lead, Coach Ecklund brought in Riley for his first varsity innings as a pitcher and sent Lenny in to catch.
Riley’s nerves showed at the start of the inning when he walked the first two batters. Lenny ran out to talk, knowing he had to talk to his friend as a catcher and not as a friend. “Hey, dude who’s ahead in this game?”
Riley wondered why he was being asked. “We are by seven runs,” Riley answered incorrectly, but Lenny didn’t bother to correct him. All he wanted was for Riley to get the idea that the Titans had a big lead and to pitch accordingly. That was something Mac had learned from listening to Kevin, that when his pitcher had a big lead all his pitcher had to do was throw strikes.
“So, quit being worried about somebody hitting the ball and throw strikes, otherwise you’re going to have to really work. I know you’re better than these guys, so show them.”
Riley nodded and threw his nasty fastball to the plate, uncorked a couple of nice breaking balls, and limited the damage to one run. That gave the Titans a 12-5 win and upped their record to 4-2.
After the traditional handshakes/fist bumps, friends and parents had left the bleachers and their lawn chairs to offer congratulations and to chat. Usually, they would all pause while Coach Ecklund held his postgame meeting, but the coach had informed the boys right after the last out that the meeting would be held in the locker room.
Two young men came out of the stands and approached Mac and Aiden as they started their trek to the school gym. They were both Mayfield alums and former Mustang baseball players: Eric Simmons and Kevin Corcoran.
“I thought you had left town,” Mac told Kevin, the former catcher.
“I wrangled a three-day weekend and came back so I could watch this game,” Kevin said. “I wanted to watch my protégé at work. And since Aiden is Eric’s protégé and this was a regular day off for him, we came together.”
“Eric? You mean Eric Simmons, the pitcher?” Mac was slightly awestruck at being in the presence of one of Mayfield’s baseball legends.
“One and the same,” Eric said.
“And you two were the battery for the perfect game at State,” Mac said in what was as much a statement as a question.
“That we were,” Kevin responded. “I know you’ve gotta meet with Ecklund, but I just wanted to tell you, Mac, I was impressed with how you played. You got Aiden turned around after a rocky start, made a couple of nice blocks and one great one, and threw a runner out at second. What did you say to Aiden to turn him around?”
Mac felt embarrassed by the question from the Mustang icon who was in the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
Eric could see that Mac was nervous and gave him a moment to gather himself by tossing in a comment of his own. “I know what Kevin would have told me,” he said.
“What?” Aiden asked.
“Get your head out of your fucking ass, Simmons, and do what you know,” Eric grinned. Eric was also in the Hall of Fame.
Aiden and Kevin chuckled as Mac answered Kevin’s question. “I told him he was throwing too hard and to trust his stuff.” Mac then waited for Kevin to criticize the instruction he had given Aiden.
“Smart, very smart and oh so right,” Kevin responded.
“Did you hear that, Aiden?” Eric asked. “That’s what I wanted to tell you. But you seem to have a pretty smart catcher. Now, get going before you have Coach Ecklund getting on your ass for lollygagging out here on the field with a couple of old alums.”
Aiden thanked the two for coming to watch the game and for talking to them. “Yeah, thanks,” Mac said. He traded fist bumps with Eric and Kevin and left the field feeling like he was walking on air.
After a game, Coach Ecklund liked to have a quick meeting with the team on the field or in the bleachers, but this time he met with the team in the locker room. The weather was becoming blustery, and he liked his players to be as comfortable as possible during a team meeting.
“Good job, everyone,” he said as soon as everyone was seated on a bench in the meeting corner of the locker room. “I thought we played quite well. One thing that is important for us to think about is that Clark Pass played you better than the score indicates. One bad inning did them in.” He could have said that the one bad inning was the result of the Eagles’ lack of pitching depth, but he wanted the meeting to focus on the strong points of his team, not the weak points of the opposition. He warned the boys attending the first Yard Goat practice the next morning to not get hurt, which he knew was a bit silly since nobody set out to get hurt. But he also knew that boys tended to push things too hard sometimes and he reminded them that the Titans were their primary team until the last game of their season. He then complimented some of the players, including Mac, Aiden, and Riley, gave the team a final “atta boy” and dismissed them to go home.
Lenny and Riley walked out of the gym together and both hopped the activity bus for the short ride to their houses. Even though they each lived close to the school and normally walked home, by riding the bus they didn’t
have to walk with their equipment bags and backpacks.
“Are you still coming to my house with me after practice tomorrow?” Riley asked. Riley had asked Lenny at Wednesday’s lunch if he could come to his house for lunch after the Yard Goat practice and spend the afternoon at his house. Lenny said he would check with his mom and let him know. The answer was yes. Riley was overjoyed and was confident that Lenny would pass the mom test.
“I’m coming,” Lenny said. “Remember, when I say I’m going to do something it means I’m going to do it. And if something happens that I can’t, I’ll let you know right away.”
“Gotcha. I can’t wait for lunch tomorrow,” Riley grinned.
“Neither can I. Oh, one other thing.”
“What?” Riley asked with a tinge of anxiety.
“Nice job on your first time pitching varsity.”
Riley grinned and said, “And nice job being a sixth-grade varsity catcher. When you came out to talk you knew exactly what to do.”
Lenny returned Riley’s grin as the driver started up the bus and pulled away from the busway. Both boys were eager for lunch at Riley’s house the next day.
Aiden found Eric waiting for him outside of the gym. “Coach Phil asked me to give you a ride to the Bear,” Eric told Aiden. “A bunch of us are going to enjoy pizza there.”
“My dads told me not to ride alone with strange men,” Aiden responded.
“And, yeah, I’m as strange as it gets except for one thing,” Eric said.
“I happen to be your number two big brother, so it’s okay if you ride with me. Besides, if you can ride in my locomotive, you can ride in my car.”
“Good point,” Aiden grinned.
Eric then saw Mac coming out and issued him an invitation as well. “I’ll have to call my parents first,” Mac said.
“Already done and already approved.”
“How did you know their number?”
“Hey, I know people in high places.” Mac gave Eric a questioning look. “My dad is your dad’s boss, and I got it from him.”
“Whoa, that’s right. Eric Simmons and Mr. Simmons and I never connected it.”
“Now you have, so let’s go get pizza.”
Eric, Aiden, and Mac, met Phil at the Bear. As much as Kevin would have liked to attend the pizza feed, he had to leave for home after the game. Coach Ecklund soon showed up and Gordy arrived along with his dad. Mac was surprised when he saw his dad enter the restaurant. He looked over at Eric with another questioning look on his face.
“I invited him,” Eric said. “I figured the worst he could do was say no.”
Larry soon joined them. The Mustangs had played an away game at Kentburg, scoring three runs in the top of the seventh to take a 5-4 win over their rivals and move into a tie for first in the Seamount League.
As the adults talked baseball, the boys had some baseball chatter of their own. They had their phones out and were checking the Seamount Middle School site for the league scores.  Gordy showed Mac where to go on his phone, chiding him for waiting this long to get the information.
“Hey, I have the info for our Titans site,” Mac said.
“Which doesn’t post the league scores as fast as the league site,” Gordy told him.
The scores were a mix of the expected and the surprising.  Winton edged Meadow Park 5-4, giving the Coyotes their second straight loss. That score was considered a surprise. Kentburg’s 18-5 pasting of Gardner was expected of course. Evans surprised Monte 3-2 at Monte, another surprise. It was the first loss of the season for the Bulldogs. Harborview beat Chinook and Pine Lake defeated Barrett in games that would probably have no bearing on the playoff race.
Winton was now alone in first place in the Seamount East Division with a 5-1 record. Mayfield, Meadow Park, and Kentburg were in a three-way tie for second with 4-2 records. Evans and Monte were now tied for first in the West with 5-1 records with Harbor View in third at 3-3. The middle school season had now reached the half-way mark.
The bad news that the boys shared with the adults was the JV score. The Titan JV suffered their first loss of the season with a 7-2 shellacking by the Clark Pass Eagles. They were still in first place, but only by a game, over Clark Pass and Kentburg.
Mac was pleased that his dad seemed to be getting along with the coaches, especially with Coach Ecklund. Neither one seemed to hold any grudges over their disagreement on the contract earlier in the month.
“Who do you play next?” Mac’s dad, Arnold, asked.
“We play the big bad Royals from Kentburg,” Mac replied. “We’re tied for second with them.”
“I can see why Dennis said he was okay with me taking Tuesday afternoon off when I hadn’t even asked for it.” Dennis was Arnold’s boss Dennis Simmons.
“What did you tell him?”
“To charge it to my personal leave time,” Arnold grinned. Mac didn’t think his day could get any better but hearing that his father would be at his game on Tuesday made it perfect.
<Yard Goats>
The first practice for the Mayfield Yard Goats started on time. The Yard Goats were Mayfield’s entry in the Southwest Washington thirteen and under league. Like Coach Ecklund, Coach Hallion demanded punctuality. He was also a stickler for hustling in practice and for playing fundamentally sound baseball. The boys did note that Coach Hallion smiled and joked more than Coach Ecklund.
Collin had told his Titan teammates he wouldn’t be playing summer ball. He was planning to be a paid counselor at the Capital Nudist Camp and wouldn’t be able to devote the needed time to baseball. Rusty would help Collin at times as a volunteer, but he wanted to play baseball. Barry and Everett planned on playing baseball, but their birthdate made them ineligible to play for the Goats. They would be playing fourteen and under for Phil.
Two JV players, Warren Meadows and Emmett Haskins, who had no varsity experience, came to the Goat turnout. They were too old to play on the Explorers, the eleven and under team, so they had to take their shot at making the Yard Goats. Coach Hallion felt they were good enough to make the team, but he couldn’t guarantee them a lot of playing time beyond what he was required to give them by league rule. Both boys could petition for a waiver to play on the Explorers, but they wanted to play against the better competition. Most of the Explorer players would be fifth graders when the season started and in the ten and eleven age range.
One pleasant surprise for the Goat players was Eric Simmons helping coach. He said he would help when he could since he was involved with his intern work with the railroad as well as some class work. “He obviously wasn’t nearly busy enough,” Larry commented later when Aiden told him the news.
For Coach Hallion (not to mention the players) punctual meant ending practice on time as well as starting it on time. As soon as practice ended at noon, Aiden pulled his phone out of his equipment bag to call his dads. The maneuver wasn’t necessary since Phil was already parked in the school parking area waiting for him. Aiden should have known—his parents were coaches and had taught him punctuality.
Phil drove Aiden home where he showered and dressed in a Mariners Marty Carlson t-shirt and jeans. He grabbed his overnight bag, which he had packed the night before, and joined his dads downstairs. They were soon on the road to Seattle.
“It’s too bad Mayfield doesn’t have a twelve and under team,” Aiden said as they zipped along Highway 12. “Guys like Warren and Emmett have to try playing for the Goats and that’s going to be tough.”
“Not enough kids showed interest,” Larry replied. “Those two could play for Kentburg which has a twelve and under. Strangely what Kentburg doesn’t have is an eleven and under.”
“But why? Mayfield has a great rec program for the younger kids, our school teams are good, teams like the Explorers and Goats are good. I mean we’ve got ten, eleven, thirteen, fourteen and under and the two high school teams in the Legion program, but no twelve and under.”
“In the years I’ve been coaching, I’ve noticed a couple of things about the summer programs. First, Mayfield does really well in getting kids to play. Compared to a lot of small towns, we have a lot of participation in baseball. But different groups growing up together have different interests and talents, as well as numbers of kids. In small towns like Mayfield and Kentburg, that sometimes leads to a certain age group not having enough players to form a team which is why Mayfield kids can play for a Kentburg team if Mayfield doesn’t have a team in an age group.”
“And the other way around,” Aiden noted.
“But you will often have kids like Warren and Emmett who want to play with their friends in their own town.”
“And I don’t blame them. I mean, who would want to play with a bunch of Kentburg kids, right?”
“I seem to recall one of the twins having a pretty good friend from Kentburg who also visited our place a few times,” Phil said.
“That was Keith. He was okay for a Kentburg dude, at least until he ended his friendship with Lenny. Then he became just another loser from Kentburg.”
“The fact that the Titans are playing at Kentburg on Tuesday doesn’t happen to have you all frazzled does it?”
“No way, because we plan on kicking their sorry asses on Tuesday.”
Larry and Phil decided to drop the matter there before Aiden got himself too cranked up. They arrived at the Miller residence in Kirkland a little after two-thirty, close to their expected time. Drake came out the front door before Phil turned the engine off. Following him was a stunning blond teen who was well-dressed and wearing a big smile.
“Hi Uncle Larry and Uncle Phil,” Drake said as his uncles stepped out of the car. When Aiden exited out of the rear door, Drake stepped up to him and gave him a big hug.
After they broke the hug, Drake turned and waved his arm at Pierce. “This is my boyfriend, Pierce. Pierce, meet my Uncle Larry, Uncle Phil, and my brousin, Aiden.” There was an exchange of handshakes between Pierce and the two uncles and fist bumps between him and Aiden.
The gathering went into the house where they were greeted by Keegan and Natalie. Keegan gave Aiden a big hug, happy that his son didn’t try to push him away as he would have at one time. He then exchanged a loving hug with his brother, Phil. Not long ago that hug would not have been full of love—in fact they probably would not have hugged at all.
“Well, where is he?” Aiden asked.
“Natalie and Drake just went back to get him,” Keegan replied.
“It takes two people to carry a baby?”
“One to do the carrying and one to play the fanfare.”
“The fanfare?”
Aiden’s question was answered by Drake stepping out of the nursery and calling out, “TA DA! PRESENTING THE ONE AND ONLY LINCOLN CLAYTON MILLER!” His fanfare was followed by Natalie carrying the two-month-old bundle of joy into the living room.
And so, Aiden spent an afternoon and evening getting to know his two-month-old brother, Lincoln, as well as his cousin Drake’s fifteen year old boyfriend, Pierce. Aiden liked them both. It didn’t take him long to learn the big advantage Pierce had over Lincoln—he didn’t need to have his diaper changed. He also learned one way in which they were equals—both complained loudly when they were hungry.
Aiden also met Fido, a beagle puppy, who had two obvious loves in his life—the Miller brothers, Lincoln and Drake. Aiden was pleased that the dog liked him as well and wondered if the time was coming in his life for him to have a pet.
After watching Drake and Pierce change Lincoln’s diaper, Aiden was informed by Drake that he should have been taking notes, because he would have his turn on his next visit. Aiden didn’t think that was much of an incentive to return, but he also knew that his new brother was such a cute critter that there was no doubt that he would be back.
<Aiden and Drake>
Pierce couldn’t spend the night. As planned, Aiden spent the night in Drake’s bed. The brousins were naked and hard when they clambered under the covers.
“By the way, you understand that you got a free ride on your first little bro visit,” Drake said.
“I think I know what you mean. I got to watch Lincoln get his diaper changed. Next time I get to do it.”
“You’re not a true big bro until you’ve done it. You’ve seen it, next time you do it.”
“Hmm, I could practice on somebody at home, I guess.”
“Like Nolan?”
“No, I was thinking more of Mason. He’s goofy enough he might do it once.”
“Whatever. How about we take care of these hard-ons?”
“Like with a sixty-nine, maybe?”
“That works.”
Aiden came first, giving Drake a taste of his sweet tween cum. Drake followed by three minutes and Aiden received a mouthful of Drake’s thick but flavorful teen cum. The brotherly cousins cuddled up and quickly fell into a sound sleep.
Aiden and Drake were showered and dressed by nine. They joined Keegan and Natalie in the living room. Keegan took Lincoln to his car and strapped him into his car seat. Natalie, Aiden, and Drake joined them as they finished.
They met Larry and Phil at the IHOP near the motel where they stayed and enjoyed breakfast together. The talk was about the Mariners 6-5 loss the night before. Marty went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
“That’s two straight games that he’s got the collar,” Aiden said.
“It happens to the best,” Larry reminded him.
“I know, but he is Marty after all and should get hits every game.”
“Seriously?” Drake asked as he wondered if Aiden was losing touch with reality.
“No, but one can hope.”
“Then he would end up chasing Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak record and what a circus that would be,” Larry observed.
“But it would be a fun circus. Anyway, we should be home in time to watch this afternoon’s game and if I actually watch it all this time maybe I’ll send him some good karma.”
“Well, I’ll watch it then, too. Then we can send him double karma,” Drake said.
Aiden slept during half of the ride home. But he didn’t sleep through any of the Mariners game as the M’s defeated the Twins 5-2 with the help of a two-run homer by Marty.
“The double karma worked,” Aiden told his dads.
“Well, in that case, let’s go out for pizza tonight to celebrate,” Larry suggested.
Aiden couldn’t argue with that bit of parental logic. They went to the Bear soon after. Aiden found himself thinking about pet names and, as much as he loved pizza at the Bear, his favorite bear was the Sugar Bear who lived in Meadow Park.
Next: The Bleeping Royals