Return to Glory
Summary: "All Good Things" inspired this very short story written from Judy Owen's POV.
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Author: Tracy Diane Miller
Poised with her paper and pen, Judy Owen walked into the near empty stadium and took a seat in the bleachers. Jeff had told her that Boudreau was giving him another chance at trying out for a spot on the team. She knew that he had been using some very pungent ointment to help his leg heal and had been working out for over seven months
now. Jeff had said something about having faith (or was it luck?) that he'd succeed in making it back on the team. Not that Judy was a staunch proponent of either faith or luck. She had experienced more tragedies in her life than she cared to remember and had always managed to pick herself up, dust herself off, and move on. The cynic in her believed that organized religion or good luck charms were just security blankets for the weak. She had more admiration for those people who had pulled themselves up from adversities by their bootstraps than those who blamed God or bad luck for their failures.
Still, she cared about Jeff and knew that he really wanted to become a Cleveland Indian again. Judy Owen was more than just a sportswriter possibly witnessing an important historical moment. She was there as Jeff's friend and supporter.
Judy had developed great affection for this particular rookie ever since she had first laid eyes on him during the Indians' spring training in Clearwater. There was a time when she had even entertained thoughts of having an intimate relationship with him. But to her astonishment, Jeff Metcalf had done something that few men she had known had done. He turned her down. This buckeye only had eyes for his spirited fiancee.
Now Judy and Jeff shared a different kind of intimacy, almost a symbiotic relationship of sorts. She had showed him more of her vulnerabilities than she had allowed herself to show any man. On several occasions he had ridden to her rescue. Jeff had come to her for advice. They shared secrets. She had a special place in her heart for Jeff. In a strange way, he was the only family that she had.
Judy watched Ginger who was seated a few rows in front of her. Miss Owen had been around the block more than a few times and the "mileage" that she had acquired through her experiences convinced her that Ginger was still in love with Jeff even though she was engaged to another man. And Jeff, gorgeous but dense, who didn't understand the simple answer for why the Earth hadn't moved during the long anticipated event that he had shared with Mrs. Hailey, was because he still in love with his ex-fiancee.
Jeff was oblivious of the fact that two women who cared a great deal about him were in the stadium. Instead, his concentration was devoted on showing Boudreau what he was made of, giving it his best shot as his mother had always taught him. With intensity and sheer determination, Jeff caught every ball that was pitched to him. His powerful swing of the bat sent the ball soaring right out of the stadium. And with the agility of a panther, he conquered the bases.
A few days later, an elated Jeff told Judy that Boudreau wanted him to join the farm team. He was headed to Kansas to play in a few games for the minors with his eye set on returning to his position as a right fielder in the majors.
Judy returned home. She sat down at her typewriter. With a smile on her face, she wrote her story:
"Return to Glory: Cleveland Indians' Star Metcalf Soars Back Onto the
"Miracles do happen. Some may question whether divine intervention
had anything to do with it. And maybe this reporter doesn't exactly
see God as a baseball fan, but whether it was the power of prayer or
not, Indians fans can now breathe a collective sigh of relief with
the return of rookie right fielder Jeff Metcalf to the team. Metcalf,
you recall, made an impressive show in his rookie season with a
batting average of .297. It was a career that sporting experts
predicted would only get better as the rookie became more seasoned
with each game. However, the hopes and dreams of fans almost ended
when Jeff Metcalf suffered a devastating injury during the Lemo All-
Stars Barnstorming Tour. Now Metcalf is back, soaring onto the field
with a combination of athletic prowess and showmanship. And from what
I've seen, this is a new and improved ball player whose talents have
been enhanced with determination and maturity.
The minors will undoubtedly only be able to claim Metcalf for a
short time. This reporter predicts a quick return to the majors for
our own Jeff Metcalf. And to that, we say, 'Welcome home, Jeff
Metcalf'. We've missed you!"