This is an outtake from Edward's pov. It is basically what he was thinking when Bella was recalling her time on the field in Ohio. I am completely clueless when it comes to sports (If I am forced to watch I focus on the player's cute little butts) so I could never in a million years write this, and it was only with her assurance that she had my back, that I agreed to write a story featuring detailed baseball scenes. Suzy, my beloved friend, and my fantastic, yet very critical beta, has the passion and technical understanding and love of baseball that I could never have. Thank you for this.
As written by SuzyQ402:
To Stephanie, the chocolate to my graham crackers, the muscle to my tired bones, my partner in crime. I love you BB.
To all the Moms who have busted their asses so their boys can play this silly game known as baseball. Little did I know what I was signing up for. Private baseball lessons ...$400.00 carbon fiber flex bats and 8 years of craziness. I wouldn't trade it for the world. Nothing is better than seeing your son hold the sign that reads Ohio District 9 champions. I love you, Mikey. You make me so proud. No matter how old you get, in my eyes, you will always be the little boy on the mush ball field.
He is Just a Little Boy
By Chaplain Bob Fox
He stands at the plate with his
heart pounding fast.
The bases are loaded,
the die has been cast.
Mom and Dad cannot help him, he
stands all alone.
A hit at this moment would send
the team home.
The ball meets the plate,
he swings and he misses.
There's a groan from the crowd,
with some boos and some hisses.
A thoughtless voice cries, "Strike out
Tears fill his eyes, the game's no
So open your heart and
give him a break.
For it's moments like this,
a man you can make.
Please keep this in mind, when you hear
He is just a little boy, and not a man yet.
I remember the first time I laid hands on a ball and bat. It was my birthday and I was 3. It was a T-ball set from Little Tikes. The bat I swear, was about 9 inches around and I spent the rest of the summer chasing after my brothers with it. I soon learned that a hit to the balls elicited grins and giggles from Emmett and drops to the knees from Jasper. The next summer they taught me how to use the bat to kill lightening bugs with. Older brothers are wonderful. At least I was working on my swing.
That Christmas I got a real bat and ball. I remember thinking to myself, "What the heck am I going to do with this in the middle of winter in Chicago?" Even as a child I thought too much. It wasn't much longer after that that all the other gifts had been pushed aside to make way for my black Louisville Slugger and whiffle balls. It was so cool. Shiny black lacquer with gold lettering. My name was even painted on the side - Eddie Mason. Em had his Superman stuff…Jasper had his toy soldiers. I had my bat. I never left the house with out it. My very own American Express black card. Little did I know then how much it was truly worth.
That spring Mom and Dad registered all 3 of us for baseball. Jazz and I were in mush ball and Em, because he was a year older, was in Bambino. It was awesome. All the players met one day in the city gym where the coaches assessed our ability so that all the teams were even when it came to talent.
A draft. I was 5 years old and in my first draft.
That evening the call came that changed my life. The coaches decided with Mom and Dad's approval, that Jazz could handle the older league due to his level of talent. He was taller than most of the boys or age and even some of the girls. He wasn't too coordinated but the coaches assured them it would come.
Then there was me. I was little. A foot or more shorter than both Em and Jazz. They both had about 20 lbs on me. But the one thing I have learned by being the little brother was to defend myself. I could hold my own with the big boys. I was Scrappy Doo to their Scooby Doos. Where they went I went, so I moved up too. That way we were all on the same team. The coaches assured Mom and Dad that I would be okay because Em and Jazz were there to watch out for me. Yeah right.
Have you ever seen older brothers look out for their pest of a younger one? As soon as practice started I fell into the cracks. I was the odd man out. I became for lack of a better description the team mascot. Little Eddie Mason…only there because his big brothers were.
The first practice was a day I'll never forget. I was scared shitless. I was 5 to all the other boys 7's. I was small and scrawny and shy. Thank God I wasn't alone. Em of course, took over as comic relief. We were given our jerseys with big numbers on the back and hats to match. Red and Grey. Our shirts had the big Superman "S" on the front for Stephens Plumbing. Considering his fondness of Superman, Em took this as a sign. Man he was ready. He was going to own this team. And own he did. He even came up with the phrase, "Stephen's Plumbing- We Flush the competition." I made sure that I hade my Jr. Doctor medical bag with me. Just in case. It never hurts to be prepared.
God, I was a loser.
Em even then was a mountain of a child. Stocky and strong… commanding. He was awarded team captain and the starting catchers position. I pity the kid who tried to cross home plate with Em planted there. And Jazz well, the coaches were right. He finally did get his legs and his mind to work together and when that happened he was fast as hell. He was the perfect shortstop. And there he was placed, between 2nd and third bases. He guarded his area like a hungry junk yard dog. Nothing got past him. NOTHING!
Now, what do you do with the scrawny baby of the team? Well, they tried outfield. I lost my train of thought as soon as I was put out there. I would watch the planes go over head, play with the clover at my feet, watch the cars in the parking lot. They told me, multiple times, "Eddie! Pay Attention! Eddie! Coming your way! Eddie watch..."
And then, at that instant, I knew why I needed to pay closer attention. The bee on the ground was much more interesting than practice, so of course, I saw nothing until I looked up and felt the ball smack me. Hard! Oh man! What a mess. Blood everywhere. Hence the little bump that now decorates my nose. My constant reminder to pay attention.
It wasn't long after that the coaches decided I needed something to hold my attention. They didn't want another bloody faced child on their hands. It seems to upset the parents. So I traveled my way around the infield.
First base...too short. Second base...couldn't jump high enough. Third base…well that didn't work either. Too close to the concession stand. I would pay more attention to them instead of practice until someone rounded the base to go home.
My coaches frustration grew by the week. I could see it in their eyes until finally they decided the best place for me was on the bench. It was safe there. Bubble gum and sun flower seeds became my bench mates. Jr. Doctor Mason was on call.
One day at practice my coach asked me to throw him a ball that had rolled past me and into the dugout. I picked it up and before I realized it the ball was whizzing towards his head. The ball made that familiar "Whack" noise into his glove. He tossed it back. "Do that again, Eddie." So I picked it up and again whizzing it towards him, the glove made the same noise as it before. "Whack"
And the rest is history. I was immediately moved to the pitchers mound. "Just play catch with your brother, Eddie. You can do that...right?" And that I did, played catch with Em. Just like at home. Over and over. Again and Again. Morning, noon and night. I threw the ball to anyone who would catch it. Em, Jazz, Dad…mom even tried to help until she removed her hand from her glove, shook it and immediately yelled at me for throwing it too hard.
I practiced against the garage door and the side of our house. I bounced a tennis ball off my bedroom wall while laying in bed. Smack! Bounce! Smack! Bounce! Smack! Bounce. My poor Mom, she was going crazy. "Please Eddie I'm begging you! STOP!! Just for a little. I can't hear myself think". That night it was decided that an indoor pitchers net was to be installed in our basement.
I practiced until my shoulder ached. My elbow hurt. I was becoming obsessed. It was all I talked about all I dreamed about. I was a pitcher. My coaches told my parents, "Some kids want it and some kids are taught it. Eddie, well… he was born with it."
The tri-ad was alive and kicking. The Cullen Brothers. The coaches loved us other teams feared us. Even though I wasn't legally a "Cullen" and my shirt read Mason people called us that. It was okay by me. In my heart I was a Cullen and I loved the idea of having Jazz and Em as my brothers.
Six seasons flew past with me as the teams closing pitcher and Em as catcher. Just me and Em. The Dynamic Duo. The Starsky to my Hutch.
Batters hated us. We had out own signals, our own language. A tip of the Em's face guard for a fast ball...scratch of his knee for a slider...adjusted his jock strap for a curve ball. I would nod my head for a different pitch or tip my hat if I liked the call.
And we were off. Strike ONEEEEEEEEE the ump would yell. Another throw. Strike TWOOOOOOOO. Nod of the head...Strike THREEEEEEE. And so it went. I had found my place. I was still scrawny but I was tall. Taller than Jazz now. I wouldn't get scared anymore. I would love it when opposing coaches demanded to see my birth certificate to insure I was legal to play, that I wasn't some ringer put in place by a devious coaching staff. If a batter was lucky enough to get a hit off me I knew for sure that Jazz had my back. Like I said, nothing got past him.
And so we played. For six years we played on the same team. That final year, I think Jazz and I were eleven and Em had just turned thirteen. The junior high school football coaches started to court Em. He had always wanted to play but was too big for community football. With promises of cheerleaders and leather sleeved Letterman's jackets he was sold, and like a charmed snake following St. Patrick out of Ireland, off to football he went.
Next came the lacrosse and track team coaches for Jazz. Promises of state championships and college scholarships were dangled in front of him. Soon he was gone too.
No one came for me, but didn't bother me at all. I was moved up to Pony league. The high school baseball coaches made it known that they had their sights on me. It was like a coaches pissing contest. Who could piss on Eddie Masen first. Other coaches knew better than to try to lure me away. I had been marked already. My loyalties lied on the mound. No one would take it from me, because it was in my blood, marked on my soul. No one could take it from me…not ever…
Little did I know.