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April 26, 2018 BASEBALL

Kestrels!

Ben Kessler

Kestrels! photo

Kestrels are on the move! Catch the spritely nine as their bus slatspat sputters across the great state of Texas. Get to the game early and watch McMurphy and Davidson shag fungoes. Bring a can, get in free. No questions asked!  

Join manager Baker Braxton in the parking lot before games to buy all your Kestrel gear! Hats, bats, balls, rugs, jugs, bricks, boxes, and stones! Popcorn off the engine block for just a quarter! 

Have you seen Mexican phenom César Solís? Watch him play every position! First base in Beaumont, second base in Houston, shortstop in Huntsville, third base in Todd Mission, left field in Bryan, center field in Hearne, right field in Caldwell, and catcher in East Bernard. Why, he even pitched in El Campo. What a find, that César Solís!

The Dead Ball Era is done and dusted! We’ve engineered special rubberized baseballs and the result is more home runs. 

Can’t afford a ticket? Put up a player and get in free. Bed, couch, or cot—our boys will sleep on anything. Just don’t ask Coop Fullerton about Korea.

The flywheel of the mind whirls and whorls when your Kestrels glide out over the infield. What grace in form, how they do go. 

Have you ever seen the natural kestrel? What fabulous birds they are, plunging and striking like a dart pitched. Little birds, those kestrels, just about the smallest falcon you can imagine, sports fans. But how unflappable they are, hovering in the wind, fluttering in the heatstink. 

Almost everyone is excited about this glittering new hardball hitter from sunny Mexico! We can’t stop showing off our golden boy. I can’t imagine our fair team without César Solís.

See the team off on getaway days by sticking around after the ninth. Weep and wallow when you realize the Kestrels may never return to your little town.

Lock up your daughters, Earl Windham is throwing lefty!

Thought experiment, Kestrel fans: What if the strike zone were larger? Come by the game in Van Vleck tonight and shout your opinions from the bleachers. 

Boy can our little man César really light it. No pitch gets by him and he sends out the leather like no one since never. Holding a homer? César will sign it for you, then sign it again for good measure. What a character!

They snatch their victims right off the ground, those wondrous kestrels, and they move so fast like a violent blur. 

Any Kestrel fans ever ventured down to exotic Nuevo León? Our scouts sure have and did they find a winner! César Solís was knocking around a soccer ball in front of the Palace of Government in Monterrey when Biff and Baff Schuyler found him. Put that ball down young man and take up a real sport. Great American bus league baseball will take you up the ladder my gleaming boy!

Biff and Baff handed young César Solís a genuine Louisville Slugger and together they cloistered away behind the Museum of Mexican History. Our boys softballed stout César overripe onions from the nearby market. He could hit like stink and boy how the paper did fly. Tell mother Solís you’re going to America and bringing your nascent talent with you! 

And what about Hurricane Carla? Your Kestrels had never seen wind so fierce! And of course you remember the boys’ stop in Galveston. Our man César ripped one up and over the far wall and out into the roiling waters of Offats Bayou.

Next day, oh my yes and there were blue sky swatches big enough to patch Dutch John’s overalls. 

Let’s keep the language clean, ballfans. Think of the players and this wonderful game!

Catch it while you can because you won’t see it for long!

Kestrels are perching on the telephone wires, ladies and gentlemen, watching in perfect panorama as your boys streak out across the lightingstruck plains of east Texas. 

Down in Nuevo León most haven’t seen the patterned earth of the dirtdiamond, no less been to an authentic American baseball game. Can you imagine, and how could you, never having tasted the salty sublimity of ballpark popcorn? How they must yearn for the dewy freshness of cold soda (at a price that can’t be beat). To live in such ignorance, Kestrel nation, why it just cannot be bliss. 

We plan to change all of that as the Kestrels travel to Mexico next season! Follow the boys from town to town as they mingle with senoritas and play ball south of the border. 

Kestrel managers are talking behind closed doors today. Could they be burbling on about the upcoming tour over brown liquor and sink water?

Your Kestrels are offering free admission for a year to anyone with information about who spray-painted that egregious word on the Kestrel tour bus last night. I won’t dare repeat it, Kestrel fandom, but boy did it send our star player into an unquiet distress. Young César was up all night as the local fire brigade, those brave boys, turned a hose on that vile word. 

Fans, you can’t believe, you just can’t believe it. Bay City was the stage for an epic battle between your boys and the local Bay City Steamers. You’d think it was a dream the ball was so grand. It was tight, Kestrel-heads, let me tell you, but you know this of course, you were there! Bay City’s ace Chit Hoyt was perfect through eight innings and the score was zip to zilch. 27 up, 26 down. But then our glittering boy César took the dish. The first pitch was high and inside, sending César to the dirt. He is so resilient, that boy, that wonderful shining boy, that he got up and hit the next throw clear out past the parking lot and into the cemetery. That little round devil bounced from headstone to headstone, rabbiting around that old marble orchard! Chit Hoyt and his whole gang were mighty sore as they watched César lope around the bases. Why, Chit himself tore his lucky glove right down the middle and threw it out into left field he was so apoplectic.  

Oh. Oh Kestrel brood. Oh you brilliant lot of fervent flag bearers and hooting hollerers. Late last night after that barnburner in Bay City, a mob of angry no-good-types jumped and pummeled poor César Solís. That dulldark gloomy crowd sent our radiant boy straight to the hospital. 

What is your blood type, Kestrel nation?

Who could have done such a thing? Sure, we all have our furtive feelings and unsavory suspicions, but who can say so with fervor? Though I’m sure we all have questions for those Bay City boys.

Good people of the Kestrel fandom, did I ever tell you about mother Solís? She didn’t want to see her young boy go, why, she squeezed her rosary tight enough to crack it swayways as César boarded that Greyhound bus. She told him that nothing but evil would come from his leaving the country.

César has no unbroken legs, baseball fans! However will he play our great game?

Morale is low.

The night after that terrible fortune, Baker Braxton phoned the mother Solís, who, upon hearing of her son’s near lynching, spoke in soft Spanish. 

The teeth of this world are too sharp for my boy.  

And here we are Kestrel fandom, smack dab in the mouth of this cruel earth. 

Feisty birds, kestrels, but so often are their small bodies preyed upon by those sharpshinned scoundrels who wing on the night.

The game in Blessing tonight is sold out in solidarity, but despite your noble patronage, the Kestrels are still three runs back.

The bases are loaded. Two outs stare back at us from the scoreboard.

But ho! What’s this? It’s César! He is being wheeled out on an upright stretcher and Baker Braxton has stuck a helmet on his head and bat in his hands. Two white-coated doctors stand on either side as he is trundled up to home plate.

Oh my, oh my my, oh my my my my. Baseball fans, what a sight! The Blessing Friars can’t shut their gaping maw.

The pitch is out and would you believe it but a home run off of the bat of César Solís! The raving throng of Kestrel disciples are chanting his name as the doctors roll him around the bases while he waves to the stands. The crowd has begun to throw bunches of red roses out onto the field! They’re almost an inch deep by the time César reaches home plate. This is baseball, ladies and gentlemen. You just have to get out here and see it!  

 

 

image: Aaron Burch


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