Raiders See Red

Unfortunately, no one was laughing afterwards. (Monte Dutton photos)

Unfortunately, no one was smiling afterwards. (Monte Dutton photos)

Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 9:02 a.m.

By Monte Dutton

By Monte Dutton

By late afternoon, I was in a marvelous mood.

The morning’s first eureka arrived in the form of email, informing me that my collection of short stories, Longer Songs, would soon be published. It is, in fact, available now at something called the CreateSpace e-store. Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/Longer-Songs-Collection-Short-Stories/dp/1530857627/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1459950716&sr=1-1&keywords=Longer+Songs+Monte+Dutton

DSCF2481By the way … it’s in print! Paper. Not digital, virtual, e-hyphenated stardust. I like stardust. I have lots of it in my electronic devices. It’s not for everyone, though, but this volume of short stories now is. Two e-novels are en route to pulpwood now. They’re just waiting for pulp to turn to paper.

Then the Red Sox enjoyed a pleasant opener in Cleveland, to the extent, that is, that an afternoon game in the thirties can please. My living room had no such encroachments on comfort, and new, comfortably appointed and lavishly paid lefty David Price, whom I once watched pitch for Vanderbilt against Alabama, struck out 10 would-be Native Americans in six innings.

Jalen Bragg

Jalen Bragg

David Ortiz and Mookie Betts, who made a leaping catch in right field, homered. Koji Uehara, who is so ancient he ought to be a Mariner, retired the Tribe in order in the eighth, and Craig Kimbrel took over the ninth with dispatch.

I digress, just as many baseball fans do when their favorite teams win on Opening Day. The point is, I haven’t felt as cheery in a long time as when I showed up at Ed Prescott Field on Tuesday evening to watch Laurens play Greenville. I stood at the gate during the JV game, trading witty anecdotes with LDHS athletic director Mark Freeze and trainer Barry Atkinson.

Thomas Jones scored the only Laurens run.

Thomas Jones scored the only Laurens run.

Key trivia answer: Black Jack Pershing. I almost got it but not quite (Pershing was my third choice, and it wasn’t a best-of-three series). This is common when Barry and I converse. Freeze and I talked about several Raider athletes, Hank Aaron, Del McCoury Band, Bobby Dews and Roy Williams. Those are the ones I remember.

Nothing in this near-euphoric day prepared me for the baseball game I was about to cover.

In the first inning, the Raiders scored one run and almost three, “almost” being defined by a line drive that landed just wide of the right-field chalk. The game leveled off through four innings and then deteriorated, at least from the LDHS perspective. It didn’t deteriorate from the overall Raider perspective because Greenville wears that moniker, too, with Red added.

FIrst baseman Graydon Hamby was the only LDHS player with two hits.

FIrst baseman Graydon Hamby was the only LDHS player with two hits.

Hobnobbing with the partisans, I thought Greenville had an inordinate number of Pittsburgh fans until I realized the Greenville Red Raider looks like the Pittsburgh Pirate.

Greenville tied the game in the fifth inning, pulled ahead with two unearned runs in the sixth, and one of the two runs in the seventh was unearned, too. An outfielder dropped a fly ball, maybe because he closed his glove before the ball was in it, and the unfortunate pitcher bounced a throw to first that the first baseman could not rescue.

DSCF2507The Red Raiders outhit the ones wearing yellow tops, 11-6. The timing of Greenville’s two errors was much better than that of Laurens’ two, though the home team’s run was unearned, too.

My surprise would not have been greater had Presbyterian College upset the 1927 New York Yankees. That would have had to occur in the form of a delightful dream.

Pennies from heaven?

Pennies from heaven?

LDHS, heretofore jetting along at the top of Region I-4A, now guards a one-game edge, 6-2 to 5-3, over Greenville entering a road rematch on Friday. Overall, the Raiders are 13-4; the Red Raiders, 9-9.

Joe Garagiola, meanwhile, is no longer around to remind us that baseball is a funny game.

To paraphrase an old song — and what is one of my blogs without it? — some gotta win. Some gotta lose. Sometimes even Goodtime Charlies gets the blues.

Here’s my story on the game at GoLaurens.com: http://www.golaurens.com/sports/item/23368

 

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

It’s out. $3.49. You can’t afford not to!

Forgive Us Our Trespasses falls eight months and eight days after the release of Crazy of Natural Causes. Eight is my lucky number, and this is pure luck. Apparently, my speed is about eight months. It’s a good pace I’m setting. You can order Trespasses here: http://www.amazon.com/Forgive-Our-Trespasses-Monte-Dutton-ebook/dp/B0192I3Q1K/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458316129&sr=1-1&keywords=forgive+us+our+trespasses

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes has been out since late July of 2015. In the interest of peace, love, and understanding, I’d love for you to give one or two or four of them a read. If you’ve never watched an R-rated film, then I wouldn’t recommend my novels. If you have, I expect you’ll love them. Soon a print version of Crazy will be released for those of you who eschew the Kindle, and a Trespasses edition is on the way soon, too.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)

(Melanie Ryon cover design)

The Intangibles (2013) is based on boyhood memories and is set in a small Southern town amid the tumult of the 1960s. The Audacity of Dope (2011) is a freewheeling yarn about a pot-smoking songwriter who somehow becomes a national hero, and that comes with complications.

(Joe Font cover design)

(Joe Font cover design)

Crazy and Trespasses are my third and fourth novels. I’m working on a fifth, Cowboys Come Home. Most of my books can be examined and purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1416767492&sr=8-1

My short fiction, reviews and essays can be found here: https://wellpilgrim.wordpress.com/

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing) and @wastedpilgrim (more humor and opinion). I’m on Facebook at Monte.Dutton and Instagram at Tug50.

About Monte

For 20 seasons, I mostly wrote about NASCAR. I'm still paying attention, but I'm spending more of my time these days writing novels and songs. I try to blog regularly on whatever happens to strike my fancy.
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