Hayden Breaux's 2021 baseball narrative will get you ready for the first Chargers home game.
It’s a 3-2 count. I am on the last batter, and he hasn't gotten a hit all game, so I'm not too worried about him. When I look at my catcher he tells me to throw a changeup, but I see that the batter is really relaxed. He has moved more towards me, so I shake my head no, letting the catcher know I don’t want to throw that pitch because there is a good chance he is going to hit it. Then he tells me to throw a low inside fastball which is the exact pitch that I want. Now I get in my wind up, lift my leg up and then let the ball fly. “STRIKE THREE!!” says the umpire. Now it’s time to go home. That sound is the most beautiful sound in the world.
I love that sound the catcher's mitt makes when the ball hits the glove because to me it’s almost telling me that I hit the right spot. A lot of the times when you don’t hit the right spot you aren’t going to hear that sound. When you see the dirt come off the glove it’s almost showing that it’s basically a sign of relief.
The sound of the ball hitting the mitt is something that I truly love because most of the time when I am playing baseball I don’t even really pay attention to the game clock. Even if it’s the bottom of the last inning and we are up, I just wait for that last strike to come across the plate. It’s just like the bell in the last period. It's 3:10. You’re sitting there in class halfway asleep, dozing off trying to stay up even maybe shaking your head knowing in exactly 10 minutes the school day will be over. You know you may have practice or anything after school but you are just proud that the hard part of the day is over.
Now I am throwing a 2-2 strike in a game where the bases are loaded. It is the last inning of the game where their best player is up to bat. He’s chewing gum that he has had in his mouth since the beginning of the game. I spit my last barbeque sunflower out then I stare the batter down, start my wind up, and I let the ball flow out my hand. The umpire calls a ball so now the count is 3-2. Now the batter thinks he has built up some confidence because I just threw a ball, but little does he know I got something special waiting for him. I walk down off the mound and get the ball back from the catcher. I whisper to him what I am going to throw. As I walk up to the mound I give a slight grin because I know this game is finally over with this last pitch no matter win or lose. I lift my leg up and I throw a slider because this batter knows I’m not going to throw a curve. He is sitting in the back of the batter's box leaning on that back leg knowing, if this ball ends up hanging he is going to let it fly. Now I throw the ball close enough so he thinks the ball is going to hit him. He swings and misses the ball.
All I see is the dirt coming off of the glove.