June 8, 2008


Pretty much the only thing Andrew loved more than the stars was baseball. He would spend hours making pictures with the stars and giving them names like “Hercules the Fielder” and “Orion the Umpire.” During the day, when the stars were asleep, Andrew would joyfully replay the great moments of baseball history on the baseball diamond in his front yard; from Cabrera’s unassisted triple to Carter’s series winning home run, even imitating mighty Joe’s dance as he jogged around the bases.


Andrew lived in a cave at the top of the mountain. He did this because it was his home. It was his home because he was a great big brown bear. His front yard was a huge flat meadow at the very top of the mountain. From his front yard Andrew could look at the stars at night, and all he had to do to see the children playing their baseball games was roll over and look over the edge of the mountain. He would watch the children stand and bat and he would cheer them along as they made their way around the bases, encouraging the out-fielders as they ran for the line drives and praising the infielders for a well turned play. He thought his meadow was a very special place, and it was because there he was closer to the stars than anyone and could watch the children’s baseball games from the best seat in the house.


Andrew was watching the children play baseball one day when their best batter came to the plate. The batter pointed straight at Andrew’s mountain then put the bat to his shoulder and waited for his pitch. On the fifth pitch he swung his bat, a great big swing that made the wind blow, He hit the ball and it sounded like a thunder storm. The baseball went high into the sky and it almost looked like a star itself. Andrew watched the boy start to run around the bases and stop between second and third and start looking at the ball as it sailed toward Andrew’s mountain. Andrew looked and saw the ball coming straight toward him, land right in front of him and bounce over him and into his cave.


“Uh oh,” thought Andrew, “now they’ve lost their ball and the game will be over. I’d better go to the cave and see if I can find the ball for them.” He wanted to give the ball back to the children, not just because he liked to watch the children play baseball but because his parents had taught him that you don’t keep things that aren’t yours, even if they do land in your home.


So Andrew got up and went into his cave, He thought that the ball might be in the same place where his acorns always rolled when they fell off of his table. He looked, and there it was. Carefully he picked the ball up and went back to his front yard so he could drop the ball over the edge of the mountain. But before he got there he saw the children walking along the path that led down the mountain, except for the children it was the path that led up the mountain, and for Andrew it was the path that led right to him! I don’t know what you’ve been told about bears but one thing that I’ve learned is that they are terribly nervous around children, especially children that have come looking for a missing baseball that happens to be in the bear’s mouth. So Andrew stopped, and just at the same time the children saw their baseball, and the bear holding it in his mouth, and they stopped too.


It was a situation that could have gone in any direction. The fate of nations hung in the balance. Both Andrew and the baseball team wanted to see what would happen and tried to decide what to do to rescue the afternoon game. Then, Andrew had an idea. He knew that the children wanted their ball back and he wanted to give it to them but could not because he had a funny idea that they might be scared of him (although he couldn’t figure out why since there were eight of them and only one of him). Andrew’s idea was that if he threw the baseball high into the air and ran around all the bases on his own baseball diamond just like mighty Joe, maybe then the children would understand that he liked baseball and wanted them to keep playing.


So that’s what Andrew did. He threw the baseball high into the air and, starting at home plate just like a real batter he began to go around the bases just like he had hit a big home run that  won the World Series. Looking at the children out of the corner of his eye he saw that at first they looked confused, by second they started to see what  was happening and by third they were cheering and waving him toward home. When he got to home plate again all the children started jumping and cheering just like one of them had got the home run. Before they remembered that Andrew was a bear they ran up to him and gave him high fives and high tens. And before Andrew remembered that they were children he caught the ball and gave it to their pitcher. Happily, everyone took their positions and they had a wonderful afternoon playing the greatest baseball game ever, together on Andrew’s baseball diamond high on Andrew’s mountain.


The End