Smelly was small enough that he could turn himself sideways and wedge his shoulder between two of the gate’s metal bars. This allowed him to push his cheek so hard into one metal bar that his ear was almost – almost – inside the park.
This was how Smelly, the little neighborhood kid, listened to baseball.
Smelly? His name?
Smelly didn’t smell bad. Honest.
But, Smelly had the runniest nose in the neighborhood. He was constantly sniffling and snorting and wiping snot into the elbow of his shirt sleeves.
One day, on one of Smelly’s particularly snorty-snotty-runny-nose days, a no-good kid from another block said to him, “You’re a disgusting snothead.”
“I’m not a snothead,” Smelly replied. “I am smelling.” And, he took a long and deep and wet snotty-snorty inhale in the other kid’s direction. “And, I smell you. And, you stink.”
From that point on, he became Smelly, which was, everyone agreed, a much better name than Snothead.
Smelly would always show up at Baltimore’s Camden Union ballpark on game day early. It was just six blocks away from Smelly’s house, he could run it in five minutes. (Unless he stopped for a bomb pop, which was worth the detour.)
With no fans allowed in, a game could start whenever both teams were ready. A two o’clock game could start at noon … or not until four. It all depended. It didn’t matter.
Daytime games saved the teams money; no need to turn on expensive lights. The game would be broadcast at night or whenever someone called it up on their “HV” Home Viewer. There were no announcers, just trails of information running continually at the bottom of the screen. No one cared that the games weren’t aired live. It didn’t matter.
It mattered to Smelly. Continue reading