As I sat down at the table with the
rest of the team and started digging into my bowl of Frosted Flakes, I
looked around the mess hall at the other hundred or so kids who were
already awake and ready to go for the day.
"That's him over there," I nudged Brennan, pointing over to a corner of
the room where David was sitting by himself, eating a banana.
Brennan immediately got up and walked over to David, tapped him on the
shoulder, and motioned for him to follow him back to our table. David
looked a little scared and confused at first, but when he looked toward
our table and saw me waving at him, he slowly got up and started making
his way over.
After introducing him to everyone, he sat down next to me and continued
to slowly eat his banana. As I watched him, a couple of dirty thoughts
ran through my mind, and I almost ended up choking on my own Frosted
Flakes. He asked if I was alright, and I just told him I was distracted
by something else ... which was true, in a way. What exactly I was
distracted by, I wasn't about to tell him, both because it was totally
gross, and I was embarrassed that I was even thinking that.
I tried to get him to talk, but it was like pulling teeth to get him to
open up and say anything. If my emotions hadn't been in such a constant
state of turmoil, my rational self would have concluded that he was
either still tired, or he was nervous being around everyone. Of course,
being the mess that I was, I immediately began to worry that maybe he
didn't want to be friends anymore, maybe that hug last night had
freaked him out, or I was pushing him too hard by asking him to come
sit with us. Maybe he wanted
to sit alone, and I was just being a nuisance.
When we finished eating, the coaches and our "uncles" began herding us
over to where the ESPN crew had set up so we could record our
introductions that would be shown at the beginning of each game.
Needless to say, I was terrified of being in front of a camera, but
Brennan held my hand (literally) the whole time we were waiting in
line. When it was my turn, I got up there and repeated what I had
practiced about fifty times already.
"Hi, my name is Grady Davis, I'm a pitcher, and my favorite Major
League player is Roger Clemens," I recited from memory.
I was shaking by the time I finished, but Brennan was there to slap me
on the back and tell me I did fine. Even Rory had a few kind words for
me. I looked around for David, hoping to see him before we had to start
practices for the rest of the day, but he was nowhere to be found,
which, of course, got my mind going again. I wanted to smack myself for
getting so worked up, but it was like I had no control over my emotions.
The rest of the day was spent practicing, both at the batting cages,
and on one of the smaller practice fields. I was supposed to be
starting our first game the next day, so Mr. Bellinger didn't work me
too hard. I took a few swings with the bat, practiced fielding a couple
of ground balls off the mound, and worked with our first and third
basemen on fielding bunts. As a pitcher, I was pretty good at fielding
my position as well, not just hurling the ball at upwards of 75 mph.
After we had fielded a few bunts, I noticed an ESPN producer guy walk
over to Mr. Bellinger and start talking with him. A few minutes later,
Mr. Bellinger and the guy walked over and asked if I'd be interested in
filming a brief segment with Orestes Destrade on "Little League ABC's"
to be shown on ESPN during their coverage of the World Series. My
initial reaction was to tell them "No fucking way!", but if it meant
getting to meet the former Major Leaguer, it was hard to say no. Plus,
I'd watched those short clips the previous year on ESPN, and I knew I
wouldn't have to do any talking; just field a couple of balls and that
would be it. So, I agreed ... albeit a bit hesitantly.
Since I wasn't the only one involved in fielding bunts, they asked Rory
to come along, too, and play first base. He wasn't even a first
baseman, but I suppose they thought he looked photogenic or something.
I was sure Rory would be thrilled about being on television, although I
would have much preferred that they took Brennan along with us. I
thought he deserved it more.
Fortunately, filming the entire segment only took about twenty minutes.
Orestes Destrade stood there with his massive hand on my shoulder and
gave his explanation of how to properly field a bunt, while I just
stood there with a stupid grin on my face. We shot two different kinds
of plays, both with me fielding the ball and throwing to Rory at first
base, and with Rory fielding the ball, and me covering first base.
Despite being nervous about the camera, and a little intimidated by the
hulking figure of Orestes looming next to me, I didn't fuck it up, and
it only took us three takes of each play to get it right.
"Hey kid, I hear you've got a cannon for an arm," Orestes said once we
I blushed a deep shade of crimson. "Yeah, I guess so."
"Go get 'em, little man," he said with a smile as he turned to leave.
By the time we got back to our room that night, I was exhausted. It had
been a long day of filming and practicing, and not really anytime to
hang out and have fun. Mr. Bellinger assured us that we'd have plenty
of time for that, as our practice schedule wouldn't be too intense once
the actual tournament began.
When we headed off to shower, I was a little glad that it was Josh who
was going with Brennan and me, since his chubby tummy and boy-tits
didn't really do anything for me, so hopefully I wouldn't have to worry
about popping a boner. As it was the night before, there were a few
kids from the Chinese Taipei team already in there, and I gave them a
small wave as I took my place under the shower head and started soaping
"You like play PS2?" I heard a small voice speaking from behind me in
I turned around and saw an adorable little Chinese kid standing there,
buck naked. He had a buzz cut like me, but was several inches shorter,
with jet black hair, small almond-shaped eyes, and caramel-colored
skin. I'd never really thought about Asian boys before, but he was a
cutie ... even if he only looked about ten years old.
"Uh ... yeah, a little, I guess," I answered.
"You play with us sometime?" he asked, his adorable little eyes looking
"Yeah, sure," I agreed. "Come get me whenever you want."
"Yay!" he answered, then turned around quickly and started running back
toward his teammates, speaking rapidly and excitedly in Chinese.
"Hey, what's your name?" I called back after him.
He stopped and turned around. "Chen Yu-tse!"
"Uhhh ... what?" I asked, not really sure I would be able to pronounce
"My English name is Jacky," he said with a grin.
"Cool, I'm Grady," I said, as he turned back around and ran off to be
with his friends.
I was continually amazed by these little Chinese kids who seemed to be
so out-going and didn't seem to care at all that they were much more
under-developed than us American boys. In my twelve years, I had never
been one to make new friends, with the exception of Brennan, but in the
past couple days, I'd already befriended David, and it now seemed like
I was making friends with the whole team from Chinese Taipei. And, if
David didn't want to be my friend anymore, as I was starting to suspect
since I hadn't seen him since breakfast, I wouldn't mind hanging out
with the Chinese Taipei team. They seemed like they would be a lot of