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Friday, September 26, 2008

About the last games of summer at Tillman Park

Four softball diamonds glowing in the dusk. Green meadows ringed by dark, still trees. A quiet pastel sunset beyond the unseen St. Mary's.

The park anything but quiet: The thudding ring of the bat on the ball. The pounding of feet heading for base, their owners grunting with the effort.

Chatter of a few spectators, girlfriends and wives and even parents sitting on bleachers and in lawn chairs in the soft, still-summer air, that chills as the long shadows get nearer. A child cries. A little white poodle barks.

Scattered clapping, shouted encouragement with each at-bat: "Get 'em! You're there!" "He's out!" "Good catch!"

At the playground behind the diamonds, children swarm on the slides and walkways, laughing and screaming. But they disappear as the evening deepens, for homework calls.

Teams coming and going as games are completed and diamonds free up: Bat bags and equipment tossed into piles and hung on chain-link fences.

A man selling hotdogs and sandwiches from a little, red-awning cart in the parking lot.

Pop and candy and apples with caramel at the little concession stand near the rest rooms.

Last games of the summer.

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