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The Adventures of Fatty Lewis by Arthur Killick


By Arthur Killick

Copyright, 1915, by A. F. Killick and W. P. Harvey


     "I don't see why they're always pulling them bromides about women not understanding ball games," Fatty Lewis declared.  "Of course there are perhaps a few women that baseball may seem a bit complicated to, but I want to go on record for Mrs. Lewis by stating that she's right there when it comes to the national pastime."

     "Understands it, does she?" Hurrah Smith inquired.

     "Yes, ma'am!" Lewis exclaimed, "just like a sister in the lodge does the password.

     "I'll admit that she had some trouble getting hep to the lilly bid in bridge  But this baseball thing she took to just as natural as a young girl to hair ribbons.

     "Did it in a hurry, too," Lewis continued.  "I took her to the opening game, and she didn't know a wild pitch from a wild duck.  She also got her sport phrases twisted and was talking about rounds instead of innings.  But last Sunday when I too her to a double-header she certainly surprised me with her knowledge of the old game.

     "I'll have to kick in that it took her some little time to get ready to go to the game," Lewis declared.  "You see she'd only been to one contest and it bothered her just a little as to what she had better wear.  I finally got the idea percolated into her noodle that we were going to a ball game and not a horse show and that the majority of people who went to see baseball really watched the game and not the clothes of the spectators.

     "I also added that I didn't wish to appear to be hurrying her, but that as baseball was a daylight sport she had better wear what she had on and get started.  Just as we were getting our tickets she met two girl friends, and we all went in together.

     " 'Where's the band?' Mrs. Lewis inquired right off the reel.  I think she was trying to show her friends that she was an experienced fan and knew something was missing.

     " 'What do you think this is,' I asked her, 'a cabaret?'

     " 'Well, they had one the opening day,' she replied in a chagrined tone of voice, 'and they also had better looking umpires,' she added as she lamped the arbiters.

     " 'Isn't that a sad looking little shrimp,' she continued, designating the umpire who was slated to make the base decisions.  'He looks like an undertaker's assistant.'

     "I finally explained to her that bands were merely an opening day feature and that umpires didn't have to pass either a physical test, like  joining the army, or be handsome enough for a floor-walker job

     "My explanation seemed to satisfy her for the time being.  She and her girl friends got all busy discussing luncheon cloths, French knots, pecos and embroidery.  They rambled along for an inning and a half, the visitors in the meantime scoring four runs.  Finally Mrs. Lewis looked up and asked:

     " 'When's the game going to start?'

     " 'After everybody gets here,' I replied.  'Some of the audience have a late dinner on Sundays and they don't like to commence till they're all here.

     " 'I'll call you when the game begins,' I added.

Mrs. Lewis "Sees" a Ball Game
Mrs. Lewis looked up and asked:  "When's the game going to begin?"

     "The sewing circle was resumed and continued until about the fourth inning, when the women decided they'd see what was going on in front of them.  The visitors were murdering our pitchers.  They were soaking the ball to all corners of the diamond.  Our athletes apparently couldn't hit a cow with a shovel.

     "The visitors' pitcher had everything  He had a hop to his fast one, his curves were cutting the corners, his spitter was an ocean wave, and he hadn't laid a fat one in the alley for five innings.  Our boys wasn't hitting  the size of their hats.  Everybody was satisfied that we couldn't win the first game and was admiring the pitching and hitting of the visiting team and also waiting for the second contest -- that is, nearly everyone but Mrs. Lewis.

     " 'Well, we've got the best pitchers,' Mrs. Lewis naively suggested.  'We can hit their bats whenever we want to.  That visiting pitcher doesn't seem to be much good.  I don't see why they keep him.'

     " 'He's an awful hunk of cheese,' I assured her.  'The big bum can't pitch a lick.  But he's an orphan, and if they released him he wouldn't have any place to go.  I understand that pitcher's father used to know the manager of this team and he made the manager promise one day that if he -- the manager -- ever got a ball club he'd give this boy a job.

     " 'Well, his father must have done the manager an awful favor,' Mrs. Lewis declared, 'because he certainly cant throw a ball where many of them can hit it.'

     " 'Probably saved the manager's life, or something,' I suggested.

     " 'Maybe so,' Mrs. Lewis assented and then subsided for two more innings.

     "Three of the home boys in a row grounded to the visitor' second baseman and were thrown out at first.

     " 'Why don't they try knocking the ball to someone else' Mrs. Lewis cut in.  'Don't they see they can't get 'em past that little fellow.  Why not give that lay guy out there' -- indicating the right fielder -- 'something to do?  He ain't done a thing since the game started.'

     " 'Yes, and its also been pretty soft for that third baseman,' one of the girl friends added.  'He hasn't done much towards earning his salary, either.'

     " 'Would you  just look at that pitcher of ours,' the other girl declared, excitedly.  'If that isn't just like a man.'

     " 'What's he doing?' I inquired thinking perhaps I'd missed something.

     " 'Why, rubbing his hand in that dirt and then smearing it all over his nice white suit.  A woman wouldn't do that.  She'd be trying to keep herself tidy.'

     "Just then one of the home boys pickled one to deep center and was almost to second base before the visitors' center fielder, after a hard run, made a circus catch.  The batter came back to the bench.

     " 'See there, see there,' Mrs. Lewis exclaimed excitedly, pulling at my sleeve.  'I knew that little shrimp wasn't no umpire.'

     " 'What's the matter, honey?' I inquired.

     " 'Matter,' she repeated with considerable feeling.  'Didn't you see him call that runner out, and he was clear past first base before that fielder caught the ball.

     " That umpire did the same thing a while ago,' she added, 'but I didn't say anything about it because I thought I might be mistaken.  But I was watching him this time.'

     "I explained to her that if the fielder caught the ball the batter was out regardless of where he was at the time the catch was made.

     " 'Excuse me,' one of Mrs. Lewis's friends interrupted in the seventh inning, 'but who's this fellow that's been standing near first base all the time when the other team is at bat.  He seems to have a lot to say considering that he isn't playing.  He's been talking all the time and I've been trying to understand what he's jibbering about.  All I can make out of it is something like "Ataboy," "Sumping on the ole pill," "Tie into one" and "look 'em over".'

     " 'He's the coacher,' I informed her.  'He tells the runners what to do when they get on base.'

     " 'Wonder they wouldn't have someone there to tell them in English,' she replied.  'His grammar is something awful.  I don't see how they can understand him.'

     "The remainder of that inning and the next was devoted by Mrs. Lewis and her friends to giving the crowd in the stands the 'once over,' trying to see who knew the most people.  Mrs. Lewis was three persons behind when the contest ended, but she had evened up the score by discovering a nifty gray hat.

     "While she was giving the range of said hat to her friends the town boys for the first time during the game had come to life and scored three runs.  The crowd was making the most of its first opportunity to cheer.  They were whooping and yelling and by the time the other girls had located the hat the side had been retired and the game was over. 

     " 'What are they cheering for?' Mrs. Lewis innocently inquired, turning around where she could see the diamond.  'Because the game is over?'

     " 'No, dearie,' I replied.  'They're cheering because Brooklyn and Chicago are not playing today.'

     " 'Huh,' she retorted, 'I saw that "No game" sign on the scoreboard when we first came in.'

     "Can you imagine a guy spending perfectly good money for box seats on that kind of company?"

     "Pretty tough I'll admit," Hurrah replied.  "How did they perform the second game?"

     "Oh, they got all interested -- in some soda water," Lewis declared.

     "Mrs. Lewis let out a squawk because they didn't serve her a glass with her pop.  I finally got her calmed down by explaining that glasses weren't either customary or sanitary.  She stood for my explanation until she saw another boy serve a straw to a man.  That started her raving all over again.  She was positive then that she had been cheated.

     "Her and her friends did some more fancy work.  Mrs. Lewis invited them out to the house and promised to show them a couple of new stitches  that she had learned.  They discussed the merits of D. M. C. and other threads.  Located a woman with a dress that they didn't consider appropriate for a ball game.  Commented on the extravagant use of baseballs.  Had a three-cornered argument about the superiority of last year's skirts over the present full ones.  Tried to locate somebody that was giving a frat whistle and finally, running out of all other topics, decided to take another look at the ball game.

     "Our catcher, who previously had singled and scored the first run of the game, came up to bat and tripled.

     " 'That man's some batter,' Mrs. Lewis declared.  'If I ran the team I'd make him bat all the time and keep them striker-outs on the bench.'

     " 'Good idea, kid,' I told her.  ''I'll suggest your scheme to the manager.'

     "We finally retired the visitors in the ninth with two runs to the good.  The players began leaving the field and the crowd started going home.

     " 'The game can't be over,' one of our Mrs. Lewis's friends declared.  'Our side still has another turn at the bat.'

     " 'We don't need it,' I told her.  'We're two runs to the good.  We've won, 4 to 2.'

     " 'Well,' she insisted, 'why don't they play it out  Maybe we could make some more runs and beat them as badly as they did us the first game'

     " 'Fine thing,' Mrs. Lewis declared, 'people pay their money to see two games of ball and then they cheat 'em out of a half an inning  They're as bad as the hucksters.'

     "I finally convinced the women that the game was over  That I wasn't responsible for the playing rules and that personally I felt that seventeen and a half innings of baseball was a pretty fair run for one admission, and got them headed for the exit. 

     "That night just before I went to sleep I asked Mrs. Lewis how she enjoyed the afternoon.

     " 'Just fine,' she replied, 'but I liked the jitney we used coming home much better than the one we had going out,' ".

The Adventures of Fatty Lewis ~ A Serial ~ by Arthur F. Killick



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