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April '05: The Baseball Issue

The Wolfman in Barry Bonds
by Tim Denevi

Joltin Joe Has Left and Gone Away
by Tod Goldberg

Sinker in the Hole
by Bob Arter

Barrie Blonz
by Randall Brown

Course Catalog for Jose Canseco's Baseball Academy
by Christopher Monks

news: Ann Arbor Fundraiser Event!

Barrie Blonz’s but a waif of a woman, and the look she has in the advertisement in The Inquirer’s sports pages is of a teenage runaway. Barrie Blonz probably could use some steroids. Her act includes “miniature baseballs and bats.” What goes where? The ad doesn’t say, only asks, “Does she put cork in her bats?—or bats in her cork?” I’m guessing she doesn’t put cork in her bats; I bet Barrie Blonz is as honest as a Barry Bond’s homerun is long.

I’d go to see her act, but strip clubs have never been my thing. I walked into one during Mardi Gras and found myself surrounded by naked girls in cages hanging from the rafters. It freaked me out. I was pretty wasted.

I do see Barrie Blonz, though, at the Phillies game. They’re playing the Giants—and Barrie Blonz sits along the first base line right next to me. We’re both alone. She’s all decked out in Giants gear and a Barry Bonds jersey. I think about her real name. I come up with Darlene Dougherty. She looks Irish. But it doesn’t fit, this fake name I come up with for her.

As I’m thinking of something to say, she talks to me. Barry Bonds is up.

“What a specimen,” she says. She has a tough gravelly voice like an old blues singer. I thought it would be high and squeaky. She’s not a teenage runaway either. She’s old, my age, thirty or something.

‘I know,” I say.

The Philly crowd’s hard on Barry. They yell “Assss – hole.” And “Suuuucks.” I wonder if Barrie Blonz’s fans yell similar things. Barry pops out to the pitcher. The crowd erupts. Barrie Blonz says, “Next time, Barry.”

The next time she talks to me Barry Bonds hits a line-drive single right down the first base line. The Phillies are already losing six to nothing.

“He’s a superman,” she says.

“Maybe the greatest ever,” I say.

“Do you really think so?”

Do I? I don’t know. “Certainly.”

“I think so too.”

I’d like Barrie Blonz to go home with me and fall in love with me. If she still wanted to do her act, that would be fine. I mean take it on the road. Not at home. At home, she wouldn’t have to do anything she didn’t want to. She might like the bats and balls and strip club crowds. I don’t know. I could learn to like it; I could learn to like anything, I guess.

In the seventh inning, Barry Bonds smashes a foul ball right at Barrie Blonz, a shrieking line drive shouting “Barrrrrrrie!” I yell “Ah” and stick both hands in front of Barrie’s face. The ball cracks my hand and bounces up and over us to someone ten or twenty rows back.

The Jumbotron replays my dive and the saving of Barrie Blonz’s face. If the Phillies didn’t suck, then maybe it wouldn’t seem so great but there’s rarely anything to cheer at a Phillies game so they cheer me. A standing ovation. I’m sure I broke my hand, but I don’t even wince as I stand and wave to the crowd.

“You’re a hero” is all Barrie Blonz says to me, and then she turns her attention back to Barry Bonds. He launches a giant home run and as he rounds first he winks at us.

“Did you see that?” Barrie Blonz says.


“How lucky are we?”

“Very,” I say.

Barrie Blonz stands up. “Got to stake out my place for after the game” and off she goes. I move over and sit in her seat. I imagine the world as Barrie Blonz. It’s a crisp green world of diamonds and Bonds. As he trots out to the field, he grows to gigantic proportions. I turn to say something to the man next to me, Hank Arbuckle. He’s a nice guy, Hank, full of sweet imagined connections. Only he isn’t there, or I can’t see him.

If only he were somebody, somebody like Barrie Blonz.

Randall Brown lives outside of Philadelphia. He’s a fiction editor with SmokeLong Quarterly, an MFA candidate at Vermont College, and a recipient of a 2004 Pushcart nomination. Work has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of journals, including The Iconoclast, Ink Pot, The MacGuffin, Timber Creek Review, and Del Sol Review.