100 m.p.h. Fastball

"I got a lot of mileage out of looking angry. Sometimes it wasn't intentional...But the fact is, I was deliberately unfriendly to the opposition."

- Bob Gibson

Now that I've contributed my two cents to both candidates for VENTURA COUNTY SHERIFF, in keeping with grandpa Howard's $100K each to RICHARD NIXON and HUBERT HUMPHREY, let's talk baseball. Oh, that's after wondering why HH referred to the late Vice President and 1968 presidential contender as "Hubert Humphries," like he was plural. No wonder, and not to worry or anything, but two hippie-ish gents informed me on 05.01.2010 there is another version of me, WILLIAM C. HUGHES, wandering the streets of Santa Barbara, California.

Good! We can use him to fool real terrorists when I check-out the nightlife in Beirut and Damascus as your president. However, there's no ESP talent here, and life is unpredictable. Moreover, I've had one too many discussions among homeless folk about which family member receives royalty checks from the work of JIM MORRISON, JIMI HENDRIX, and JANIS JOPLIN. At least with the late JOHN LENNON, where the money goes is painfully obvious.

This can't possibly mean my screenplays, and the inevitable movie about me, will enrich a relative after someone named "Williams" chops me up and feeds me to the rather large CRPD rats. (POL SCI professor at LCII? Try "Delores WILLIAMS").

One of my baseball coaches on the team I've described below called one of my T.O. havens a "sewer crik," and don't dare fall in, as did I the very day Arnold's "Advantage Card" pooped-out. What's in the shack up the hill from that particular California crik we won't discuss here, but suffice it to say many are up a sh$# creek over what one homeless Wise Man calls the, "Welcome to California" treatment, and Hollywoody-asses, we are not talking about a screenplay treatment, are we? Back to the shack, religious cuckoos can rest easy, because many, but possibly not all of the "paranormal" events around here have nothing to do with the usual suspects, SATAN and E.T.

Of this much, I am sure. Now greedy relatives, please start the film, if I'm dead, with red-headed catcher PAT HOGAN pulling-up his mask and saying to an 11 year-old me, "Don't throw that again," because he could not catch it. What was it? Don't ask me; let's just say when an 11-13 year-old William had the baseball in his hand, interesting experiments were conducted.

With the seams, against the seams, different release points, overhand, three-quarters, and yes Navy scurvy dogs, submarine. I tried 'em all, until our coach who played on a real major league farm club would holler, "Cut that out!" Like all of the stupid spying conducted around me, it's about strategy. When you are 12, and the opposing hitter has a thick mustache, somebody at the Catholic Little League office is cheating, and thus the old "heater" might not work.

So, as I allege regarding "Vandenberg cuckoo-birds," and as was said about RICHARD NIXON, you've got to be "tricky." That said, there is nothing on this Earth like a baseball dropping across the black portion of Home Plate at the hitter's knees. "You can't do that!" was the look I got many times after half-swings for strikes. "Oh yes I can, and don't ask me how I did that," was my thought at the time.

Dropping off the shelf was an outside corner thing, and I quickly discovered the best way to use my not terribly blinding fast fastball was to paint the inside corner with it, again at the batter's knees for more non-swings and strikeouts. Did I strike out the side three innings in a row once? Excuse me, no bragging allowed here. Aw, performance-obsessed USA should know it's a "head game," so God forbid we'd advance a few rounds in the postseason, and then, poor William could not find the plate--because he was supposed to.

No "journeyman long reliever" career in the bigs for me, so what am I supposed to do? Oh yeah? As we said as kids in North St. Louis, "Who died and left you boss?" Yes, it is true I told the neighborhood Starbucks girls I'd ditch the limo in favor of a Lincoln Navigator with the president's seal on the door, and she did not call the cops. That's the Thousand Oaks/Westlake Village response to any outside the bell curve behavior--"Call the cops, call the cops." Poor cops.

In fact that coffee-slinging girl said she might still be around to fix the cup of coffee, as I promised a knockout suit and a bit shorter hair. World peace we'll get to after a year or so of Hughes Administration, following a wave of rotten spies tossed in the slammer. Oh yes, I am going to get something out of this, even if it requires two Excederin too often.

And now, the O.L.G.C. lineup:

C: PAT HOGAN, Trucking
1ST: DAVID DIESELKAMP, Diesel? Camp? What?
2nd: GARY HESS, Oil Company
SS: LEO SPENO, Restaurateur
3rd: TOMMY BAKER, "Baker" Hughes? Sorry sir, that bit is mine.
LF: JIM VALLERO, Oil Company
RF: MIKE MOODY, Stock Guide

The man on the mound was me, my name is "Hughes," I am oddly homeless in California, and I'm running for president, if no one kills me, that is.

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