Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Hardy Boys Mystery!

The Curse of the Bunt Single

By Gary Beaston -

Teenage brothers Frank and Joe Hardy attempt to solve the mystery of how a well-meaning but slightly naive second baseman could lay down a game-winning bunt single and suddenly unleash dark forces of doom and despair on an innocent baseball team about to embark on a 10-game road trip. The brothers, aided by their private investigator father and their buddy Chet Morton, travel to an ancient ballpark in Boston to help the team lift the curse and regain their winning ways. Poring over box scores and statistical charts, the boys sift through clues to the team’s inexplicable losing streak.

They confront some sinister figures in their quest, among them an Italian gentleman who speaks in riddles and talks incessantly of tipping his cap and turning pages. Puzzled, they look deeper into the roster and are horrified to discover a squad of arsonists inhabiting the bullpen. The ending is a surprise and the story will keep you in suspense all the way through. Danger, action, and non-stop excitement await the readers of this gripping story!

After untold hours searching through box scores and looking up stats, Joe and Frank Hardy came to an awful conclusion. The young second baseman Kendrick’s daring bunt single apparently violated an ancient unwritten law, enshrined through the years and held sacred by all the players.

He should have swung away and took his chances, but laying down that bunt was a brazen act of excessive confidence. The baseball gods were not happy, and the curse of a long losing streak was placed upon the team.

The brothers decided to confront Kendrick about it. They brought along their friend Chet Morton. The three waited in the stadium parking lot after the game, and when Kendrick emerged from the clubhouse, Joe called out his name.

“Howie Kendrick, do you know what you’ve done?”

“Who is that?" , the startled player responded.

Joe emerged from the darkness and said, “I’m Joe Hardy. This is my brother Frank and our friend Chet Morton. You must be Howard.”

“I’m not THAT Howard, I’m Howie Kendrick the ballplayer.”

“Oh...I was hoping you could get my dad a deal on a refrigerator. But anyway, let’s get down to why we’re here. A certain Mr. Scioscia has hired my brother and I to figure out how to turn the page and get this team back to its winning ways.”

Chet interrupted, “I’m hungry! Can I get another hot dog?”

Frank told him, “Chet, you’re always thinking about food! You had three hot dogs already! The game’s over and the concession stands are closed. We’ll pick up something for you at the 7-Eleven on our way home.”

“OK”, Chet said. “What are we doing here, by the way?”

“Don’t mind him”, Joe said. “He’s our closest friend, but he doesn’t know much about detective stuff like we do!”.
“Anyway, we’ve determined that your bunt single of last Wednesday unleashed some powerful forces of negativity that have plunged your team into a losing streak. Only you can help this team get back on the winning track.”

“Of course! How can I help?”, Kendrick responded.

“Well, you can start by never doing such a bush league thing again if the situation presents itself.”

Kendrick protested, “But...but I saw the infield playing way back and saw a chance to win the game! What was I supposed to do?”

“Swing, man, swing and take your chances! Ninety-nine percent of ballplayers would have tried to get a hit rather than lay down a silly bunt. That’s not fair to the pitcher who just came into the game. He was just trying to throw a strike, and this is how you treat him?!”

“But I GOT a hit!”, Kendrick protested.

“That’s a bunt! Doesn’t count!”

“Bush league all the way!”, Frank chimed in, with a disapproving glare.

By this time, the young second baseman was visibly flustered. “OK..OK, I promise next time to swing away!”

“Really? Cross your heart?”, said Joe.

“Yes, cross my heart and hope to get sent down to the minors!”

“Wow”, said Joe. “I can feel the darkness lifting already! This team will start winning now, I just know it! Can I have your autograph, Mr. Kendrick?”

“Of course, son, and here’s a coupon for your dad to take to Howard’s for that refrigerator. Nice meeting you, boys!”

All of a sudden there was a low rumbling sound, and Kendrick looked around nervously. “What was that?”, he exclaimed.

“Oh, that was just Chet’s stomach growling again”, Frank said. “He gets that way if he doesn’t get enough to eat.”

The trio departed from the stadium, and proceeded to the nearest McDonald’s for a post-game snack.

The team soon began winning again, and there were no more bunt singles with 2 outs and a runner on third. When the boys got home from their adventure they found a cryptic message in the mail from a Mr. M. Bradley, no return address, postmarked Seattle, asking for help. A new adventure awaited the brothers...

Disclaimer: This story is a satire piece and posted for fun.

Love to hear what you think!


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