The two pitchers met near the dugout early before the contest. There were no other people around. They stood and talked and exchanged pleasantries. They did everything they could to avoid what wasn't being said and for a while they were successful. They talked about the weather. But the baseball pitcher is singular of mind and obsessed over only one thing, and before long they were speaking of their craft. The Hall of Famer and journeyman. Both had stood from on high and watched the valley journey upward to swallow them whole. Both were old. Both hurt. Both continued on.
Pettitte: Skip tells me you're thinking about quittin'. Why you doin' that?
Harang: I don't know ... I feel overmatched.
Aaron breathed in deeply, gazing out over the vast emptiness of the stadium, soon to be filled.
Harang: I always figured when I got older, God would sort of come into my life somehow. He didn't. And I don't blame him. If I was him I'd have the same opinion of me as he does.
Pettitte: You don't know what he thinks.
The two men looked at each other for a long time. Pettitte removed the cap from his head and scratched. He spat. In the distance, the Closer became visible. He stood on the perimeter of the field. He turned and began jogging.
Pettitte: What you got, ain't nothin' new. This game is hard on people. You can't stop what's comin'. It all ain't waiting on you. That's vanity.
Aaron forced a smile that more resembled a grimace. He looked at the ground and nodded his head. The two men shook hands and wished each other good fortune and departed.
Location: Yankee Stadium
Television: ROOT Sports