The third game between the New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals came to a halt this Friday after a hit by Yankees right fielder Carlos Beltrán sent the ball over the fence and into Old Man Stinson’s yard.
Sources indicate that celebratory cheers quickly turned into silent dread as players realized the ball was headed for the backyard of Reginald Stinson, a mysteriously reclusive neighborhood character widely rumored amongst MLB players to be not only the meanest man in the neighborhood, but a grade-A psychopath and homicidal nutjob.
“Nice one, Beltrán,” said Royals pitcher James Shields as players from both teams gathered at the fence separating the outfield from Stinson’s yard, some daring to sneak peaks over the fence at the forbidden yard just beyond the ballpark’s boundary. “No one ever got a ball back from Stinson’s yard. Place is a baseball graveyard. Now what are we supposed to do?”
Despite the demands of an increasingly impatient crowd of game attendees numbering upwards of 40,000, no efforts to retrieve the ball were immediately pursued, owing in large part to the majority of players’ fear surrounding Old Man Stinson as well as tales of the beastly creature that guards his yard.
“Hundreds of major league games have come to an end after someone hits a ball into Stinson’s yard,” said commentator Michael Kay. “The players are just too scared to knock on his door and ask if they could get their ball back. And for good reason too. The last professional ballplayer that knocked on his door? I heard Stinson threw him in a pot and cooked him for dinner. For dinner!”
“I heard he feeds the scraps to his lion or bear or whatever that thing he’s got chained up in the backyard is,” said Royals left fielder Alex Gordon. “Heard he does that to any MLB player he catches trying to get baseballs from his yard.”
“I heard Stinson once skinned a guy on the Brewers,” said Royals first baseman Billy Butler. “Heard he made him into drapes, put ‘em up in his front window. They say you can still see the part that was his face if you look at the window long enough.”
“I’m not going over there,” he added. “No way.”
Sensing mounting pressure from MLB coordinators to resume the game, Shields suggested Beltrán should go get the ball, seeing as he was the one who hit it into Stinson’s yard in the first place. To this, Beltrán replied that it was Shields who pitched the ball, and therefore he should be the one to go. With both players refusing to retrieve the ball and calling each other “chicken,” it seemed the game had come to an abrupt end.
“Guess that’s it, then,” said Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. “Sayonara. Toodle-oo. Game over.”
But just as both teams were about to head home, Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia came forward. “I’ll do it,” said Sabathia, emerging from the crowd of players. “Sure, we talk a lot about Stinson and how he killed that guy on the Orioles and ate most of the ‘96 Dodgers. But those are all just stories. Stinson is probably just a misunderstood old guy who wants to be left alone. Now I’m going to go and ask him for our ball back.”
Surprised by Sabathia’s sudden bravery, several players tried to convince him not to go, arguing that it was too dangerous. “If you go over there, you’re a goner, CC,” said Shields. “It’s suicide,” said Gordon. “If you die, can I have your signed Mike Piazza?” asked Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
“Dead man walking,” said Butler under his breath.
At press time, both teams were watching anxiously from behind the Jumbotron as Sabathia walked up to Stinson’s front door and knocked three times.