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An excerpt from “Baby Blue”

by John Carroll

as featured in Philly Fiction 2 (Don Ron Books)

Phil looked around for Cubs fans as the crowds came back above ground. Ankiel,

however, had a keener eye for the Chicago backers. He spotted a backwards blue cap

three hats ahead of them.

“Hey, Cubbie,” Ankiel shouted. No response. “Yo Cubbie,” a little louder. The

man kept walking.

Ankiel nudged Phil and nodded towards the fan. Ankiel picked up his pace,

excusing himself through some fans before knocking the Cubs fan’s hat off of his head.

“Our town!” Ankiel yelled. He continued walking, oblivious to the angry, hatless

Cubs fan whom he left in his wake.

Phil could not catch up to his partner, who waited for him at the left-field gate.

Ankiel was looking up at the gigantic Phillie Phanatic display above the gate.

“I can’t help but think that will get old after a while,” Phil said.

“Best mascot in sports,” Ankiel replied.

The seats were in the sixteenth row of left field, just in front of the cool shadow

offered by the upper-deck seats.

The Phillies won, 5-4. Ankiel bought the beers in the second and fifth. Phil

bought the hot dogs in the third and the peanuts in the seventh. Phil was thankful that

their section was unanimously pro-Phillies, though this provoked an Eagles chant out of

Ankiel in the fourth. A fan seven rows down and eight seats to the left mocked Ankiel
with a Kixx chant in the following inning. Ankiel kept looking over at the fan throughout

the game.

Both Phil and Ankiel forgot to wear sunscreen.

The two men finally began to make their way out of the stadium after the team

had finished their post-game victory handshake. Ankiel clapped in sync with the

celebration music.

“We won even though Zambrano went seven,” Ankiel shouted above the music,

his hands still applauding. “I never thought that would happen.”

Phil tried running to catch the Orange Line Express, but the train pulled away.

Plus, Ankiel was in no rush down the stairwell. He high-fived some other fans in

pinstriped Phillies jerseys at the bottom of the steps.

When the regular Orange Line cars set off for Oregon, Ankiel leaned over to Phil,

his mouth nearly touching Phil’s ear.

“See the guy in the Patty’s Day jersey?” Ankiel asked. Phil nodded. The green

jerseys were a novelty. The Phillies only wore them on St. Patrick’s Day during Spring

Training. “He’s that Kixx asshole from the game. Keep your eye on him. I want to get

off at his stop, put a little scare in him.”

Phil didn’t respond, instead choosing to fix has gaze on the green jersey’s name –

Schmidt. Phil spoke again when the car stopped at Ellsworth-Federal. “I don’t think it’s

a good idea,” Phil said. “Following that kid.”

“Why’s that?” Ankiel’s mouth was once again at Phil’s ear.
“Well, it wasn’t a very offensive thing,” Phil started. “Or I guess he’s just not

worth the effort.”

Ankiel tapped his fingers on his knees, seemingly calculating these words in his

head.

“Yeah, you’re right, let’s not bother,” Ankiel decided. “He’s not worth our time.”

He then mumbled “Kixx” and shook his head.

The green jersey and its friends departed at Walnut-Locust.