Eduardo and Enrique prepared for a cold day on a Chambers Street construction job by sharing a newspaper on the 2 train this morning.
“It looks like the Yankees have signed LaTroy Hawkins,” Eduardo whispered to his friend.
“Great,” Enrique said. “I’ve always liked him.”
“Lousy deal,” snapped a man in a suit. “A pitcher like that isn’t worth the money.”
Eduardo and Enrique lowered their eyes into the divide between those who believe in baseball players and those who believe in baseball numbers.
Hawkins’s numbers through a dozen Major League seasons can cut any way you want, but his story cuts straight to the heart.
He grew up watching the steel mills close in Gary, Indiana. He found his way out because of a fastball that was good enough to close games in the big leagues. His brother, Ronald, only made it as far as a federal penitentiary in Milan, Michigan. He’s serving 27-years for carjacking because that was the best job available for a guy without a fastball in a dead steel town.
Guys like Eduardo and Enrique know all about surviving on the best job available and maybe that’s why they believe in Hawkins more than most. They believe that a man tough enough to make it this far will thrive in the world’s best baseball city.
“Don’t let that fancy guy bother you,” Eduardo told his friend as they turned their collars up and headed into a cold mist on Chambers Street. “Hawkins still throws hard and he’s really learned how to use his breaking stuff. He’ll be great here”
“Yeah,” Enrique agreed. “You can count on that.”