Gaming the System
Several prisons worldwide are known to organize sporting events for their prisoners.
“Where are you from?” he asks.
“Santa Fe,” I say.
He tells me he’s spent some time in Albuquerque and liked it, and I concur that it’s a good town, and we pause awkwardly, as though this agreement has created some temporary bond. He walks away, and I follow my teammates out. We’ll soon pass the adjustment ward and death row, and a small, doughy guard with the complexion of paper and an insipid smile will tell us that the guys we just played would “rape, kill, and murder anything in sight” should they be let free. We will walk to our cars and drive toward San Francisco, over the great shining bridge, our windows down and our radios up. First, though, we pass Johnny, the catcher, and Terry, the first-base umpire, who are standing behind home plate. I stop to linger.
“It’s a real honor for you to come here and play us,” Johnny tells me again. He walks with a limp; it appears that the game has beaten him. I shake his hand, then Terry’s.
“You’ve got to come play again,” Terry says.
I tell him that I would love to, but that I live in New Mexico.
“That’s OK. Come back out later this summer,” says Terry.
I tell him that there’s travel coming up. “That’s OK, come next summer.”