The Inside Dope from Halford

Trying in vain for an extra base. (Monte Dutton sketch)
Trying in vain for an extra base. (Monte Dutton sketch)


This is kind of a writing exercise. I decided I’d exercise my dialogue muscles by writing a short story that tells the entire story in the form of conversation. In this case, most of it’s on the air.

“It’s Springfield Dynamos baseball, live on Oldies Ninety-Seven from Auckland Mosaics Ballpark in Halford. I’m Lamar Bridgman, and I’ll be joined in the booth by Harrill Hooey, former head baseball coach at Renshaw Polytechnic. Harrill, the Dynamos are riding a three-game losing skid, and they’ll be trying to turn it around tonight against a Halford Bigfoots club that has won seven straight. It’s going to be no small feat for Springfield to claw its way back into the Mountain Scenery League playoff race.”

“That’s right, Lamar. Springfield has its back against the wall, and this is a potent Halford club. A lot’s riding on tonight’s contest because the Dynamos are putting their best pitcher, righthander Lee Ed Cordle, on the hill. He’s going to need some run support, and Springfield has to get the bats going in the middle of the lineup. I’m looking forward to it.”

“Me, too, Harrill. We’ll back for the first pitch after these words from our sponsors.”


By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

“Okay, clear. Shit, Harrill, this club doesn’t have the power of a rusted out double-A battery.”

“Yep. Cordle couldn’t break a pane of glass. Those guys are animals, and he’s been throwing meat.”

“Hell, maybe they’ll be lucky. Fuck, I hope so. We got three minutes. I’m gonna step out on the walkway and have a smoke. You don’t mind, do you?”

“Nah, I’ll cover for you if you don’t get back in time.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll make sure I’m back with thirty or so seconds to spare.”


“Trini Espinosa leads it off for the Dynamos, facing the righthander, Wally Schell. Schell has a record of five wins and two losses, with an ERA of 4.07. Trini takes a strike. The Venezuelan shortstop is batting .232 from the leadoff slot, with a homer and nine RBIs. Schell looks in, gets the sign. A breaking ball, just a bit outside, one and one.”

“You know, I’ve always wondered why Halford didn’t name the team Bigfeet.”

“I don’t know, Harrill. I never thought of it.”

“It would’t hurt Trini to choke up a little, Lamar. He doesn’t have the big-time power, and you don’t want your leadoff hitter to strike out, which he does just a bit too much.”

“There’s a change-up from Schell, call strike two. Trini was probably looking fastball.”

“I doubt he’s gonna get one. The word around the league is that Trini has a tendency to lunge at the breaking ball outside.”

“He didn’t lunge at that one. Called strike three, and there’s one down.”

“The surprise was that it wasn’t a foot outside.”

“Up steps Joey Whatley, the left fielder. He’s at .247, two home runs, thirteen batted in. Swings at the first pitch, pops it to shallow right, Mark Fasskinder trots in and puts it away for the second out.”

“Gee, whiz, Lamar. That ball must’ve been shoulder high. You swing at the first pitch, sheesh, it’s gotta be a strike, know what I’m saying?”

“Joey has struck out in each of his last three plate appearances entering that at-bat, Harrill.”

“I hadn’t thought about that, Lamar. He did make contact.”

“So, with two down and none on, top of the first here in Halford, LaShontay Brown, the lefthanded-hitting third baseman who leads the club in runs batted in with twenty-one, takes inside for ball one. LaShontay has driven in five on this road trip.”

“Dead pull hitter. You pitch Brown low, you better hope it bounces.”

“That one does. Ball two. Two down, none on. LaShontay has to be looking long ball. He’s been carrying the team, at least to the extent that one man can carry a team that has lost seven of its last nine.”

“Here’s the two-and-oh offering. Deep drive to right! Buchanan goes back, looks up, and it’s off the wall! LaShontay rounding first. Buchanan fields it cleanly, hits the cutoff man, and Brown is going for three!”

“Oh, geez.”

“The peg from Kennington is on target. Arrowood, the third baseman, sweeps the tag, and Brown is out to end the top of the first.”

“The relay beat LaShontay by ten feet. He didn’t even slide, for chrissakes.”

“Top of the first here in Halford. The Dynamos go scoreless, one hit, none left. We’ll be back for the bottom of the first, Bigfoots will send Legarre, Fulton and Buchanan up. You’re listening to Dynamos baseball on Oldies Ninety-Seven.”


“Jesus, Harrill.”

“Want a swig of bourbon?”

“Aw, hell, why not? Why don’t you mix us one apiece with some of that Sprite in the cooler?”

“Shit. Couldn’t nobody blame us, Lamar. They can’t expect us to watch this fucking club straight.”

“Like my old man used to say. Just a little something to knock the chill off.”

“Couldn’t hurt, my man. Couldn’t hurt.”


My other short stories have more than dialogue. Dozens of them reside here. I’d love for you to consider buying my latest novel, Crazy of Natural Causes. You can find out all about it here:

If you’ve already it, I’d appreciate it if you’d click the link above and leave a customer review. If you’ve already done so, I appreciate it.




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