3003 hits

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The International Thriller Writers (ITW) is one of the world’s largest groups of writers dedicated to the thriller novel.  Thrillerfest, their annual convention, was held this past weekend and I spoke on a panel about using elements of science in novels. 

In the weeks before the meeting, I had followed Derek Jeter’s quest to become the only Yankee to hit 3000 hits, wondering if his accomplishment could possibly coincide with my time in New York.  But by mid-June, he was placed on the 15 day DL for a calf injury.  Few thought he would be back in two weeks and reaching this milestone looked to be delayed until after the All-Star break.  But Jeter came off the DL, played a couple of minor league games, and was poised to play in the four game weekend series against the Tampa Bay Rays.  After the Thursday night game, he was sitting at 2,998, only two hits away. 

So the moment my panel and signing was over on Friday afternoon, I jumped on the #4 subway to Yankee Stadium, ticket in hand.  At 161st street, the subway car slowed in the light drizzle allowing a host of crowded, sweaty, and disappointed Yankee fans to read the marquee above the stadium.  The game was rained out and rescheduled for September 22.

Don’t get me wrong, I like conversing with other writers about the craft and business of writing, but this was not to match what would potentially happen in Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon at 1:05 PM.   Long story short, I secured a single ticket off the third base line and returned the stadium on a beautiful, hot, sunny day. 

The place was electric.  On the mound for the Rays was David Price, a former Vanderbilt pitcher who I had followed closely in Nashville and saw him pitch on several occasions.  Jeter lined a single on his first at bat and was then one hit away.  The next batter, lefty Curtis Granderson, sent a line-drive foul ball right at the guy sitting next to me who was texting about Jeter’s hit.  I stuck out my left hand and deflected the ball into the aisle where it was quickly retrieved by the man’s son.  Not a bad souvenir, bat mark and all. 

Then Jeter homered for #3000.  Surreal.  But he would not stop there, going 5-5 with the game winning hit.  I returned to Thrillerfest that evening, but the thriller in the Bronx was already history.

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