The article is translated from A mound of troubles
The New York Times Magazine-- Pat Jordan

I am standing off to the side, watching Rick. He is sitting at a picnic table under the shade of a banyan tree on a sunny Florida afternoon in December. He is surrounded by little boys and girls, foster children who have come to Fort Lauderdale Stadium(註一) to watch celebrity athletes and models and singers play a softball game for their benefit. After an autograph session, Rick walks back to the baseball field for the game. He is a tall, husky youth with blond tints in his short, sandy hair. He walks in that plodding, hunched-over manner of young athletes not yet used to being gawked at. 
作者在一旁看著 Rick。現在是12月某個充滿陽光的佛羅里達午後,他坐在榕樹樹蔭下的野餐桌。他的身旁圍繞著許多來自寄養家庭的小朋友,這些小朋友來到 Fort Lauderdale Stadium 參觀一場由傑出運動員,模特兒,歌手進行的慈善壘球賽。自由拍照的時間過後,Rick走回比賽的場地。高壯的他染了一頭短金髮,卻沒有精神地蹣跚而行。

The game is played for laughs. A young woman in tight shorts runs around the infield spraying everyone with sticky string. A muscular guy in a cut-off T-shirt tackles her at third base. Rick, on the mound, tosses a softball underhand to the batter. Nick Cannon, from Nickelodeon, swings and hits a little roller to Rick's right. Rick dives at the ball a second too late and falls flat on his face. Like everyone else, Rick is playing this game for laughs, only with a difference. Rick is having fun, like a kid. The celebrities are being funny to call attention to themselves. 

In the fifth inning, play is stopped with Rick at home plate. He leans on his bat and watches as two men lead a statuesque girl onto the field. She is wearing a red tube top and tiny red satin shorts. Her name is Monica or Monique or whatever. According to the P.A. announcer, she has just "signed a huge record contract." She is almost six feet tall, long legged and voluptuous. One of her male handlers gives her a microphone, and Monica or Monique or whatever begins to sing and dance behind home plate. Rick watches with an amused smile. She finishes her tuneless song standing with her legs spread and her chest thrust forward. It is an impressive performance, but she receives only polite applause. 

After the game, I walk with Rick to his black Tahoe in the parking lot. He's going back to his Miami Beach hotel to get some rest before tonight's charity party at Level in South Beach. "What did you think of Monique?" he asks. I smile, shake my head. "She's only 15," he says, raising his eyebrows. "Can you believe it?" In the hotel, Rick sprawls on his bed in a room that looks like it was tidied up with a hand grenade. A friend from Fort Pierce, Chad, is sitting on the other bed watching a movie. Chad is short, frail-looking, with a wispy blond mustache. I ask Rick if he wants to talk. He's tired, a little irritable. "Whatever you want." I ask him about his family. 
在義演賽之後,作者跟 Rick一同走到停車場。他將回到旅館稍作休息,晚上還有一場慈善派對。作者向 Rick詢問有關他們家庭的總總。

"My mom's awesome," he says. "My older brother, he doesn't do nuthin'. My sister, she's got a kid." 

"What about your father?" 

"Some things happen in life," he says. "You get shot down. It's his life. Everyone has problems. You deal with it." 
"我媽管我們很嚴" Ankiel說"我的哥哥沒有做什麼,我的妹妹還只是個孩子"

There's an awkward silence. Finally, I ask him why he recently moved from Fort Pierce to Newport Beach, Calif. 
過了一陣令人尷尬的沉默之後,作者問他最近為何從皮爾斯堡搬到加州的新港灘 (Newport Beach)

"Why not?" he says. "I'm 21. I'm not responsible for anyone else." Rick is reluctant to talk about the unsettling events of last summer. But others aren't. "Hell, yeah, I think all those things have got to affect him in some way," says his high-school coach, Charlie Frazier. "No wonder he moved to Newport to get away from it all." 
" 為何不可以搬? "他說" 我已21歲,我只需要對自己負責 "Rick不情願地去談去年(2000年)夏天令人不安的事件。不過 Rick的高中教練 Charlie Frazier說"我認為那些事情在某方面影響了他""他搬到 Newport 想遠離之前的一切,並不令人意外"

 by Reuben Cox 

The one thing Rick hasn't been able to get away from, the thing that has preyed on him throughout his long off season, is his meltdown during the playoffs. "Last fall was my first test with adversity," he says. "I just lost it right there on the mound. I don't know what I was thinking. I'd go blank before I'd throw the ball, and then after I'd say to myself, 'How the hell did that happen?' It was definitely weird. I mean, I'd been doing it so many times in my life, and suddenly I can't throw a ball?" 

He hasn't thrown one pitch since. "I'm working out," he says. "I run, lift weights and long-toss on the grass. But, no, I haven't thrown off a mound yet. I'm trying to enjoy every day." 

In the early-evening darkness, Rick, Chad and I are walking past the shops and restaurants on Lincoln Road. Rick and Chad stop at a clothing store, Biker's Den, and go inside. I wait on the sidewalk smoking a cigar. I watch them for a few minutes, pulling clothes off racks, disappearing into dressing rooms, reappearing, until finally they bring their purchases to the cash register. Rick pulls out his gold American Express card, pays for the clothes and they step outside. 
接近傍晚時,作者與 Rick以及 Rick從皮爾斯堡就認識的朋友 Chad一同去街上走走

"Whaddya think?" Chad asks. "An improvement?" He's wearing his newly bought clothes, a black jersey and baggy gray slacks that bunch up around his shoes. We hail a cab, which drops us off at the party. Rick orders a glass of red wine, and we begin talking baseball. He asks me what it was like when I pitched in the minor leagues, which I did from from 1959 to 1962, when I was released at the age of 21.

"Nobody counted my pitches," I say. "I pitched until I couldn't get anyone out. Sometimes I threw 130, 140 pitches in a game." 

"Jeez, I wish the Cardinals would let me do that." 

We talk for some time. Later, having lost track of him in the crowd and feeling tired, I leave the party and begin walking to my car. I'm surprised to hear Rick call out. I turn. He's running toward me. 
在 party中,作者與 Rick談了不少時間,隨後在作者離開派對後,Rick跑向作者。

"Where you going?" he asks. I tell him I'm tired. 

"I'll leave, too." he says. "I don't have to stay there."

"Thanks," I say. "But you should stay." I smile. "Maybe Monique will show up."

"Yeah, maybe," he says. Then he shakes my hand.

"That was a nice thing to do," I say. "Buy those clothes for Chad."

He looks embarrassed. "I try to do things for him. He hasn't had my advantages."

"Call me," I say. "Maybe we'll go throw the ball around one day."

"Yeah, that would be cool."

"You gotta get back on the mound. You should always be throwing from the mound."

"I know," he says. "Soon." 
閒聊的過程中,作者說也許有哪一天可以一起丟丟球,他也建議 Rick要時常練投,好再回到投手丘上

"It's no big thing," I say. "You've been throwing off a mound ever since you were a kid. Just don't think about it. You've got to force yourself not to think about your motion, or it will mess you up." He looks down at the sidewalk and nods. "Just remember," I say. "The mound is where you live." He looks up and smiles. 

"How do you know?" he says.

"Why do you think I'm here? What's happening to you happened to me in 1961. I forgot how to pitch. I've been thinking about it ever since."

"What'd you learn?" he asks.

"Not to think." 
"你想為什麼我會在這邊? 那些發生在你身上的事情,我也曾在1961年遇到,我忘了如何投球。我到現在還在想這件事情"

........The End

註一: MLB巴爾的摩金鶯隊自從1996開始把 Fort Lauderdale Stadium當作春訓場地

Rick Ankiel的過往日子 (1)
Rick Ankiel的過往日子 (2)
Rick Ankiel的過往日子 (3)
Rick Ankiel的過往日子 (4)

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