The hero of the slightly surreal “The Hector Quesadilla Story” is a typical Boyle antihero. Although the story is in the tradition of mythic tales of Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio, Hector Quesadilla, in his fifties, is no Sultan of Swat—he has shin splints, corns, and hemorrhoids. He is not only old, but he is also fat, a man who eats as though there were some creature inside him made of nothing but jaws and guts. He has not played regularly in ten years, but he wants one more season; he refuses to admit that he is old. In baseball, Hector believes, the grass is always green and the lights are always shining, for it is a game that never ends.
The story focuses on one particular day late in the season; it is Hector’s birthday, and there is a home game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. His entire family attends—his wife, his grandchildren, even his son, Hector, Jr., who studies English at USC and is writing a thesis on a mystical British poet, of whom Hector has never heard. Hector’s own mystic adventure begins when the game is tied up at 5 to 5 at the bottom of the ninth inning and seems headed for extra innings. As the game goes into its twenty-second inning, Hector begins to feel, with a sense of wonder, that he is destined to be the hero of the longest game in history.
The story moves toward its transcendent climax at the top of the thirty-first inning, when finally Hector is sent up to bat and thus, it is hoped, to bring the game...
(The entire section is 489 words.)