(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Three young Chicano friends meet at a baseball field on the first Saturday after school closes for the summer. Although Antonio and Paul decide to sign up for a summer softball league, Michael hesitates to commit himself. When he gets home, it becomes clear that his reluctance to sign up is caused solely by the fact that his family can ill afford the two dollars that joining the team will cost. Michael’s mother cannot buy him a glove, but he is permitted to join the team.

When practice begins two days later, Michael and Antonio show up but discover that Paul has gone to Tijuana. The boys are placed on two different teams, with Michael being coached by Mr. Garcia, a dark, sweating man with a strong accent, bloodshot eyes, and a silver front tooth. On the first day of practice, the boys play no ball at all, but instead do jumping jacks and run laps. As the summer wears on, Michael plays mainly in the outfield, where there is little action, and he gets only one or two hits during the whole season. After Michael plays Antonio’s team, he goes to Antonio’s house for lunch, and the boys talk about who is the best pitcher in the major leagues. They also talk about who would win if the two of them had a fight and then playfully wrestle.

Just before the season ends, Michael’s mother takes him to a sporting goods store and buys him an inexpensive glove, which he wears during the last game of the season. Because the pitcher on Michael’s team walks ten batters in a row, Michael has nothing to do in the outfield. His team loses by a score of 23-0, with the game being called after the third inning. Michael decides not to attend the awards ceremony the following week, but thinks that maybe he will play again next season.

The story ends as Michael looks at his new glove and reads the name of some left-handed ballplayer that no one would recognize—“much like himself,” he thinks.