My husband rounds first base, pounding his cleats into that Yankee Stadium dirt, and I rise with the screaming crowd, electrified by hope. He sprints past second, spotlights shining on his third-base coach who waves him home, shouting even louder than the roaring fans, and my man thunders over the bag and charges for the plate fueled by a lifetime of childhood dreams – his grandfather’s whisper, “World Series champ,” hovers between his ears – when a ball fires in from left field, punches his shoulder blade, twisting his thick torso so he faces shortstop, where a second ball rockets at him, destroys his jaw, sprinkles his teeth into the chalk, and then the third ball, finally tracked down by the right fielder, guns in to shatter his blood-smeared cheek, pushing his nosebone into his brain and ending his life a foot from home. I rush the field and collapse on my husband. I hold him until the police pry me off.
Major League Baseball rescinds their three-balls-in-play policy the following morning. Fielders were confused and viewers traumatized. But as unfortunate as the evening was, my idea succeeded. The only way to increase plateaued baseball sales was to change the public’s perception of how many baseballs should be in-play at once. My boss agrees, but it’s grim optics for me to remain VP of sales at Rawlings, and so he lets me go with a generous severance and a referral to a contact at Volvo. He thinks I can pull them out of their slump by resetting customer perception about the number of vehicles a driver should be operating at the same time.