When Anders is shot and a bullet begins traveling through his brain, Anders remembers a baseball game from his childhood. Memories of the summer heat and the chirps of insects set a scene of idyllic innocence, a sharp contrast to the violent and unfortunate situation Anders is experiencing outside of his memory. Before the game begins, a neighborhood boy, Coyle, and Coyle’s cousin, who is from Mississippi, arrive at the baseball field. The neighborhood boys ask what position Coyle’s cousin wants to play, and Coyle’s cousin claims the role of shortstop. When Coyle’s cousin is asked why he picked shortstop, he mispronounces a few words during his explanation, likely due to his southern accent. Anders finds the mispronunciation musical and interesting, and is so struck by the phrase that he almost asks Coyle’s cousin to repeat it. As an adult, this sort of mispronunciation would be the target of Anders’s scorn, but as a child, Anders was more forgiving and openly curious about the world. The baseball game therefore represents Anders’s lost innocence and joy, embodying a time when Anders was more compassionate and sympathetic towards others.
The Baseball Game Quotes in Bullet in the Brain
“Shortstop,” the boy says. “Short's the best position they is.” Anders turns and looks at him. He wants to hear Coyle's cousin repeat what he's just said, though he knows better than to ask. The others will think he's being a jerk, ragging the kid for his grammar. But that isn't it, not at all-it's that Anders is strangely roused, elated, by those final two words, their pure unexpectedness and their music.
But for now Anders can still make time. Time for the shadows to lengthen on the grass, time for the tethered dog to bark at the flying ball, time for the boy in right field to smack his sweat-blackened mitt and softly chant, They is, they is, they is.