“The most remarkable play of the year” – sounds like a theater review – and there is definitely theater in it – but this play lasted no more than 30 seconds, and very likely nothing like it has ever been seen before, and very likely will never be seen again.
The main character is Glen Ridge resident Ray Scott who can be seen from time to time sitting at the bar at Fitzgerald’s 1928 in or out of uniform. His uniform is a shirt that says Fitzgerald’s which he was wearing on the day the action took place at Nishuane Field where his team has proudly represented Glen Ridge in the Montclair Recreational Softball League for more than 35 years. Fitzgerald’s has been the team sponsor since the day its doors opened in 2011.
The ball was hit to deep right center field over the outfielder’s head. The batter was running slightly faster than the runner who had been on first base when the ball left the bat. When they were both between first and second base the batter loudly shouted at the runner in front of him. The outfielder, who happened to be Ray Scott’s son Eric, rapidly ran down the ball. While the runners circled the bases he threw the ball to second basemen Jonathan Shell, who had run out for the relay. Jon caught the ball, spun, and threw a perfect strike to Ray, the catcher, who tagged out in rapid succession both runners for a game-ending walk-off double play, securing the victory for the Fitzgerald’s team.
In all the annals of games with bat and ball on large fields and small across the country and the globe it’s an easy bet that no other contest has ever ended exactly this way. That’s what makes the game such a perfect creation – despite the millions of instances of play with all their permutations and variations over time – something we have never seen before can still appear – like a snowflake or a newborn baby.
If you wait until he puts down his beer, it’s also an easy bet that you can approach Ray Scott for an autograph the next time you see him in Fitzgerald’s.