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It Came from Left Field, Or It's Not the Right Field that Worries Me - LC, HLA & MR aka The Ringlettes: Narya, Nenya & Vilya

Hairy: And here we are again, fans. Hairy Proudfoot and Fatty Bolger coming to you from Pelennor Field in Minas Tirith. It's the top of the ninth in the crucial final game of the Middle Earth Series.

The score is tied at zero/zero, and you can cut the tension with a Morgul blade. Remember, these two teams, the Fellowship and the Nazgul, are longtime rivals, and this is a real grudge match.

Fatty: For those of you who have just joined us, let me tell you, this has been a battle! We have two real wizards of the mound facing off this afternoon.

Gandalf Greyhame, leading pitcher in the Westernesse League, and a sure winner of the Sy Marillion Award, has used all the experience garnered in a long and distinguished career.

His opponent, Saruman, hurling for the Nazgul of the Eastern League, has countered with every ounce of cunning and guile acquired in a long, somewhat checkered, stint in the majors.

Hairy: While we wait for the Fellowship to take the field, we'll bring you a recap of the action so far. It was a pitcher's duel for the first four innings, neither side getting a man on base. Then, in the bottom of the fifth, still scoreless, two men out, Boromir, one of the Fellowship's heavy hitters, stepped up to the plate. Here's the replay of the action.
Fatty: Okay, the count is three and two, Boromir, looking grim after fouling off the last five pitches. He's glaring at Saruman. Looks like he's still fuming over the cave troll incident in the second game, right Hairy?
Hairy: You got it, Fatty. If looks could kill, there'd be Saruman Sausages on the mound.
Fatty: Boromir steps back into the batting box, takes his stance. Saruman gets the signal from Gollum behind the plate. Shakes it off, goes into his windup. And it's a scorcher, right down the middle of the plate. Boromir, who must've been sitting fast ball, drills it down the right field line. It drops just inside the chalk and rolls into the corner, right in front of Greeneaf's Groupies. Angmar King dashes after it, hurls it to Lurtz, at second. Lurtz stretches to catch it. Boromir slides under the tag. HE'S SAFE! WAIT! Boromir isn't getting up. He's still on the ground, writhing in pain. Hairy, I don't believe it! Lurtz spiked him after the call. The fans are coming to their feet, screaming! Both teams are pouring out of their dugouts, Took and Brandybuck already running to their fallen teammate's side, trainer Radagast right behind them. The umpires are gathering at second. King's holding Lurtz back, talking to him, trying to calm him down.
Hairy: Radagast is tending Boromir while the officials' conference continues. The stretcher team is on the way. Do you believe this, Fatty? Lurtz is claiming the sun was in his eyes and he didn't even see Boromir! What gall! We all know Saruman has been training infielders that can run at great speed in the sunlight!
Fatty: Yeah and the umps aren't buying it either, Hairy. Lurtz is out of the game for unnecessary roughness. Looks like Wormtongue is gonna take his place at second.
Hairy: The stretcher team has Boromir on the stretcher now, Fatty, the rest of the team gathered around him. The Big Guy is groping towards his bat, which shattered and flew almost to second when he hit the ball. Will you look at that! Aragorn has reached out and placed the broken bat in his buddy's hands. Now Boromir, trailed by Radagast and a flock of anxious birds, is being carried off the field. Listen to the ovation from the fans. They love the Big Guy, no doubt about it.
Fatty: Faramir came on to run for and take his brother's place in left field, and the rest of the inning was scoreless. And, Hairy, it's not on the tape, but who of us here today will ever forget Aragorn, watching Boromir being carried away, Lurtz's spikes still embedded in various parts of his anatomy, then looking down to see his fallen comrade's hat in the dirt at his feet? He reached down, picked it up, and with a steely glint in his eyes, removed his own and set Boromir's in its place.
Hairy: That shows you the true temper of this team, Fatty! We'll be right back after this.
Voiceover: Does your business depend upon speedy and accurate communication? Are you tired of smoke signals that dissipate, couriers who lollygaggle at the Green Dragon, moths who can't resist a flame? When it really has to get there fast, send it by Shadowfax! Call Theoden 111-1419 for installation.
2nd Voiceover: It's Barli time, fans! Barliman's ale, Bree's finest, is now available throughout Middle Earth. Golden, brewed from sun-kissed hops, it's the ale preferred by connoisseurs… (voice of Pippin Took) and it comes in pints!
Fatty: Back with you, fans. The Fellowship players have taken the field and Gandalf is ready to throw the first pitch of the ninth. Wormtongue, the Nazgul's lead-off hitter snarls a few words at Gimli as he digs into the batter's box. Looking tired after throwing a terrific eight innings (and remember he was on the DL for quite a spell after his run in with the Balrog earlier this season), Gandalf goes into the windup and releases. It's low and away. Ball one. Gimli gets the ball back to Gandalf. He's set. High and inside. Ball two. He's definitely tired, Hairy.
Hairy: Yeah. He's lost a bit on his fast ball. He's going to have to use his tricky stuff now.
Fatty: Gandalf's ready. High and outside. Ball three. Looks like that curve didn't curve. Gimli's going out to the mound to talk with him. Greyhame nods, Gimli pats him on the back and then treks back to home plate. Here's the pitch. Over the outside corner, strike one. Wormtongue's snarling at the ump now. Batter and pitcher set. Here comes the pitch. Low and away. Ball four. Wormtongue slithers down to take first base as Grishnakh comes to the plate.
Hairy: And Gris is hungry for a hit! He's been shut out in every game in the series so far.
Fatty: Gandalf releases. The ball is high, over Gris' head. That one got away from Gandalf. Gimli's back on the mound, giving his pitcher some time to recover. Gris is griping to the home plate ump. Looks like the ump agrees with him. He's going out to the mound to break up the meeting. Everyone's back where they're supposed to be and Gandalf goes into his windup. Fastball, high and inside. It hits Grishnakh. He tosses his bat away. Now he's stalking towards the mound instead of first base. Greyhame isn't moving. The Mouth of Sauron, who's up next, is trying to head Gris off. He grabs his teammate and shoves him towards first. Wormtongue, meanwhile, has sauntered down to second. Two on and nobody out. Gandalf's in trouble now. The fans have gone quiet as Mouth settles himself next to the plate.

Running his hand across his brow, Gandalf gets himself focused and tosses the ball. High and outside. Ball one. Here's the second pitch. low and away. Ball two. Gimli shouts something out to him and Greyhame nods. You could hear a pin drop, it's so quiet in the ballpark. The windup, the pitch. Strike one over the inside corner. The fans cheer, giving moral support to their pitcher. He's set. Releases. Ball three. Over the plate, but low. A shadow has fallen over Pelennor Field, fans. as it looks dark for the Fellowship now. Gandalf's face is grim as he winds up and sends his pitch. Outside. Ball four. The bases are loaded with no one out.

Hairy: Fellowship fans, People of the West, this is the hour of doom. What happens next will determine the outcome of the series. And it's the Nazgul captain, Angmar King who's coming to bat. Bases loaded with no one out. King steps up to the plate. He's shouting at Gandalf, taunting him as he gets set. The strain on his face clear even up here in the pressbox, Gandalf is refusing to respond in kind. Instead, he goes into his windup and releases a wicked sinker. You can hear the crack as the bat hits the ball. Line drive to third. Merry reaches up and pulls it down! He releases a bullet to Took at second. Stepping on the base, Pippin pivots, zings it to Baggins at first for a TRIPLE PLAY! WHAT A PLAY! The Fellowship gets out of hot water with no damage!
Hairy: And what an example of the teamwork these guys have always shown,

Fatty! Together they can do it all. Listen to the fans. They're going beserk!

Fatty: Especially Greenleaf's Groupies. I gotta tell ya, Hairy, back in the eighth, when Legolas, running with feline grace, raced to the warning track, leapt up and reached over the wall, stealing a home run from Lurtz, I thought the Groupies were going to shake the stadium walls apart, but they're even noisier now. And the sight of all those branches waving out behind right field has got to shake Saruman up, Hairy. It looks like a forest of Huorns out there.
Hairy: Home team advantage, Fatty. And it's not just the Groupies, listen to the rest of the fans. There's the Moria Maniacs behind home plate, cheering Gimli's every catch. Look at 'em! Those rowdies have taken off their mithril shirts and are greeting Frodo with The Wave as he walks towards the plate.
Fatty: Good thing they're cheering, 'cos the Hobbiton Boosters, sponsored by The Green Dragon, aren't making any noise. Of course, it's hard to cheer when your mouth's filled with food.
Hairy: Even the Gondor Knights, in their exclusive seats up in Gwaihir's eyrie, are getting into it, stomping their mailed feet and bashing their swords against the backs of the seats.
Fatty: You have to hand it to Denethor, Hairy. With one son out of the game and the other maybe not quite up to the challenge, he's sitting there poker faced in his box. Maybe this inning will light a fire under him.
Hairy: We can hope. Look at Bilbo, sitting over there with the cute hobbit children to either side. He looks like he's going to burst if something good doesn't happen soon. You'd think he'd have learned a little patience in 111 years!
Fatty: Give him some slack, Hairy. After all, Frodo is his cousin and heir.
Hairy: And he's now standing in the batter's box. It looks as if that shoulder injury he sustained earlier this year is still bothering him.
Fatty: That wound will never fully heal. He'll be carrying it the rest of his life. But Frodo Baggins is a gamer. He makes no excuses, just gives his all for the team. He's ready, waiting for the pitch. Saruman goes into the windup and delivers. High and outside. Ball One. High and Outside. Ball Two. High and Outside. Ball Three. Looks like Saruman's having a little trouble with the hobbit strike zone, Fatty. High and Outside. Ball Four! Frodo takes first base as Saruman has some words for the home plate ump.
Fatty: Gamgee comes up to bat. With a tie game, this is clearly a bunt situation, Hairy. Do you think Elrond's called for a hit and run?
Hairy: I would. Sam's a great bunter. Always gets Frodo where he needs to be. Here's the pitch. Gamgee does bunt! The ball trickles down the left field line, just fair, and dies about half way to third base. Sam was really trimming the verge with that little hopper. He scampers to first, as Frodo, who was off and running, slides into second. Two on and nobody out as Gimli approaches the plate.
Fatty: Gloin's son has never been much of a runner, but he has a powerful swing. My bet would be that he'll try for a sacrifice fly to move the runners over.
Hairy: Saruman's got to be afraid of that. I doubt if he'll give the tough guy anything good to swing at.
Fatty: But if he's too careful, the bases will be full with Aragorn coming to bat. Old Sharkey's gotta be sweating a little.
Hairy: Here's the windup and the pitch. It's a curve ball low and outside, but Gimli reaches out and slams the ball. It's going, going . . . And the Mouth of Sauron, racing to the wall reaches up and pulls it down in right field.
Fatty: No matter. Gimli did the job. Frodo and Sam held up until the ball was caught and then tagged and took off. Sacrifice fly puts runners on second and third with one out.
Hairy: And here comes Aragorn. Listen to the roar of the fans. Center fielder, team captain, and leading hitter in the majors, he's carrying the hopes of the fans tonight. Longshanks , as his teammates call him strides to the plate. Join in with us Gondor, where ever you are, let's show the team we're with them!
Fatty: Aragorn digs in. Looking Saruman full in the eye, he points to Boromir's cap, which he's still wearing, then to the center field bleachers, four hundred and fifty feet away.
Hairy: No one's done that since Babe Brandybuck in the '98 Series!
Fatty: He's got Saruman shaken all right. The first pitch is high and wide, just a little bit outside. Frodo, at third, is looking longingly at home, Gamgee at second is dancing around the base, trying to distract the pitcher. Saruman, showing the strain, winds up and releases. It's a wild pitch over Aragorn's head and into the backstop.
Hairy: Look at Baggins! He's on the move! He's trying to steal home!
Gollum (voice audible from the field): Steal? Steal??? Thief, thief, Baggins!!!!!!
Fatty: Wait! Wait! What's happening on the field? Gollum ignores the ball. He goes for Baggins instead! Saruman, on the mound, can't believe it any more than we can! Frodo and Gollum collide a few feet up the line from home plate. They're rolling around on the ground. Gollum grabs Baggins's arm. OH MY VALAR, he's biting him! Now he's standing up and dancing around. He's got something in his hand. It's a finger!

Baggins, on his hands and knees, is crawling, crawling, and he collapses over home plate. HE'S SAFE!!!! The Fellowship wins the championship!

Hairy: And here comes Gamgee. He blindsides Gollum, sending the diminutive catcher's body flying through the air. And it disappears into the darkness of the Nazgul dugout.
Gollum: Preciousssssssssssssssssss!
Fatty: And the home team is pouring out of their dugout; they're surrounding Frodo at home plate. They're lifting him up Aragorn is carrying him hobbity-back as the rest of the team follows him, parading around the field. The sky is brilliant with fireworks as the Middle Earth Champions circle the field. It's pandemonium here, fans, as all of Pelennor Field has become a festival site. And so, the Fellowship wins the championship rings. Boromir, if you're listening, you can be proud of your teammates tonight. We'll be back live with the team from the locker room after these words from our sponsors.
And there is no joy in Mordor. The mighty Nazgul have struck out.

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