THE WHITE RAT TELLS JOKES. SEXIST JOKES ABOUT THE spinster and the foul-mouthed parrot. Racist jokes about the black dude in the elevator. Redneck jokes about the gay cowboy in the bar. He sits there, in the dugout, chewing tobacco, spitting into a plastic bottle, talking. He is surrounded by younger baseball players. They look down at him and smile. A pugnacious-looking man from another time and place. He is 60 years old. He has a bristly, rust-colored crew cut; a bullet-shaped head; a jutting jaw; a big, hard belly, and, curiously, a child's bottled-up energy. He rocks back and forth as he talks. He reaches out to touch a player on the arm, the shoulder, anywhere, just to make contact, to draw him closer. "And so," he says, "this cowboy looks up from the bar and says, 'Moo moo, Buckaroo!' " The players laugh, shake their heads. "That's funny, Rat." And trot off to batting practice.
This is a really good one.
[Photo Credit: Ronald Modra/SI]