“Come on bud, it’s time for your nap.”
I trudged toward the stairway, he followed.
I kicked my L.L. Bean slippers off .
“Take your slippers off. You don’t need them.”
Gavin took his slippers off and placed them in mine. Left in left. Right in right. The baseball watched it happen.

After I rocked Gavin to sleep I walked back down the stairs. I felt as though I was dreaming. I have a son who wanted his slippers inside my own who had just fallen asleep on my chest listening to my heartbeat after I had sung him to sleep.

The baseball was still there. My memories were too. Coaching baseball saved my life. And now I have another life far more important than mine to care for. I’m not going anywhere and I can’t wait for tomorrow and the next day. And the day after that.


-M. Taggart



Indoor Baseball

I play indoor baseball with Gavin
Gavin puts his binky on the T and hits it
He puts his stuffed owl on the T and hits that
He hits anything that’ll fit on the T
I don’t tell him only a ball can sit on the T
I don’t tell him it’s time to practice
I let Gavin tell me it’s time to play
Sometimes he puts the ball on the T
and hits the ball into the wall
I cheer!
It wasn’t long ago that I played indoor baseball
with ping pong balls and DVD cases
The impact makes a satisfying sound
There was beer and whiskey and friends
Two on Two, Three on Three
Stuffed into my bachelor aparment
Smashing away
We broke shit
We fixed what was broken
And played on
If you caught the ball in flight
If you handled the ball cleanly
If  you smashed the ball into the
far back wall
Swing and miss twice
We kept stats
And had arguments
We played
I think if Gavin wants to play baseball
Later in life
It’ll be nice
If he doesn’t
That’ll be nice too
But I’m sure as hell not getting in the way
of his indoor baseball

-M. Taggart

Gavin is 2.5 and going at life like it ought to be gone after.

A True Gem – Short Story

Fiction:  A True Gem

Written by Matt Taggart aka –M. Taggart copyright 2016

Dedicated to Brian W.  A good Coach.  A good father.  A good man.


A True Gem


Pitching the top of the ninth didn’t bother him.  He’d pitched complete games before and it was the same now as any other time before.  He’d pitch the top and finish the game.  His last game as a senior.

He nearly sprang toward his catcher.  He knew before the catcher made his first step to the mound that he wanted to comment one last time before it was over.

‘This is good.  This isn’t like the last time out when the scouts were here to see you.’ Pete said.  He left his mask on.  He was sweating.  Drops had found their way in between the seam of the mask and to his eyebrows.

‘You’re sweating more than I am.’

‘Don’t worry about my sweat.  How do you do this?  I’m not even calling the game.  You’re calling your own game and I’m here watching like everyone else.  Look at them all.’  Peter gestured behind him.  A few hundred people were watching.

‘It’s been a good few years.’ He turned and walked back to his perch on the mound.  It was his mound.  It was his game and the ball belonged to him in his hands and he knew what was left to do and he’d do it now.  He watched Pete nod to the umpire then squat behind home plate.

The last time, he thought, was the only time he’d let it happen.  The numbers on the pages wouldn’t move.  They mocked him.  He tried to make them move and become what they were meant to be, but he failed.  No, the numbers didn’t move for him like people.  He could see people easily.  He could see now that the batter in front of him was nervous.  He stepped out of the box and blew heavily before looking down the first base line.  The batter wouldn’t look at him and was anxious and now he’d take what was given to him.


‘He’s dealing today coach.’  Walt said.

Coach watched Aaron’s high leg kick and smooth motion toward home.  A weak swing and a miss.  ‘He’s doing it again.  He’s something to see.  I hope they give him a shot.’  He felt the same flutter he’d been feeling for months now.  Soon, he thought, he’d need to do something.  But not yet.  There was still work to be done for Aaron.  Last game here as a senior or not, there were many more phone calls to make.  How the hell they could hold up this kid over a score on a test.  A test isn’t everything.  It’s only one part and it’s not the best part and he’d be damned if he didn’t make a college see that.  Any college.

‘You think that scout likes what he sees?’  Walt’s large eyes pushed the question.

‘Judging from that radar hitting mid-nineties I think he sees alright.  But to hell with that radar gun and to hell with that scout.  What the scouts say when Aaron hit that one bad game?  Remember that?  To hell with scouts.  Aaron needs college.  Look at him.  See how he runs this team when he’s up there?  And it’s not just baseball I’m talking about.  He’s something to see alright and to hell with that scout.’  Coach kicked at the dust in the dug-out and moved away from Walt to better see the game.  Aaron had struck out the first batter and was already ahead of the next 0-2.  Watching Aaron was like watching purity.  He knew these people came out to watch as though Aaron were already gone.  Many of them the same teachers that had failed him.  Yet they were here alright.


Aaron let the ball find his grip.  It was home to him to be on the mound.  To hold the ball.  To know before delivering to home how the ball would act in mid-air and then to address the batter, through the swing, and into the catcher’s mitt.  His glove was worn and felt not like an extended weight, but as an appendage that’s always been there.  This was how it was supposed to be.  Sitting in a room with a clock telling him his time is up while watching numbers not move was not how it was supposed to be.  Not for him.  No, he thought, let that go.  That was what caused trouble last time.

Aaron stepped off the mound and rounded the back side.  One out to go.  Last batter of his senior year and that was fine.  Bless them, he thought.  As he rounded the mound, he looked each of his infielders in the eye.  The tall left-hander, Ben was on first.  Nate, the dirt dog of the crew, was on second.  Benny, an up and coming stand out, was on short.  And then there was Doug.  He worried about Doug.  He looked at Doug longest and again took his place on the mound.  Coach was watching from the edge of the dug-out.  He was standing nearly in play.

He did not see the crowd.  The batter took his place in the box, kicked his footing to his liking, and dug in.  Aaron wanted to do one thing well.  He again let the ball find its grip within his hand feeling the edges of the seams near the top of his middle finger curing into his palm.  Half way through his delivery, his arm would be in the L-Position and his palm would be facing second base.  He knew before the ball left his hand where the bend in trajectory would take place and it’d be too late for the batter to identify how sharply it would break.  He watched, as he finished his follow through, as the batter’s knees buckled followed by a late swing.  The ball bounced in the dirt just after the plate and Pete scooped it.  Strike one.  Pete stood, threw the ball back with force, and Aaron turned to take his place on the mound.

Aaron looked again at his coach.  He wanted to remember him like this.  To snap the picture and file it to find again and again.  He needed to also remember to truly thank him.  And to ask him if he were well.  It seemed to him Coach had always asked him and he’d never returned the favor.  He needed to finish this batter and ask him if he were well and to not forget.  Two more strikes and he could.


Doug grabbed at the infield dirt with his right hand.  He tossed it away and rubbed his hand on his thigh then slapped his glove on his left thigh to make things even and right.  He looked at me a while, he thought.  Now why’d he do that?  Does he know?  He can’t know.  No one knows.  But he’s damn smart.  What if he knows?  If he knows, then what would he do with knowing?

He liked Aaron.  He wasn’t jealous of how Aaron drew people’s attention to him without trying.  He enjoyed it.  Aaron was easily himself and he wanted to learn to be more of that rather than feel the anger that lived in him.  He needed to learn.  But, not if everyone knows.  He couldn’t tell anyone in the school.  What do they know?  They think Aaron’s stupid because he can’t figure a math problem.  They’d ruin him.


He can sling it.  I bet he’ll throw it right down the middle.  I bet he will.  I’ll sit on this dead-red and close my eyes if I have to, but damn if I won’t connect.  He’s not been touched all day and I know he’ll fire that thing right down the middle.  Why not?

He dug in.  He was down 0-2.  He didn’t want to be the last out of a complete game.  Not by striking out in front of all of these people.  He reminded himself to loosely handle the bat, don’t over grip, and don’t tighten up.


Aaron stood comfortably on the rubber.  He felt at ease and ready.  He waited until the batter was ready.  And waited longer for him to look at him.  When he was sure he tipped his hat slightly and held his eyes on him.  Now he knew the batter had seen and knew the batter understood.  He’d give him this one.  Let the cards become open for only them and let’s see how they fall.

Aaron started his motion.  He felt his leg kick high into his chest and nearly to his chin, then lower toward the catcher.  His arm moved through the L-Position and his fingers held the seams properly for a straight fast ball.  He let his mind free and his body work.  The batter swung and connected sharply.  Aaron swiped the grass during his last follow through and felt his leg whip across his body and come to rest.  The batter tore out of the box running hard for first.  The ball was scolded down third base line.  Doug was in mid-air diving full out when he retrieved the ball on a hop and landed while sliding in the infield dirt and seemingly springing up at the same moment.  His strong arm flung the ball through the air as though it were on a line meant for this one moment.


Aaron walked off the field as his teammates rushed the diamond to celebrate Doug’s victory throw.  Aaron saw one person.  Coach.  He needed to ask him if he was well and to thank him.  The dug-out had exploded with cheers and the people watching were clapping and shouting their reward to the players.  Coach stood leaning against the side of the dug-out smiling.  Coach was a grizzly bearded man with the largest of hearts.

As Aaron approached, Coach held out his hand.  They stood looking and seeing one another and shook hands.  ‘Well done, Aaron.’

‘Are you well?’ Aaron asked Coach.

‘Don’t.  Let’s not worry about that.  Even if I weren’t, I’ll be soon.  You don’t need them,’ Coach said waving at the scout with the radar in his hand.  ‘Baseball will always be there for you.’

‘I can’t get in.  Maybe the scout is my only option.’

‘The hell you can’t.  I’ll help.  I’ve already contacted a few colleges on your behalf and I’m not done.  I have a list of division II and III coaches to contact next week.  Let me do that for you.’

‘I don’t know.  I can’t get past the numbers.’

‘Hell with numbers.  It’s not whether or not you can figure them properly, it’s how you think of them critically.  And if anyone with a brain sees what you do in life doesn’t realize you’ve outgrown the use of numbers hiding in a test, they aren’t worth your time.  You can be more without baseball than you can with only baseball.  Understand?’

The teams now rushed the moment from its usefulness and brought both Aaron and Coach to their next.  Players and friends crowded the dug-out and gave thanks and smiles.  As Aaron and Coach were pulled in opposite directions, Aaron reached for Coach’s shoulder and yanked his shirt.  Coach was being pulled away while straining his head to hear Aaron.  Coach nodded his head to listen.

‘Thank you.’ Aaron said.  ‘Truly, thank you.’



Thank you for reading.  Share freely.  Please give credit.  If you enjoyed this short story you might also enjoy my self-published story ‘Don’t Be a Sally’ found via the amazon link below.

A letter to Gavin – Our soon to be born little man.


Your due date is August 28th, 2015. Though I’ve guessed that you’ll be born on the 17th. Soon we’ll know. We live on the coast and plan on bringing you to the ocean when it’s safe to do so. It has been a mild summer to this point. Perhaps you’ll see large waves from a storm that’s out to sea.  Winds from storms push waves higher and sometimes too high and they become destructive but are beautiful. Though, nothing is more destructive than man. We’ll talk about that at length.

Over the past few weekends we’ve prepared your room. Your mother picked two colors and the painting is complete. I’m unable to correctly see the light green but the blue is very nice. Your Aunt Shannon helped paint. In fact, she did the largest amount and was a great help. Your aunt lives a few miles from us and has been visiting often. There are a number of people waiting to meet you.

Especially your mother and I. You move more now than ever. We watch you create impressions on your mothers stomach. And yesterday we watched you via an ultra sound screen and you moved nearly non stop. We saw your feet kick and your hands open and close. We said hello. You’re doing great.

The fact is we’ve been waiting for you longer than nine months. We’ve been waiting for years. I’ve been waiting for you longer even than I’ve known your mother. It’s difficult to explain. I was meant to be a father and Megan was meant to be a mother. Finally we will be and it’s thanks to you.

You’re room is nearly finished. All that’s left to do is to place a few items on the walls. I’ll tell you something that you can poke fun at me with later. I didn’t want to paint your room. I thought the existing paint was nice and the color fine. Your mother wasn’t impressed with me. She was right. So now your room is two different colors and it’s what it should be. I was wrong.

In your room is a sliding chair. It’s a bit of a combination between a traditional rocking chair and a slider with a foot stool. The stool also slides. In the morning I take my coffee into your room and I sit on the chair and make it slide. I look at your crib and I imagine you standing there wanting to come out. I will see this soon. I still need to find a fitting Boston Red Sox hat for you. I’d like to see you standing in your crib with that on. And while you look at me I’ll explain to you who the best baseball pitcher in my lifetime is. His name is Pedro Martinez. Yesterday Pedro was elected to the baseball hall of fame.

I coached baseball for a number of years. Pedro was in his prime while I was coaching. For a time, Pedro had nearly perfect mechanics. I would study his pitching motion and try my best to coach his motion to players of his similar build. Though your Uncle Phil was built more like Roger Clemens and I coached him mainly using Roger’s mechanics. Your uncle was much better than I was at baseball. A few colleges wanted him to play for them. But, that’s another story.

Your mother had the baby shower at the Bridge. It’s not an actually bridge. It’s a nice restaurant that overhangs the canal and it’s near a bridge. There’s a room upstairs that can be rented for occasions such as a baby shower. Your great grandmother, Avis, both grandmothers, and all of your aunts were there. Your mother was told that she looked like a pregnant model. I know this because when I arrived at the end of the baby shower an employee told me the story. Below is a picture of your mother during your baby shower. I’ve mentioned before that your mother is beautiful. It’s hard to believe she is nearly 8 months along in this picture.

IMG_2357 (1)

Sometimes at night, I write. And if I come out of my office to find your mother she’s almost always in your room. A few nights ago I found her folding your clothes.

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I would not miss this process for anything. From the moment we found out to when your mother starting to show to the first time I saw you move with my own eyes. Sometimes I put my ear to your mothers stomach and listen to you. If I try and focus I believe I’ve heard your heart beat many times.

See you soon, Gavin.