Syracuse, N.Y. -- The ball left the bat one summer evening in Connecticut for the all-too-familiar trip to the shortstop. Three ... four ... five hops ... something like that. And into the waiting glove it went. Room service. Thus, with the routine flip across the diamond, I made my accustomed right-hand turn at first base and headed for the dugout. But when a crooked forefinger caught my eye, I stopped to talk to the guy attached to it. "You run pretty good," he said, leaning on the fence.