Good morning to Daniel Murphy.
As he majestically rolls out of bed in pajamas that are environmentally friendly, scientifically proven to increase your rotational hip drive, and only moderately expensive enough for a true gentlemen to deem worthy of a purchase, the cogs of his creative mind begin to turn. He can’t shake the idea twirling in his thoughts this morning – but he also can’t identify what it is. He must take this nugget to the lab for further analysis.
But not without a proper, routine breakfast first. Just as every baseball game must be prepared for in the same way, so too must each day. Being the true American hero that he is, he cooks up his breakfast to its classic proportions – but with his exact specifications. Eggs scrambled for precisely 6 minutes and 43 seconds. Any longer and he’ll be late to the fastball, any shorter and he won’t sit on the curveball long enough. Bacon grilled to the exact hue of the tree he chopped down yesterday to make today’s bat, as always. And hash browns tanned to their golden color, honoring his glove so that the Wilson will continue to catch every ball in its direction.
Having accomplished this task, he climbs the stairs from the second-to-highest-story apartment to his penthouse laboratory above. Moving deftly beyond his many worktables filled with test tubes and whiteboards full of calculations, Daniel approaches his prized thinking chair.
Sitting at his desk, Daniel ponders yesterday’s concoction. The eyedrop formula he has been creating over the past decade is nearly reaching a new peak – although he knows it will never be perfect. His fully custom eyedrop prescription that allows him to pick up pitch spin, velocity, tilt, and location up to 0.000077 seconds earlier than every other player on the field is so close to another breakthrough that he can feel it coursing through his veins.
Daniel leans. His head hovers over yesterday’s formula alteration that led him to an 0-3 night. Clearly, it was no good. But the numbers…They add up just how they should. Every quotient calculated, every summation carried, every derivative derived.
In frustration, Daniel snags the baseball that he keeps on his tabletop and slams it on the desk. He has let his strength get away from him this time. The ball pancakes flat against the tile floor. It is a good thing he is in the privacy of his lab. If anyone were to see the strength that lies beneath the façade, his life as he knows it could unravel. He always keeps this part of his brain deactivated during baseball so that the abnormality does not shine through. But, wait…
Daniel, in retrieving the ball from the ground, inspects the guts of the baseball now warped. Could it be…?
Daniel leans over once more, inspecting his notes. Yesterday’s formula, which had looked so promising, still looks just as encouraging. It hadn’t worked and he knew that. But it appears that, in his excitement at the prospect of a brand new breakthrough yesterday, he had forgotten the slight change that he made to the formula halfway through.
The variable he was once using for the strings found inside a baseball was changed to reflect the cork from the heart of the ball! Yesterday, in his haste, he had used fibers of yarn rather than cork shavings in his distillation! Jumping from his seat, Murphy grabs the baseball from his desk and heads to his worktables. He repeats the process he followed to create yesterday’s formula – but correcting for the yarn-based error that occurred.
The liquid travels through its tubes and makes its way home to Daniel’s Lucky Beaker. Using his favorite dropper, he sucks up a few drops of liquid and drops them into his eyes. Right eye first, keeping with routine. Then, the left.
Setting down his tools, Daniel looks at the semi-crushed baseball. As usual, the formula takes its effects. The ball lights up with its laser-like yellow outline. The seams are now glowing with their usual red fervor. Today’s formula appears to be a success.
Now, it is time to head to the field. He follows his normal daily routine in the washroom, hair glossed back, teeth brushed using the best tooth-brushing mechanics a dentist could ask for. And, of course, the most important part: Practicing his speech delivery in the mirror. (Have you ever seen this man do an interview? It’s no wonder.) If he is going to take care of any issues the city may present him after the game tonight, he must be prepared.
Daniel Murphy exits his apartment door and goes through the motions of the everyman Major League Baseball player. He takes his ground balls, hits his BP, plays the part of the great teammate those around him now know him for. But, inside, Daniel yearns for the night on the other side of today’s game so he can truly unleash his potential.
He goes 2-3 tonight with a walk and two home runs. It appears tonight’s formula was a success. Tomorrow morning, he will see that this was indeed the case when he goes over his data and notices that he was seeing the ball 0.0000024 seconds earlier than with previous recipes.
Tonight’s game ends and Murphy leaves the stadium for his apartment. He finally can be the man he truly is. After a short rest in his recliner reading today’s article in Science Daily, it is time for the man to become himself.
Tonight’s game ran a little long, disturbing his usual habits. What a bother. He may only have time to take care of one situation where his help is needed tonight.
After walking only a few blocks, Murphy hears the wailing of a dog through his self-made hearing device. Accompanying those cries is the weeping of a woman, crying for help to save her precious pet. Daniel knows he is short on time, according to his nightly turn-in schedule, just as much as he knows how poorly he sleeps if he doesn’t help someone in need, even if it is only in the slightest way. He changes his course.
Walking a few blocks more in the direction of the sounds, Daniel finds their source. A woman bent over near an overflowing dumpster. The nose of a canine protrudes from behind the trash bin where the dog has lodged himself. The woman feels Murphy approaching and turns to him.
With her hands halfway covering her mouth, she stammers “Sir! Please! Help! My dog! He saw a rat and, and, and his leash ripped out of my hand! I didn’t, I don’t, what do I-”
“Ma’am,” interrupts our hero. The woman, one part stunned, one part relieved, calms immediately at the sound of his comforting voice. “I think I can help you. I will stay here and make sure your dog is okay while you go get help. This dumpster is chained to the wall real tight but it looked this was an all-night diner out front. Why don’t you go in there and find someone with a key?”
The woman speeds away. Our hero turns to the dog, thinking to himself “Yeah, I’ve felt like that, too, buddy. Down in the count to Kershaw, 0-2.” He inspects the lock and chain holding the dumpster so snugly to the wall. It is a wonder that this animal managed to cram himself into such a small space in the first place.
Daniel Murphy, with about as much effort as you and I stir a bowl of oatmeal, pulls the garbage bin away from the wall. He was expecting the lock to break open or the chain to snap but ended up pulling away a few bricks from the wall where the locking mechanisms were attached. Oops.
The pooch limps a few steps and comes to rest himself on the ground a few feet away. As much as Daniel would like to take the dog back to the lab and use a few of his own restorative concoctions that heal his nicks and bruises during the season, he knows he can’t be caught pulling sections of wall away from their structures. The veterinarian will be able to attend to this pup.
Daniel turns and begins his saunter back to his apartment. Through his listening device, he hears the perplexed conversation between the dog owner and store manager now that they have discovered the scene that Murphy just left.
On his way back to his apartment, Murphy ponders if he could have done more this night but, no, he sadly realizes. Routines are routines. His bedtime is approaching and he has seen the data on (and conducted his own personal research about) the effects of a consistent bedtime. It is time to turn in.
As he approaches his apartment building’s porch, Daniel ponders if there is a formula he can create to simulate sleep for the body so that he can stay out longer and help the city more. Laughing and climbing the stairs to his apartment, Murphy humbly acknowledges to himself that he should leave that work to the “real scientists” of the world and stick with what he knows and loves: baseball. He unlocks his apartment door, removes his coat, and begins his bedtime routine.