Maggie is the narrator’s wife, and the mother of his daughters. They have been together for so long that Maggie ‘‘knew me when I still dreamed of playing professionally.’’ Although they have a warm and affectionate marriage, the narrator does not tell his wife where he goes at night because, although she loves him, she does not seem to be a ‘‘true believer.’’
The story is narrated in the first person and we never learn the narrator’s proper name. He remains ‘‘I’’ throughout the story. He is an older man, a locksmith by trade, who has been married for ‘‘over half a lifetime’’ to his wife, Maggie. He has two daughters and a granddaughter. He has season tickets on the first-base side of the park, and he often takes his granddaughter to games. He spearheads the mysterious nighttime effort to replace the artificial turf with real grass during the baseball strike of 1981.
The Narrator’s First Daughter
The narrator’s first daughter is grown up now, and lives in Japan, where she has season tickets for the Yokahama team, and she sits on the first-base side. She sends him box scores from the Japanese newspapers and Japanese baseball magazines.
The Narrator’s Granddaughter
The narrator’s granddaughter is the child of his second daughter, and lives in the same town that he does. He takes her to games with him, and although she often falls asleep in his lap in the late innings, she is learning how to calculate the earned runs average, even though she is only in second grade. The narrator would trust his granddaughter with the secret of the night visits but, because she is so young, he feels it would be unfair to ask her to keep a secret from her parents. So he does not confide in her.
The Narrator’s Second Daughter
The narrator’s second daughter lives in the same town where he lives. She married a man who has season tickets on the third-base side of the park, and the narrator feels that this is a sort of betrayal, like ‘‘marrying outside the faith.’’ She is the mother of his granddaughter, whom he often takes to games with him. Despite his love for his daughter, because she has gone over to the third-base side, he does not feel he can trust her with the secret of the night visits to the park.
The Rich Man
The rich man is never named in the story. He is a man of substance who has appeared in the financial pages of the newspaper. He is also a fan who has season tickets close to the narrator’s box. The narrator goes to him with his idea, and it is the rich man who first signs on, promising to bring his father and friends with him to help with the project of replacing the artificial turf.
Sara Constantakis – Short Stories for Students – Presenting Analysis, Context & Criticism on Commonly Studied Short Stories, vol. 30, W.P. Kinsella, Published by Gale Group, 2010