Free Times, Columbia SC
Just before sunrise, on the day of the last game of the 2004 World Series, Molly confronts Buck about his recent, worrisome behavior. He rebuffs her and she admonishes him to be careful. Buck encounters a sinister man who reminds him to “play ball” or else.
Prior to the game, Red Sox fans bond over their mutual attraction to Buck George and Red Sox misfortunes. They recount some of the controversial plays that the Green Monster influenced. In the top of the first inning, Buck drops an easy fly ball that allows two runs to score. In the Red Sox dugout, he encounters the spirit of Babe Ruth, but does not recognize him. Babe informs Buck that the Red Sox curse can be lifted if Babe can find one honorable man to resist temptation. He recounts some Red Sox tragedies and the genesis of the curse, including Harry Frazee selling the Babe to the Yankees.
It is the bottom of the ninth inning. Police are positioned around the field in anticipation of the fans’ reactions to the end of the game, either way. Fans and Molly speculate about Buck’s behavior while he’s clearly struggling with his thoughts. He makes a final deliberation and fatal decision about whether or not to take a fall. The sinister man fulfills his task to tie up loose ends.