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THE MIAMI NEWS

Stories by Danielle Flood

"At 75, He Goes the Distance"
Published: January, 1979
 
Meet slick Chick, a marathon man
 
There is Mostow the Long-Distance Runner because from the beginning there was Mostow the Realist.
 
The story of a certain entrant in Saturday's Orange Bowl Marathon is that of the meshing of a new part of an identity with an old part of a personality.
 
Mostow the Long Distance Runner: a 75-year-old resident of Hallandale and of Skokie, Ill., who began running a year and a half ago...
 
 
 
"Hands Have a Voice of Their Own"
Published: January 24, 1979
 
The bar is glassy and black. The napkin is placed. The drink is brought. The glass is empty. It is removed. Quickly, the hands move to refinll it. The movement of the fingers is expert. The napkin. The drink. The nails are clean, filed, polished with clear. They gleam -- like the mouth of the glass with the drink.
 
The glass is empty again. The glass will be filled, yes, with the same. The glass is gone. The bar is cleaned. The napkin is placed. The drink. The tab.
 
The hands are near the tab at the edge of the bar. The palms, flat, carry the weight of the bartender leaning, as if to rest. The diamonds shine, on both pinky fingers. And they are learge enough not to be in the same leauge with a 25- or 50-cent tip. Not even 75. Skip it.
 
Pay. That is what they convey at this moment, these hands. 
 
They belong to Mike Mercurio. From behind the bar at the Sans Souci on Miami Beach he looks for hands unlike his own. "I'm looking for greasy fingernails. Working-class hands. You usually get the tips from working-class people. Doctors and lawyers, forget about them." A nearby waiter says, "You'd better not say that, Mike: they won't come in here no more." "I don't care," Mike says, "Goddam doctors and lawyers." "Mike is his name," the waiter says, "Looking at fingers is his game."
 
Such a pastime is unusual. Most people don't consciously notice others' hands, at least not immediately, if only because the hands are not usually in one place long enough to be viewed, especially not carefully. On any one person, one hand is not usually doing exactly the same thing as the other and is often not in the same vicinity as the other. For similar reasons, some people aren't aware of their own hands unless attention is drawn to them. The independence of these two seemingly equal appendages makes them for the most part subtle vehicles of communication. 
 


"The Art of Breaking in a Baseball Glove"

Everybody's got a favorite way -- with shaving cream, water, oil, coffee, spit...

What's really something for a baseball player, really something, is to be able to go out on the field in a major league game and use a glove that has not been broken in. Gene Michael, a veteran of the Yankees and now one of the team's spring training instructors, says the only guy he ever knew who could do that was Zolio Versalles, formerly of the Minnesota Twins, who is reportedly going to be playing with the Panama Banqueros.

That's like playing a trumpet without warming up the mouthpiece first, or shooting pool without chalk, or riding a surfboard that hasn't been waxed. Mostly, it just isn't done.

Except for those moments when he's at bat, the glove is the one thing that comes between a player and a baseball. He wants that gove to be second skin to him. "It's gotta be perfect," says Yankee infielder Bucky Dent, "exactly the way I want it."

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