Below, you will find a fictional dialogue between Justin and Justina, two unusual-yet-similarly-named friends. Justin has referenced an unspecified “pitching injury” in previous dialogues. Justina always notes in response that Justin was not a baseball player, much less a pitcher. Will we finally get to the bottom of the mystery?

Illustration from "Baseball Joe in the World Series" by Lester Chadwick (1917).
Illustration from “Baseball Joe in the World Series” by Lester Chadwick

Setting the Stage

Justin and Justina are walking together. Justina purchased housewares. She is juggling multiple bags as they step out of the store.

Act I 〜 Denied Twice

Justin: I’ll take those.
Justina: No no, they’re heavy.
Justin: That’s why I’m taking them.
Justina: But they’re heavy.
Justin: Twice. Now reject my offer one more time before you hand the bags over.
Justina: Well if you insist, you can take them.
Justin: You’re always off by this much.
Justina: Thanks! Are you sure you’re alright?
Justin: Pitching injury acting up just a little, but I’ll manage. Not a big deal.
Justina: Pitching injury…

Act II 〜 The Pitching Injury Returns

Justin: What about my pitching injury?
Justina: You weren’t a pitcher!
Justin: So? I explained before that many people who never stood at the plate have baseball bats.
Justina: You have claimed that your so-called “pitching injury” acts up when I glare at you.
Justin: I don’t feel seen.
Justina: So how exactly did you get your supposed “pitching injury”?
Justin: Quite a question to ask when I’m fighting through it to carry your cooking implements.
Justina: That doesn’t…
(Justina is cut off by a young man’s yelling)
Mystery Man: Justin! Is that you?
Justin: Von!? No way! Clutch play!
Justina: …?

Act III 〜 Proton Von

Justin: Let me introduce you too. Justina, this is Von. He was the ace pitcher at my high school. We called him “Proton Von” because he always brought us home first. Von, this is Justina. I honestly don’t know how to introduce her.
Justina: Hi.
Proton Von: Nice to meet you, Justina.
Justin: You know, it’s crazy man. I still think back to the good times we had. You know I have to type “protonvpn” to connect to my VPN, but instead, I type “protonvon.” Doesn’t come through in the clutch like you did.
Proton Von: I didn’t really follow that, but it sounds clutch.
Justina: Why do you two keep saying “clutch”? What do you mean?
Justin: Clutch is like when Proton Von threw 160 pitches in a win, then came back four days later and did it again.
Proton Von: Yeah. That hurt though, man. I switched to second base in college because I didn’t want to be another statistic. I didn’t want to be the next Hiroshi Gondoh.

Act IV 〜 Catching Up

Justin: What do you do now?
Proton Von: Baseball scout man, working toward being an executive. Got recruited to be a model, but decided to follow my dreams.
Justin: Gotta keep following your dreams man.
Proton Von: What do you do?
Justin: Create content by talking to her.
Justina: Me?
Proton Von: That’s something.
Justin: It certainly is.
Justina: Hey wait, Von was it?
Proton Von: That’s right.
Justina: You knew him in high school?
Proton Von: Knew him and loved him. Justin is the man.

Act V 〜 About the Pitching Injury

Justina: Did he have a “pitching injury” in high school?
Proton Von: Pitching injury? He wasn’t on the team.
Justina: Explain yourself, Justin!
Justin: Yo Von, you remember when we went to the park to play ball with Mark and Derwin?
Proton Von: Oh yeah. That was fun. We played some baseketball too.
Justina: Derwin…
Justin: Who handled the pitching when you and Mark wanted to do fielding practice.
Proton Von: Oh! Now I remember. Hurts just remembering. I still don’t know how you just bounced up like nothing happened.
Justina: Wait what?
Justin: Hit me right in the plex.
Justina: Explain…

Act VI 〜 The Truth of the Pitching Injury

Proton Von: So we went out to play some baseball. Mark and I were on the team. Mark played in the outfield and I was pitcher. We started where I’d take batting practice and Mark would pitch. Then we switched. Justin and Derwin were fielding.
Justina: Uh huh.
Proton Von: Mark and I wanted to get some fielding practice too. Derwin and Justin offered to pitch. We didn’t want Derwin to get hit or anything, so we asked Justin.
Justin: Kind of a hero, no?
Justina: I think they just didn’t care about your health…
Proton Von: Caught one a little low. Hit Justin straight in the stomach.
Justin: Solar plexus.
Justina: Ow…
Proton Von: He was down for a minute or two. We were all worried he was dead. Derwin thanked me for telling him not to pitch. But then Justin bounced back up and was ready to go again.
Justina: …
Proton Von: He could have been special if he could throw harder than 60.
Justin: Alas…

Act VII 〜 Is That Really a Pitching Injury?

Justina: Is that a “pitching injury” though?
Justin: I mean… I was pitching and I was injured.
Proton Von: I don’t know. I think of an arm injury when I hear “pitching injury.” Being hit by a line drive is a different category.
Justina: Yeah!
Proton Von: You two are invalidating my experiences.
Justina: And you’re not still injured? I mean Von, right? You said he was fine two minutes later.
Proton Von: Yeah, although school started a week later and he said he was still sore.
Justin: Got an 87 on my first math test that year. 95 minimum without the injury.
Justina: But it went away?
Proton Von: I think so, right?
Justin: Have you heard of PTSD?
Proton Von: I did have a flashback thinking about it. Sorry about that line drive.
Justin: Not a big deal.
Justina: How does my glaring at you make your “pitching injury” act up?
Justin: Acting up now. Can’t talk.

Act VIII 〜 Parting Shots

Proton Von: I have to run, but it was great catching up with you, Justin. We should meet up sometime and go through some less painful memories.
Justin: Of course, I’ll get in touch.
Proton Von: Nice meeting you, Justina.
Justina: You too, thank you for clearing up his pitching injury nonsense.
(Proton Von laughs as he continues on his way. Justin and Justina are left behind.)
Justin: Feeling a little sore.
Justina: What, your pitching injury?
Justin: No, your bags are heavy. We should start walking.
Justina: Oh right, thanks for carrying them. Do you need me to take one back?
Justin: Nah. Not a big deal.
Justina: It did sound painful.
Justin: Hmm?
Justina: The injury while you were pitching.
Justin: It was a “pitching injury”!