Gray and white may not be the most festive colors as a rule, but right now Serifosa Dome is ablaze with gray and white banners of all kinds, as the citizens rejoice in Serifosa West’s amazing run to the finals of the All-Komarr Boys’ Secondary School Baseball Tournament.
Tomorrow at thirteen sharp, the Serifosan boys will face last year’s champion, powerhouse Solstice-Malter, in the Solstice Baseball Subdome. With each team taking its dome’s traditional moniker, it will be the Dodgers versus the Golden. No one can argue that Serifosa isn’t the underdog, but for a dome with a dismal record of losses in the first or maybe second round, just making it this far seems a miracle—and who can say what might not happen next?
Among the Serifosa West nine is one name that stands out from the rest. Seventeen-year-old Lauri Tuomonen has been teaching Komarrans how to pronounce his family name all his life. His mother, Irit Amsel (49), is a Serifosan born and bred—“since the Settlement, my mother would have it,” she says ruefully—who fell for the courtesy and beautiful eyes of a young man in a coffee bar one day, and got no small shock when he turned up to their second date with beautiful silver eyes on his collar. Kimi Tuomonen (48) came to Komarr from his native Sankt-Markku, Barrayar, when he was assigned to head Serifosa ImpSec as a young officer. He didn’t plan on spending his whole career in Serifosa, or raising children here (Lauri’s older sister Erikka, 19, is a sociology major at Talmar University, while Liisa, the youngest at 11, has been making her presence felt on the Serifosa junior girls’ softball team), but Komarr has surprised Barrayarans before.
Lauri has played baseball since he was Liisa’s age, later entering Serifosa West SecSchool as part of a surprising crop of baseball talent, including fireballer Viv Marciano, heavy hitter David Ike’e and base-running star Xavi Hille. A natural shortstop with a respectable batting average, he is vice-captain of his team and has often appeared in this newspaper’s pixels before in this capacity. “Lauri’s who you want behind you when you’re on the mound,” says Marciano. “He’s helped get me out of the, um, out of a jam a lot of times with a double play.” Do his teammates ever find it odd to be playing with a Barrayaran, given past history? “What, because Barrayarans don’t know anything about baseball? I mean, sorry, but we all know it’s true, right? They don’t even have a Tournament over there. So it’s a good thing Lauri grew up here, because he’d have wasted his chops otherwise.”
Lauri’s father admits that baseball was a closed book to him when he first came to Komarr. “My wife is a fan, and she started taking me to games before we even married. I’ve just about mastered the lingo by now. I don’t know why it isn’t more popular on Barrayar,” he adds, with tongue somewhat in cheek. “The combination of individual heroism and team-based sacrifice ought to be ideal for our national character.” The elder Tuomonen, while still based in Serifosa, is now head of ImpSec for Komarr C Quadrant. Asked if he expects his son to follow in his footsteps, he shakes his head. “All he wanted for a long time was to be a baseball player. These days he’s talking about physical therapy, working with people hurt in space accidents…He’ll do what’s right for him. Now my older daughter has ImpSec in mind…” Tuomonen’s smile is still reminiscent of what charmed an impressionable Komarran girl into falling for a Barrayaran officer.
Lauri himself has clearly inherited it. “People call me Barrayaran because I’ve got my dad’s name,” he says. “And I guess I am. But I’m half Komarran too, and I grew up here, it’s my culture and baseball is part of it.” Would he like to introduce baseball to his Barrayaran cousins? “Absolutely. Especially because they’d take a while to learn it, right, so if we had cross-planet tournaments Komarr would have it in the bag for at least the first few years, yeah? No, seriously,” he goes on more reflectively, “I’ve never met the Crown Prince, but he’s about the same age as me, and he’s half Komarran too, right, he should get the chance to play baseball. I’ve seen him on vids, he’s kind of a big guy, he looks pretty smart, he might make a terrific catcher.”
The possibility of an Imperial baseball game must be left to the future for now; for the moment, this newspaper wishes Lauri and his teammates all the best against the Golden in tomorrow’s game. Play ball!