“Hanging Curve”, by Gardner Dozois (originally published in _Fantasy and Science Fiction_, 2002).
Okay, this is more like it! It’s the last game of the World Series,
bottom of the ninth, score’s 3-2, two out, two strikes, here’s the
windup, and the pitch, annnnnnnnnnnd….. the ball stops. In mid-air,
right in front of the plate, immobile and unmoveable.
Dozois takes us through the consequences of this utter impossibility
— what happens to the World Series, and to baseball as a sport, and
to the people who were on the field when it happened, and to
scientific research and popular culture and… it’s all done very
cleanly, very plausibly. And then, at the end, it just… telling you
*how* it ends would really spoil it. But it made me laugh, and it’s
genuine SF, and it’s what I’d been hoping to see in this anthology. If
all the contributors had been as apt at judging their ‘funniest’ as
Dozois, there’d be no need for scare quotes.