We may wonder why Malamud chooses to place an interval of fifteen years between Roy's first shot at the major leagues and his second. Once again, Malamud is somewhat bound to his choice of a mythological setting. In the first section ("Pre-Game"), Roy strikes out the Whammer, an aging star. This event represents the beginning of the vegetative myth, as the younger hero-god replaces the dying, elder one. In order for the myth to work, however, Roy must be the same age when his own power waxes and wanes, as the vegetative myth cycles with the seasons, within a single year. Roy must play (or, as a hero-god, "exist") for one season and one season only, like all such hero-gods. Malamud therefore creates a device to suddenly make Roy the age of a veteran player: his shooting by Harriet Bird.