Before they know it, Grayson and Maniac are throwing the ball around, with a healthy bit of instruction added in.
This is how Maniac gets introduced to the "stopball." Grayson discovered the stopball in the Texas League.
The stopball isn't like a curve that sneaks up on you. The stopball is announced. And as you're thinking about it, getting ready to hit it, it will appear to stop, just as it reaches home plate: "Maniac never knew if he was swinging at the old man's pitch or at his speech. Whatever, in weeks of trying, he never hit out of the infield" (26.7).
As much as they are friends, Grayson is still the adult in the relationship and can't help himself asking Maniac about school.
One day Maniac finally shares with him that he goes to his own school: he uses the Butterscotch Krimpet money Grayson gives him every morning to buy the old books for sale at the library.
Grayson sees Maniac learning outside of school and decides that if the kid can do it, so can he, and he asks Maniac to teach him to read.