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Old 10-30-2004, 12:47 PM   #261 (permalink)
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ahhh where is it, its almost 10am PST and still no new chapter. Tib you're killing my morning routine here sir.


please ITP gods let everyone catch the sarcasm in that.
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Old 10-30-2004, 03:28 PM   #262 (permalink)
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Sorry for the unusual wait today, but the boys had early soccer games. I couldn't just post without my last minute edit. That's my morning routine, Faroo6.

Anyway, here's Chapter 21. I was going to post Dave's ratings as he hits the Bigs, but something said no, you might spoil something so if anybody really wants to know, PM me.

Here's Chapter 21: Me, My Pajamas, and Rutherford Monroe
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Old 10-30-2004, 03:34 PM   #263 (permalink)
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CHAPTER 21:

Me, My Pajamas and Rutherford Monroe


I never touched my bag until I was in my room. That’s the Bigs.

We marched out of the terminal at D/FW and I looked around for the cab but didn’t see one. This long, black car pulls up – I think they call it a, yeah, a limousine.
“After you, Mr. Driscoll.”
Absof***inglutely.
We piled in. “How was your flight?” asked Ginger.
“Fine,” I said. “But then again, a ride on the back of a mule would have been fine, too.”
“I understand,” she replied with a smile.
“So what’s the plan?” I asked.
“First we check into the hotel. You’ll be rooming with Mr. Paneda for tonight. Tomorrow you’ll be placed with one of the other players. Room service is available, of course, if you’re hungry.”
“What about tomorrow? Do I have any paperwork or anything? A contract to sign, something like that?”
“Your eligibility has been taken care of,” said Ginger. “Your contract was sent to Mr. Majkowski yesterday. As far as I know he cleared it for your approval. Your signature is all that’s required at this point. It’s a standard rookie contract, with certain incentive bonuses. Payday is monthly, on the first.”
“I see.”
“Do you have money?”
“Money?”
“Yes. Do you have any money with you?”
“Uh, I have a couple bucks.”
Ms. Wilson smiled and reached into her attaché and handed me an envelope. In it was two thousand dollars. “It’s an advance on your first paycheck.”
“What am I going to do with two thousand dollars?”
She just smiled enigmatically. “I’m sure you’ll find a use for it.”
“Take it,” said Paneda.
I took it. What did I know?

My hotel room was not a room, but a two bedroom suite. I tipped the bellboys and set my suitcase on the stand. Before I could even get my shaving cream out there was a knock on the door. It was Clark McKinnon. He looked like it was four in the morning. Of course, it was four in the morning.
“Welcome to the Knights, Davey.”
“Thanks, skip.”
“You getting along all right?”
“Yeah, great.”
“Good. We’ve heard a lot about you and we’re looking forward to seeing you play. There’s a player’s meeting tomorrow at four o’clock. Infield at six. BP at six-thirty. Until then, stay out of trouble.”
“Right.”
“And read your CBAPA packet as soon as you get a chance. If you have any questions you can talk to Al Gills, he’s your player rep.”
“Okay. Thanks.”

Paneda wished me good night with a suggestion to get some sleep. I couldn’t sleep. I went over my contract and signed it; I didn’t come all this way not to sign my first big league contract. I laid in my bed thinking about a hundred things. Who will my roommate be? What number will I be? Will I play right away?

At 7:30 the next morning Paneda left for breakfast.
“Take your money with you today,” he advised.
I showered, shaved, and grabbed my player’s packet. As if on cue there was a knock on the door. I walked toward it with every intention of opening it, but as my hand reached for the handle, I froze. I got scared for some reason. I was 22 and in the Bigs and I realized in that moment how unprepared I really was.

I actually took a step backwards. Then, like any rookie who wants to put his best foot forward, I took a deep breath, took a confident step forward….and peeked through the spyhole. There were two faces crowding the distorted lens. One was Theron Richards, KC’s first rounder from 4 years ago. The other was Joel Kral, the heir apparent to Mike Valencia’s left field spot.
“You think he’s up yet?” I heard Richards say.
“Dunno,” said Kral as he raised his hand to knock again.
I sprinted over to the bathroom door as three sharp raps sounded.
“Yeah?” I called.
“Driscoll, open up.”
“It’s open. Come on in.”
They opened the door and walked in. “Just wanted to say welcome to the team,” said Kral, shaking my hand.
“Let’s go to breakfast,” said Richards. “Team tradition.”
“Sure,” I smiled. “I wouldn’t want to break up a team tradition. Let me throw on some clothes.”
They smiled back. “Don’t bother,” said Theron. “We’re not dressed either and we’re only going down to the hotel restaurant.”
“You sure?”
“Yeah,” he replied. “Do it all the time.”
“Well, okay, I guess,” I said, stepping into my slippers. Pajamas for breakfast? In public? Well, whatever…
“Bring Ginger’s money,” said Kral.
Why is everyone telling me that?

We ate an uninterrupted breakfast in the hotel restaurant. They were very nice to me. They answered all my questions and offered lots of good advice about how to survive my first few days in the Bigs. The waitress looked at us kind of funny, in our pajamas and all. After we ate, they excused themselves and left me to return to my room. First I went to the hotel gift shop and bought a few postcards to send to my family. I bought a little stuffed cowgirl for Gwen. Then I returned to my room to call Cliff.

When walked in I didn’t notice anything right away. When I picked up the phone I didn’t notice anything. But a moment later I turned slowly toward the dresser and saw that my suitcase was missing. Maybe the maid came while I was at breakfast, I thought. I looked at my unmade bed. What’s going on?

I put down the phone and opened the dresser drawers. Nothing. Not a stitch of clothes. Not a pair of underwear. Not one shoe. I went to the bathroom. No shampoo. No shaving cream. No razor. Just a handwritten list on the bathroom counter.

Now I knew why I was told to carry the two grand with me.

I went into the hallway carrying the envelope, the list and Gwen’s cowgirl doll. Two of my new teammates, Joe Purkey and Gary Torre, were walking down the hall toward me, talking quietly to each other. They smiled as they went by.
“Cute doll. Do you have your two grand?” said Purkey as they reached me.
I showed him the envelope.
“Good boy. Happy shopping,” he sang.
“Where are my clothes?” I asked, politely.
“Team tradition,” said Torre. “All rookies get a new wardrobe.”
Team tradition, I thought miserably. Well, I wouldn’t want to break up a team tradition.

Have you ever hailed a cab in downtown Dallas in your pajamas? Have you ever gone to a men’s store in your slippers at nine o’clock in the morning and purchased two thousand dollars’ worth of clothes? You should try it sometime. You get the most interesting looks from people.

I got to the stadium on time. I wore one of my two new suits. Allan Sisk, our locker room attendant, met me at the door with a look that said I always know the rookies by their new clothes. He was a stout black man, with a round chest, big biceps and small hands. Allan Sisk was a wizard at the chemistry of stain removal. He checked his clipboard. Yes, here I was: Driscoll, number 26. He saw the look on my face.
“What’s the matter, kid?”
“Nothing,” I lied. “It’s just-, you know. Twenty-six.”
“Something wrong with locker twenty-six?”
“Oh, locker twenty-six. Oh, no. No, nothing wrong with locker twenty-six.”
“Good, ‘cause I put you next to Jeff Bynum, your new roommate.”
“Oh. Great. Jeff Bynum,” I repeated, making a mental note. Jeff Bynum is my roommate. “I thought my uniform number was twenty-six.”
“I haven’t assigned you a number yet. Still time for me to sew your name on a dozen jerseys. You have a preference?”
“Actually, yeah. Seventeen.”
“Oh, now that’s Gilly’s number. Has been for eleven years. Don’t think he’d take too kindly to you swipin’ it.”
“Right,” I agreed, making another mental note: never steal your union rep’s number when he’s also a two-time all-star and an eleven year veteran.
“How about eleven?”
“Clemente Hernandez.”
“Thirteen?”
“What, are you kiddin’? That’s Munoz’ number. It’s retired.”
“Oh, right. Of course. Fifteen?”
“Joe Purkey.”
“Jeez…”
“How ‘bout I pick one?”
“No. I don’t want one.”
“You don’t want one?”
“No.”
“You gotta have one, kid. You can’t play without one.”
“Isn’t there another one I can have?”
“Another one?” said Allen, now thoroughly confused. “What the hell’s wrong with you, boy? How many different jerseys do you think we have?”
For Christ’s Sake.
“No, I didn’t mean-. Never mind. Just pick me something, Allen. I trust you,” I said.
“Here,” he said, grabbing a gray road jersey from a neat stack on a nearby table. “Number four. Used to be Riley Waters number. It also once belonged to the first black player to play for the Knights.”
“Rutherford Monroe,” I said, remembering a plaque in a tiny museum.
Allen Sisk’s face went blank with shock. “You know your history,” he said with a shake of his head. “You’re **** with numbers, but you know your history.”

I was just in time to put on my practice uniform before the team meeting. I was introduced and welcomed by my new teammates. I pledged to try my best to help the team any way I could.
“Good,” said McKinnon. “No time like the present. You’re starting.”
Absof***inglutely.

I’ll never forget the first time I walked onto that field. With the stands rising up all around me and the perfect lines of grass and dirt converging on home plate, it felt like I was in the center of the universe. It felt like the world’s energy was being drawn down from the sky into that little patch of green and channeled into my body. As I turned slowly, looking up at the emerging stars, I felt a stab of vertigo. It felt like falling in love. And it was.

And the energy I felt before the game was like being backstage before the magic show. I buzzed, I beamed, I tried to soak it all in. My first six swings at batting practice produced not one ball that left the infield, but after that-- oh after that-- it was line drive after line drive after line drive.

April 15th was a warm yellow Texas afternoon, and it turned into a brisk purple Texas night. A breeze that was warm at game time got steadily colder as the night progressed. I felt like I was plugged into the wall. There were media all around. Some of our guys were doing interviews. Others were just trying to stay loose. A half hour before game time I sat alone at the end of the bench with my glove in one hand and my bat in the other, bouncing my heels up and down like a nervous jackrabbit. They probably thought I was on drugs. Bobby Frisina came over and offered me a piece of bubble gum.
“Thanks, I don’t chew gum during a game,” I explained.
“Take it,” he said. “Chew it. It’ll help.”
“Help do what?”
“Help you not to pass out.”

Trailing 6-5 in the sixth, I was already 0 for 3. I had hit the ball but not with much authority. Ariel Lopes was pitching, a tall Puerto Rican with giant mustaches on either side of his face. As I stood in I looked him over like I had been trained to do and I saw something, something more than just his mechanics and his fatigue and his body language. I saw him going through the motions. I saw him just rolling right along, not looking at me at all. Not even a glance. It was like I wasn’t there. Now maybe that was just how he worked, but I didn’t like it. Every pitcher checks my stance, my bat position, my hand position, I thought. He’s pegged me for an easy out!

I got mad and it felt like some of that cosmic baseball energy jumped right up into me from beneath the batter’s box. Lopes threw a knee-high fastball and I turned on it, roping it into left-center. My first Continental Baseball Association hit in my first game! I stood on first as they rolled the ball into the dugout for me. One down, two thousand nine hundred ninety nine to go, I thought. Dallas’ first baseman Nolan Hurst set up to hold me on. “Nice rip, kid,” he said.
“Thanks,” I said, too excited to contain myself. “I couldn’t believe he would throw me that pitch. He just threw it right up there like I was—“
“Shut up, kid,” said Hurst.

We won, 8-6, and that was the end of our road trip. It was home to Kansas City now and 6 games with Washington and Los Angeles. Dressed in Suit #2, I took my seat in the back of our chartered jet. I stretched my legs and got out my journal and pen. I could feel the weight of a very round, very satisfying bulge in the breast pocket of my coat.

“I got my first hit today in Dallas off of Ariel Lopes. They gave me the ball…”

Next week: Chapter 22: The Kellinger Shuffle

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Old 10-30-2004, 03:43 PM   #264 (permalink)
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just amazing
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Old 10-30-2004, 04:05 PM   #265 (permalink)
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Another brilliant piece of writing, very entertaining as usual.

Quote:
Lopes threw a knee-high fastball I turned on it, roping it into left-center.
Shouldn't there be a period between fastball and I?
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Old 10-30-2004, 05:56 PM   #266 (permalink)
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Fixed. Thanks.
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Old 10-30-2004, 06:04 PM   #267 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tib
Dallas’ first baseman Nolan Hurst set up to hold me on. “Nice rip, kid,” he said.
“Thanks,” I said, too excited to contain myself. “I couldn’t believe he would throw me that pitch. He just threw it right up there like I was—“
“Shut up, kid,” said Hurst.
Nice. Very nice.

But I get the feeling he'll be going back down to AAA soon...hope I'm wrong.
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the pale hose: year 1/hitchhiker's guide to.../wild thing, you make my heart sing/year 2/THE TRADE/making the playoffs
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Syllabus: In this class we will construct a lifelike semblance of a woman using nothing more than chert and pyrite. Students will sleep within her cold embrace each night, and, for extra credit, may produce a lengthy paper detailing how she is the only person who has ever understood them.
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Old 10-31-2004, 05:13 AM   #268 (permalink)
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Even if he goes back down, that wont stop the Migthy Driscoll from his stardom
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Old 10-31-2004, 09:26 AM   #269 (permalink)
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They don't call it the Kellinger Shuffle for nothing...
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Old 10-31-2004, 10:01 PM   #270 (permalink)
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I just spent... well, let's see, it's 8:00 /now/, so I just spent... ... ... OK, it would be easier to make that calculation if I remembered what time I started at. I do know I missed dinner and neglected some very pressing business to read this thread from start to finish. It's outstanding. Also, you were right not to post Short Hop's ratings--it would've been jarring in a prose-based dynasty like this, very jarring indeed even in the context of a pre-update note. Uh, not that I resisted the urge to PM you and ask.
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Old 11-01-2004, 04:25 PM   #271 (permalink)
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Dave Driscoll's talents can be summed up with numbers (as can all OOTP/ITP players), but the whole idea was to go beyond the numbers to something deeper and ultimately more satisfying. But for those who are running their own players, I wanted to make his numbers available. There's "Story Dave" and then there's "Game Dave", if you know what I mean.

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Old 11-01-2004, 09:37 PM   #272 (permalink)
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Still great. That exchange with the first baseman was priceless.
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Old 11-06-2004, 10:02 AM   #273 (permalink)
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I've been working on a couple of other additions to the SHORT HOP universe, and they'll be posted as soon as I finish them. In the meantime, here's Chapter 22. I think it's one of the better chapters I've written.
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Old 11-06-2004, 10:07 AM   #274 (permalink)
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CHAPTER 22:

The Kellinger Shuffle


At the end of my first week in the bigs I was hitting a respectable .263. In spite of a recent 0 for 11 turn at the plate I was feeling pretty good. Our hitting coach, Mark Schernborg, had spent some time with me going over pitchers so I had at least a little idea of what I was going to face. Bobby Frisina was also particularly helpful. He showed me around the clubhouse, which was more of a compound than a clubhouse. There was a sauna, whirlpool, showers, massage rooms, gym, indoor hitting cage, x-ray room, film room, media room, and a locker room bigger than Miss Draper’s house in Hinesville. If this is what a last place team is like, I wonder what you get in New York or Los Angeles?, I thought.


From: Dave Driscoll (ddriscoll@CBPA.org)
Sent: April 23, 2006 11:55PM
To: Don Driscoll (dondriscoll@familynet.com)
Subject:

Dear Dad,
Well, we couldn’t fly out to Oakland tonight because of the bomb threat at the airport. Thank God it was just a hoax, but they still shut everything down, so here I sit in my hotel room in Boston. We’re flying out first thing in the morning. I’m sorry we couldn’t hook up this time around. Maybe you can come up in mid-June when we’re in Oakland again. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until July before we’re in LA.

Boston is terrific. In fact, the whole experience has been terrific. I’ve never felt so important before. The team has hired people to help the people who help me with my every wish. It’s amazing. No wonder it goes to some players’ heads. You’re treated like a king up here. Don’t worry, though. I have a closet full of new clothes to remind me to keep my head on straight.

I went 1 for 5 tonight but we won, so who cares? I’ve been on another hot streak (5-12) and it’s a huge relief to know I can hit the ball up here. The only other problem is I’ve made 3 errors in just over a week. One play was ruled an error but shouldn’t have been. All the same, I’ve been insanely nervous about having the ball hit to me. I’m not sure what it is. It’s just something in my head, I guess. It was intimidating tonight to stand out there in the same spot where Kit Jackson and Ronnie Santomano played. I mean hell, I caught a foul ball tonight in almost the exact spot where Rowdy Vickers made that sliding catch in the ’98 playoffs. It’s weird to be playing out there, yet know the history of what happened there. It’s weirder still to know that I’m now an entry in the CBA Encyclopedia. No matter what happens now, I’ve done that, at least.

Did you get the ball? Pretty cool, huh? I can’t believe I’m really here. It’s like a dream. The guys on the team have been great to me for the most part. There are a couple of veterans who really don’t give a **** about me yet, but most everybody has been very positive. My road roomie is Jeff Bynum. He’s a good guy but he snores like an air compressor.

Got a call from Gwen. She says hi. She’ll be coming to see me play again on the 28th. Cliff is doing really well. He’s retired officially from Barker’s, so no more breathing that awful dust at the Feed and Grain. The Gents hired him to keep the field for them. I can’t think of a better guy to do it. Not only was he a player (and some of those knuckleheads could use his wisdom), but he also knows about grass and stuff like that. And he’s right across the street! He told me he’s coming to the game on the 29th vs. Chicago. It’ll be good to see him again. I’m going to get the team to sign a ball for him.

Going to try to get some sleep now. Bynum’s still snoring like a hibernating bear, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. Love to everyone and tell them thanks for the cards.

Dave


From: Don Driscoll (dondriscoll@familynet.com)
Sent: April 24, 2006 11:41AM
To: Dave Driscoll (ddriscoll@CBPA.org)
Subject:

Dear David,
Sorry we couldn’t make the Oakland thing happen. I just can’t get out of this meeting. Don’t those guys know my son plays for the Knights?! We’ll do our best to see you as soon as we can.

Thanks for the ball. It looks great! Your mother put it in her “Dave Box” with your other things. She only brings it out to show people on special occasions – like whenever someone comes through the door!

Good news about Cliff. Glad he’s doing well.

About the nervousness: don’t worry. It’s natural to be a little overwhelmed. When I played in the High School Championship game in ’74 we played at Elysian Field. The place was packed like it was a Legends game. I remember being amazed at the tidal wave of noise from those people. But when I realized they were cheering for us, it made me feel great. It was like having 40,000 new friends. You told me the fans in KC have given you a good response. Just pretend the folks in Boston and New York and Baltimore are cheering for you instead of against you. Of course, that wouldn’t explain all the profanity…

With love,
Dad



Two days after my dad’s email Godina started a Tuesday game, our last in Oakland before going home for three against the Comanches. I didn’t have a problem with that; I knew I wasn’t going to start every game. I should have known something was wrong when they used me as a pinch runner for our pitcher in the sixth with us trailing 11-5. I scored, but as soon as I was officially out of the game McKinnon called me down into the tunnel.
“We’re sending you down, Davey.”
****ing Paneda and his 50-50 chances...
“Why?”
“Kellinger wants to shake things up a bit, that’s all. We’re all real happy with how you’ve played.”
“Not everyone, apparently.”
“Don’t read too much into it,” said McKinnon. “Kellinger does this kind of thing a lot.”
He was right about that.

The team was nice enough to fly me back to Santa Fe, which, to be honest, didn’t hold all the appeal and mystery it did only ten days earlier. The Stampede sent someone to pick me up. They were friendly, but I was in the worst of moods and didn’t make much conversation. Was that it? Was that all I’m going to get? I thought during the ride back to my house, the house I was advised to hold onto.
****ing Paneda and his “you never know”.
There were several messages on my machine when I got home. One was from Jackson Majkowski. “Don’t sweat it, Dave,” it said. “It ain’t you. It’s just the Kellinger Shuffle.”
Hal had warned me, hadn’t he?

The team went on a 5-game losing skid the day I got there. I began my own personal skid by going 1 for 8 with 4 strikeouts. I was miserable at the plate, trying to get back to Kansas City with one swing. I was off my game, off my plan, and off my rocker. I found myself in a Santa Fe cowboy bar on at 1:30 on a Monday morning drinking Newcastle Black Ale like the secret to getting back to KC was written at the bottom of every bottle. The fact that Gwen was supposed to come see me play in KC that night didn’t make me any happier. The fact that I was supposed to catch a flight later that morning to Austin to play the Pistoleros didn’t make me stop drinking. She had understood when I called and told her, but I hated making the call just the same. I felt like a failure. (I know I wasn’t a failure, but when you’re 22 and you’ve had a taste of Paradise…. Besides, since then I’ve learned what Paradise really is, and it doesn’t have much to do with playing baseball.)

One of the bar patrons said something to me I never forgot. I forgot most of that night, but not this. I had just been cut off and a cab had been called for me. He walks up – he was a real working man, a mechanic or an oil rigger or something – and he lays a heavy, dirty-nailed hand on my shoulder.
“I’ve worked a lot of jobs in my time,” he began, “and I’ve never been paid to play baseball, but one thing I was always taught: you may get paid for a thousand jobs by a thousand different people, but you do the work for yourself.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I slurred.
“It means do your job or get the hell out.”

He was right. He was right at that moment and all of the next day and the next year and for the rest of my career. Do your job or get the hell out. Good advice. My job was to play baseball. What did it matter who I played for? The game is still the same. The field is still the same. It may not be a 40,000 seat stadium in Kansas City, but the bases are still 90 feet apart. Play the game, Hal had said. Just play the game and everything will be all right.

I punished Austin for keeping me away from Gwen. I went 2 for 5 with a hangover (my career batting average with hangovers is .305) and 5-13 the rest of the series. Then I came home to Santa Fe and went 3-4 against San Antonio. After the game Grier tells me he has some news; I’m going to KC again. This time I saved the whoop and just shook his hand.

I went 2-4 against Chicago’s Paulo Escobedo (not so easy) but we lost anyway. Then we flew to Seattle for two games against the Lumberjacks but after game one McKinnon tells me I’m heading back to Santa Fe. Can you believe that? Kellinger brings me to KC for one game, to Seattle for one game, and then sends me back to Santa Fe? And I wasn’t the only one. Von Jones, Jimmy Hollars, Rico Godina and Mike Moore were all doing the Kellinger Shuffle right along with me. One thing I learned from Julien Paneda: be prepared. I came to expect to get jerked around and I decided I didn’t have any control over it. The only thing I had control over was the bat in my hand and it was going to have to do my speaking for me.

After returning to Santa Fe for the second time in two weeks, I hit in 5 straight. In fact, combining my KC and Santa Fe time, since the night I got drunk I hit .388 during a 12-game hitting streak. The next three weeks I went on a tear, but the Stampede still hovered around .500. Von Jones had been called up again, as had Mike Moore. Lorenzo Medina and Rico Godina were in KC. Medina was hitting .310, but I knew that was not going to secure him the position, not with Kellinger running things. I kept at it. At the end of May I was hitting .345.

In early June we got a new player, Scott Haslam, 5th overall pick in the 2006 draft. This kid was a phenomenal 19 year old shortstop. The word was they were going to make him an outfielder because of yours truly. He skipped Little Rock altogether and started in Topeka where it was clear he wasn’t going to be challenged by AA pitching, so they sent him up. He was the perfect example of a good kid with bad influences. His father handled all his professional affairs and Haslam’s career suffered as a result. When he came to Santa Fe he was a hard-working, very talented, very well-compensated player who had a prick for an old man. When he arrived I thought it might mean problems for me. Sure, I was hitting lights-out but that didn’t mean anything. Marty Kellinger was capable of doing almost anything. In fact, I got out of there before the real problems with Haslam started, and I owe it all to the unlikeliest of people.

I was hitting .349 with an OBP of .418 for the Stampede when Kellinger sent me back to KC. You’d think the shine might wear off the good news, but it never did. I was always happy and excited to go to the Bigs. I never once thought I was going down again. Kellinger’s manipulations couldn’t steal that joy from me, at least. Of course, when I got to KC the team went on an immediate 8-game losing streak. That’ll steal the joy from you pretty quick. I played well, though. In mid-June I was at .273 and I hadn’t made an error since my first few games with the team.

KC was at 19-35, fighting for the cellar with Detroit. Kellinger was under a lot of pressure to make something happen. He traded for Lance Britt and that helped because Britt was a workhorse who drove his teammates to excel the way he drove opposing hitters off the plate: by getting in their faces. There’s nothing like a little chin music to get someone’s attention and nothing like a little chin-to-chin conversation to motivate a teammate. A lot of guys didn’t like it. Britt and Jeremy Hamler didn’t really get along, I recall.

When I got sent up I figured it was going to be for a little while and then I’d be back in the small pond again. What I didn’t know was Kellinger had spoken to another CBA executive who convinced him that his approach was all wrong. Instead of trying to make something happen, he should be trying to stop things from happening. Of course, Kellinger didn’t understand, so it was explained to him that he needed to stop moving guys all over the place. It was bad for morale, bad for the team and made him look like he was scrambling for some kind of secret combination instead of letting his talent develop.

What should he do? Build strong up the middle. Purkey called a good game, but KC had the worst pitching in the league anyway, so play Bynum. Bynum had a better arm, more mobility and 20-homer power. So what if he doesn’t know anything? That’s why managers call pitches. He needed to trade Hernandez and play Theron Richards. Who cares if Hernandez is your best contact man? He’s not the future. Richards could hit .330 and steal 30 bases if Kellinger would stop rolling up his frequent flyer miles. He needed to play Jones, Frisina and Kral together in the outfield. They’re young, fast, and cheaper as a group than Mike Valencia and Angel Trevino put together. And for Christ’s Sake, get Driscoll back on the team! He’s the next goddamn Horatio Munoz and Kellinger had him bouncing around like a ****ing ping pong ball. He may be young, but he’s ready. And he’ll save more runs in a year with his glove than Rico Godina will drive in. And don’t let me hear about Scott Haslam. The kid’s screwy. People can tell just by talking to him. He may be all-world now, but his old man is going to **** that kid up right quick. Everybody knows he does more weed than the President of the Hippie Dopesmokers of America. It’s because he can’t stand his old man. Get him straight or get him gone. Kellinger needed to trade him or get his father away from him. He needed to take the guys who aren’t going to be there in two years and trade them for pitching. Get a #1 starter and the fans (and maybe the owners) would take him seriously and he might just have a job next year. And oh yeah, McKinnon’s contract is up. Kellinger needed to get a manager who knew these kids, who could build a winner, not just manage veterans.

So up I came, for good this time. Two months later Scott Haslam was arrested for DUI and marijuana possession.

A decade later I spoke with Doug Atcheson at a dinner and Kellinger’s name came up. That’s when he told me about how he called Kellinger on the carpet over me and Von Jones. “I can’t stand to see talent wasted and I figured that guy had wasted enough.”
“I heard about that from people Marty spoke to after he was fired,” I said. “I always knew that someone had gone to bat for me. Was it you that told him I was the next Horatio Munoz?”
“No, that wasn’t me,” said Atcheson.
“No?” I said, confused. “All these years I thought that was you.”
“No,” replied Atcheson. “All I told him was that he was wasting his talent. The rest of that whole “build up the middle” speech came from Theo Garner.”
I was genuinely shocked to hear that.
“Wow,” I said. “How do you know that?”
“He and I got drunk one night while we were in Baltimore and he told me how he set Kellinger straight,” Atcheson said. “He said he got into scouting because of the rush he felt when he found a kid he knew could really make it. He said he would be damned if he was going to let Kellinger run you kids into the ground and not say something. He didn’t give a **** if he did work for Baltimore. He said it was his job to see talent reach its potential and if he wasn’t willing to make that call he might as well hang’em up.”
“He didn’t even know those guys,” I said.
“****, Dave,” said Atcheson. “He wasn’t doing it for them. He was doing it for you.”

I always wondered how Kellinger could change his ways so quickly. It wasn’t Kellinger at all. It was Theo.

Maybe he felt he owed me. Maybe he felt responsible for me, having sent me to KC in the first place. I don’t know. I do know that there are a lot of people in this business who will make a deal and never think about it again. There are plenty of people who will throw up their hands and say to you “there’s nothing I can do”, or “it’s not my decision”. Luckily for me there was one guy who kept watching and decided to do his job or get the hell out.

It was Theo Garner that finally put an end to the Kellinger Shuffle.

Next week, Chapter 23: The Squires

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Old 11-06-2004, 10:49 AM   #275 (permalink)
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Very good. I still can't wait for this to post every Saturday. Thanks.
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Old 11-06-2004, 11:27 AM   #276 (permalink)
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excellent writing Tib. Every week I think it has reached its peak and the story can't possibly get better and than the next week I find myself scratching my head longing for more. I double everyone's sentiment that you should really look into getting this thingpublished when its done, it's impossible to put down.
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Old 11-06-2004, 07:45 PM   #277 (permalink)
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I have long since ran out of unique praises for this excellent writing...

I just want to know how you can make something so small so interesting!
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Mark Jazzington's Managerial Career - worth a read
Thanks to Tib for the inspiration to write it.
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Old 11-06-2004, 08:21 PM   #278 (permalink)
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Way to bring Theo back in. I hope it is a reacurring theme.
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Old 11-08-2004, 12:38 PM   #279 (permalink)
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SHORT HOP: INTERLUDE #3

A HISTORY OF THE CBA
From the American Baseball Federation to the Continental Baseball Association, 1881-2005

PART TWO: "Simple Democracy, Gentlemen"

Chapter Two: The Boom Leagues

ABF Expansion: 1904-1926

Before the turn of the century the country was growing quickly. Cities expanded outward and upward; buildings got taller, streets got wider. The American middle class grew and baseball popularity grew with it. As traditional American endeavor shifted from a rural focus to an urban one, population increased, especially in the East. The owners in the ABF, with the possible exception of Nicholas Freeders, were solidly against the urbanization of baseball. Why? Because small-town teams were easy to manipulate. Teams in urban areas enjoyed an immense fan base and almost no local competition. The young talent coming from the farms and trades of the countryside was easily harvested by big-city teams. Eager young men were swayed by the glitter of the big city. Even in a growing nation, the ABF were determined to run the game to suit them. Prior to 1900 this was the American Way.

Things changed with the assassination of William McKinley. For one thing, Teddy Roosevelt became president. Although he brought vivacity and a seldom-matched energy to the office, his populist policies were very much a worry for the ABF ownership. In short, the owners knew eventually they would have to do something about Teddy.

Two factors came together between 1900 and 1904 that stifled the owners’ chances to protect the ABF from Roosevelt’s anti-trust watchdogs: the success of smaller, regional leagues and the President’s own love of the game. Smaller leagues proved successful due mostly to the same factors that kept people coming to big city games: tradition, familiarity and competition. Fans liked good baseball games, at any level, and they would pay to see them. Fans also liked to identify with the players and local leagues provided an almost inexhaustible supply of local boys for fans to cheer. It was not uncommon to work with a man during the day and pay a quarter or fifty cents to watch him play that afternoon for the factory team, or the railroad company team, or the town’s team. The emergence of regional leagues like the Carolina Association and the Kentucky League were examples of the appeal and affordability of the game to the working class. Early successes like the Heartland League and the Dixie League lasted until the middle of the twentieth century.

Theodore Roosevelt was a well known champion of the “rigorous life”. Physical exertion, a hearty appetite and an enthusiasm for adventure were all factors in its appeal to the President. Roosevelt himself wrote that he never enjoyed watching the game as much as playing it, and of its parts he most liked “batting the ball”. But he did profess an interest in the more subtle battles taking place in the field; the position of fielders, the intimidation of batters, the continuous adjustments being made by all parties to gain the advantage at the crucial moment. Indeed, he wrote, it “was more like politics than any game I’ve yet to see”.

The President loved the game, but lamented that he had to travel to Baltimore if he wanted to see one of the ABF teams play. Additionally, he was not much of a Steamers fan, preferring to root for a team from the local Potomac League originally called the Emperors. When the Emperors learned of Roosevelt’s affection, they renamed themselves the Sentinels in 1902, after one of his famous speeches.

Thankfully for the Sentinels, and for the ABF for that matter, Roosevelt’s team was a good one. There were several players on that team coveted by many of the ABF franchises, but kept out of their reach by binding contracts. In 1904, when Theodore’s anti-trust legislation was creating unrest among the ABF ownership, it was a fairly easy concession to add the Sentinels to the ABF. It gave the ABF trust exemption, it rewarded two dominant local teams (the Pittsburgh Drillers were also added to balance the schedule), it expanded the game to two desirable markets and it voided the exclusivity clause in interleague contracts, adding regional stars to the league.

For the next two decades baseball structure was twofold. At one level the success and appeal of the ABF – baseball at its highest level of competition – and the proliferation and local appeal of “boom leagues”, numerous regional associations that enjoyed a burst of interest during a period of rapid growth. Local heroes popped up overnight. Young men seeking their fortune in the big city were told not to forget “the tools of Success: their bat, ball and glove”.

There are many, many stories about the boom leagues. A great many future ABF Hall of Famers came from small local associations, including Rolf Niewenwerth, Jeremiah Braun, and Spider Lucas.

In 1920 expansion came again, but this time it was not prompted by politics but by people. As the population moved west they took the game with them. Granted, baseball already had a strong foothold in the Frontier League states, but populations were growing in other states as well, most notably Pennsylvania and Ohio. To this end the ABF offered to “buy” the competition rights to two highly competitive Ohio teams, the Cincinnati Barons and the Cleveland Hammers. This entailed the ABF making a “donation” to the governing league and the league releasing the team in question the following year to resume play in the Federation. This was the protocol authored by Will Voss to govern league expansion and put an end to the “team raiding” of earlier days.

During the 20’s ABF baseball continued to grow, with an added bonus: continuity. The league was 40 years old now and many of its earliest fans were teaching their children about the game. Fans bases included two or three generations now. Because of this widespread interest in baseball, boom leagues increased at a record pace. Almost any area that could field four teams created a boom league. There were economic factors at work here as well. Professional baseball organizations were exempt from anti-trust laws, and while most associated this with the ABF exclusively, the exemption extended to all organizations. Thus, it was good for local economics to have a team in a boom league, however small. Team revenues could be redistributed for the public good. Unfortunately, expenses could be hidden by unscrupulous politicians, dirty money could be laundered by organized crime, and any manner of shady dealing could be obscured by filtering it through a league. Federal officials first noticed the problem in 1923 when a tax audit of the Long Island Baseball Association revealed the patronage of several underworld figures. In fact, the Islip Breakers were owned not by a person, but by Fellini Imports, a company run by mob boss Antonino Scarpacci. This was the first recorded instance of corporate ownership of a baseball franchise.

The ABF had a new problem: federal interest. Most boom leagues were clean, but the dirty ones were creating the same lawlessness and corruption that existed back in the 1870’s when the Association began. There were two ways to handle this problem; distance the ABF from dirty leagues or find a way to clean up the game and benefit from it. Well, money spoke just as loudly in 1923 as it does now. The ABF owners did not want to leave so much money on the table and walk away. Thankfully, League Justice Hanford Rittenauer, Will Voss’ protégé, knew about the situation and knew what to do.

It involved a complete restructuring of the ABF that took two years. Rittenauer voided the “patronage” contracts the ABF had with any boom league associated with tax evasion, money laundering or organized crime. Rittenauer added two new divisions, the Central League and the Mid-West League. He restructured team alignments and invited four new teams to join. He designed new mandatory monetary policies to keep federal investigators away. The result was a four-division, 16-team league. The Frontier and New England Leagues retained their names, but were now simply divisions of the whole. Added to the league were the Texas Marshals (who became the Dallas Marshals), the Milwaukee Wolves (the strongest team north of Chicago), the Chicago Comanches (who played on the city’s blue collar South Side) and the Atlanta Generals (the pride of the Dixie League).

With the ABF restructuring the era of the boom leagues reached its zenith. There would always be regional leagues; baseball was baseball, after all. But the ABF had grown even stronger and larger and richer through the 20’s. Now there were no leagues powerful and wealthy enough to challenge it. In fact, no one could imagine anything powerful enough to affect the ABF’s hold on the American Pastime.

Next Interlude: Part III: Depression and War, 1927-1949

Chapter One: "A Sad Day for Us": The Depression Years, 1927-1940

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Old 11-09-2004, 12:22 PM   #280 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tib
<center>SHORT HOP: INTERLUDE #3

A HISTORY OF THE CBA
From the American Baseball Federation to the Continental Baseball Association, 1881-2005

PART TWO: "Simple Democracy, Gentlemen"

Chapter Two: The Boom Leagues

ABF Expansion: 1904-1926</center>

Before the turn of the century the country was growing quickly. Cities expanded outward and upward; buildings got taller, streets got wider. The American middle class grew and baseball popularity grew with it. As traditional American endeavor shifted from a rural focus to an urban one, population increased, especially in the East. The owners in the ABF, with the possible exception of Nicholas Freeders, were solidly against the urbanization of baseball. Why? Because small-town teams were easy to manipulate. Teams in urban areas enjoyed an immense fan base and almost no local competition. The young talent coming from the farms and trades of the countryside was easily harvested by big-city teams. Eager young men were swayed by the glitter of the big city. Even in a growing nation, the ABF were determined to run the game to suit them. Prior to 1900 this was the American Way.

Things changed with the assassination of Warren Harding. For one thing, Teddy Roosevelt became president. Although he brought vivacity and a seldom-matched energy to the office, his populist policies were very much a worry for the ABF ownership. In short, the owners knew eventually they would have to do something about Teddy.

Two factors came together between 1900 and 1904 that stifled the owners’ chances to protect the ABF from Roosevelt’s anti-trust watchdogs: the success of smaller, regional leagues and the President’s own love of the game. Smaller leagues proved successful due mostly to the same factors that kept people coming to big city games: tradition, familiarity and competition. Fans liked good baseball games, at any level, and they would pay to see them. Fans also liked to identify with the players and local leagues provided an almost inexhaustible supply of local boys for fans to cheer. It was not uncommon to work with a man during the day and pay a quarter or fifty cents to watch him play that afternoon for the factory team, or the railroad company team, or the town’s team. The emergence of regional leagues like the Carolina Association and the Kentucky League were examples of the appeal and affordability of the game to the working class. Early successes like the Heartland League and the Dixie League lasted until the middle of the twentieth century.

Theodore Roosevelt was a well known champion of the “rigorous life”. Physical exertion, a hearty appetite and an enthusiasm for adventure were all factors in its appeal to the President. Roosevelt himself wrote that he never enjoyed watching the game as much as playing it, and of its parts he most liked “batting the ball”. But he did profess an interest in the more subtle battles taking place in the field; the position of fielders, the intimidation of batters, the continuous adjustments being made by all parties to gain the advantage at the crucial moment. Indeed, he wrote, it “was more like politics than any game I’ve yet to see”.

The President loved the game, but lamented that he had to travel to Baltimore if he wanted to see one of the ABF teams play. Additionally, he was not much of a Steamers fan, preferring to root for a team from the local Potomac League originally called the Emperors. When the Emperors learned of Roosevelt’s affection, they renamed themselves the Sentinels in 1902, after one of his famous speeches.

Thankfully for the Sentinels, and for the ABF for that matter, Roosevelt’s team was a good one. There were several players on that team coveted by many of the ABF franchises, but kept out of their reach by binding contracts. In 1904, when Theodore’s anti-trust legislation was creating unrest among the ABF ownership, it was a fairly easy concession to add the Sentinels to the ABF. It gave the ABF trust exemption, it rewarded two dominant local teams (the Pittsburgh Drillers were also added to balance the schedule), it expanded the game to two desirable markets and it voided the exclusivity clause in interleague contracts, adding regional stars to the league.

For the next two decades baseball structure was twofold. At one level the success and appeal of the ABF – baseball at its highest level of competition – and the proliferation and local appeal of “boom leagues”, numerous regional associations that enjoyed a burst of interest during a period of rapid growth. Local heroes popped up overnight. Young men seeking their fortune in the big city were told not to forget “the tools of Success: their bat, ball and glove”.

There are many, many stories about the boom leagues. A great many future ABF Hall of Famers came from small local associations, including Rolf Niewenwerth, Jeremiah Braun, and Spider Lucas.

In 1920 expansion came again, but this time it was not prompted by politics but by people. As the population moved west they took the game with them. Granted, baseball already had a strong foothold in the Frontier League states, but populations were growing in other states as well, most notably Pennsylvania and Ohio. To this end the ABF offered to “buy” the competition rights to two highly competitive Ohio teams, the Cincinnati Barons and the Cleveland Hammers. This entailed the ABF making a “donation” to the governing league and the league releasing the team in question the following year to resume play in the Federation. This was the protocol authored by Will Voss to govern league expansion and put an end to the “team raiding” of earlier days.

During the 20’s ABF baseball continued to grow, with an added bonus: continuity. The league was 40 years old now and many of its earliest fans were teaching their children about the game. Fans bases included two or three generations now. Because of this widespread interest in baseball, boom leagues increased at a record pace. Almost any area that could field four teams created a boom league. There were economic factors at work here as well. Professional baseball organizations were exempt from anti-trust laws, and while most associated this with the ABF exclusively, the exemption extended to all organizations. Thus, it was good for local economics to have a team in a boom league, however small. Team revenues could be redistributed for the public good. Unfortunately, expenses could be hidden by unscrupulous politicians, dirty money could be laundered by organized crime, and any manner of shady dealing could be obscured by filtering it through a league. Federal officials first noticed the problem in 1923 when a tax audit of the Long Island Baseball Association revealed the patronage of several underworld figures. In fact, the Islip Breakers were owned not by a person, but by Fellini Imports, a company run by mob boss Antonino Scarpacci. This was the first recorded instance of corporate ownership of a baseball franchise.

The ABF had a new problem: federal interest. Most boom leagues were clean, but the dirty ones were creating the same lawlessness and corruption that existed back in the 1870’s when the Association began. There were two ways to handle this problem; distance the ABF from dirty leagues or find a way to clean up the game and benefit from it. Well, money spoke just as loudly in 1923 as it does now. The ABF owners did not want to leave so much money on the table and walk away. Thankfully, League Justice Hanford Rittenauer, Will Voss’ protégé, knew about the situation and knew what to do.

It involved a complete restructuring of the ABF that took two years. Rittenauer voided the “patronage” contracts the ABF had with any boom league associated with tax evasion, money laundering or organized crime. Rittenauer added two new divisions, the Central League and the Mid-West League. He restructured team alignments and invited four new teams to join. He designed new mandatory monetary policies to keep federal investigators away. The result was a four-division, 16-team league. The Frontier and New England Leagues retained their names, but were now simply divisions of the whole. Added to the league were the Texas Marshals (who became the Dallas Marshals), the Milwaukee Wolves (the strongest team north of Chicago), the Chicago Comanches (who played on the city’s blue collar South Side) and the Atlanta Generals (the pride of the Dixie League).

With the ABF restructuring the era of the boom leagues reached its zenith. There would always be regional leagues; baseball was baseball, after all. But the ABF had grown even stronger and larger and richer through the 20’s. Now there were no leagues powerful and wealthy enough to challenge it. In fact, no one could imagine anything powerful enough to affect the ABF’s hold on the American Pastime.

Next Interlude: Part III: Depression and War, 1927-1949

Chapter One: "A Sad Day for Us": The Depression Years, 1927-1940
It is nice to know the history behind the league.
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