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Old 04-08-2005, 05:19 PM   #501 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by fedex
I only recently stumbled upon this thread and I have to say that the writing is excellent. The story is very engrossing. Thanks for sharing this with us! I do have a question about Gwen's hometown. Having grown up in Rochester Hills, Michigan myself (same high school as Madonna), how did you go about selecting it?
I used Yahoo! maps to find it. It just seemed to fit the bill. I was looking for a nice, All-American midwest suburb. It seemed to be about the same size as Dave's home town (also a suburb), but I wanted Gwen to be a midwest girl. IMO midwest girls are wholesome without being prudish (not to mention cute).

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Old 04-08-2005, 05:23 PM   #502 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Tib
IMO midwest girls are wholesome without being prudish (not to mention cute).
Amen to that! Thanks again for sharing this great story. I really look forward to it!
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Old 04-10-2005, 06:33 PM   #503 (permalink)
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Thanks, everyone, for waiting for this chapter. My schedule being what it is now, I am working as fast as I can. I hope you'll agree it was worth the wait.
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Old 04-10-2005, 06:36 PM   #504 (permalink)
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Chapter 38

More Than We Could Afford


We won 8 games in April. I missed 5 games with a stiff shoulder and a tight knee but hit .291 and stole 6 bases. Our team batting was good, ranking 11th in the UL, but our pitching was dead last in the entire CBA. I was 3rd in UL fielding and we were 10th in Team Defense, but we couldn’t stop them all. Our team ERA was 6.18. It seemed like there was no one for our staff to feed on. There was no Lance Britt, no Rudy Galindo. Bob Saville was injured in mid-April and Araoz appeared lost without him around. Veteran Bob Compton, just signed in April, stayed quiet and aloof. He never really connected with anyone.

We won 11 games in May. It took Carlito Fuentes until May 5th to get his third save. We were routinely behind 5-1, 6-2, 8-4 in the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings. In early May we were in New York for a three game set and Joel Kral and I went out to dinner. As we waited for our meal, Joel signed several autographs.

“What’s new, Joel?”
“Everything. New city, new team. I’m starting now.”
“You’re liking it, then?”
“First place is nice.”
“I don’t think I remember.”
“It’s when your team is at the top of the standings.”
“Wait a minute,” I said. “Hold on, now. Is that a smile? It is a smile. Wow. Somebody take a picture.”
“Very funny.”
“I really am glad you’re doing well here.”
“Thanks. This place is a little crazy. The fans are happy right now, but everyone’s telling me to wait and see if we fall into second place. How’re Bobby and B.C.?”
“Good. They’re good.”
“How’s Gwen? I got the email about the engagement. Congratulations.”
“Thanks. She’s great. She moved in and we’re looking for a house.”
Joel just nodded. “I like her.”
“I like anyone who can put up with a person who puts a pinch of infield dirt in his back pocket before every road game.”
“I’ve told you before; it’s to ward off bad bounces. Everyone knows that. It’s perfectly legitimate.”

New York murdered us, thanks in part to Joel Kral who was murdering everybody so far that year. After that we went to Florida where the Gators murdered us. After that it was the press’s turn. What’s Wrong With The Knights? was the cover story in Baseball Insider. I honestly didn’t know what was wrong. We were in free fall and it was only mid-May. We just weren’t putting it together like we did the previous year. I believe now, after years of reflection, that it was a chemistry thing. The ’07 team liked each other. We supported each other. The ’08 team just happened to play together.

On the 10th against Boston I went into the hole to get a ball and when I threw I felt a pop in my elbow. I (and my .387 OBP) was out for a week and we immediately dropped 8 of the next 9. It wasn’t just because I was gone; we were losing badly every night. Our losses for that stretch were difficult to watch from the bench: 10-1, 8-1, 6-0, 12-3, 8-3. On the 18th our new 5th starter Albert Linck lost his seventh in a row. On the 21st we lost to Cleveland 16-4. Haslam was thrown out for arguing in the first inning. Jonesy followed him to the showers in the fifth. Grier took a walk in the eighth. After that it just got silly.

Through it all was Gwen. In earlier years I would have called my dad, or written him from the road, but now Gwen had to hear all my frustrations and concerns. She was amazing. I may be a little nervy now and then, but she was always together, always saying the exact thing I needed to hear.

From: Dave Driscoll (ddriscoll@CBPA.org)
Sent: May 29, 2008 11:31PM
To: Gwen Carver (gwencarver@wkcb.org)

Dear Gwen,

This may be long, but I need to get this out of my system so I don’t drive you crazy on the phone. Got clobbered by Boston again, 15-3. I’m sure you saw. Hell, you probably even had to read that miserable result on-air. I’m so frustrated I don’t know what to do with myself. How can a team lose 10-4 one night, win 14-9 the next (I was POG, BTW), then have their ace (Pena – who looked GREAT in warm-up) get the snot kicked out of him by the 3rd inning?

This season is really insane. I watch The SportReport all the time and all I see is Gilly and Flash hitting, running, scoring. Hammers uniforms are outselling Knights jerseys in KC now. Did you know that? Grier and Caffey are pulling their hair out over our pitching. The front office insists it’s sticking with the two of them, but we’re all beginning to wonder. Grier tells us all the time that we were in last place at this time last year, too. That’s true, but we had Galindo and Parris and Joel and Doc and Saville and all those guys.

I’m doing well enough. I can’t complain about a .288 average and 34 walks in 49 games. My .409 OBP is helping, but we can’t generate any runs even when I get on base. There’s talk of me for the All-Star game, but it would be very lonely to be the only one going. Majkowski told me I don’t even get a bonus for it – stupid rookie contract… I’m up for arbitration this year, so maybe he can fix it for me.

They optioned Alan Bennett today after the game. He was furious. He refused reassignment. If he clears waivers he’ll be gone for good. I’ll give Grier credit for one thing: he anticipated this and managed to delay the news until we were near Bennett’s home town.

It doesn’t change the fact that almost everyone’s gone now. Bob Compton I can understand. He just wasn’t fitting in. Even Joel Kral wasn’t such a bad move because we had so many good outfielders, but Saville? He was good. Araoz is lost now. He doesn’t know what he’s doing without Bob-o there. Besides, now we’ve got three new (young) faces on the staff and it’s going to take a while for everyone to get comfortable.

By far the worst one yet was Doc. Faraday just didn’t know what he brought to the team. The value of a guy like Doc can’t be measured in pure numbers – and a .241 average is not that bad. Making room for younger players, he says. I guess I understand that, but I’d still take Doc over a “project” player like Carlos Gomez. Nothing against Gomez, mind you…

Did you know Doc was picked up by Pittsburgh two days later? Did you know Saville was picked up by Vancouver?

It’s getting lonely around here.


From: Gwen Carver (gwencarver@wkcb.org)
Sent: May 30, 2008 08:51AM
To: Dave Driscoll (ddriscoll@CBPA.org)

Dear Dave,

I love you! I’m here at work and I wish I was there with you. I know how tough it must be to see the team change all around you. Look at it this way: it looks like they’re thinking of the future and you’re still a big part of it! They got rid of Gilly and other veterans last year and look what happened! Besides, even with arbitration you’re still an affordable piece of their budget.

Sorry about Doc. I saw it on the wire a week ago and thought of you. Who are you going to beat at poker now? Seriously, I was sad to see him go; I know what he meant to you.

If I may, however…

On the home front (get it? “home front”?), I think I’ve found a couple of houses for us to look at. One’s in Independence and the other is in Liberty. They’re beautiful, Dave! They might be more than we could afford, but I really want to look at them. I figure we can go on your off day before the Chicago series. I’m finishing up some editing and a few V.O.s so I can take the day off. Brad says it shouldn’t be a problem to lend me to my future husband for a while.

Come home soon! I miss you! And don’t worry; you’re still the best player on the team. Everyone knows that. Even Rick says you are and he played pro ball, don’t you know? (lol).

Love (and kisses),

P.S. – we also have to go cake tasting and we HAVE to make a decision on using Shoal Creek CC by FRIDAY because they have a five month waiting list.

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Old 04-10-2005, 06:42 PM   #505 (permalink)
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More Than We Could Afford


Slowly, slowly, slowly we began to turn things around. What really happened was our pitching evened out. By the end of June what had been dismal leveled off to just mediocre. I continued to play well and avoid serious injury. I hit in 19 of 28 games (.306), stole 6 more bases and made only 3 errors. I was 6th in the UL on OBP (.419) and 13th in batting average. The Knights were 14 games back of Chicago and 4 games back of 4th place Detroit.

I didn’t receive the call for the All-Star game. I wasn’t even a manager’s pick. Of course, the manager was Dallas’ Charlie Rasmussen so you know he wasn’t taking “that Drixoral kid from KC”, as he used to call me. Rasmussen: not my biggest fan. Never found out why. B.C. was our only representative, and he deserved it (.281/14/53).

I went with Gwen to see the houses she mentioned, and about twenty more.
“Why are we going to all these houses?” I would say in my overly-exhausted voice, dragging my feet for dramatic effect. “Just pick one and buy it.”
“No, no, no,” she would peck at me. “Don’t you know anything about women? I need to learn what you like about a house, what features you want. I need your opinion.”
“My opinion is you should have whatever you want.”
“That’s the cop-out my father has used on my mother for over 30 years and you’re not getting away with it.”
“But it’s the truth,” I would protest. “I want what you want.”
“What I want is more than we could afford,” she would say.

On July 9th my shoulder tightened up again and Grier took me out of the lineup. I wasn’t ready to play until the 14th, but Grier kept me out. Frankie Ward was doing well as my replacement so I didn’t mind resting my arm a little more. But when I didn’t start the next day I went to Grier.
“I’m ready to go, skip.”
“I know, Dave, but right now the club doesn’t want to risk a more severe injury.”
“Severe injury? It’s just a little sore, that’s all. I can go.”
“I know,” said Grier, “but we’re going to wait a couple of days on it, okay?”
“Okay,” I replied, wary now. “Why not play me if I’m healthy?”
John Grier put down his pencil and placed his hands on his desk.
“Because you’re on the block.”
“I’m what?”
“The club is looking into its options. That’s all, Dave. This is an arbitration year for you and it is standard club policy to try to determine worth before negotiations.”
“But it’s four months before negotiations!”
“Yes,” said Grier, “but it’s only three weeks until the trade deadline and that’s the best time to evaluate a player’s worth to the rest of the league.”
I was completely blindsided by this. “What’s going on, skip? Don’t you still make the lineups?”
Grier was hurt by that and I immediately regretted it – but it was out there now.

“I have to answer to people, too,” he said quietly. “It’s just a strategy, Dave. Don’t worry. Nothing’s going to happen here. Faraday told me yesterday they’re only looking for a starting point come the fall.”
“This is crap,” I said. “You could lock me up for a long time right now, you know that? I’m getting married. We’re looking at houses here. I have no problem being a Knight for a long time.”
“I know. He told me he’s not thinking of letting you go. Who do we have to replace you? Right? Besides, you know how the Magic Man is. We just want to get a jump on him.”
“So by not playing, I’m actually helping you negotiate a lower price for me?”
“Not necessarily. Look, it’s just business, Dave. You’re playing tomorrow. It’s Chicago, for God’s sake. I’m not keeping you out against the first place team.”

My professional equilibrium was gone for a moment. I left his office confused and feeling a little betrayed. Grier says I’m out, but I’ll be in soon? He makes the lineups and he needs me against Chicago, yet I’m out because he answers to people who are planning for a business deal four months away? I wasn’t so sure who really was making the lineups now.

A call to Majkowski’s office confirmed Grier’s explanation. “Wait it out,” said one of the Magic Man’s assistants. “Everybody does it.” So I did, but sitting the bench while we lost 4-2 didn’t stop my mind from working.
Player evaluation? That’s what this is about? Worth to the rest of the league? I’ll give them “worth to the rest of the league…"

July 16th, 2008. 6-6 in the 9th. It’s the best game we’ve played in two weeks. We’ve taken the division leaders into the last frame without getting blown out. I come up and face Felipe Costas, Chicago’s hard-throwing right-hander. He gives me a tailing fastball and I turn on it and hit a line drive around the left field foul pole for the game-winning home run, my 5th homer of the year.

The place goes crazy. All 6,000 remaining in attendance are on their feet. Foam swords are waving in the air as I round the bases. Evaluate that! I think to myself. As I round third I see Gwen cheering wildly in the wives’ section. I hit home plate and get battered by my teammates. In a year filled with disappointment this is one of the few highlights. I am called out of the dugout by the few faithful who stayed to watch.

I take a shower. I dress. I smile the smile of the vindicated. I conduct as many interviews as anyone wants. I give witty answers. I try to be funny. I give credit to my teammates, to my coaches, to the Lord God Above. I point to John Grier through the crowd and make the international sign for money with my fingers. Just business, huh? It wasn't often I was the center of attention in my career, but in this case it could not have come at a better time. John Grier is not smiling. He waves me into his office.

I eyeball Frank Faraday, who stands next to Grier.
“Hey, skip, how’s it going?” I say, looking at Faraday the whole time. My usual modesty is gone for a moment. I am very cocky, and not feeling guilty about it at all.
“Have a seat, Dave.” I sit.
“If this is about arbitration --,” I say, ready to argue.
“It’s not,” interrupts Grier.
Faraday continues: “We want you to know you are a very important part of this team, Dave, and you have been since you joined us. Today only proves what you can do.”
Faraday took a long puff of his cigarette and put it out on the edge of Grier’s desk.
“But we are --, I am under very particular budget restraints and this team faces certain economic realities. In fact, I know I’m going to regret what I’m about to say, but --.”
“But what?”
“But in the eighth inning of the game tonight I was in the visitors’ locker room shaking hands with Colton Donohue, the Comanches’ VP of Player Personnel.”
And the cold dark hand of Fate started to grab at my life again.
“Yeah? So?”
“Dave, the team has calculated your potential cost to the organization should you remain on the payroll up to and past both arbitration and free agency and frankly --.”
Fate. Grasping. It was hard to breathe now.
“Frankly, you’re going to be more than we could afford.”
“Dave, fifteen minutes before you hit that home run you were traded to the Chicago Comanches for Felipe Costas.”
“Traded?” I said. “For the guy I hit the homer off of?”
And Henry Wolak,” said Faraday, like that was going to make me feel better. “Effective the end of the game.”

Words cannot express my surprise. I just sat in the chair like a boxer waiting for the towel to be thrown in. I was done. Spent. The room was silent, but outside I could hear another reporter asking one of our clubhouse guys how long I would be.

“So, what do I do now?”
“You talk to your fiancée. You pack up your locker and report to your new team in time for their --, your flight to Detroit tomorrow,” replied Frank. “I’m sorry, Dave. I want you to know I really did try to keep you. This was an upper level decision.”
“Can someone tell that reporter I won’t be giving an interview?” I said numbly.

I pushed myself out of the chair. Grier and Faraday shook my hand.
“It was a pleasure and a privilege to have you on my team,” said John Grier.
“If I could reverse this deal, I would,” said Frank Faraday.
“Me, too,” I said.

My cell phone rang as I walked out into the locker room. Why do things like this always happen to me in locker rooms?
Woooooooo! What a great homer, Dave! Oh, my God, honey, that was amazing! I can’t believe you did that! You just turned on it and BOOM! I can’t wait to get you home, you sexy thing! And listen, I found the perfect house for us in Independence. I talked to Barbara today and she already put in the bid for us. It’s the two-story white one with the wrap-around porch we like, remember? Honey, it’s beautiful! I knew I wanted it from the moment I saw it, didn’t you? I want to raise our children in that house, Dave. I know it’s probably more than we could afford, but--.”
“Hi, honey,” I interrupted. “Uh, about the house. I have some news….”

Next time, Chapter 39: The Whooping Wallopers

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Old 04-10-2005, 06:49 PM   #506 (permalink)
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nice to see another chapter, however this one just seems to end. It doesn't feel done. Other chapters seemed to tease or alert us to a future event. Maybe even tie it all up with the last paragraph. This one has some what of a weird feel to it. For some reason or another it just doesn't seem to stick with the rest of every thing you've written.

Edit: ok the second part was being posted while I was writing this I guess because I come back to the computer post this and above it I notice Part II which wasn't there before. On to Part II.

wheew, never should have doubted you sir but the Part I just seemed to stop. Part II tied it all together just like you always do. Amazing piece of writing considering some of the curves that ITP is throwing you.
Originally Posted by Anyone broadcasting an A's game
The A's leave 2 men on and fail to score.

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Old 04-10-2005, 07:12 PM   #507 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Faroo6
Amazing piece of writing considering some of the curves that ITP is throwing you.
(Response deleted due to spoilers).

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Old 04-10-2005, 08:14 PM   #508 (permalink)
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Wow... that really came out of left field...
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Old 04-10-2005, 11:16 PM   #509 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Tib
(Response deleted due to spoilers).
hehe, lucky for me I was gone at my oldest's birthday party and didn't see any.
Originally Posted by Anyone broadcasting an A's game
The A's leave 2 men on and fail to score.
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Old 04-11-2005, 12:42 AM   #510 (permalink)
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Holy crap. I am SHOCKED!! Why on Earth would KC do this?

At least Davey is goin' to a first-place team now. Somehow I have a feeling he might kill KC for the rest of his career though.

Great writing on this chapter.
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Old 04-11-2005, 10:24 AM   #511 (permalink)
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Gwen is probably devistated. I feel for her. I hope Magic Man is able to get Dave as a lot more money out of Chicago.
See ID

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Old 04-11-2005, 11:40 AM   #512 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by cubuff38
Why on Earth would KC do this?

At least Davey is goin' to a first place team now.
Those were my thoughts exactly. At least I didn't have to use Yahoo! Maps for Chicago. I know that city pretty well.

And don't forget Cleveland (with Flash and Al Gills) is in second place. It's going to be a great pennant race.
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Old 04-11-2005, 12:11 PM   #513 (permalink)
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Florida Marlins GM, Netsports League - 2004 NL Champs, 2008 + 2013 Champions, 2004, 2009-2015, 2017-2021, 2024-2028 NLE Division Crown
Mark Jazzington's Managerial Career - worth a read
Thanks to Tib for the inspiration to write it.
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Old 04-14-2005, 11:38 AM   #514 (permalink)
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Here's the CBA league structure. This one is from 1979, so it's a little different from the CBA of Dave's day. By 2007 Milwaukee has moved to Houston, Miami has moved north to Pittsburgh and Buffalo has become Miami's new team. When I finally get caught up I'll try to post an updated version.

I'll post the 1904 ABF (first expansion year) in a few days.

edit: the file's too big. I'll have to try something else.

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Old 04-16-2005, 11:40 AM   #515 (permalink)
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In lieu of a league structure link that will show the screen at full size (which I still haven't figured out yet), I offer the second Short Hop photo album. It's a little bigger than the last one and includes photos from Dave's minor league days.

These are links so you don't have to see what my versions of the characters look like.

Knights cap:

Kansas City Knights, c. 1883:

An early Boom League team, complete with canine mascot:

Chicago Comanches logo:

Rusk Memorial Stadium, 2007:

Turning two in the 2007 playoffs vs. Dallas:

My home jersey:

My road jersey:

Gwen Carver's publicity shot from WKCB radio:

My sister Jen at UCLA:

KC Knights logo:

Hoshi Ruimichi, liaison extraordinaire:

Rutherford Monroe:

Rutherford Monroe in 2007:

Rooster in the BBA:

Rooster in 2006:

Clark McKinnon:

Ollie Caffey:

John Grier watching BP:

Grier on his way to visit Steve Parris, mid-2007:

Mark Schernborg:

Theo Garner:

Flash Richards during his short stay in KC:

Fiorentino Carrera:

Bobby Frisina:

Bobby Frisina's CBA2008 likeness:

Doc Caswell:

Bob Saville:

Alan Bennett:

Bobby Cardenas:

Von Jones watches a Hannibal Carreras HR:

Sebastian Pena:

"Robot" Bill Katz stretches out his bionic arm:

Moises Chupp gets excited, late 2007:

Joel Kral:

Joel Kral inspects his bat:

Bill Pirtle overcame depression:

Del Harrison in 2008:

Hope that satisfies everyone for a while. Chapter 39 is on its way (probably tomorrow).

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Old 04-17-2005, 01:32 AM   #516 (permalink)
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damn thought this would be a new chapter.
Originally Posted by Anyone broadcasting an A's game
The A's leave 2 men on and fail to score.
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Old 04-18-2005, 01:25 PM   #517 (permalink)
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John Grier looks just like Billy Beane!
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Old 04-22-2005, 01:48 AM   #518 (permalink)
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Here's Chapter 39. This took a while, but it's finally done. The next few chapters shouldn't take so long.

After this season things will start to pick up somewhat. The scope of the story will broaden and time will begin to move a little faster as Dave gets older. That's what it does, anyway, right?

Hope everyone who looked at the photo album liked it. If you didn't, they were googled photos of people I thought were close to the characters in the story. It's a touchy thing: I certainly don't want to erase anyone's mental image of a character. Just thought it would be fun.

Chapter 40 is on the way.
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Old 04-22-2005, 01:49 AM   #519 (permalink)
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Chapter 39

The Whooping Wallopers

I looked it up. Since I was drafted until I was traded to Chicago there were seven deals involving first round draft picks. Four were by the Kansas City Knights. Two involved me. The other two KC deals were Joel Kral to New York and another you’ll read about soon.

But let me back up. After I left John Grier’s office I cleaned out my locker. I remember staring at its emptiness. My uniform hung limply on its hanger, alone and seemingly drained of life. It wasn’t so long since I first stood there, staring at the same emptiness, feeling pretty alone myself, wondering what life held for me in Kansas City. Now I realized nothing had changed. I was a little older now, with a few memories of my own in the league, but I still found myself feeling alone, still thinking the same thought: What happens to me now?

The last thing I took before closing the thin metal door on my Kansas City career was Rutherford Monroe’s tin medallion. I found Arthur Sisk in the laundry.
“Take care, Arthur,” I said.
“You too, son. Knock’em dead out there in Chicago.”
“Thanks. Arthur, there’s something I need to give you.”
“What’s that, now?”
I held out the medallion. “This is for the next number four.”
He recognized it immediately. “Ah,” he breathed. “Rutherford’s little bit of history. My goodness, I’d forgotten all about that.”
“That’s what he said,” I joked half-heartedly.
He sent me a small grin. “I’ll bet he did. No doubt he convinced you to carry on his legacy.”
“Kind of,” I said.
“Well, you should keep it,” he said, turning back to his pile of dirty clothes. “There won’t ever be another number four.”
“I’m sure somebody will come along.”
Arthur turned around again. “That’s not what I meant, son. Didn’t you hear? The club’s retiring a bunch of the old numbers. Rutherford Monroe’s number four is one of them.”
“You’re kidding.”
“Nope,” replied Arthur, slowly shaking his head. “You are the last number four.”
“Oh. Shouldn’t he have it back, then?”
“I imagine if he wanted it, he wouldn’t have given it away.”
Well this was embarrassing. What am I supposed to do with it?
“You take it, then,” I offered.
“I don’t want it!” said Arthur, holding ten fingers up at me as if in defense. “Lord, son, he was a good ballplayer but I never really liked the man. What would I do with it?”
“I don’t know. Give it back to him at the ceremony, I guess.”
Arthur Sisk studied me for a moment. He gave a quick exhale and said, “Here’s what I’ll do: If Rutherford Monroe ever asks for it, I’ll tell him where it is.”
So I kept it. Mr. Monroe never asked for it. I wound up giving it away myself, but that was years later.

Bags in tow, I entered the physical therapy room and found B.C. and Bobby Frisina icing down. Bobby realized what had happened right away. Cardenas didn’t.
“Where are you going? Camping?” said B.C.
“I cleaned out my locker,” I replied.
“And it filled two bags? How much **** did you have in there?”
“Only my entire career.”
That confused him, and he looked at Frisina. Bobby’s face was grim, his jaw set. There was a mixture of anger and dismay in his voice when he said, “Where?”
“Chiefs or Comanches?”
“Damn it! What the hell are they thinking?” Bobby slammed his hand down on the table. The sound snapped through the air like a gunshot.
“They told me they didn’t have the money to keep me past free agency.”
“Keep who past free agency?” asked B.C., still confused. He knew enough to know there was something wrong; Bobby Frisina doesn’t get mad for no reason. “What’s going on?”
“I was traded to Chicago,” I said.
B.C. looked away like he had been struck. “Tell me you’re kidding.”
“Not kidding.”
“Oh, my God. These ****ers are out of their minds.”

And we stood there for a moment. It was quiet and strange. I didn’t want to be the one to speak first, and neither did they. We all knew what the next words were going to be, but we didn’t want to say them. The longer we were silent the longer we were teammates.

Finally, I said, “I’ve got to go. I have to report tomorrow morning for the flight out. I’m sorry, Bobby. Looks like I’ll miss Erica’s birthday party.”
“Yeah,” he said. “Well, what can you do?”
“Wait here for a sec,” said Cardenas. Jumping down from the table, he ran into the locker room leaving Bobby and I alone.
“So much for the house, huh?” he said.
“Yeah. She just put a bid in on one today.”
“Does she know?”
“Yeah. I just told her on the phone.”
“We’re going to miss you here, Professor.”
“I’ll miss you guys, too.”
“Ah, ****, you’re going to a first place team. There’s nothing to miss around here.”
“Not true,” I said.
“We’ll have to have dinner when we’re in Chicago.”
“Definitely. Hey, have you seen Von?”
“No. You want me to tell him tomorrow?”
“No. I’ll call him.”

Cardenas came in with a bottle of champagne.
“Where’d you get that?” I asked.
“I was keeping it for our next division title.”
He popped it open.
“Well don’t open it!” I said.
Cardenas took two quick swigs. “Hell, yeah, I’m going to open it! You think we have a prayer at a division title now?”
“Hey, don’t talk like that,’ said Bobby, trying to be angry. His heart wasn’t in it.
“Don’t give me that rah-rah bull****, Frisina. You know it’s true, you just won’t say it. They’ve sold off almost everyone on this team. We might as well toast Dave’s new chance to win something.”
So we drank a bottle of very good champagne in the Knights training room.

When I got home Gwen was waiting for me. She was very upset. Can you blame her? This trade threw all our plans into the mixer. She had a career in Kansas City, a new life to prepare for, a house to buy and a wedding to plan. Now her fiancée is going to live in Chicago, her dream house is gone and the wedding plans are on hold, at least for the time being. We talked for a long time. It was early morning when I finally got to sleep.

I woke to a ringing phone. It was the Comanches’ team secretary.
“Mr. Driscoll, it’s Mike Sipich.”
“Oh, my God, what time is it?”
“Don’t worry. We’ve sent a car for you.”
“Thanks. Wouldn’t it be great if I was late my first day with the team?”
“I’m afraid you’re already late. Just remember to tell them it was my fault.”
“Do I have time to shave?”
“I don’t think so, sir.”
“When will you get here?”
“We’re in the lobby, sir.”

The plane was held up for forty minutes waiting for the newest Comanche to get to the tarmac. If you think I felt alone standing in front of my locker for the last time, imagine me facing a flight of thin metal steps leading to 24 new teammates who had been crammed into a charter jet for almost an hour waiting for me.
I hadn’t even put my second foot into the plane and I heard, “The Savior’s here. Can we go now?”
What could I do? I just nodded like an idiot and said, “Good morning. Sorry I’m late.”
“I hope you had a good time with the fiancée last night, Driscoll, because this is going to cost you.”
And it did. Two hundred bucks, payable on the spot.
My new manager, Stump Wallace, stuck up for me.
“Leave the guy alone; he’s had a busy day.”
“Thanks, skip,” I said.
“Don’t thank me. I’m fining you five hundred for being late.”
“Uh, it was Mike’s fault?”
“Nice try. He tells everybody to say that. That’s another hundred for trying to blame Mike.”

Thus began my career as one of the Whooping Wallopers. I was down $800 and I hadn’t even left Missouri yet.

We were high above Illinois somewhere before I could call Jonesy on his cell phone.
“Von Jones.”
“Jonesy, it’s Davey.”
“Where are you? I’ve been trying to get you all morning.”
“I’m calling you from the phone on the plane. I’ve been traded.”
“I know. Bobby called me. Chicago, huh?”
“Well, it ain’t so bad. If you got to go somewhere… You know.”
“I guess. I’m just sorry I missed you yesterday.”
“It’s all right, man. So, what, no wedding?”
“There’ll be a wedding, but everything’s on hold now.”
“Hear that. Gwen’s all right, man. She’ll handle it.”
“Yeah. Bad timing.”
“Things will work out. Always do. Won’t be the same without you taking my cutoffs.”
“We’ll go to dinner when you’re in Chicago.”
“Yeah. We’ll hook up soon. Good luck, Professor.”
“You, too, Jonesy.”

And that was it – for about thirty minutes. Then my cell phone rang.
“Davey, it’s Von. I just left Grier’s office.”
“Has Chicago traded me back?”
“No, man. I’m gone, too.”
“You’re what?”
“I’m gone. I’ve been dealt. They called me in right after I got off the phone with you. The mother****ers traded me, too.”
“My God. Where?”
“You’re going to love this. Cleveland.”
Cleveland? Von Jones, Flash Richards, and Al Gills all in Cleveland? ****.
“That’s --. That’s great.” I was happy for Von, but why did it have to be Cleveland?
“I ain’t complaining,” said Von. “KC always was small potatoes.”
“Wow,” I breathed. It was really sinking in now. The team that had conjured such magic only a year before had all but disappeared. The Knights had traded yet another first rounder. “We’re breaking up,” I said.
“Don’t feel bad for Kansas City. They’re the ones doing the breaking.”
“I meant us. All of us. The Squires are gone.”
“Things don’t last forever, my man.”
“I guess not.”
“I had a good time with you guys. It was a good time.” That was a lot for Von Jones to say.
“Yeah. It was a good time.”
“Good luck, man.”
“You, too.”

With that I turned the page on a new chapter of my life and career.

In 1925, the Chicago Comanches were the most popular and successful baseball club in the Great Lakes League, and had been for some time. They were hand-picked to join the ABF in 1926, the first expansion of the league since 1904. In the late 1920’s the power of the league resided in New York and Detroit, respectively. Whether by luck or design, most of the power hitters of the time played for either New York or Detroit. In contrast, Chicago baseball teams were known neither for their power nor their prowess. But several lean years later the Comanches had a coming of age. Whether by luck or design, the Comanches of 1932 were stacked with “a band of brawny belters of baseballs”, as famous sportswriter Pete Kryniak wrote in the Chicago Bell.

Kryniak was an unapologetic sort. He was a gruff, unkempt, cigar-smoking bulldog of a man who would proudly describe his service in the Great War to anyone who would listen (and any who didn’t). The man was, by all accounts, a round, mean little hell raiser. However, his words shined with an eloquence and depth of perception that belied his cantankerous disposition. He was a study in opposites.

Kryniak coined the name Whooping Wallopers during that wonderful 1932 season. It was a name born in a less politically correct time, yet it has endured to this day largely because of Chicago’s love for the team – a love that started in 1932.

Of course, I was no walloper, no “brawny belter of baseballs”, but when you’re a Comanche, you’re a Walloper by default. I was happy to be a part of history that way. I must say I had some reservations (no pun intended) about the team. Not the players, mind you, but the owner.

Frankly, there were many whispered stories about Giulio Bassone and the way his grandfather acquired the team. Some say the Bassones forced Comanche's owner Carter Morningham to sell his interest in the team. Some say close allies in the criminal underworld created the problems that forced Morningham to sell. Whatever the truth, there were shadows in Chicago. And like many who don’t know the whole truth, I was willing to believe only in the dirty half with which I was familiar. But once I met Giulio Bassone those shadows were dispelled. I found him to be a very pleasant, educated, devoted family man. His family business interests may have once been suspect, and his grandfather’s involvement in the notorious Blackhawk Association scandal of 1922 may be an unfortunate part of his past, but Giomano Enterprises today is a very successful international company with many charitable endeavors to its name.

Before I go further I want to pause and comment on my own history in Chicago. Castle Cove was and remains one of the nicest places to live in the greater Chicago area. It is filled with good people and hardworking families. In no way should they have suffered the way they have over the years. As far as I’m concerned neither should I. The Castle Cove scandal was orchestrated by someone within Giomano Enterprises without the knowledge of Giulio Bassone or his son Gianni. Of that I am certain. My involvement came not out of a desire to defraud innocent people, but to provide a home for my young family.

As dark as my days in Chicago were to become, my first days as a Whooping Walloper shined like a diamond. Pun intended. To begin with, I asked for and received number 4, the number worn by the Comanche’s great second baseman of the 40’s: Woody McBride. Next, I began my stay in the Windy City with a trip to the Motor City where Detroit was wallowing in 4th place. We won both games. After that we traveled to Miami where we swept three more. In my first week wearing the emerald and black I hit .500 (9-18) with 3 doubles and 5 RBI.

Soon the Whooping Wallopers were breathing down the Hammers’ necks.

Last edited by Tib; 04-22-2005 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 04-22-2005, 06:34 AM   #520 (permalink)
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Keep'em coming Tib. Great Stuff as always.
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