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Old 07-31-2004, 04:45 PM   #81 (permalink)
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They were a big step (no pun intended)
Haha great line, looking foward to what Theo has to say...
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Old 08-02-2004, 08:15 AM   #82 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Tib
“Would you come in here, Davey?” asked Theo.

Next week: The Crack of the Bat, Part Two

You know what...I hate cliff hangers.
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Old 08-03-2004, 06:44 AM   #83 (permalink)
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No Cancer dont let him have leukemia
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Old 08-05-2004, 02:21 PM   #84 (permalink)
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i enjoy reading this alot. It gives me something to look forward to once i hit the minors after HS or college. I cant wait for the next installment and i cant wait for the minors
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Old 08-06-2004, 07:37 PM   #85 (permalink)
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No Cancer dont let him have leukemia
The answer's in the chapter title: "Crack of the Bat". The dude's hopped up on goofballs. He's a drug addict. Least that'd be my guess.
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Old 08-07-2004, 04:56 AM   #86 (permalink)
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The answer's in the chapter title: "Crack of the Bat". The dude's hopped up on goofballs. He's a drug addict. Least that'd be my guess.


Nice, I hadn't even caught the pun, though I did assume drugs. Brilliant if intentional, funny even if accidental.
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Old 08-07-2004, 07:17 AM   #87 (permalink)
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“—unacceptable levels in his bloodstream. I could end this right now, for both of you, but you know I don’t want that. Nobody in this room wants that. I understand the club has an investment, but that’s not my job. My job is to insure the health of these players. I haven’t done that. Instead, for the past three months I’ve listened to you two. Well, not any more. No more half-assed ‘treatments’ at three in the morning. No more promises. If I see this boy in this condition again, I swear I will admit him.”
Nope i dont think drugs
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Old 08-07-2004, 10:10 AM   #88 (permalink)
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Welcome to the next installment of SHORT HOP. I must say I really enjoyed reading all the speculation about Dave's problem. Well, the wait is over and I hope it was worth it.

Without further delay, then:

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Old 08-07-2004, 10:14 AM   #89 (permalink)
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Chapter 11: The Crack of the Bat, Part Two

He started in high school, on a dare. He was a good kid, never in trouble with the law, from a successful family. At first he used his own money to buy it, but later stole from his parents to fund his habit. By the time he was eighteen he had destroyed an otherwise decent GPA and had drained his entire college fund. That’s why he had to declare for the draft out of high school. He was supposed to go to Texas A&M, but they caught wind of a problem and rescinded his scholarship. That’s how his parents found out. Dave was kicked out of college before he ever went in. Dave Guevara was addicted to crack cocaine.

His parents demanded he enter a treatment program. He convinced them that his only chance left was to get drafted, to devote himself entirely to baseball. He promised them if he got drafted, he would enter treatment. Atlanta took him, not knowing about his drug use. He completed a very expensive, very discreet ninety-day treatment program, got clean, and left for Hinesville. The last thing he packed for the trip was his crack pipe.

I don’t understand why people take drugs. It never makes things any better. You are always sacrificing something for that high. I was never willing to compromise anything for the sake of something so dangerous, not to mention illegal. But I’m not everybody, and I have certainly made enough mistakes in my own life. I’ve never condemned anyone for making mistakes, even mistakes as grave as Dave’s, when they try to make it right.

The trouble is, it’s almost impossible to simply stop. First it takes its toll on your body, then your bank account, and then it starts eroding your life. That’s what happened to Dave. As I sat next to him in Theo’s office, listening to the story spill out, watching his tears splash on Theo’s ratty blue carpet, I realized that Dave Guevara was a young man at the end of his rope. He told me everything, as he must have told his parents, as he must have told Theo and Bobby. I tell you, nobody should have to tell his story three times. It was very difficult for me to hear. I can’t imagine what it was like for Dave to confess to his parents, to his coaches and now to a teammate. It must have torn him apart inside. At the time I was just shocked to the core. Looking back now, remembering how he laid himself open like that, I think it was one of the gutsiest things I’ve ever seen.

I cursed myself silently while I sat there. How could I not see it? Dave said he never used on game days, but over the course of last year he did seem to be more fatigued. He was as fast as ever, but his endurance declined. He would disappear after games, reappear late to practice. At times he would get very jumpy and irritable. He didn’t socialize with anyone. I couldn’t understand how I couldn’t have seen the signs, but now I know that addicts are excellent actors. Plus, I wasn’t exactly an expert in spotting the symptoms of drug use.

“Dave, I’m so sorry,” I said to him when he was done. “I had no idea.”
“None of us did, at first,” said Gable.
“But you found out eventually,” I said. “And you didn’t do anything.”
“We did. Doc saw him, helped him. We watched him, talked to him. But it wasn’t enough.”
“Why didn’t you put him in a hospital?”
Theo and Gable were silent. I got mad. I stood. I wanted to hit them.
“Why didn’t you put him in a hospital?”
“It would have ruined my career,” said Dave. “There would have been medical records. There would have been proof what I was there for, what treatment I got. If the team found out, that’s it. I’d be done. My parents would’ve found out. They would never have forgiven me. I betrayed them. They did everything for me. Don’t you see, Davey? That’s one error I can’t afford to make.”
“So you were going to trust Theo and Bobby to get you straight? That’s crazy.”
Dave looked up at me like I slapped him. His face was a grimace of torment. “What was I supposed to do?” he yelled tearfully. “Besides, they know what they’re doing.”
“What do you mean?”
Theo spoke. “Do you think Guevara is the only crack addicted ballplayer we’ve ever seen?”

“Jesus Christ, this is crazy,” I said.
Gable put a hand on my shoulder. “I know this is a lot to take in, Davey. It’s been a long, hard day. But listen: this has got to stay in this room. Dave will get clean, but it will take awhile. Two weeks, at least.”
“This, this is -.”
“It’s okay, Davey,” said Dave. “They’re going to look after me. I’ll be all right.”
“How, Dave?” I asked. “How are you going to be all right?”
“He’ll go on the 15-day DL,” said Theo. “He won’t need to come to the ballpark. We couldn’t have any of the team see him, anyway. He has to go away. He’ll stay with me.”
How am I not going to say anything to Moose? To Yoogie? To J.R.?
“I don’t think I can keep this secret,” I said.
“If you want to save this young man’s career, you will,” said Gable.
“Please, Davey,” said Dave. “In two weeks I’ll be straight. I’ll be back. It’ll be just like old times. It’ll be you and me, turning two. It’ll be business as usual.”

I was twenty years old. I should not have been faced with this decision. I thought of Hal Fitzwalter. They’re going to test you, he had said. I thought of Theo that day in his office. Guys will look to you as a role model. I didn’t want to be a role model. I just wanted to play baseball. I couldn’t get involved in this now. I had my own career to focus on, and in case anyone wanted to know, it hadn’t been going too well so far. At that moment I didn’t feel too different from Dave Guevara. Maybe my own life was eroding, if only a little.

And so I come back to focus. It’s a wonderful thing, most of the time; all one’s energies assigned to accomplish a goal. But I wonder: if I hadn’t been so focused on myself those few months, would I have seen the warning signs? I turned two with the guy for more than a year. Could I have spotted the problem and done something for Dave before it reached this point? Probably not. I realized that my focus had become a selfish thing. I wasn’t just working on my game; I was excluding the other important things that helped me just as much: Moose’s sense of humor, J.R.’s quiet loyalty, Yoogie’s empathy, even Marisa’s gentle acceptance. People.

And that’s it, isn’t it? In the end it’s people who really make the difference. Cliff made a difference that night for Mooney. Sgt. Draper made a difference that night for Theo. That unnamed Savannah policeman made a difference that night for Moose and J.R. And here was Dave Guevara, sick as he was, trying to cover as much ground as he could. There was no way he could cover it all. As I did so many times in these situations, I thought of my dad. I remembered all the times he was there when I needed him. Sometimes you have to focus on things more important than baseball, he would have said.

In my head I heard the crack of the bat. I sprang to my left.

Next Week: Business As Usual

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Old 08-07-2004, 03:18 PM   #90 (permalink)
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Kudos to AdmiralACF you can read between. Man that is sad but i guess that is what Live mostly is when on Crack. Beside that it was a great Lesson for Davey to become a Teamplayer.
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Old 08-07-2004, 06:46 PM   #91 (permalink)
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ahhhhhh......nooooooo

i just discovered this thread today and have been reading it on and off for about the last 2-3 hours. and now nothing...i need more story....must have next chapter....feeling weak...

this is wonderfully written....kudos to Tib
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Old 08-08-2004, 01:21 AM   #92 (permalink)
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Chapter 11: <i>The Crack of the Bat</i>, Part Two

He started in high school, on a dare. He was a good kid, never in trouble with the law, from a successful family. At first he used his own money to buy it, but later stole from his parents to fund his habit. By the time he was eighteen he had destroyed an otherwise decent GPA and had drained his entire college fund. That’s why he had to declare for the draft out of high school. He was supposed to go to Texas A&M, but they caught wind of a problem and rescinded his scholarship. That’s how his parents found out. Dave was kicked out of college before he ever went in. Dave Guevara was addicted to crack cocaine.

May I be as bold to make this suggestion to move the red text to the end of the first paragraph. I like the way that reads.
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Old 08-08-2004, 01:27 AM   #93 (permalink)
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In my head I heard the crack of the bat. I sprang to my left.

Next Week: <i>Business As Usual</i>
Oh and this was a great ending to the chapter. Way to tie some of the other chapters in. You have a real talent.
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Old 08-08-2004, 05:56 PM   #94 (permalink)
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May I be as bold to make this suggestion to move the red text to the end of the first paragraph. I like the way that reads.
You, who hate cliffhangers, want me to tease you some more and THEN drop the hook at the end of the paragraph?

Good suggestion, though. It does read a little more dramatically that way. And thanks for all the great comments, everyone. I'm hard at work on future chapters (I write about two hours a day), so if I get far enough ahead I'll post a chapter in mid-week. Probably not the next chapter, but maybe after that.
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Old 08-08-2004, 10:24 PM   #95 (permalink)
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You, who hate cliffhangers, want me to tease you some more and THEN drop the hook at the end of the paragraph?

Good suggestion, though. It does read a little more dramatically that way. And thanks for all the great comments, everyone. I'm hard at work on future chapters (I write about two hours a day), so if I get far enough ahead I'll post a chapter in mid-week. Probably not the next chapter, but maybe after that.

Ha, I don't really mind cliff hangers if it doesn't leave me hanging for weeks. As long as I can get to the meat during the same Paragraph I'm cool
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Old 08-09-2004, 03:32 AM   #96 (permalink)
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This is an excellent piece of writing... I was thoroughly impressed.. I don't even have ITP, but the character development and dialogue is beyond excellent. You have done what alot of writing can't do for me: Paint a vivid, unmistakeable picture of the scene.

Please don't stop. I'll be eagerly awaiting the next chapter.
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Old 08-13-2004, 05:48 PM   #97 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the fine comments - and no, I have no intention of stopping. In fact, I can't even estimate how long this thing will be. As I get immersed in the details of Dave's life the story takes longer to tell; the first chapters were relatively short compared to the last ones. I only hope Markus is reading it because all of my ideas for the game will eventually be represented.

I've been very busy at work these days (putting in a lot of OT). And I'm working a double tomorrow as well, so I'm posting the next installment a day early. I thought Chapter 13 would take me a long time to get a handle on, but it's been just the opposite: it's flying by as fast as I can write it. As a result, I'm a little ahead of the game (about three postings worth).

I haven't forgotten about the logos; I just haven't had the time to organize them. I also went searching for images of Moose, Dex, Yoogie and Cliff and found some interesting pics on the net. I'm still debating whether to include them in a "photo album" of Dave's career (like they do in autobiographies these days). Maybe you guys can give me a clue whether you want them or want me to leave it up to your imagination.

Anyway, here's part one of Chapter 12: Business As Usual

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Old 08-13-2004, 05:52 PM   #98 (permalink)
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CHAPTER 12:

Business As Usual


The first time I sat down with my agent to discuss the content of this book we were eating lunch in a restaurant near my home. We were going over some of the things I wanted to put in, and at one point she looked up at me and said, “Have you discussed any of this with these guys? Do they know you’re writing a book?” I confessed I had not.
“Your outline looks great, Dave,” she went on, “but this, here, with Dave Guevara….You should talk to him.”
“I don’t know where he is.”
“Find him,” she said. “Isn’t there a baseball database or something?”
“There’s a union directory and a veteran’s archive.”
“Good. Because this kind of thing… I mean, with the drugs. You should get a confirmation.”
“Of course,” I said.

To his credit, Dave Guevara did not hesitate. “Write it,” he told me over the phone.
“There may be a backlash for you,” I warned him.
“What do you mean?”
“Media. Interviews. A reexamination of your career.”
“It was a long time ago. We were in the minors. Those things don’t scare me. Just do me one favor, Dave.”
“Name it.”
“Write the whole thing, not just the drugs. Tell them what I did on the field.”
“I will,” I promised.

We soon went on a 5-game losing streak. Medina was no Dave Guevara, but that wasn’t our only problem; our pitching continued its mediocrity. We dropped to third place. Moose and J.R. stayed hot, and Yoogie was the lone bright spot in the bullpen (3-0). I hovered around .270 and made a couple of errors. Lino Lopez led the Durham Sergeants in homeruns (10) and RBI (23). Mark Kearse was hitting .337. Bradley Sing stopped complaining about the humidity, the field conditions, and the poor equipment long enough to hit .246 and rip 9 dingers in limited play.

Sing was a very determined guy. Unfortunately, he was determined to annoy the hell out of everybody. No sooner had I forgotten about Keith Hart than here comes Bradley Sing. He was gifted; no doubt about that. He had Hart’s bravado and confidence, but there was an anger behind it. Some guys are just full of themselves. That’s fine. Whatever gets you going. But Bradley had a chip on his shoulder the size of a hero sandwich. I’ve mentioned I didn’t like Keith Hart, right? By mid-July I was praying for Keith Hart back.

I read a book once called D-Day by Stephen Ambrose, the famous historian. In it he gives examples of the leadership exhibited by the men of the armed forces during the assault on the beaches of Normandy. Some of those men were born leaders. Some were leaders by circumstance; they had a job to do. But others were reluctant heroes; men who were fated to accomplish things which appeared at the time to be beyond their ability. I mention this because after a particularly bad game against the Charleston Redhawks, Bradley Sing started harping and he just wouldn’t shut up.

I’m not a violent guy. I never was. I’ve been challenged plenty of times in my career but always managed to diffuse the situation with patience and well-chosen words. But I had had it with Bradley Sing. If he was going to be a part of the team, he was going to have to come up with something positive to say, at least around me.

So Sing’s complaining as he undressed. He’s complaining in the shower. He’s complaining while he’s getting dressed. He had his pants half on when I finally called across the locker room.
“Hey, Sing, give it a rest, huh?”
“What’s your problem, Driscoll?” he says.
“You,” I say. “You’re my problem. I’ve heard enough bellyaching from you. ‘I don’t like this and I don’t like that.’ I’m tired of it. We don’t need that kind of bull**** around here.”
”Yeah? Well that’s all we have around here is bull****,” he says. “Bull**** field, bull**** fans, and bull**** coaches.”
“What was that?”
“You heard me. This is ****. Who are these re-treads, anyway? Gable? What did he ever do? What was he, a lifetime .265 hitter? Why should I listen to him?”
“Maybe because you’re hitting twenty points less,” I say, but he’s still running his mouth.
“And Garner? He spends a month in the bigs and gets fired? Now he can’t get a job and he’s all the way down here in Rifle Rack, Georgia, and we’re supposed to swallow all his tough guy bull****?”
“He spent six seasons in the bigs as a bench coach, you arrogant punk,” I say. “And he was an interim manager who went 29-26 with a crap pitching staff. For a guy who knows so little, you sure think you know a lot.”
“**** you, Driscoll,” says Sing. “You can’t say a word for four months and now all of a sudden you’re in my face? What do you care, anyway? I’m just telling it true, man. If you can’t take it, go back to Mommy and Daddy.”

I must have taken several steps toward him because he braced himself. Guys converged on us, then I felt Moose’s hand on my chest. “No, man,” he whispers.
“Why not?” I whisper back, jaw clenched. “You don’t think I can take him?”
“You can’t take him, you idiot,” he replies. “He’s got about forty pounds and six inches on you. Besides, you might break your hand and Yoogie’s ERA will go up.”
But Sing just can’t stop himself.
“That’s right, Driscoll. Get your bodyguard to save your life. I’ll kill you, man.”
Then Theo’s voice was behind me. “Knock that **** off, the two of you.”
“Get your attitude right, jerk off,” I say.
“**** you. You can’t talk to me. ****, the way you’re going, in another year I’ll be hiring you to baby-sit my kid.”

Well, that was it. I broke through about four guys and grabbed Sing’s shirt, propelling us over the bench and into a row of lockers with a huge bang. In a normal fight Sing would have cleaned the floor with me, but in this case he was under the bench and it tied him up. I rained about six or seven punches down into his face before Moose pulled me off him. It only occurred to me later that no one was in too much of a hurry to rescue Bradley Sing.

His face was bloody. My hands were bloody. It was a good trade.

Theo was bellowing. “Goddamn it! Get him outta here, Moose! I don’t want to see him until game time tomorrow! Sing, get in the goddamn shower and clean yourself off.”
“He broke my nose, Skip,” whined Sing.
“You’re lucky that’s all he did.”

I can’t really explain why I did what I did that day. Bradley Sing was a jerk, but he was no enemy. Like most fights, it started over something stupid and escalated into a dangerous show of force. Like most fights, it didn’t solve anything. It wasn’t to be my last fight in baseball, but in many ways it was the most significant. If I had broken my hand, it might have been very bad. It was the first moment I cared enough about my team to risk my career.

Something else happened too, I noticed. Guys began to play ball like I played ball. They changed what they did, their habits. I don’t think I can call it leadership, but my style of play became an influence. Certain guys worked a little harder, ran a little faster, concentrated a little more. I guess they decided my way was the right way. Bradley Sing shut up. They say a team takes on the personality of its leaders. If that’s true then the Gents became my team the moment I landed the first punch.

I only wish Guevara had been around to see it.

Next week: Business As Usual, Part Two

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Old 08-13-2004, 08:35 PM   #99 (permalink)
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Nothing to add except my continued praise. Love the story.
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Old 08-13-2004, 11:14 PM   #100 (permalink)
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keep it coming, and i would prefer no pictures
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