Home | Webstore
Latest News: - OOTP 15: Update #6 Released! - OOTP 15 Released! - FHM 2014: Version 1.6.19 Available! - iOOTP Baseball 2014 for iOS Available NOW! - Beyond the Sideline Football Announced! - Title Bout Championship Boxing 2.5 released!

OOTP 15 World Series Special: 50% Off!

  

Go Back   OOTP Developments Forums > Inside the Park Baseball > ITP Dynasty Reports

ITP Dynasty Reports Share your careers with other ITP players!

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 05-12-2004, 08:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
Tib
All Star Reserve
 
Tib's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Posts: 934
Thanks: 0
Thanked 63x in 30 posts
SHORT HOP - My Life In Baseball by David Driscoll

Greetings, intrepid readers of the empty expanse that is the ITP Dynasty thread. With OOTP6 only just released and ITP2 on the way, the ITP board is experiencing a creative malaise. However, over the past few months I have been writing a dynasty thread that I hope will help you fill the time between versions, and (if you like it) perhaps beyond.

It was originally intended to be an exercise in writing a first person memoir, but quickly grew to become something more. Since there has been but few "career journals" entered here, I thought you all might like to read something a little different, a little more like a real novel. Nothing against the fine work or Mr. Mau et al, but I confess I always wondered how far this new genre of "sim-based fiction" could go. Would the depth of a simulation engine like OOTP and ITP be enough to produce a rich, novel-length story? Could it produce drama, comedy, suspense? You bet it could, as you will see.

I must say that the on-field events in Dave's career are depicted as they really happened. They are taken directly from ITP, with very few embellishments.

Keep in mind that even as I post each chapter of the fictional career of David Driscoll, the work itself is still only one or two drafts old; still very raw. But inspired as I was by the story of Roscoe Barahona, I couldn't help but try to enrich and expand the wonderful little exclusive genre we have here at the OOTP boards. As such, I am open to any and all comments.

One other thing: this is meant for mature readers. I have tried to be responsible to the legal guardians of our younger members of the board, but while there is absolutely no graphic sexual language, there is what I would call "realistic dialogue" (profanity) and some "mature themes" (adult issues). This is a work of fiction, any similarity to persons living or dead is coincidence. Copyright 2004 by Scott Tibbetts.

So, with fingers crossed, I present SHORT HOP - My Life In Baseball, by David Driscoll (as told to Del Harrison).

Last edited by Tib; 10-29-2004 at 11:34 AM.
Tib is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2004, 08:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
Tib
All Star Reserve
 
Tib's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Posts: 934
Thanks: 0
Thanked 63x in 30 posts
CHAPTER 1:

Draft Day


The most vivid memory I have of draft day 2003 wasn’t the call from Peter Van Alten, GM of the Atlanta Generals. It wasn’t the many friends and family filling my parents’ modest home in the sunny foothills of Mount Rose, California. It was my dad turning to me right after I got off the phone and whispering, “Maybe we shouldn’t tell them about the knee.” Years later, right before he died, my father and I would laugh about our little secret. You know the way you chuckle to yourself when you get away with something? Like that. My knee injury was to be a secret for fifteen years.

I was eighteen on draft day, a senior in high school. Only two months prior I had created quite a stir by declaring for professional baseball’s amateur draft. I was ranked one of the top ten college baseball prospects in California and everyone had expected me to go to Pepperdine like my old man. I had been offered scholarships to Stanford, Oklahoma State, Arizona State, UCLA, Florida and Notre Dame, but I didn’t sign letters of intent with any of them because of my knee. I was afraid if I went to college they’d either find out about the knee or it wouldn’t hold up and I would be out of baseball before I realized my dream of playing in the CBA.

Together, my dad and I decided I should go into the draft to maximize my rehab time. We decided to keep the knee a secret for fear I wouldn’t be drafted at all. As it was, we felt I’d probably go in the first four or five rounds, and that would buy me some time; it was likely that a team would be more patient with a high draft pick. That patience could give me as much as a year to continue my rehabilitation; we knew a poor first season could be attributed to a “period of adjustment”. And up until that phone rang it was our intention to eventually tell whoever drafted me about my knee.

It’s funny, the things you remember. I vividly recall the commotion in the house that day. I can see my mother moving about with a certain nervous industry, busy offering trays of snacks and drinks to all her guests. I can see my high school coach, Ron Hoeffler, talking to my younger sister Jan, who was an all-conference athlete herself. I can see all my friends gathered around the TV, drinking sodas, talking and laughing. I can see my dad, happy and full of energy, trading stories and barbs with his friends. I even remember there was a squirrel climbing a palm tree outside the den window right before the call came. But for the life of me, I cannot remember picking up the phone.

All I remember is the house fell silent the way a restaurant does when someone drops a tray. It seemed like everyone heard it at the same time and we all froze, choking off words in mid-stream, waiting to hear if it was really the phone or our imaginations. Well, it was really the phone. I gave a nervous glance at my dad, we exchanged a smile, and then the receiver was at my ear. At that instant I heard someone behind me say, “Now? That was quick”.

Feigning levity to mask my terror, I announced “Hello! Driscoll Draft Central!”
“Hello. Davey Driscoll please,” came the deep southern drawl.
“This is me. I mean I’m me. I mean this is --. I’m Dave Driscoll.”
“Well, Davey Driscoll, this is Peter Van Alten from the Mutual League champion Atlanta Generals.”
“Yes, sir?”
“Davey, we’ve just made you our first round pick. Twenty-ninth overall.”
I must not have spoken for a while, because the voice said, “Davey? Are you still there?”
“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. I won’t let you down.”
“We are very much looking forward to you playing for our organization. You already know Hal Fitzwalter don’t you? Well he’s on his way to your house with some papers for you to sign. We’re prepared to offer you a $315,000 signing bonus. You’ll be reporting to the Hinesville Gents in April.”
“Thank you, Mr. Van Alten.”
“Welcome to the Atlanta Generals.”

And that was it. After 10,000 ground balls and countless hours in a batting cage, after three varsity seasons, 77 errorless games at shortstop, two all-conference MVP awards, one state all-star award, one roller hockey accident, and one tiny lie I was a first round draft pick. My knee didn’t hurt the rest of the day.

My conscience did, though.

Last edited by Tib; 11-15-2004 at 12:38 PM.
Tib is offline   Reply With Quote
Thank you for this post:
cochrane (07-07-2010)
Old 05-12-2004, 08:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
All Star Reserve
 
attackemu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Brooklyn
Posts: 962
Thanks: 27
Thanked 41x in 16 posts
Wow! Looking forward to the rest of this. Nicely done.
__________________
attackemu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2004, 10:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
Hall Of Famer
 
mauboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Wausau, WI
Posts: 2,903
Thanks: 4
Thanked 1x in 1 post
Yes, I agree with emu.

no offense taken either!
mauboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2004, 10:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 155
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0x in 0 posts
wow,thats sick..really looking foward to it!
soc624 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2004, 11:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
Tib
All Star Reserve
 
Tib's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Posts: 934
Thanks: 0
Thanked 63x in 30 posts
CHAPTER 2:

Getting Started


On March 15, 2003 I was to report to the Hinesville Gents, Atlanta’s A-ball club. That gave me only a six short months to get ready to go. It took a week just for the shock of being a first round pick to wear off! Here I was, 18 years old, leaving home, traveling the length of the country to someplace I’d never heard of to play baseball for a living. It sounds romantic, but it was nerve wracking.

After the draft, I met with Hal Fitzwalter, the scout who found me. He was the same scout who signed Hall of Famer Charlie King back in the 60’s, Dameron Walker in the 70’s, and the current starting shortstop for Atlanta, Dave Fountain. Hal was a slim, angular sort who always wore dress shoes wherever he went. Hal wore the same dress shoes to the field, to dinner, in the shower for all I know. Those shoes looked like they had as many miles on them as the beat-to-hell Chevy Cavalier he drove. I asked him once why he always wore dress shoes when he was walking in dirt and mud and grass all the time. “Son,” he said in that raspy Southern accent of his, “scouting is my profession, and there’s no excuse for not appearing professional.”

Hal and my dad and I sat at our kitchen table and signed all the necessary papers. Then Hal gave me a check for $315,000. It was more money than I had ever seen. I didn’t know where to spend it first. I had visions of Corvettes in my head as we walked Hal to the door. He must have seen it in my eyes, because he paused on the porch and said, “Feel that check, son. Lift it up. It don’t weigh any more than any other check, does it? That check could be for a dollar and it would weigh the same.”
“I suppose so,” I said.
“See, money don’t weigh very much. A lot of money can weigh as little as a piece of paper. Expectation. Now that can weigh more on a man than all the money in the world.”
“Yes, sir.”
“You’re a first round pick. People are going to want to talk to you. Your teammates are going to challenge you. Your coaches will expect more from you. Never forget it’s a game, Davey. Play the game and you’ll be all right.”
“I will.”

The press in LA came knocking. So did Sports Illustrated, Street & Smith’s, and a dozen other magazines. I was excited for the attention, but I was unprepared for the criticism everyone had for my declaring out of high school. Why did I go for the draft when I had a dozen scholarships on the table? Didn’t an education mean anything to me? What was I going to do if I got injured and it ended my career? I felt bombarded. I felt like saying, “Hey, I did hit .420 my senior year, you know. I never made an error in three years of high school ball. It’s not like I can’t play.” I mean, what was I supposed to do? Tell them the truth about my knee? It would have blown everything. Goodbye $315,000. Goodbye baseball career. To this day people still give me crap about not choosing college. Well now they know why.

As the days turned to weeks the magazines went away. My mother kept my clippings and articles faithfully (except for the Playboy Baseball Draft Special; she did not approve of Playboy).

For the next month I took it easy. I went to see all my friends and say my goodbyes. I lightened my workouts, especially on my knee. It was feeling better, but I didn’t want to chance hurting it before I ever played an inning of pro ball.

I bought transportation. The local dealerships all wanted to give me a car, for promotional purposes, of course. Mustangs, Corvettes, Navigators, anything I wanted. I would’ve taken them, too. Hell, I was eighteen! But my dad talked me out of it.

“Don’t show up your teammates,” he said. “On the field or off. There are going to be guys there who came from nothing, and guys who are on the way down. I think maybe you should buy something nice, but not too nice. Remember, David, you haven’t done anything yet.” So I bought a nice used truck and that was the end of it.

Money. My dad and I had agreed that whatever signing bonus I was to receive would be put into investments in case my career didn’t pan out or I re-injured my knee. I was to be given a monthly amount for expenses during my minor league years, but the bulk of my money was to be out of my touch. But when I saw that big check, bigger than I had ever hoped (I thought I was going in the fourth or fifth round, remember), I wanted all of it. My dad and I started arguing almost immediately over how much I was to receive.

“It’s my money,” I would say.
“It’s your money,” he would respond. “But it’s also your future. Protect it.”
“I will. I’ll put it into the bank in Hinesville.”
“Don’t do that. You don’t know how to make sure it’s there for you if you get hurt. You don’t know any of those people. Let me give it to Ken Kline. He’ll invest it. You’ll still have plenty of money to spend and have fun with.”
“I should be able to decide what to do with that money. I earned it.”
“You haven’t earned it, David. You haven’t done anything but play extremely well in high school. If you spend this money and you don’t make it you’ll have nothing.”
“I’ll make it.”
“I know you feel that way. You should feel that way. But nothing is for sure, David. Believe me. Let’s do it this way for one year. If you don’t like it, I‘ll have Ken send you all the money and you can do what you want with it.”

Of course, I agreed. I could wait a year. I had all the time in the world.

Another two months went by. Now I became uncomfortably aware that my departure was rapidly approaching. I called a realtor in Hinesville and got a list of places to rent for the season. She was very nice. She had heard of me. “The folks in Hinesville love the Gents,” she said. She said I should get there by March 10th if I wanted to make sure I found a place. “You’ll like it,” she added. “Hinesville is real people.”

On March 6th, with $1,000 in my pocket, I loaded up my Silver Slugger A1 and my Web Gems IF1 limited edition Horatio Munoz autographed mitt. I packed my Brock Airs and the “player development journal” Hal had suggested I use to chart my progress. I jammed just about everything else I owned into that truck. With hugs for my whole family, and for Ron Hoeffler who showed up to say goodbye, I started her up, ready to begin my career. Considering I got a speeding ticket before I even got out of L.A., the trip was pleasant enough.

With the exception of a trip to Las Vegas once for an all-star tournament, I had never been out of California. Let me tell you, there is some beautiful country out there. New Mexico was spectacular, at least what I saw of it from I-10. I especially liked Las Cruces and San Antonio. I liked that both had a sense of history. I always wanted to live in a place with history. I missed Mardi Gras by a week, but Baton Rouge was still fantastic. Talk about history. I didn’t have time to get south to New Orleans, but I knew that one day, if I made the Bigs with Atlanta, I’d travel there to play the Musketeers. On the 9th I stayed in Tallahassee, home of the AAA River Rats. I arrived in Hinesville, Georgia on March 10th at precisely 4:34 in the afternoon. I know because it was the first entry in the journal.

Last edited by Tib; 05-07-2005 at 06:21 PM.
Tib is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2004, 09:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 155
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0x in 0 posts
i think i love you..
soc624 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2004, 01:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
Tib
All Star Reserve
 
Tib's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Posts: 934
Thanks: 0
Thanked 63x in 30 posts
CHAPTER 3:

First Days in Hinesville


Hinesville is in the easternmost section of Georgia, just south of the Fort Stewart Military Reserve and about 40 miles southwest of Savannah. Hinesville has one highway, state route 84. It has one rail yard owned by, you guessed it, someone named Hines. It has one lake, Mill Lake, four grocery stores, two bookstores, a dozen filling stations, a hospital, a library, five schools, seven hundred churches and about a million pine trees.

I’m exaggerating about the churches, but not the trees. They called it Tree City, for God’s sake! I loved it immediately. I had just enough time to call on Sheila, the real estate person, and see about my rental. She told me the house was still available, and she thought I’d be pleasantly surprised. So we went to take a look and I was surprised. The house was across the street from the stadium! It was a little two-bedroom place right on Bagley Ave. I could have thrown a ball from the front porch and hit second base! I took it without going inside. Sheila said she’d tell the landlady, a Miss Draper, about her new tenant in the morning. She said to be ready to answer a lot of questions. Little did I know….

“When can you move in?” she asked.
“How about tonight?”
“That’s a little quick, but I’ll see what I can do about getting you in tomorrow. There is a motel at the 84 and Martin Luther King Drive you can stay in.”
“No kidding! We have a Martin Luther King Drive in L.A., too.”
“Well,” she said with a knowing smile. “It’ll be just like home.”
But it was nothing like home.

Hinesville was 46% black. I came from Mount Rose, which was 99% white. It was quite an adjustment for me, to say the least. To be eighteen and in a strange town is one thing, but I was unprepared for the experience of being the only white person I could see. I really felt isolated. I found myself looking around for white faces. Of course, everyone could not have been nicer, and in the end I felt silly about feeling so intimidated. But it definitely wasn’t Kansas anymore.

I stayed that night in the motel Sheila had suggested and met my new landlady the next morning. Miss Draper was in her mid-sixties, a thin black woman with thick round glasses. She had a stern face, like an angry schoolteacher. She was a little unsure of me at first.

“Young man, Sheila tells me you’re our first rounder.”
“Yes, ma’am.”
“Hmm. A little small for a first rounder, aren’t you?”
“I wouldn’t know, ma’am.”
“How tall are you?”
“Five eight.”
“Five eight. Hmm. Not a lot of meat here either, Sheila. What’s old Cyril up to, drafting this boy when we need pitching?”
“I’m sure I don’t know, Miss Draper,” replied Sheila with a small smile for me.
“Excuse me, ma’am,” I said. “But Peter Van Alten drafted me. I don’t know anyone named Cyril.”
At this Miss Draper fixed me a stare through her thick glasses. I almost apologized.
“Peter Van Alten has money and nothing else. You remember that, Mr. First Rounder. Cyril Ratcliffe is the mind behind. He’s the one that drafted you, make no mistake.”
“Yes, ma’am.”
“Good fielder, are you?”
“Yes, ma’am.”
“Good hitter too, I suspect. Singles hitter?”
“Yes, ma’am. And doubles.”
“Humph,” was her reply. Then she turned to face me square. “Rent is $900 a month, collected by Andrew the mail man on the third. Don’t bother putting a stamp on it, just write “Miss Draper” on the front. He knows where it’s going. I don’t like smoking and drinking in my place. If I find drugs I will call my brother, Sergeant John Draper of the Hinesville Police, and he will throw your first round draft pick bee-hind in jail. I don’t tolerate overnight stays by single women in the home of a single man. No loud parties, no firearms. Upkeep of the grounds will be done by my man Drake, once a week. Respect me and what’s mine, David Driscoll, and I will respect what’s yours. As for the rest, the Lord will do as He sees fit. I am a good Christian and I expect you to behave like one, even if you aren’t one.”
“Yes, ma’am. I am one.”
“You are one what?”
“A good Christian.”
“Hmmph,” said Miss Draper. “You are a young man with freedom and little accountability. Time will tell us what you are, Mr. Driscoll. Time and baseball. Come, Sheila, I’ve got some tea going at the house.”

No, it definitely was not Kansas.


March 11, 2003
Moved into 310 Bagley Avenue today. Met Miss Draper, my landlady. She acts like she’s in charge of the whole neighborhood, and she probably is. Asked me baseball questions. Weird. House is old and small, but the rent is good. It’s clean, anyway. The wooden floors creak everywhere. Gas stove. Ceiling fans. The kitchen is tiny, but the two upstairs bedrooms are nice. Out back there is a small porch with a swing and a small yard that runs downhill toward what I thought was a big pond. Turns out it is just stagnant backup from a clogged city drainpipe. It smells awful in the late afternoons when the wind blows toward the house. The frogs keep me up at night.

Everybody wants a look at me. Don’t know if it is because I’m white or new or what. Got a visit from the man next door – Cliff Tyler. Nice guy in his 60’s. Looks like a potato with two toothpicks sticking out of the bottom.


As I was taking my gear out of the truck, I noticed him looking intently at me from the front porch next door.

“Good morning,” I said as cheerfully as I could.
“Morning,” he returned. “That your bat in there?” he asked, gesturing at my bag.
“Yes.”
He began to walk down the porch steps. “Let’s have a look at it.”
He made his way over to me slowly, almost gingerly, like each step hurt. He was a black man, about Miss Draper’s age, with thin legs hidden under a pair of amber colored polyester dress slacks and a barrel chest that pushed at the buttons of his flannel shirt. His thinning gray-black hair belied his age, but I could see he was once a strong man. I showed him the bat. He looked it up and down like a jeweler looks at a fine watch, and ran a thick sausage finger over the wood. The Silver Slugger A1 was a pretty bat with burgundy lacquer. “Thin handle,” he said. “Lots of wear above the label. Sign of a good contact hitter. You Davey Driscoll?”
“You can tell that from the bat?”
He laughed, a deep basso rumble punctuated by a sharp cough. “No. Sheila is my niece.” His hand shot out. “Clifford Tyler. Looks like we’ll be neighbors.”
“Looks like,” I said, taking his hand. He had quite a grip. “You know about bats, Mr. Tyler?”
“Call me Cliff. And yes, I know a thing or two about bats. And gloves. And baseball.”
“Are you a fan of the team?”
“Everybody in Hinesville is a fan of the team.”
“Then I hope to see you at the games.”
“Oh, you will. You will.”

Just then a voice called out. “Who you got there, Cliff?”
We turned and across the street I saw another black man walking a dog. “This here’s Davey Driscoll.”
Dave. Dave Driscoll, I said to myself.
“The first rounder?”
“The same,” answered Cliff. “He’ll be renting from Eugenia this season.”
“So Miss Draper got herself another first round lodger. That’s fine. But you watch out for Cliff, son,” the man called to me. “Poor man thinks he knows baseball. All he really knows is grass and dirt.”
“Now, Cope, don’t sour the boy on me so soon. Give me a chance to teach him something.”
“Boy’s going to have a lot on his plate this year,” returned Cope. “You let Theo and them do the teaching.”
“Theo Garner couldn’t manage his way to the altar on his wedding day,” said Cliff.
“Theo Garner is just what this boy needs,” said Cope.
“Aaaah,” said Cliff with a flick of his hands that said “enough of you”. “That’s Mooney Copell,” he said, turning back to me. “He don’t know nothing. He walks that mutt of his to Fiddler’s Bar and when they kick him out the dog walks him home.”

And that’s how I met Clifford Jericho Tyler. I didn’t know at the time he had played in the BBA, the Black Baseball Association, back in the fifties before the CBA was integrated. I also didn’t know he hit .351 with 50 home runs in 1950 for the Birmingham Black Generals. I didn’t know a lot about Clifford Tyler, but I was to learn a great deal about him and from him.


March 14, 2003
Hinesville is quiet. Just a little town like Mount Rose – nothing open after 10 pm except the bars. The Beacon has been doing articles on all the new players. Read one yesterday about a new shortstop they signed from Venezuela named Lino Something. Supposed to be good. Whatever he is, I’ll be better. My article was nice, but they called me Davey. Really starting to annoy me. Thought about calling up the paper but decided against making waves.

Joined a gym. Perry’s. On the other side of the stadium. Turns out all the ballplayers go there. Some boxers, too. The owner, Sam Perry, offered me the first month free because I was on the Gents. I said no. Didn’t seem right. Besides, I don’t want to feel obligated to anybody. There’s a sporting goods store, Ridley’s. Not bad selection. They have Natural Lumber there, but it would blow my whole budget to buy one. After looking at the prices I decided to start the season with what I have and go from there. Bought groceries again. That little refrigerator has got to go. I don’t care what Miss Draper says.

First team workout tomorrow at 8 am. Very excited. This is it! I can’t believe it’s starting. Did some extra stretching tonight. Knee feels good. Haven’t thrown in a week. Haven’t seen anybody else from the team, although I saw some young guy going into the team office building across from Perry’s. Don’t know if he was a player or not. I hear they’re in town somewhere.


Next Week: Meeting the Gents

Last edited by Tib; 06-11-2007 at 04:44 AM.
Tib is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2004, 09:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
Hall Of Famer
 
mauboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Wausau, WI
Posts: 2,903
Thanks: 4
Thanked 1x in 1 post
Nice job, again.
mauboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2004, 10:47 PM   #10 (permalink)
All Star Reserve
 
gbmoore121's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Arizona
Posts: 523
Thanks: 154
Thanked 35x in 24 posts
Very well done. I keep checking back waiting for the next installment....worth the wait.
__________________
Heartland Baseball League
gbmoore121 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2004, 03:32 PM   #11 (permalink)
Tib
All Star Reserve
 
Tib's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Posts: 934
Thanks: 0
Thanked 63x in 30 posts
Good day! Before I load Chapter 4, I want to touch on a couple of things. Hinesville is a real town and it really calls itself the Tree City. I chose it years ago when I was building the CBA infrastructure. If you are so inclined, you can use Yahoo! Maps and see for yourself, like I did. It was great fun and a challenge for me to learn about a location and insert it, living and breathing, into the story.

I have tried to use real places whenever possible, however I exercise some license when describing them, as I have never been there. For example, I have no idea whether or not frogs are a problem in Hinesville.

Because Dave's story is also partly my own, it is inevitable that some of my beliefs and observations find there way in. I want to assure everyone that I have no agenda or goal, no ulterior motive. It's just a story, and many of the people in it are going to do and say things that do not necessarily represent the opinions of the author.

I'm glad everyone seems to like it so far.
Tib is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2004, 03:36 PM   #12 (permalink)
Tib
All Star Reserve
 
Tib's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Posts: 934
Thanks: 0
Thanked 63x in 30 posts
CHAPTER 4:

Meeting The Gents


At 8:00 AM on March 15th I arrived at the stadium, bat bag on my shoulder, to meet the rest of the team. I walked in the open gate marked “Players Entrance” and was confronted by a black man in a Gents shirt. He squinted into the morning sun and asked my name.
“Dave Driscoll.” I showed him my team ID.
“Right,” he said to himself, checking a name off his clipboard. “Welcome to the Gents. I’m Mike Tucker, one of the team assistants. You can call me Tuck.”
“Nice to meet you.”
“Just go through that gate and down a ways until you see an orange door. That’s the players’ locker room entrance.”
“Thanks.”
As I walked to the orange door I passed several cars in the players’ lot. It looked like a demolition derby just ended in front of the stadium. I silently thanked my dad for talking me out of a Corvette. It was cold in the tunnel under the stands. There was a bright rectangle of light at the end and I saw it was the doorway to our dugout. The clubhouse door was on the right.

The lockers were beat up gray metal, some dented with unmistakable fists marks. The benches were golden brown wood, worn smooth by the years and filled with knots and the etchings of bored ballplayers. The carpet was the indoor/outdoor kind, faded gray, and looked like an army of rats had been chewing on it. The humid air was heavy and smelled like disinfectant. There was a bank of narrow windows running along the top of the wall near the ceiling, propped open to let in the morning air. A freshly repainted Gents’ logo was on the left wall next to a fifty-year-old porcelain drinking fountain. Why they didn’t paint the rest of the place was beyond me. On the far wall were two offices with big windows and a door that said “Equipment Room”.

There were already several players there. They looked up briefly as I entered, then went back to what they were doing. A group of Latin players sat in one corner, talking softly in Spanish. Another group of black players sat across from them. There was only one other white guy there, sitting alone wrapping his left hand with tape. These guys were to be my teammates, and in some cases, my competition. What an exciting, weird feeling.

There were two coaches there, checking guys in. I looked around for Theo Garner, but he wasn’t in sight. Then I heard “Driscoll?”

Try to be cool, try to be cool. I answered in the lowest voice I could. “Yeah?”
“Locker 15. Stow your gear and come up for your paperwork.”
“Gotcha.” I plopped down next to the big kid wrapping his hand.
“Dave Driscoll,” I introduced myself, extending my hand.
“Twenty-ninth overall. I know,” he replied, shaking my hand. “Steve McCammon. Catcher.”
“Good to meet you.”
“You too.”

March 15, 2003

Dear Dad,
Things are going well. Today was the first day of workouts, but Mr. Garner wasn’t here; he’s coming tomorrow. One of my coaches is Bobby Gable, from the Chiefs. Remember him? Maybe I can learn to steal a few more bases from him. He looks like he can still play! Our pitching coach is Larry Costello. Pitched for Pittsburgh back when they were the Drillers. I don’t remember him, though.

You’ll like this: Gable said “Our job is to get you the hell out of here as soon as possible. For some of you that will mean double-A, for some of you that will mean home.”

We filled out paperwork for the first hour. There was always paperwork. Have not been assigned uniforms or uniform numbers. I’m still hoping for #17. Our colors are blue and gray, like the Generals. Met one of our catchers. Steve McCammon. Nice guy. Big. Wouldn’t want to have him blocking the plate on me. Maybe I’ll ask him if he wants to rent that other bedroom. Also met Mark Kearse. I remembered watching him in the NCAA title game in 2001. He played first for Texas. Big hitter. He’s 23 now. Been to AAA and back again. He said he was here to rehab a shoulder injury, but he wasn’t very convincing.

Workouts went well. Knee felt great. Sprints went well. The other shortstop, Lino Lopez, is a faster runner than me, and very quick. I have more range, even with my knee, and my arm is stronger. He looks at me like I’m dating his sister.

Met a guy from California, Don Takahiro. Pitcher. He’s from San Francisco, but he was born in Japan. He was a third rounder last year. I thought we’d have more to talk about, being from the same state, but he’s not very social. Intense, though.

Not like this kid, Dexter Suttles. What a name! He’s a reliever. Hilarious. A real character – always cracking jokes. Everybody likes him. He’s from Atlanta so he’s the hometown boy. He’s huge, too. All these guys are big.

Batting practice was ok. Our own pitchers threw to us. Just fastballs, a couple of curves. Tough to get a rhythm when they switch pitchers on you every 5 minutes. I hit ok. I parked one off of this guy Bobby Nitta from New York! I hope they don’t expect me to do that all the time!

All in all, a good first day. Strange thing, though: Latin players stuck together. So did black players. Definitely not used to this. How are we going to play together if we don’t talk to each other?

Tell mom her casserole was great. Tell her I’ve got a gas stove and a washer, but no dryer. There are clotheslines out back, though. I’m working on getting a phone, but I need an extra line for my computer, so that will take a day or two. All the utilities are hooked up. I’m going to need some money for furniture. I need a sofa, a kitchen set and a couple of chairs. Reception sucks here – I can only get the Savannah NBC affiliate. I’m going to need cable. I’ll email you ASAP. First game on April 1!

Dave


The next day we were issued uniforms. My first professional uniform! They asked us if we had a number preference. If two guys wanted the same number, the older guy got it.

Gable holds up number 17. “Who wants it?” he says.
I couldn’t believe it, but Lino and I both raised our hands. Are you kidding me? I’ve got to fight this guy for my jersey number, too? So Gable says, “How old are you?” We both said, “Eighteen.” (Lopez said it in Spanish). So Gable asks us what our birthdays are. Can you believe we had the exact same birthday – April 4th, 1985? The one guy I’m competing against not only wants the same number, he has the same birthday as me! I remember we both sort of looked at each other in shock, not knowing what to do.
Gable says, “You’re ****ting me.”
We were not ****ting him. Guys were standing around. A very uncomfortable moment. Then something interesting happened. Gable says to me: “You’re the first rounder. You decide.” Now everybody’s looking at me.

I have to stop here and explain something to all of you who don’t know the significance of numbers to baseball players. Numbers are everything in baseball. Many ballplayers do not play for numbers, of course, but in the end we all must accept that they rule us, define us. Certain numbers are sacred, almost holy things, not to be disrespected or trivialized. Franco Travacanti’s 577 homeruns. Stan Newman’s 3,833 hits. Joe Letowski’s 359 wins. Guillermo Ruiz’ 3,991 strikeouts. Numbers are the markers that show our progress as ballplayers. They are the milestones that mark our greatness. A ballplayer’s uniform number can become something that defines him. It’s usually not that way in the beginning, but he can become enamored of a number, for any reason, and stick with it his whole career. Horatio Munoz wore number 13 and no other. When Clyde Pollson was traded to San Francisco he actually paid a teammate for number 33. Now I was being given the chance to take 17, my number since the age of 5, and not just for A ball but very likely for the rest of my career. I was 18 years old. Believe me, I wanted to take it.

Then I remembered what Hal had said about being a first round pick: “They're going to challenge you.” Lino looked at the ground. Gable was watching me closely.

“Don’t show up your teammates,” my dad had said. “You haven’t done anything yet.”

“You take it,” I said to Lino. I couldn’t take 17 just because I was drafted higher. What an ******* I would’ve been.
Lino went off with the jersey. “You have another number in mind?” said Gable.
“Not really.”
“I put you on the spot there.”
“It’s all right,” I lied. “Pick one for me.”
Gable looked through the remaining uniforms. “You want number one?”
“Hell no.” Number one? Was he kidding? It was great to be the team’s #1 pick, but what kind of an ******* would I be if I advertised it on my back all season? I didn’t need that kind of pressure. I watched Lino trying on his new jersey.
“How about eleven?”
“Whatever.” I wasn’t listening. I took it and went to my locker. Only then did I realize eleven was my dad’s number. What was that I said about pressure?

“****,” I said with a chuckle. But it was OK, you know?

Next Week: Theo

Last edited by Tib; 01-03-2007 at 02:34 AM.
Tib is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2004, 04:27 PM   #13 (permalink)
Major Leagues
 
TexasLonghorns's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 302
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0x in 0 posts
bravo this is the best ITP dynasty I have ever read. Now I have a reason to look at these boards
TexasLonghorns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2004, 04:27 PM   #14 (permalink)
All Star Reserve
 
gbmoore121's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Arizona
Posts: 523
Thanks: 154
Thanked 35x in 24 posts
I almost feel bad replying and breaking up the flow of the read, but it was another good write up. Reminds me of the novel "The Southpaw" (or any of his other 3 books in the Henry Wiggen series). A different style, but the same close to the action feel. Great work.
__________________
Heartland Baseball League
gbmoore121 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2004, 02:16 PM   #15 (permalink)
Major Leagues
 
m0ng00se's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Oregon USA
Posts: 383
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0x in 0 posts
Good stuff for sure. Eager to see how this plays out and looking forward to hearing those magic words (play ball!).
m0ng00se is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2004, 02:59 PM   #16 (permalink)
Hall Of Famer
 
jaxmagicman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Retired defloration-maker living in Myrtle Beach, SC
Posts: 7,738
Thanks: 184
Thanked 430x in 352 posts
This is a great story. I really enjoyed the part explaining the numbers. I will wait for the next installment.
__________________
See ID

www.langfordbooks.com
jaxmagicman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2004, 03:40 PM   #17 (permalink)
Tib
All Star Reserve
 
Tib's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Posts: 934
Thanks: 0
Thanked 63x in 30 posts
CHAPTER 5:

Theo


March 15, 2003

Theo Garner came this morning. We were sitting in the locker room, Latino guys black guys and white guys. There was no conversation, just lone sentences spoken softly from around the room, punctuated by one-word responses. Gable and Costello were wandering around trying to find something to do. Gable checked his watch about ten times. A clock with a cage around it ticked away the morning. 9:30. 9:45. 10:05. All of a sudden he came through the door. Boom! Surprised all of us. Twenty-five heads snapped up.

The first things you notice about Theo Garner are his eyes. They’re this gray-blue color, like an eagle, or hawk, or something that hunts. He’s a big guy with powerful round shoulders, like a wrestler, a barrel chest and a hard gut the size of a small beach ball. He had huge calves, but little feet. His gray-white goatee fell around his mouth, thick like carpet. A lit cigarette dangled from his mouth, its one-inch ashes threatening to jump. The lines of his gray flattop were razor-straight and the top was table-flat. His teeth were yellow and even.

His too-short khaki slacks struggled to remain buttoned. An ancient leather belt helped his pants where it could. His faded yellow oxford had a distinct coffee stain and a missing button near the bottom. He wore a tee shirt underneath. I don’t know why; it was already ninety degrees. The bulging garment bag on his shoulder had an old-style faded Kansas City Knights logo on it, but the Ks had been scraped off over time, so it said “ansas City nights”. His jaw worked like a piston at a huge wad of gum in his mouth. I wondered how the hell he could smoke and chew gum at the same time. And even if you could, why would you? The ashes never moved, probably out of fear.

He paused there for a moment, looking us over. We returned the stare. Then he says, “You guys think you’re ballplayers? You ain’t ballplayers. You’re runners and swingers and throwers and that is it. You don’t know **** about being ballplayers. Thank God I do.” Then he walks right through us like Moses through the Red Sea, never glancing away from his office door. “Bobby. Larry,” he says as he passes them. “Lets get started.”


I don’t think he had one nice thing to say to us all day. We ran wrong, we threw wrong, we hit wrong, we scratched our nuts wrong. We wore our caps wrong, we organized our lockers wrong, and we even showered wrong. I had been showering since I was 8 and up to then I thought I was doing a pretty good job.

After workouts, Gable told us that Mr. Garner wanted to see some of us in his office. Guess which first round pick was first on the list? I go in and he’s leaning back in a metal chair that’s too small for him. He’s got papers all over his desk, peppered with ashes. A full ashtray shaped like a nude woman was within arms reach. It said “The Alley Cat. Mesa, AZ”. There was half of a meatball sandwich perched on the bookcase behind him. He had a cigarette in one hand and a Diet Coke in the other. The place stank of Old Spice.

“Driscoll, I don’t play favorites,” he says to me, the cigarette bobbing up and down with every syllable. Smoke came out his nose. “I want you to know that up front. I don’t give a **** if you were weaned by Mother Mary herself, if you ain’t doing the job, you ain’t in the lineup. I don’t play favorites, Davey, but the organization does. They got some money in you and they want to see what you’re going to do. That’s fine with me. By all accounts you’re pretty good. It’s going to buy you two months, maybe three, but that’s it. This kid Lopez was hot **** in the Venezuelan winter league. He’s hungry. Probably hungrier than you. I have no problem seeing you on the bench. It’s all the same to me; I can spell “Lopez” just as easily as I spell “Driscoll”. By the way, two l’s in Driscoll?”
“Yeah,” I said.
“****,” he says. “Bobby! Get ahold of Karen and tell her to put another l on Driscoll’s jersey, would you? Thanks.”

He took a long drag on his cigarette. “Another thing, Davey. Hal tells me you’re a good team player but not team leader material. He says you lead by example, that you mostly like to do your own thing – keep to yourself.”
“Pretty much,” I say.
“Pretty much no mas, comprende? You’re a first rounder, Davey. That means you’re what the organization wants. Guys will look to you as a role model. You can’t do your own thing, anymore. I don’t expect you to get a personality transplant, but from now on people are going to want things from you, starting with me.”
“I understand.” Dave. My name is Dave.
“No, I don’t think you do.” He leaned close to me. He lowered his voice. “This is where it starts, Davey. This is baseball. Real baseball. Put away your press clippings because starting right now nobody gives a rat’s ass that you hit .420 your senior year. I will promise you only two things: I will never lie to you and I will never lie for you. I know you think you’re the next coming of Horatio Munoz, but you got a long way to go. I managed Munoz in Kansas City and I will tell you this: you’re better now than he was at your age. But all that makes you is another “phee-nom” who’s two short months away from swinging a hammer for the rest of his life.”
He paused and I saw this was no “rattle-the-player” speech. He meant it. “Wow,” I said.
“Yeah. Wow. You’re going to have a lot of ‘wows’ from now on. Do me a favor and keep them to yourself. Any questions?”

Yeah, I had a question. I had a couple hundred questions. But the one I asked defined our relationship. “You say you’re going to want things from me. How am I going to know when I’ve done what you wanted?”
“When I say ‘Thanks, Dave.’”
Son of a bitch.
“On your way out tell Kearse he’s next.”

Theo Garner knew talent. He knew ballplayers. He knew the psyche of a ballplayer better than anyone I ever met. He knew what you were thinking before you thought it. He just had trouble managing it. He was like a miner who could spot a chunk of gold in a mound of worthless rock but had no idea how to make jewelry out of it. He did make a distinct impression on a person. In my case it was the distinct impression of his boot on my ass.

Next week: April In A-Ball

Last edited by Tib; 01-03-2007 at 02:36 AM.
Tib is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2004, 11:21 PM   #18 (permalink)
Hall Of Famer
 
jaxmagicman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Retired defloration-maker living in Myrtle Beach, SC
Posts: 7,738
Thanks: 184
Thanked 430x in 352 posts
Can't wait for the next installment. I loved this "His jaw worked like a piston at a huge wad of gum in his mouth. I wondered how the hell he could smoke and chew gum at the same time. And even if you could, why would you? The ashes never moved, probably out of fear. "

Great REad.
__________________
See ID

www.langfordbooks.com
jaxmagicman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2004, 03:55 AM   #19 (permalink)
Minors (Single A)
 
AdmiralACF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 85
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0x in 0 posts
Great story! I look forward to reading much, much more. Did you base this league on an OOTP league you played?
__________________
AdmiralACF
Retired General Manager, Oklahoma Twisters, 2003-2007
Appalachian Southern Division Champions- 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
Appalachian League Champions- 2004, 2005, 2007
2007 POTD World Champions!!!!
Pioneers of the Diamond Baseball
AdmiralACF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2004, 12:29 PM   #20 (permalink)
Tib
All Star Reserve
 
Tib's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Posts: 934
Thanks: 0
Thanked 63x in 30 posts
Quote:
Originally posted by AdmiralACF
Did you base this league on an OOTP league you played?
Yes, I did. I have a solo fictional league, the Continental Baseball Association (original, huh?), which I've had since my days playing Miller Bros.' Baseball for Windows.

My intention is to preface some of the chapters with information about Dave's world and the world of the CBA. Historical information and fun facts, sort of like footnotes. As the story progresses I'll try to give you more about the league and its structure.

I'm very relieved for all the supportive comments. Uploading Chapter One was like sending my baby off to kindergarten.
Tib is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:16 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1
Copyright © 2013 Out of the Park Developments