THE BATTLE IN SEATTLE
Three short monologues starring Jason Varitek.
I. Kason At The Rubber
[Jogs to mound.]
"Hey, Gabby. Deep breath. You can do this, I've seen you throw. Just find your confidence.Don't worry about the guy on first. Or second...or third.
Look, let's break it down to the basics, okay? Take a look at my mitt."
[Flexes glove hand. Gabbard flinches.]
"Hey, whoa, I'm not gonna--I only did that the one time, and A-Rod had it coming. Gabby, the mitt is not your enemy. The mitt is your friend. No, better. The mitt is your hot babysitter that you used to have a crush on, a couple years ago when you were in the sixth grade. All you care about in the world is this mitt here. And all you wanna do is make the mitt happy.
By which I mean, stop throwing at my shoe, okay?"
[Pats Gabbard on the shoulder.]
"No sweat, kid. You got 'em. Curveball inside this time.
All right, let's go."
II. Post-Game Post-Mortem
[Stomps into clubhouse.]
"Hey, Tito, who are we going to fire?
Well, I need you to fire somebody, so who's it gonna be? Can we fire the conditioning coach? Can we trade Gabby away right now for a nickel on the dollar and maybe get a new hairdresser for Coco? I don't care. I don't give one single goddamn, Tito. Someone's gotta pay. Someone's gotta pay tonight. We aren't hitting with men on base, and that little son of a bitch can't throw--
Of course I told him it was okay! What do you take me for? Forget it, I'm calling Theo Epstein. Gonna suspend my own no-trade clause and see if I can get my ass traded for Mark Buehrle. 'Cause it's the only thing I can do for this team at this point, that's why. Anybody got a phone?
Schill, what are you--are you blogging again? Gimme that Blackberry.
...Wait a second, you're--how many times have you voted for the All-Star Game? Thirty- what? That's just wrong, Curtis Montague Schilling. That is bad for our sport. And hey, what have you got my name on there for? Jorge Posada is having the best offensive year of his career! I'm batting .266! What the hell is wrong with you?
How do I make a call on this piece of shit?"
"Hi, Mr. Epstein? Mr. Epstein, it's Jason Varitek. We have a slight emergency here. A slight emergency known as incompetence. So if you're available... well, I guess you're not. Or maybe you're sleeping. I forget we're on Western time. Sorry to bother you, sir. Goodnight."
[Hangs up, stares at the Blackberry.]
"Walked in three fucking runs in the bottom of the first."
[Drops the Blackberry on the clubhouse floor, stomps on it hard, grabs a nearby bat and whales on it until it is in pieces. Schilling flinches.]
"Don't you look at me like that, old man, you just sit there on the D/L and...and be on the D/L. Put something on your shoulder. Heat that the fuck up.
Oh, five bucks for the swear jar? Yeah, okay. Actually, here's a ten. I'm gonna go tell that umpire what I think of him and his mother."
III. In The Air Tonight
Well, it was a rough series. What can I say? Their pitchers just had some nasty stuff, and ours--well, our bullpen definitely didn't have their best stuff. I don't know, I thought my research was pretty good on this series, but it just didn't play out the way I expected. And I wasn't seeing the ball as well as I could have...
Thanks. I'll tell Dice and Pap you said that, too. That's real sweet of you.
No, you're right, no point worrying about it now. See you when we land. G'night."
[Hangs up. Gazes contemplatively out of plane window. Flips through binders with Tampa Bay scouting reports.]
"Hey, Dougie, you awake?"
"Guess that'd be a no. Man, I hate taking the red-eye."
[Picks up phone again and dials.]
"...Hey, Nomar? Tek. Heard a little rumor that you were playing third tonight. That's pretty cool, you know, because some old guys just retire or drift down to the minors. It's only real all-star guys like you that hang around even when they're basically being put out to pasture. You're a lot like Cal Ripken.
You know, in the sense that you and Cal Ripken are both old third basemen.
Call me when you get this, Nomy. Oh, and do you have Damon's new phone number? Because all I have is his new batting average, and I'd like to give him a ring. Just to say hi."
[Hangs up the phone. Smiles. Eventually, falls asleep.]