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Thread: Brooklyn Blues

  1. #46
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Re: Brooklyn Blues

    April, 2021

    I paused just inside the door, letting my eyes adjust to the darkness. It took a while - just when I thought it was going to work, I'd look over to the small stage that for some reason was lit up, even though the band was nowhere to be found. And I'd be blind again.

    Eventually, I got to where I could look to the other end of the bar. He was already there. Of course.

    I slid onto the stool next to him. "Tom," I said. Then I waved to the blonde bartender who probably thought she was fat, and was so, so very wrong about that. When I had her attention, I said, "Maker's Mark, neat." Tom and I sat next to each other in silence, him nursing his drink, me waiting for mine.

    After a few moments, the bartender placed my drink in front of me. I started to hand her money, but she waved it off, saying "I'll start a tab."

    I'd become at least a semi-regular.

    I sipped my drink, savoring the taste, and not for the first time wishing I wouldn't get ridden quite so hard if I'd ordered some water in it. But Tom wasn't likely to let it slide.

    "How did you ever find this place?" I asked him as we drank.

    "Google," he replied, his gruff baritone making the single word sound like an insult. Or maybe it was just that I had known Tom for twenty years, and believed that he really was insulting me. "Plainville is almost exactly half way between Brooklyn and Boston. Tangles is the best bar in Plainville. So here we are. Drink up, I'm one ahead of you."

    While I sipped, I turned to look at the man next to me. Still about 6' 1", his hair now turned to iron gray, so that it finally matched his eyes. Tanned far more than a resident of Boston should be in April, though I was sure he traveled back to his home in Los Angeles as often as he could. Wiry muscles everywhere, and a rugged face that worked magic on the ladies.

    Seriously, I'd seen him do it, back in our playing days long ago and far away. He would just look at them, and it would make panties drop faster than a vodka punch at a freshman mixer. I'd asked one of them about it, the next morning. "I don't know," was all she could say. "It's like he looks at you, and his eyes are saying 'We both know I can have you whenever I want to, so how about we stop pretending.' And then, he does."

    All my eyes ever seemed to say any more was 'Give me glasses, I can't read the small print any more.'

    "So how's the team going?" Tom Slade asked me.

    "Actually?" I replied. "We lost to the Blue Jays, 5 - 0. We lost to the Blue Jays, 11 - 3."

    "Did you expect anything else?"

    "Ah, but in between those two. It wasn't pretty. We got a 5 - 1 lead and barely hung on. But we did, in fact, hang on. Toronto is 12 - 4, and one of those four losses was to us. Lowly little us."

    Tom tossed back the rest of his...whatever it was. Something manly, I'm sure. "Well, you're beating us, that's for sure. That bunch of losers I've got in Boston has managed three wins, and one of them was lucky."

    "what do you mean?"

    "A 1 - 0 game is lucky, no matter who wins it. Orlando Marston got hold of one when we were in Chicago, the wind was blowing out, and it was enough. Otherwise, if you ain't the Brewers, we can't beat you."

    I wanted to sympathize with him. But I really couldn't. The worse his team was, the worse mine could be with me keeping my job. And it didn't go the other way - we'd established early in our clandestine meetings that his team owner, Northcutt, wasn't doing anything as stupid as the little challenge my owner had set for me. Tom had his job, and he had it for at least a couple of years.

    Northcutt was probably afraid that if he fired him, Slade would steal his wife. He may have been right. Tom's morals had changed since his divorce. Or was it his second divorce? Then again...

    "How about your attendance?" I asked, hoping for a subject change. But this was the wrong question.

    "We're averaging about 30k. And we've played the Giants and Marlins at home, so you can't say that nobody wants to come see bad teams. You?"

    "We're doing pretty good. Better than that, anyway." Actually, all three games had sold out. I think that's the part that I'm having the hardest time accepting. That we're 7 - 8, and appear to be flirting with respectability for a few moments? I can accept, I shouldn't lie. I can't quite accept that either. I fully expected us to be no better than 5 - 10 by this point, and if you'd told me we'd be 0 - 15 I'd have been disappointed, but not surprised at all. 7-8 is better than Tampa and Boston.

    And it's four games better than Tom.

    Tom ordered another. I'm sure it was purely my imagination that she served him faster than she had me. And with a more hopeful look on her face. "The bottom half of my rotation and three quarters of my bullpen are in their contract year, and on a good day they're not worth one contract between them all. The top two in my rotation are set, but they're also over the hill and over 20 million a year."

    "Bull, Tom." His eyebrows both rose, as they always did when I contradicted him. I didn't do it much, but most people didn't do it at all. This was how I knew we were friends. "Your staff ERA is 3.6. Mine's over 6. I'd kill to have the pitching problems you have."

    "I didn't say I had pitching problems, kid. I said I had contract problems with my pitchers."

    "Fair enough," I said as I sipped again. "No, your problem is that your team batting average is a buck eighty-eight. Makes my .226 look like the second coming of the '27 Murderer's Row." I took another sip, this one larger. "Besides, I've got contract problems of my own."

    "Do tell."

    "How about this? The one player I got who was supposed to be decent, the one guy who is relatively young and might be able to hit the ball? Matt Delahanty?"

    "Ah yes, how is the Hammerin' Hawaiian?"

    If I looked sour at the mention of Delahanty's nickname, there's a reason. "Still Hawaiian, but he ain't hammerin'" I said. "He hit 103 homers over the past two years. Know how many he has now? 2. One. Two. And an average of .115."

    "****, that's not an average, that's what a drunk girl tells you she weighs at closing time." I wasn't exactly sure how to respond to that, but a nod seemed safest. I did look around to see if the bartender had heard. She had not.

    "Tell me about it. Not only that, I'm hearing clubhouse rumors that he's pissed that he got traded from the champ to the basement. But his agent is starting to call me about renegotiating. He's up for arbitration this year, making 840, and he wants to go over 4 mil."

    "Sign him. That's cheap, you sign him long term, and he's there when he gets out of the slump."

    "I know that," I said impatiently. "But what if he's clubhouse poison? And more immediately, what if he doesn't get out of the slump?"

    "Then you're still not out much. Unless you're dumb enough to give him a no trade deal." He took another drink, and saw my look. "You didn't?"

    "No, I didn't. And he's not here long enough to have actually earned one. But he's got it in his head that he's getting one. I think our team press releases when we got him are going to his head."

    "Yeah, well, boo hoo hoo. I'd kill to have him. At least your first baseman has potential. I've got a 33 year old career minor leaguer who's just barely over half the Mendoza line. So don't tell me how bad you've got it. Why..."

    As they tend to, the conversation went into the night. It was good to have someone who understood. It was worth the two hour drive back to Brooklyn. I left around 11. Tom was staying, and almost certainly going home with the bartender.

    And my team had still won more than twice as many as his had.
    The Orange and Black(Sox) - The Complete Saga

    Part One - The First Ten Long Years: The Orange and Black(Sox)
    Part Two - Ten More Years! (Orange and) Black Times
    The Spin-off Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

    Part Three - How Long Can This Go On? Charlie's War

    The Spin-Off: Braves New World

  2. #47
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Re: Brooklyn Blues

    April, 2021

    Barons Travel and Bring Their Fans With Them

    By Jan Tyler

    April 19, 2021 - New York

    The Brooklyn Barons made their first trip up the D line to Yankee Stadium today, and were wondering if their fans would follow. Or if there would be any room for them. They found that the answer to both questions was yes. While no official statistics can be kept of how many of the sellout 52,325 crowd were Brooklynites, there was certainly far more purple in the crowd than could otherwise be accounted for.

    What Baron fans did make the trip went home happy, as they saw their team even its record to 8 - 8 with a 2 - 1 win in the Bronx. Justin Verlander pitched seven innings, allowing five hits and one home run to Yankee cleanup man John Threatt, his third of the season. Nick Markakis homered in the third after David Morgan was hit to open the inning, and those two runs were all Verlander would need. Sam Tibbett and Vinnie Treisman came on in the 8th and 9th respectively to close out the game.

    * * *

    That was the good part of that series. The rest wasn't terrible, but it still added two losses to our record. We're 8 - 10.

    And apparently, while Matt Delahanty is driving me crazy with his demands for a new contract ahead of arbitration, while not hitting worth a darn, he's not the only one in the league who thinks he's going to turn it around. Over the past three days, I've been contacted by GMs Bobby Diamundo out in California, Alex Cox in Georgia, and Tim Lubaski in San Diego. They all want to make me an offer for Matt.

    None of them want to make me a particularly good offer for him, but I'll take what I can get.

    I wasn't off the phone with Lubaski more than ten minutes when it rang again. "Daniel Aaron for you from Baltimore," Colt said. He's getting much better to work with lately. He hasn't assured me that he won't have sex with me in nearly a week. I'm starting to wonder if I've done something wrong.

    "Jack!" Daniel boomed over the phone. "I've got something I'd like to talk to you about. Great game in New York the other day, by the way."

    "Thank you Daniel," I said, much more quietly. I recognized the tone he was using by now. I'm about to get offered nothing for something. Which doesn't really bother me, I just hope that some day I get to the point where I can offer somebody else nothing for something.

    Well, I suppose I could right now. I've certainly got nothing to offer.

    "So, Jack, I was looking at your first base situation. I think I can help you. Two words - Alberto Alverio." He paused, waiting for me to jump up and down and scream with joy, I supposed.

    And Alverio would be a fine addition to our team. 28, batting .276, an excellent glove man at first, and with a surprising amount of speed. I was at least interested. "What do you want for him?" I asked.

    "Just your failed experiment at first, a benchwarming third baseman, and a minor league infielder. And probably some cash, but you're raking it in up there in Brooklyn, aren't you? I've seen the attendance figures."

    I thought about it. Delahanty is a year younger than Alverio. His past indicates a much higher ceiling for him, though Frank Scurry's group currently disagrees. While I'd probably have to pay him much more next year, at least this year I had him for next to nothing. The only third baseman on my bench was Jody Montanye, who would probably cost me more cash to get rid of him than if I kept him out of the deal, but as Bill Kyser is fond of reminding me, somebody has to take the field. And the minor leaguer was probably the real key to the deal anyway.

    "Who in the minors, Daniel?"

    "Well, in my experience, the minor leaguer is never the sticking point on any of these deals. That's why they're usually called players to be named later, right?" Very happy, very friendly...and very much about to stick the knife in and expect me to thank him for it.

    "Who is it, Dan?" I repeated.

    "John Davis. So does this mean you're interested?"

    John Davis is my shortstop in Albany. He probably should be down a level or two, but in my system, I had to give Albany something, and he was it. He's only batting .240 there. But Frank's people have him rated at 65/94. He's among the best prospects in my system. He's among the only prospects in my system.

    "Have a nice day, Daniel."

    The team was about to start their game in Toronto. I wasn't expecting much, but just another win out of the three game set would be okay.

    To my surprise and delight, three days later we'd won two of three. 9-6 on the first day, and 5-1 on the last. Got blown out 13 - 3 in between.

    And I had five more inquiries about Matt Delahanty.

    Guess I'm going to have to talk to him when he gets home.
    The Orange and Black(Sox) - The Complete Saga

    Part One - The First Ten Long Years: The Orange and Black(Sox)
    Part Two - Ten More Years! (Orange and) Black Times
    The Spin-off Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

    Part Three - How Long Can This Go On? Charlie's War

    The Spin-Off: Braves New World

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