Page 4 of 4 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4
Results 46 to 49 of 49

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

  3. #48
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Re: Brooklyn Blues

    April, 2021

    The team is home from Toronto. As I said, they actually won two out of three. I'd be happy to be known as the Blue Jay killer for this season. I've seen stuff like this happen. A team that can't beat an egg, but put them up against the best team in the league and they win two thirds of the time or more. I'd be okay with that.

    Hell, I'd be thrilled with that.

    On the other hand, right now? We're 10 - 11. No, that's not what a real, playoff-bound team should be. Which is not to say that I haven't seen teams start like this, get hot, and win it all.

    But we're not going to get hot. This is hot for us. Lukewarm is our hot.

    So we're at the start of an eight game homestand. Four against the very very good Tigers (currently 15 - 8), and four against the very not good Indians (7 - 15). In the middle of the Indians series, we'll round out the month. And I'll have my scheduled monthly status meeting with Frank, and Mal. And Adam, who we put back in charge of the minor leagues, but took most of his power and gave it to Frank. It was a great compromise - except for Frank, who hates it. And Mal, who I think resents that I didn't give that power to her, and also doesn't like the way I'm treating Adam.

    Adam loves it. He should, he basically has a high paying job, with no real duties.

    Oh, and the meeting will also include Bill, of course. Bill has been a bit of a pain in the butt. I get it, he's managing a not-very-good team (which is so much better than I was expecting them to be a month ago). Connie Mack finished his career with a .486 winning percentage as a manager, and he's in the Hall of Fame. Bill is headed far away from the Hall of Fame. He looks like he's heading for a rubber room, to be honest.

    Never easy, is it?

    * * *

    "You wanted to see me, ma'am?"

    Mal sat in her darkened office and continued to look at the laptop screen on her desk. These were good laptops the team had given everyone, she thought. Good NomenTech laptops. Fast, sleek, aesthetically pleasing. Yep, very nice laptops.

    Anything to avoid looking at the man in the doorway. Who was, she knew, also fast, sleek, and aesthetically pleasing.

    "Mal?" the man repeated. Steeling herself, she looked up. Silhouetted in the doorway, she momentarily thought she'd been wrong, and it was only Jack Weston.

    Then her eyes focused, and she saw that it was Pete. Pete Thomas. His 6'1", 225 pound frame filled the doorway nicely. (She'd looked him up in the Tigers' media guide. Not that she didn't remember that body very well. Some nights, entirely too well.)

    "Pete," she said as neutrally as she could. "Glad to see you're back up with the big club again.

    "Well, mostly," he said easily, as he slid into one of her visitor seats. It was now only by the glow of her computer screen that she could see him. Or that he could see her, she thought, and cursed herself for hoping that it might soften any stray lines she'd picked up since they were last...together.

    "The team's probably got one more good year before they start dumping veterans, so I made a big push to get another chance to show what I could do." She knew that he was right about that - several Tigers' bench players were ready to make the move to starting every day - whereas Pete was a starter four years ago, and mostly in the minors since.

    She looked at him again. She knew that Pete was 30, which was...younger than she was. By half a decade and then some. And oh, my, he was looking good. Ten year old, familiar feelings started coming up again.

    "And we're both up in the bigs now. You seem to be doing pretty good for yourself," he went on. "Though they might want to spring for some lights for your office." She gave the joke a small chuckle, though inwardly she was pleased. In the old days, Pete's humor tended to reach only as high as a Dutch Oven, or the occasional "pull my finger."

    And, inevitably, the Dutch Oven thoughts led to more pleasant memories of being in his bed. Which led to...

    "Do you see Henderson any more?" he asked, and she was surprised for the second time in as many moments.

    "He's retired now, lives back in Reno. I'll tell him you asked after him," she said. Then, knowing she'd have to ask sooner or later, "How's Kelly?"

    Pete stared blankly at her. "Kelly?" he asked.

    "Kelly. You know, the team owner's daughter, who you left me for?" She heard herself sounding much more sharp than she'd intended it to come out.

    "Oh. Kelly, my girlfriend, who you tried to steal me away from?" he replied.

    "I guess you could say that."

    "Kelly certainly did. So did her father when he fired you-"

    "I know what he did," she interrupted. They sat and stared a bit.

    "Maybe I shouldn't have dropped by," he said, starting to rise.

    "No," she said. "No, it''s just been a while." Still, he remained standing, as they looked at each other.

    "I just wanted to check in and say hello Mal," he finally said. "I'm glad you're doing good."

    "I'm-" she said, before catching herself. Then, with a bit of a smile, she rose, held out her hand. "I'm glad you're doing 'good' too, Pete."

    "You know we never really got to say goodbye."

    "Yeah," she said. "I remember that. You were on the road, I was told to clear my stuff out and be out of the area in a day."

    He nodded, glumly. "And when I got back, Kelly said that it would be best for me not to call you."

    "So you didn't." She said it bluntly, but even in the dim light of the room she could see the look cross his face that said that the remark had hit home.

    "No. And then I got traded to Detroit anyway. Still wonder if that wasn't her Dad getting the big club to do him a favor."

    She let that sit for a moment. "Do you wonder if things might have been different for your career if that hadn't happened?"

    He laughed. "Do you mean, do I wonder if I'd never met you, would I have stayed in an organization that didn't really have any decent first base prospects to block me, and would I have been playing in the bigs for the past eight years? Yeah, sometimes I do."

    "That's fair," was all she could say.

    "But then," he went on, "sometimes I wonder what would have happened if we'd worked out, you know? And if you might want to try again." He moved closer to her.

    She had not expected this. She had really not expected him to reach out to her, to touch her. She had really really not expected to respond the way she did.

    After the passionate kiss was over, and it all came back to her, she pulled away. "Wait. Pete. You didn't tell me how Kelly is."

    He squinted at her. She remembered the "I'm thinking hard now" tell. "I told you they traded me away from her."

    She stepped fully back. She saw it now. "Yes, they did. But you never said you didn't stay with her. Did you? Pete, are you married to Kelly?"

    "Does that matter?" he asked.

    She stared at him. Then, sitting back down, she pointed toward the door. "Thank you Mr. Thomas. Have a good day, get the hell out of my office, and don't call me again."

    As his farewell, he smiled that smile that she'd always found utterly irresistible. "Can't blame me for trying," he said, and left.

    "Yes, Pete. Yes I can," she said, dejectedly.
    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

  4. #49
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Re: Brooklyn Blues

    April, 2021

    Holy crap!

    We played the first place Tigers our first day back. And we kind of beat them.

    15 - 0.

    This was the sixth game this season that one of the two teams in our box score reached double digits. It was the first time we were on the good side.

    David Morgan is on fire. He homered twice in the final game against the Blue Jays, and then twice more in this game. He's tied for fourth in the league in homers.

    And then I signed Delahanty. Three years, $4.1 million per. A big raise over this year, but I came to agree with everybody else. He's going to get hot. Then his price is going to go into eight figures. Then I'm going to have to trade him.

    I'm still probably going to have to trade him. But now I'll be trading a potential All-Star first baseman who's under team control for three years, and is cheap to boot.

    Avoiding a no-trade clause cost me about $200k. His agent, the deeply hot Alexandra Pinto, kept flashing her dark brown eyes at me and saying "A no-trade clause is very important to us." Then she'd throw in about how much he likes Brooklyn and doesn't want to leave.

    Then the eyes again, and the smile.

    Then me, signing over more money.

    I really need to work on my game.

    * * *

    The next day we lost. 25 - 3.

    I don't want to talk about it.

    The day after that, we lost 16 - 6.

    Okay, the Tigers are a really good team. (And, by the way, the Pirates really want Matt Delahanty, even though I'd think that signing him indicates that we're at least keeping him for another couple of months. Not getting continual calls and emails like that was part of the reason I signed him when I did. It doesn't seem to have worked.)

    And on the fourth day, we squeaked out a 3 - 1 win. Fifth starter Shane Rowde gave a very tired bullpen a rest, pitching eight innings and allowing only one, and winning his first major league game since 2017. So sure, they outscored us 42 - 27 in the series. But we split. We're in third place, two games behind the Blue Jays and Yankees, who are tied. We're five games ahead of Massachusetts, in my own personal standings.

    Heck, we're even still listed on the wild card standings.

    Then Allan Bestine, the Tigers GM, announces that he's considering filing a protest against us. And I can't get anyone to tell me why.

    * * *


    We won the first two games against the Indians. A 2-1 tight match, and an 8-0 laugher. Bill is starting to juggle the lineup a bit, saying that now that he has seen his regulars with about 100 plate appearances, he has something to judge them on.

    The fact that this is leading to the de facto benching of Gustavo Amella is a major headache to me. Not because it's wrong, but because Amella's fan club is raising holy hell over it. But I do hope that R. J. Chenault is happy about it, in whatever Mexican prison he may still be in.

    I'd seen Bill coming out of a meeting in the office of Don Boyko. Don's the head groundskeeper. Unless Bill thinks the dirt is too hard, or not raked enough, there's no real reason for him to be meeting with Don.

    Then I remember that over the past two days, Bill has had our boys running the bases like someone was chasing them. Anybody who had any kind of speed at all, we have them running.

    And I remember that Ryan Thelen has been throwing out some of the fastest runners in the league. Detroit and Cleveland have both, as do the Blue Jays. Even the Tarpons have a couple of decent runners. But Ryan has been nailing them on the basepath. So much so that I just signed him to an extension as well. He's willing to go three years for only 1.3 million per. I'm willing to let him. I'd have preferred longer, but this will take him up to his age 27 year, where we'll know by then if he's someone we need to overpay to keep, or not.

    Then I remember the Tigers and the possibility of protest. And that Cleveland GM Dan Landerman has hinted the same thing.

    And then I remember that I'm not totally stupid. Not about baseball, anyway.

    "How are you doing it, Don?" I ask Boyko. His office isn't as nice as mine. It's much smaller, for one. It doesn't have a view of the stadium, for another.

    And I'm blocking the door, for a third.

    "Doing what?" he asks. In a tone that instantly tells me that I'm right.

    Turns out that he's doing it with magnets. Very powerful magnets, which he can turn on and off. Under the dirt circle around first base.

    "Well, that would explain why Orlando Tachias ran right out of his spikes this past week."

    Don looks pleased.

    I tell him to dig them out of the ground before the commissioner comes sniffing around, and dump the equipment into Gravesend Bay. "At least as deep as Bezmenov's goons throw the bodies," I suggest.

    My team.
    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

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts