Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Season, Part 15

So I apologize for the shortness of this, but the first week of classes has meant I've been strapped for time, and when I *do* have it, I am utterly exhausted. I hope this is enough to hold you over till next week...

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven
Part Eight
Part Nine
Part Ten
Part Eleven
Part Twelve
Part Thirteen
Part 14

As always, (c) Rebecca Glass, all international copyright laws apply. Please protect intellectual property rights.

The Season, Part 15



#17, Kent Andrews, utility infielder

There is a difference, Kent thinks, between the random once-a-month start to give an infielder a day off, and starting every day while Terry is on the DL with his hamstring injury. For one thing, his stats actually matter. Coming off of the bench, the average isn’t nearly as important as the ability to clutch hit and play solid defense; starting the average does matter. The big hits matter. Solid defense is supposed to be flawless defense. Most of all, people look at him. He’s not just the guy about to marry Eve Lockwood; he’s the starting first baseman for the Hope City Spartans.

He’d be lying if he said he didn’t love it. It’s not the fame so much (though he does enjoy it) as it is the thrill of being able to play every day, introduced in the starting line up, even making a play here or there that ends up on the highlight show. It’s not easy for him to keep his average up, now that it matters, but he manages to keep it over .275—his own mark for respectable.

Then there are the conversations he has with Eve, over the phone, after every game. She asks Kent in her deep, strong voice, how the game went, asking not just whether or not the Spartans won, but how many hits Kent got and how well the team pitched. He returns the favor by asking Eve how well her movie shoot went that day, and this often elicits a response which includes wardrobe malfunctions (common in a period piece) and paparazzi annoyances. The conversations take on added meaning now that Kent is playing every day; Kent actually has an answer to give to Eve when she asks.

He’s on the phone with her now, in his Memphis hotel room. Eliot is close, across the hall, but given the odd hours at which Kent and Eve are likely to be on the phone, Eliot knows well enough to book his own room if he wants to sleep.

“You made the papers here. You’re all over the place.” Eve says, through the phone.

“I what?” It comes as pure shock to Kent. It wasn’t until Terry went injured that he received any mention in the Hope City press; never mind New York or California. He was amazed anyone in England, other than Eve and her production crew, knew he existed.

“Well, one of the papers wanted to do a story on us for their entertainment section…” Kent remembered this; he’d been interviewed on the phone about a week ago for what he thought was a small, local newspaper. He had, apparently, thought wrong.

“I remember…I thought it was a small paper though, that it was supposed to be a one time thing…”

“Amazing. I’m the American, and yet I know more about England than you who prints the Queen on his money. The Gazette is one of the largest papers in the country; the largest printed outside of London.”

“So how am I all over the place?”

“You should talk to whatshisname,” Eve says, meaning Dick Holt, “but once a paper like the Gazette covers a story, all the other papers want to do the same. There was a lot of interest in you, so a lot of the sports sections have published articles on baseball, and a bunch of them have mentioned you in particular.”

“All good, I should hope?”

“Yeah.” Though it wasn’t one of the main reasons that Kent loved her, the fact that Eve understood the press, and its ability to make or break certainly came as a plus to Kent. If he wasn’t sure about an article about the Spartans, Eve could tell him in a heartbeat if the article was meant to be good press or bad. “They’ve taken a liking to the idea that you’re the guy that’s come off the bench now, they see it as a boy-becomes-man story.”

“I thought they had enough of those over there…” Both Kent and Eve are aware the jibe is directed at the media and the royal family, but they don’t mention it.

“It’s good press.”

“Won’t last forever.”

“Even more reason to enjoy it.” Kent enjoys that Eve is direct and never condescending. She doesn’t sugar coat anything, but she’s not a cynic.

“It feels like you’ve been in England for ages.”

“I know. I was looking at a five earlier, and I thought it was incredibly odd to look at American currency.”

“That’s about how it was the first time I arrived. You know, I’m not quite sure how I would have managed without seeing you that week.”

“Have you thanked Eliot, yet?”

“Every time I see him.” It’s not quite true, but as he’s had Eliot tell him that the non-stop thank yous were beginning to annoy him, it will suffice.

“As well, you should.”

“So when are you coming back?” The question spurts out before Kent really thinks about what he’s saying…it’s not an inappropriate question, but he hates that it makes him seem needy, as opposed to patient.

Eve had returned for Easter, as promised, but Kent was unable to work out any time away from the team to see her in California, where her family resided. Originally, Eve was supposed to have been back for good, but filming had gotten behind schedule due to the unending legal troubles of her co-star. Had the troubles occurred before filming started, the project would have been postponed, but Eve’s co-star had a nasty habit of horrible timing.

“I’ve told you, we’re supposed to finish filming by the eleventh.”

“Yes, but what’s the date on the ticket?”

“Well, I haven’t told you because I won’t know until, then, really, if it’s going to change or not.”

“Just the same, when is it?”

“The fifteenth.” Without thinking, Kent glances at the calendar on the hotel room’s desk. Today is the seventh.

“Of June?”

“Of June.”

“Eight days.” Kent draws a long, measured breath and Eve says what he’s thinking:

“It’s an eternity.”

“I know.” It’s another ten minutes of chatter before the two part; when they do Kent grabs the complimentary pen in the hotel room, and even though the calendar on the desk isn’t his, he draws repeated red circles around the fifteenth.

#40, Bran Stromer, center fielder

By the middle of June the trade rumors centering around Bran have reached such a level of saturation that he is, for once, the center of all attention on the Spartans.

It’s an odd feeling. He’s always had enough talent to earn himself the starting job in center field, but he’s also been one of those guys that slips under the radar. He is the type of guy that does his job, day in and day out, and asks for nothing else in return (or so he’s told, by both Pete and Dick). The sudden attention is unnerving, distracting and his performance suffers as a result. It’s frustrating, especially when his name starts coming up every night on the Baseball Today highlight show.

Bran’s watching the midnight edition of the show from the comfort of his own home on Brighton Lane. His wife, Izzy, is long asleep—at six months with her first child, sleeping is the only thing that comes with any sort of ease—so Bran’s got the volume on the TV only a couple bars above mute. He’s sitting on a large black leather recliner in his TV room—when Izzy and Bran purchased the home, they came to the agreement that Izzy could have free design reign over the rest of the house as long as Bran had control over the TV room. To his credit, Bran didn’t make a bad job of it—two black leather recliners on a hardwood floor, understated coffee table, and a large, flat-screen TV. He’s still not entirely used to the sight of himself on TV and half the time finds that he is cringing at his accent, but he watches, every night.

The anchor of the show is a slightly overweight sportscaster by the name of Len Martin. He looks a bit like Pete might have some years ago, if Pete had ever thought about growing a goatee, but his voice contains none of Pete’s charm or wisdom. His voice is gruff; he is fairly obvious about his efforts to hide his country twang—which Bran finds insulting, among other things. However, Len Martin still knows the game of baseball well, probably better than anyone not employed by any one of the league’s sixteen teams, so Bran pays as much attention to his broadcast as he might to Pete or Charlie.

“Now, as we approach the trade deadline at the beginning of next month, the one name that keeps coming up is Bran Stromer.” Len says the bit as any newscaster might, but Bran notices that his body language is a bit reserved. This is, quite obviously, not one of Len’s favorite topics of conversation. A series of clips of some of Bran’s better at bats and defensive moments plays to the narration of Len’s voice, as if the production crew has access to Bran’s thoughts.

“The Spartan center fielder has shown flashes of all-star talent and is one of the best lead off hitters in the game today. He alone could easily get the Spartans a quality pitcher to fill the void left by Micah Garcia, and then allow Monty Allison to go back to the bullpen, and not strain the Spartan relievers. It’s not much of a secret that the Haus brothers don’t have a lot of money at their disposal; with the signing of Li Ming it is almost a certainty that they will not have the money to pay Stromer what he’d want when he is eligible for free agency. However, Stromer’s recent play has come under fire from fans in California and Seattle, the teams rumored to be most interested in a Stromer trade. One high ranking official working with the Diablos who asked not to be named stated that while he believed Stromer was in the middle of a dry spell, it would greatly lower the Spartans’ leverage should the Haus brothers choose now to make a move. The Haus brothers have yet to publicly comment on the Stromer situation.”

It’s a lot to take in all at once. Bran presses the pause button on his DVR so he can digest what he’s just heard without getting distracted. Most of it is not a surprise; even the bit about the Spartans not having enough money to pay Bran what he’d want in a contract does not provoke a reaction. Truth be told, Bran is already making more money than he ever thought he would, and unless something drastic changes in the next three years before he is eligible for free agency, he is content to play for whatever the Spartans can pay him.

What does surprise Bran is that someone working for an interested team such as California would go on record with his team’s position on the idea of a trade. From what Bran’s learned, it’s just the same as a poker player showing his cards. Bran figures that either the official for California is extremely new at his job, or, more likely, has something else up his sleeve. California is one of the better teams in the league, both in terms of management and talent, so Bran expects it’s just a ploy.

Bran remains awake a little longer to see some of the other game highlights from around the league. Most games were fairly average, though it took fourteen innings for New York to beat St. Louis and Detroit beat Texas on a walk-off home run. When he has trouble keeping his eyes open, he turns the TV off and makes for his bedroom. Bran’s used to finding his way to the large king bed that he and Izzy share in the dark; he’s just glad that, at the moment, there are no child’s toys for him to trip over and break his ankle.

He sees Izzy’s form under the bedcovers; she’s now showing noticeably, and there is something sensual and arousing about the baby bump. He stares for a moment or two after he undresses at the bump, wondering how it could be supported by Izzy’s miniscule frame, before sliding into the bed, next to her. The idea that the two of them could create a child, another human being, fascinates and excites him. It’s right now, more than any other time, that he wants her. It’s something primitive, he’s sure of it because he can’t explain it otherwise. He’s already heard enough from his mother about what the delivery room will be like a few months from now, but while blood and guts aren’t quite his thing, the idea of having a child, be it a son or daughter, is like euphoria.

Perhaps, he muses as he sinks into unconsciousness, it’s because he keeps thinking about it that he hasn’t been able to hit worth a damn in the last month.


  1. Nice to see Kent getting his shot everday. Wonder if his fame will overshadow Eve?

    I enjoyed Bran, but kept picturing the sportscaster as PeteAbe.

    Great work, and I look forward to more, as always.

  2. I'm still following this and it's definitely still good.

    I really love the personal insight into these players. It's FUN to hear into their head as they watch a news report.

  3. Hey Rebecca..

    Good read. Enjoyed the blog, read the last few entrys. Always liked your opinions on Lohud, wanted to check out your site.