(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
O.K., you little compu-dweebs, listen up: I'm not at all happy to be back here talking into the little recorder again. I thought for sure I'd be out in San Diego by now shagging flies and getting used to all that new turf out there, shall we say. Still, a deal's a deal, and I gotta give my agent's phone jockey Mike a little bit of credit because this helps to pass the time and get my head together.
I teased you all about the weekend, which we agreed were Pat the Bat's - and they are - but one story starts on Sunday afternoon that kicked off this royal shitstorm of my second week away from the bigs with the kind of Pat the Bat-style zaniness that felt a helluva lot like my last year at the dish: Hard hits, but right at people. This entire effin' year, I swear. But back to the weekend.
I bubbled up into consciousness early Sunday afternoon at this waffle joint in the city across the table from this couple who had that way-too-beached out Florida vibe to them, y'know, skin a tad too reddish brown, hair all damaged and too-too blonde, and I'm all freaked out by it, because they're, like, older than me, and smiling at me in this creepy and earnest way. And I'm all, what the hell is this and what do I do to get out? And did I mention? One of them's a dude. Whoa.I excuse myself, hit the head, and then take a massive dump, one of those kinds that remind me of the first mornings back after a West Coast swing, where your body just lets go in a ritual cleansing. Anyways, as I splash cold water on my face and look in the mirror, it kinda bothers me that the hairline is giving just a whiff of looking like the kid from The Munsters, especially when I slick it back a little when it's wet. I jostle it back into place, towel off, shake my head and stare at myself for a few good seconds. I tell myself: PAAAT!, ix nay on the equila-tay ext-nay Aturday-say, and I kinda laughed, cause that rhymed, and I used my Colonel Klink voice to make it sound authentic. Between that and the big dump I was ready to face the day. One last wink in the mirror and back out into the restaurant I went.
I got back to the table where the Crowsfeets are sitting. I figured I wasn't going to ask how the hell I wound up with these two, as I've been in spots like this before and stopped trying to find that out past AA ball, I just play through. Still, the dude part of it kinda bothered me because that hadn't happened in while. So instead I focused on gnawing my arm off and getting rid of them. And they were all, hey Pat, we're big fitness buffs, we heard about the cycling shop, hey it's around the corner, can we go see? So I think, bingo, exit strategy, the wife's nowhere near the place on Sundays, so off we go.
No sooner do I walk in the studio than I realize the mistake. Grampy's wife is cooling down the spinning class, and there's this group of people standing around in regular clothes watching and waiting for her. So I try to play it cool with my little fitnessarinos in tow, but it's useless, she spies me, the heads turn, and all the sudden it's introduce-a-palooza and digital camera time. It gets worse: the people she's with are her parents, and her dad's this big blowhard TV basketball commentator or whatever. I gotta say this, though: the dude dresses like a lot of the guys I've seen clubbing in Miami, and trust me, I've been clubbing in Miami for years, so I know what I'm talking about. And he's a total knob, too, immediately dives into the waiver talk and asks me if I've been spinning too. He has no idea.
I tell him I've been at the cages and been murdering the ball, he gives me the standard smack talk about cardiovascular stuff and keeping the weight off, staying as versatile as possible, staying ready, financial planning, blah blah blah, like I haven't figured this out already. I'm like, shut up already, how did your players ever stand you? And then, oh right, you don't coach anymore, asshole. We're both lucky a) I wasn't in the mood to say what I think, and b) I didn't see him and his lime green and pink suit or whatever after I salted my wrist and went for the worm last night. I have my suspicions he sees quite a bit of the worm anyway, even if it is just his own, if you get what I'm saying here. I make sure I'm scratching my chest with my middle finger right as he snaps a group picture. Message: sent.
I'll give it up for the beach bum couple/aka the Crowsfeets: they played it real cool, must have done this before, and I breathe a little sigh of relief. Still, I'm looking at Grampy's wife's eyes, and she's looking at them, and I know this means a call to the wife I wanted to avoid.
Clearly the theme of this week is gonna be "Blowback." These little pricks from the St. Pete Times, who have no respect whatsoever for my privacy or my special weekend Pat the Bat time, decide to write a little snippy note about the text I sent last Friday as I was gearing up, when I wrote to them to lose my effing number. What they never write is that they've been calling me about 5 times a day since I was waived, all like, where ya been Pat, what have you been doing Pat, have you heard anything Pat, where you drinkin' tonight Pat? You have no idea what this is like. It's bad enough when I was playing, it was easier to ignore. Now that I'm between clubs, it bugs me, straight up.
These arrogant little communications major bastards have nothing better to do than try to justify their fancy degrees and write snippy things on their shitty papers and websites, pretending they can be all manly and assertive by asking questions using a cell phone. Try making your living by swinging a bat, jackwads, like a man. The day is coming pretty soon when your editors are gonna call you into their offices and say, listen prick, you're not producing anymore, the organization has to keep moving forward, it's all about web content and clickthroughs and other dumb bullcrap like that. Maybe I'll call them up five times the following day and find out whatever roach motel bar they skitter in and out of, send over the grain alcohol, and put my tongue down the throat of the hottest chick in the dump right in front of them. Then I'll put an autographed c-note down on the bar with my middle finger and light it on fire. Best wishes, Pat the Bat.
Back with the wife, in her office at the bike studio place, and she is hot, but not in the way I usually like it. I know she's ticked at me because she's giving me the full Parris Island treatment, like I'm some dumb jarhead recruit and it's Full Metal Jacket time. This can get confusing sometime because I don't know when she's in the mood to do that sexy play, but this morning, I can tell. Ticked for real. Clearly Grampy's wife told her about Sunday afternoon and the couple, and, with her face beet red, she says come look at this Pat, she sent me the pictures, and turns the computer monitor around to show me the group pose I told you about before.
I have a hard time keeping a straight face as I look at my middle finger in the picture. She nails me on it, and it just gets worse. Generally a ream out at this level - I'll give it a 9 out of 10 today - means t-minus 48 - no, scratch that, make it 72 hours - until we make up. Mental note: find a way to send that picture to Vic.
Speak of the devil: Text message from Vic: Brudda U R 4th in AL DH ASG vote! We click 4 U SUCK. I write back: SUCK MY KNUCKLEBALZ. HIT LIKE A MAN. FU. Nothing comes back, not a porno link or anything, so I'm guessing that stung. Good. The fewer interruptions these days, maybe the better.
I then call Mike in my agent's office. I'm all, hey Mike, wtf is up with the all-star vote? Vic wrote some smack about my being fourth even though I haven't played for two weeks. Mike says it's probably the Phillies fans doing it, they love you there. I say, it's a shame they don't need a bat, and Mike and I laugh. I ask what's new. He says, backroom stuff Pat, but it looks like it's popping, the Guy (that's who he calls my agent) says you're a pulled hammie away from a contract, keep in shape. We maybe have something cooking with the Giants.
I hang up, then try Rowand, but get his voice mail, so I tell him to eff off and call me later. Then I put together the time difference and am all, oops there. Hope he wasn't running full speed to try to pick up his cell phone, you never know what that guy will run into on the way, haha. Anyways, one little taste like that from the phone jockey and you've probably figured out my pattern: Gym, lift, sweat, cages. It's a hot day so I take off my shirt when I hit, and I'm glistening, feeling really good, getting to that point where I'm so sweaty I just saturate the batting gloves, which I always feel gives me a better grip. When the eyes are all on me I crank the speed up all the way and do about 10 good rips. When my wrists get sore I feel so good I do a little running too, mix in some steps. I can tell the rest has been good on my feet and lower legs.
Afterwards I get the full body rubdown at this place downtown. It's all very discreet. It's been a great day, I feel like I'm 25 until I go home, let Elvis out the back, flip on the toob, and the next thing I know it's...
The Guy calls. It's not even 8 a.m. The Guy calls only when it's down to the wire. He asks if Mike told me about the Giants deal. I say yeah. He says, did he tell you it was minor league to start? And I'm, like, no - he skipped that part - and for crissakes, you mean I can't crack that major league roster? The Guy says, Shit Pat, sorry Pat, goddammit I told him to tell you that part. Yeah it's Fresno, Pat, it's still sunny CA, Fresno, do you know Fresno? It's beautiful Pat, right in the middle of the valley, just surrounded by mountains and fields. Sabean wants you to work on your swing there, where it's warmer, and then come to San Fran when you start rippin' them. I know you were at the cages yesterday Pat, how far off do you think you are?
I tell him about the sweaty gloves. Attaboy, see, it'll be a week, tops, and remember Pat, remember, one pulled Giant hammie and they're not going to waste time, they need a slugger Pat. You're that guy. He then says he has another call and hangs up. I know he's blowing me, like anyone else it's what I'm paying him for, but at least I'm reassured that Fresno is a decent place. Some of those AAA burgs can be real shitholes. I figure I go there a week or two, show them the wares, and given the way they're hitting they'll be sending a limo for me.
Beerwagon dream again, last night, but this one left me feeling clammy. I was riding with Elvis, but this time it was that Mr. Crowsfeet from last Sunday licking me, and it's a gay pride parade, and it's weaving all out-of-control down Lombard Street with all these rainbow flags, and the Clydesdales were whinnying like crazy. I wake up in a cold sweat and sit up in bed to look at Elvis taking a whiz on the door. Fucking incontinent dog. I rolled over and went back to sleep. Friday is when the housecleaners come.
Creeping up on lunchtime as I talk to you dweebarinos, so I'll give you the plan. Enough time has passed now, so it's high time I show up at the bike studio with the standard roses and take the wife to lunch. Clearly I need to dial it up a notch, so I've got my little guy at the fancy hotel downtown in on the deal, giving me the back room with the view and the ugly waitress this time so there are No Mistakes. She'll be steamed but will go along. I'll tell her about the Giants deal and tell her I'll spend the balance of the afternoon packing up just in case the deal gets inked. I'll give her The Brown Eyes and tell her I sure will miss her. I guarantee you losers that by 5 p.m. clothes will be all over the place, but not anywhere near the suitcases. Double-triple bonus: Holiday weekend, which likely means no ink goes on paper until Tuesday, so I've got one more whirl until October in this town. The hot weather means the views of Tampa's unlocked daughters are all going to be low-cut and snatcharific. Oh yes yes yes.
I'm looking at the paper, today, you Phillies fans. It seems like you've always needed me way more than I've needed you. Kind of especially true this morning, too, huh? Tell the Rube that a bona-fide Met Killer was getting laid and crushing the ball all week long, and he could have had me for a song, the arrogant asswipe. But hey - I sure appreciate the all-star votes. And I hope like hell this is the last one of these bloggy things I do.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog entry are purely those of the writer, who has never actually come near a baseball clubhouse, except once or twice on a tour. The writer has also never taken a spinning class, but does own a bike. The content and allegations contained in this piece are merely inspired by actual or Internet-rumored actions by current or former major league baseball bats or players, one of whom could set the record straight if he'd just man up and start blogging for real for real. Yo.