(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Editor's note: By special arrangement, the following is the third and final installment of a weekly diary/column. Per our special agreement with Pat the Bat's representatives, Mike and The Guy, Pat will be unable to provide commentary while on a big league roster. This was the latest entry as of last Friday, when PTB got The Call. Links to previous entries can be found at the end of this week's episode.
It's been a helluva ride the past week, blogarogadingdongs, but Pat the Bat is riding high again. Kind of funny that I'm talking into this little recorder at you guys from the airport in sun-baked, fabulous Las Vegas. Four days here and I have just been tearing it up. Gotta tell ya, though: I have not one clue how the 51s manage here. The place has me wrung out, brother. As I squawk at you the cell phones been all ThongTHThongThongThongin' for the past hour. I'm back, beyotches, and waiting for the flight to Pittsburgh to join the Gigantes. But let me recap:
Memorial Day Weekend
I told you I don't typically go into my weekends, but this one was weird even for The Bat, and it included my first bona fide baseball time in a few weeks, so let me roll it back there to where I left you dweebies, or you wouldn't understand the rest of the week I had.
I did think that the Tampa end game was gonna play out differently than it did, but wow, did it ever. The Friday afternoon part with the wife, the deployment of The Brown Eyes, and the packing to go that got predictably messy - all to plan. I came to at about 9 p.m., scribbled a note, let Elvis out back, and away I went for some quality Bat Time.
I remember the nightclub, I remember the steamy weather, I remember the first few drinks, the pulsing music, and the chicks were wearing lots of tight day glo. It was really shaping up to be a fine Pat the Bat Night(TM). And I remembered what caught my eye was the polka-dot mini skirt that wrapped around this package and I found myself just staring at her.
It was strange, too, this connection I felt right away. She didn't even see me, so I could watch her. There was something odd, like she didn't fit in the middle of all that hair spray, designer perfume and purses, and lip and boob jobs. She just looked all natural. And I don't know if it was the booze, or the long day, or whatever, but it felt, kinda. I don't know. Like when the pitching machine gets jammed, and I'm hitting it with a bat to get it going again. My flow was all busted up, but the strange part was, it was in a good way. At the same time as I was looking at her, my hands felt that tingle like I get when I really pop one, I mean upper deck crusher - except I wasn't touching anything. And odder: I was laying off the tequila that night.
I was so rattled that even as I rolled out the standard approach - the sly smile, the Brown Eyes on level 1, hi I'm Pat, I'm on my way to the bar, mind if I bring ya somethin' back? - but even that didn't feel right, it was like the internal spring had sprung already, when I usually feel coiled up and ready to strike. And then she says NO! And I was all whaaa?
Then she giggles, says sorry, she didn't mean to jake me like that, it wasn't personal. And that giggle, I'm telling you, it gave me the feeling that I have when I'm just zoning in the dugout on a hot day in a place like St. Louis, nothing much is going on, and I'm listening to the hum of the crowd, that place where my head is right before some jackwad would typically light matches under my spikes, stick gum in my ear, while skip would say shit like, hey dipwad, three outs, grab your glove and getcherass out to left field!
She tells me she's here with her roommate for the holiday weekend, the place is not for her, she and roomie figured out separate ways home, she was on her way out and did I want to come with her?
Now I know what you're thinking. I've been thinking it too. Normally a conversation about a roommate and a line like would you like to come with me? would have gone in a totally predictable direction most nights. And I didn't even think about this until I'm talking about it just now. I totally missed that. But one thing was still in working order. I left with her. But I was all out of control, like she was the beef stick and I was a big slobbery Elvis.
The rest of the night was a blur, but not in the way you'd think. She took me to some bookstore, we had coffee. We talked and talked, then she says, I wanna drive home, you're welcome to ride along. And I was like in this hypno daze or something, we just kept talking, she was clearly one of those chicks that knew nothing about baseball, but this night, it was okay, I felt like I was on this vacation from myself.
Next thing I know, we're cruising along I-4 and passing Lakeland. And I'm telling you, the way the night was going, it was okay, I just wanted to ride along. A couple hours later, we're pulling into Winter Haven and heading into her condo. As I'm walking up the steps, I ask, so what do you do? She says, oh I work for Disney, and then she opens the door, and there's pictures of the characters on the wall, I say, so what is it you do for them? And I really wanted to know, too, which was also different. She says, oh I work in the parks, kinda depends on the day. Sometimes I'm Snow White, sometimes I'm in the costumes. My favorite thing to do if it's not too hot is to play Minnie Mouse. And I look at the dress she has on. The polka dots. And I think, wild.
So. It's not like I'm not Pat the Bat and didn't want to proceed. And normally I'd be excusing myself to the can and texting Vic with shit like, Yo pineapple! Im about to bag Minnie Mouse srsly FU Pat. Honestly, before I knew it, it was 6 a.m. and the phone goes crazy, it's my agent's office, first Mike wjith arrangements, then the Guy, you gotta get your ass on a plane. And I'm like whaa? I wasn't expecting anything until Tuesday. I tell them I'm near Orlando, they curse like sailors, then say eff it Pat, get to the airport, maybe with the time difference you'll make it in time. Then they tell me the deal with the Giants is on, and it moved fast Pat, we'll take care of your stuff Pat, but they need the Bat, you gotta go to Salt Lake City.
It's like this big balloon my head's been in since I rolled out on my wife just popped. So I tell her what I do, what I gotta do now, and that I have to go. And she's all class, says ok, this time you drive, I'll drive back from the airport. And I was so preoccupied when I pulled up to the curb, I didn't notice she came around and kissed me. And that's as far as I got. First base with Minnie Mouse. And she started it! Not even tongue. Craaaaaaaaaaaazy. As soon as I hit the ground in Salt Lake City, I was waiting for bags, I started to text Vic about it, and then figured, no.
And I'm not quite sure why.
Saturday - Monday: Salt Lake City
I make it to the field, but too late to play Saturday, I'm groggy and a wreck and it's just as well. DeRosa says there's not much life in Salt Lake City, but I'm okay with that, I wanted to rest and focus to DH on Sunday. And I'm glad I did. On Sunday I continue my rampage from the cage, and mash a home run to left in the fourth that just gets me flying, and I just fill up the box scores from there. Double bonus: we continue the trip to Vegas, baby. Vegas!
Tuesday: Las Vegas
Pat the Bat dreamscapes, early Tuesday morning. Beerwagon dream, part 3. These damn things are getting more and more effed up since I started doing this blog thing, I swear. This time the wagon's getting pulled by all these hot babes in tight dresses, and I'm in the middle of DisneyWorld, and I'm beating the hell out of Mickey while Elvis has a full bulldog clampdown on his leg, and he's squeaking Oh! Oh! and the crowd is going crazy with rage, they hate me, they're booing, they all have Rays hoodies on. The crowd closes in, the babes fight them off, but they're overrun, and just before they reach me Minnie whispers I love you in my ear.
And I wake up in a total cold sweat, polka dots all over the ceiling, heart pounding and I'm breathing hard. I head to the park early that day for some cage work just to try to forget about it. But I'm just awful in the cage, but it doesn't matter, the team scores 15 and I'm all over the boxes again. I definitely forget about it all after the game with DeRosa, where we go all showgirlz and feathers and backrooms and stogies and clockless rooms. It was daylight when we stumbled out of the Flamingo. Or Caesar's Palace. Or the Monte Carlo. I'd tell you more, but I can't. I... Just... Can't... Remember.
One thing I did remember. I smiled when I went into the hotel shower, when I stepped out of my skivvies and there were sequins in there. Oh! And when I checked my pants pockets, there was this wad of bills, I counted up. Effing eight grand! By the time I get to the park I enter the clubhouse and DeRosa's in the corner, surrounded by some other scrubbies, and all of a sudden he points at me and bows down and gives me the full I am not worthy! I am not worthy! treatment. The other guys laugh, I give them all the finger, and go into the john and upchuck. That night I cool off a little, but hit two RBI sac flys anyway. The Luck is back with me.
It's funny: each time I slug it out here with the Grizzlies, I'm serious, I was seeing these white polka dots. It's effed up, man. But I'm murdering the ball, seeing it so well. Don't know if it's the light out here or what. I'm trying not to think about it, just flow with it, The Bat style. But the dots...
When I'm back playing, I need to start early on the weekend planning. Again, I don't share much, but I'll give you a little hint, courtesy of Vic, of where I was headed, just to give you a glimpse into my head just a little. O.K., so number one, plan A: With each game it looks for all the world like I'm going to be back in the bigs any day now, which means a cross-country flight and another weekend interruptus, but I won't mind that so much. But if that doesn't happen. plan B: Vic had sent me this after the minor-league deal went through, and bet me $5K I couldn't bag Spider-Girl under the bleachers of Chukchansi before I'm called up. Text to Vic: UR on. Spins a web, bigger than ur widdle Hawaiian web. Get a hit 4 a change. FU, Pat
DeRosa tells me not to bother, but the little prick went to Penn, and all I can think of is Glanville and how many chicks Michaels and I set up to give him their numbers as a joke. He'd come to us every time, looking all proud and everything, until we told him stuff like if he noticed where the little butterfly tattoos were. He'd fall for it every damn time, I'm telling you, it got to be boring. I gotta say, though, cause I pick on him a lot. Once Vic arrived, brand new ballgame - the sick little Hawaiian dude scouted out body art in places I didn't even think to look and started to play me every once in a while. Mental note: August 16. Vic. Me. Philly. The Sick Time. Put us together again, I set the Brown Eyes on Stun, and watch that town fizz.
So, I gotta go. Mike, the Guy, and your boy Peter say I can't talk into the little recorder anymore now that I'm going to play for San Fran. So why don't you all write about your lives and I'll read about it while I sit on the can?
Like I care. Burn! Hope you see me in the playoffs and like it, you sick nerds.
Previously on Veteran Clubhouse Presence:
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, and has only read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, as opposed to being there. The content and allegations contained in this piece are merely inspired by actual events 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.