[Editor's note: By special arrangement, the following is the first installment of a weekly diary/column, in which the details are explained below, and then thoroughly disclaimed.]
Got a phone call from my people, who said that some nerds were looking for my help. I'll get to how all that happened later. But I gotta start here: your request came at a good time. The wife just dropped me off at the bike shop again, but this time, instead of working the crowd like when I was playing - and let's face it, some of those lady bikers have some great bodies - she stuck me in the back room and had me work with the guys on some tune-ups they were backed up on and return phone calls to ticked-off vendors. I sized up all that work and said - to hell with this, I'm going to the cages. I took one of those sweet Trek rides that Gene - he's the lead guy in the shop - had just assembled. I told him dude, I'm gonna take this for a test ride, so later. We gave each other the finger and off I rode.
[For the rest of the week, follow the jump. - Ed.]
When I got over to the cage I checked my messages, then called Mike, the phone jockey from my agent's office. I asked if there was any action yet. He said they were still working the phones, looking for any MLB love connections for me, but I was still going through waivers. He said it's not all that unusual, this can take a while, and to stay patient. He asked where I was, I told him the cages, that I just had to get away from the damn bike shop. He said after your workout, what are you gonna do Pat? I say, I dunno. Mike then reads me this appeal from some Phillies fan blog. I ask him - wtf Mike? He says Pat, it could be a good gig, it'll pass the time, and what do you want to do anyway while you're in between gigs, replace some assholes' inner tubes or think about baseball? Plus he said he talked to this guy at the site, he'll type it all out for me, they'll send a digital recorder, all I gotta do is be me and talk. He said they're all college kids, stat geeks, they need to know what it's really like Pat. It could be fun. Plus last we heard about Jermaine Dye, he was taking origami classes. I said Mike, that sounds hot, can you get me in one too, until he tells me what it is. Folding paper? For real? We had a good laugh about that for a solid ten minutes. What a douche, no wonder he's not getting any calls. So I went into the cages, got a good sweat on, really smacked the hell out of the ball today - I think it was because I saw a guy on the ride over wearing this blue hoodie - I had to get some stuff out.
I called Mike back. I said, lemme call that blog or whatever, I'm in. He says Pat, we got it all set up already, this guy named Peter and I, we talked it out. He's FedExing the recorder to you with instructions. I ask if the instructions have pictures - Mike and I have this thing about me being so visual - he says yeah Pat, who loves you kid, we went through all of it just the way you like it. Mike's a good guy for being a leech flunkie - that's what the guys call the phone jockeys in the agents' offices.
Back at the bike shop, Gene had his balls in a twist about that Trek ride, all like, what the hell happened to it Pat? I told him about the cages and that after that I rode over to this bar later in the afternoon, and after that I took a cab home. I said it might be still at the bar. I don't tell him about the smokin' hot waitress and how I lost this bet with her, but suffice it to say, she proved me wrong. I mean, dayum. Gene's all, that bike cost $1500 Pat, and the guy expects it tonight. I say, so build him another one asshole, and so I wrap a couple of bills around my middle finger and then flick them at him to shut him up. He stomps off in a huff. I'm going to hear about that from the wife.
I cab it back home for lunch. As soon as I open the door it stinks to high heaven. Once again, it's goddamned Elvis in the living room. Jeezus. Stupid bulldog. I love my big furry boy, but he's in this phase right now. I mean, it's like he spent the morning just smearing it around. Well, I think, at least the wife's not one of those baseball wives who insists on having these little furball dogs, for which I'm grateful. I'm a big guy, and I know if I had one of those little muff dogs it wouldn't be long before I'd step on it, maybe by accident, maybe not. (Haha I hope Chase didn't read that - you can imagine how intense he gets about that. One comment like that and he shuts you out of text-land for a month. Total hardass.) So I'm scrubbing the latest stain out of the carpet, wondering how I can sneak Elvis into the Rays front office tomorrow morning, when the doorbell rings. Fed Ex. Right, the digital recorder, the Phillies nerds. I sit down and read a little, look at the pictures, not a bad job, I think I might be able to handle this.
I'm not so good with the computer, but I got such blowback after not having one to vote for myself in 2008 that my agent got me one as a gag gift after we won the Series. Once I figured out how to get out to the Internet, I was all, like, wow. Plus Vic gave me some sites to look at after the big parade in 2008 that were all, like, whoa. I nearly had to shave my palms by Thanksgiving, if you catch my drift. He's a sick dude.
Cleared waivers. Mike calls me while I'm in my wife's office at the shop, when she's mid-ream out. It's an elaborate dance, I just wait until the face is just red enough to look down and apologize, say that I really needed to clear my head Monday, it's hard to adjust, blah blah blah, how much I really want to play again, give her The Brown Eyes, tell her how pretty she is. And she is. Some of it's show, some of it's dough. It's just starting to work when the phone rings. It's the Sir-Mix-A-Lot ring tone I put back on the phone on Monday night when the waitress and I were getting all flirty and having some laughs. Oops. She hates it. Goddamn Vic. I get into more trouble with the stuff that guy sends me. I leave the office as the wife's face gets redder again.
So I say Mike, the Phillies have to call me right, I've been looking at what Ibanez and Francisco have been doing, and they need a righty, they need a pro, I thought sure they could get me, and for minimum too. He cuts me off. No, you know what a prick Amaro is, he plays tough Pat, he's already on record as saying there's no fit for you there, but this is pure negotiation Pat. Hang tight. How's the blog coming along? I tell him I did a couple of entries, the recorder and stuff seems to work, this guy Peter and I have swapped some emails. Goddamn, he writes a ton of emails.
Mistake. I read the paper. Let's just say I didn't like that coffee table anyway, and it gave Elvis a good scare, which probably means another stinky brown mess I'll come home to later. That on top of the fact that I've been hanging around that damn bike shop when I should be in New York just has me on permanent simmer. Last year when we went up to play the Yankees in New York, I took a couple of the young guys out and showed them the time. Sonofabitch I miss that. It's hilarious how big Upton's eyes get when he sees the real Big Apple sick stuff. I make a mental note: Back to the cages, dude in blue hoodie. Friggin' Amaro.
I head to the gym first, get really pumped up, then just as I break a sweat, head to the cages. And today I'm the goddamned Incredible Hulk. I mean, the place just came to a standstill and I had people just watching me, slack-jawed. I pull one ball and it tears through the net and over the HR target wall in the cage on my left. I felt awesome.
I. Am. Not. Washed. Up. I can play until 40, for sure. Maybe I should try working out at first base again, I mean, I used to, and it'll save my feet.
I had that dream again last night. I'm up on that beer wagon, it's the parade, and Elvis and the wife are licking me as I'm trying to wash a beer down, and the fans are all, like, Stay Pat Stay! Stay Pat Stay! and all the chicks down on the street level are showing me their tits. It was just getting good when the cellphone went off at 3:30 a.m. Friggin' Vic again. He's drunk dialing, at some blowout for Jayson's birthday. He gives me that Hawaiian talk again, all Hey bruddah, we were just talkin' story and we're hammered, Pat, just hammered, so hammered we need some Pat the Bait, no questions asked! And hey bruddah, you get that link I sent you? Yo, whazzup with that? Hang loose, asshole! I tell him to eff off and hand the phone to Werth. I wish him a happy birthday and tell him to give Amaro a high hard one for me. Before we end it, I tell him how to send Vic home in a dirty cab to someplace in North Philly like we did that time in '08. He laughs, says sure Pat sure I will, and we tell each other to eff off and I hang up. I stare at the bedroom ceiling a long time after that. Friggin' Vic.
Next time the phone rings it's well after 10 a.m. Mike again. I ask what the word is. He says maybe the Padres, maybe the Giants. I think oh yeah, I could definitely deal with the bi-coastal thing. I have a hunch it's the Padres, I paid for a bunch of stuff that guy has, he can at least give me a bench job. It feels like a switch goes back on inside me, and I get dressed and head to the gym, then to the cages. Every goddamed ball is a balding dude with a blue hoodie. And I absolutely murder them.
I should tell you dorks this now. Peter and I made this deal. Weekends are Pat the Bat's. The reality is, I have a hard time keeping up with myself until a few cups of coffee on Monday. Maybe I give you a taste next week, if this gig lasts that long. I damn well hope not. Anyways, it's been interesting talking into a little box at you all. Later, nerdlingers.
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 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.