'I know some good games we could play,'
said the Pat.
'I know some new tricks,'
said the Pat with the Bat.
'A lot of good tricks.
I will show them to you.
Your mother will not mind at all if I do.'
Editor's note: TGP received a DM late last night from an old friend requesting a meetup. We hastily assembled emergency twenties, made sure the Find Our Phone apps were activated, primped appropriately, and did a quick meetup with Pat's clearly inebriated and exhausted representatives, Mike and The Guy, at a corner booth at the Penrose. Instead of signing the usual documents, Pat waited until they dozed off into their cheesecake and held forth into our digital recorder, more or less transcribed below. As usual, we provide The Complete Set of Links to previous episodes of Veteran Clubhouse Presence below.
GODDAMN IT BLOGAROGADINGDONGS, I AM DISGUSTED. I have been back in this town for what? twenty hours now and I just don't know what to say. Ha, that's a lie and I think you nerdos and nerditas know me better than that. Let me get right to it:
WTF have you motherfuckers done to this team?
I mean seriously my people I come back to be bronzed and well-hung on a wall here and after I finished this stupid little PR stunt, with goddamn Bonnie typing everything for me and squawking at me like some demented parrot ("Paaaaat, be serious, Paaaat, focus, Paaaat, it's gotta be family, there's kids out there Paaaat." What a shrew. And I know what you're thinking but some chicks are just beyond my help, let's leave it at that.)
Hey but can I just say - goddamn you kids are really into the sick stuff - thanks for that, by the way - good effing Lord how I hate those "favorite baseball memory" questions. I got memories of this place like so many body shots I did off of all your flat tummies). Anyways. After all that I stumble into a locker room that looks like a nursery school, with a bunch of asswipes who are all plugged into their headphones and iPads and smartphones all sitting around in a kind of quiet that I hadn't heard about since my tutor told me about the finals she took for me back at Miami. If it wasn't for Piece coming out of the crapper just when I strolled in (thank God I didn't have to go in after that guy; let me tell you, that's an aspect of that clubhouse I don't miss) I might have been the clubhouse guy for all those idiots cared. We clap it up and the few guys who know me anymore melted from the corners of the locker room and finally there was a little life. It was nice to see Chooch. He looks like some ancient warrior anymore, the lines in his face make him look like a big Panamanian glove. Piece seemed to brighten and the smile, still great as ever, seemed forced. I saw the bushers raise their eyebrows and pause their little games of Angry Birds or their Netflix queues or whatever or stop texting and watch me and my big effing rings.
See, my rings speak to them in a language they understand: FFS STOP SUCKING. COMMIT. YOUR. SELF. TO. BALLING. "Dickhead" is implied, of course, but sometimes I feel I have to explain everything to you asswipes who never played. I peel out of that mausoleum with a big ring wave to that baseball kindygarten. Shine on, you crazy diamonds. Burn that hellhole clean as far as I'm concerned.
Utley was nowhere to be found. I go seek him out in the trainer's room, where he's knee-deep in the bubbles and looking at video, like usual, with the Bento Box lunch and chopsticks. "Hey Pat," he says. "Sit down."
"Look at this guy," he says, showing me video of Shelby Miller. "Goddamn it Pat I'm 4 for 12 off of this punk." He's decent, but I can hit him. Look at that fastball tell. Right... there!"
I look at the video of his windup. "Hmm," I say. I'm a little blurry still this early in the afternoon and I have a headache from all those Paaaat!s. I don't quite get him, but I like it when he's all intense because it gets me fired up to do anything. "Yeah. Here comes the cheese."
"Dammit, Pat I want back in there, I'm not even in the game tonight, just going through the rehab course. But none of these buttlicks prepare like we did. It's got to the point where if any of these losers asks me for help I give them the finger for at least the first three times. Then I think about it. But these cats don't bother me anymore."
"Chase I've kicked around a bit since I've been out. I've told you this," I say. "These kids are born into their hype and think that anyone who works with them is there just to help them gas up their asses, not challenge them."
"Hey Pat," he says. "Does being a scout automatically make you sound like Bowa all the time, or just when you don't know what the eff you're saying?" We both laff at that one until the room grows quiet and it's just the sound of the bubbles. Utley looks at me.
"Pat, you heard about Hamels."
"Yeah," I say. "You guys are boned. What's your plan for the next two months?" Again, bubbles. I don't hear a response for a while. Utley just sits there. The pause isn't like him.
"We've been boned for three years. It's like we're born boned anymore. It's not like it was, and it doesn't show signs of letting up. At least Mackanin's not a total douchebag I guess. Lord, Sandberg was rough. I've flat-out sucked this year. There's an ownership shuffle going on now. Pat I think I need a change. Watching you fall into the lake was the best laugh I've had all year. I think I gotta talk to Rube. And maybe Jen too, but she doesn't want to leave here and I don't have to but goddamn it Pat." Another long pause. Bubbles again.
"Hey," he says, "Does Bochy still smell like meat and cheese?"
I think it's the most I've ever heard him say at once that didn't have anything to do with Elvis ever since I met him. Looking at him there, alone in that small room, with the flat screen looping Shelby Goddamn Miller winding up and pitching, made me feel sad and angry and sad and angry and then sad and angry all over again.
"O.K., Uts, let's get out of here."
He gets on his stuff and we go upstairs, trying to make our way through the employees and hangers-on who want to stop and schmooze. I'm on a mission to find Chollie, and after about ten minutes or so of following the lunchtime smell of fried food, we find him. He immediately brightens and we hug and slap backs. "Chollie," I say, "I gotta kidnap you for a couple hours."
We grab a cab and head over to Little Pete's. We get in and out pretty quick, try to be as incognito as possible. The place knows me so they make what room they can. They make the food as fast as possible and we wolf it down before we head over to the Warwick for some privacy and drinks. Chollie drawls on about hitting and Uts and I just listen and melt into our cocktails. We could listen to him forever and maybe pick out an hour's worth. Maybe.
"Let's go," I say, we get a cab and head off to Laurel Hill Cemetery. It's a hot, steamy day. Chollie is pretty well incoherent after a couple of drinks anymore but is a happy drunk and occasionally makes noises like the Pillsbury doughboy. I make out "Short to the ball" every other minute or so. We walk around the gravestones a little bit until we find it: ELVIS.
"It's a nice spot, Pat," Utley says. "I'm glad he's here. He should be here."
"'Ee'zu funny as hell bulldawg, and things like that," Chollie says. "Boy just sat up on that goddamn wagon at that parade like he owned the town, 'n stuff."
"That's it," I say to Utley, buzz in effect. "You gotta get back on that wagon." The three of us stood there for a few minutes, with nothing but the summer bugs and some traffic in the distance. Chollie starts wobbling a little. I look at Utley and say we gotta get back.
We get back and I beeline it for MacPhail's office, give his secretary The Brown Eyes and blow past her to barge in mid phone call. He hangs up.
"It's like this," I say. "I've been thinking when you take over on paper you hire me."
"Fuck off," MacPhail says. I persist.
"The graveyard where I have my dog buried has more life than your clubhouse. Is there a city wage tax on fun here? You need a Clubhouse Loosenator, a real veteran clubhouse presence, to help rebuild this mess. These little d-bags never had any of it growing up, they're all limousine prospects, and the coaches are too pissed off to do it. Even the angry elves not named Bowa."
"What about the Giants?" he says. He's listening now, I can tell. I drive on.
"Eff the Giants," I say. "They don't need me, and Lord knows Huff could use some structure in his days. I'm tired of scouting minor leaguers and handing them off. I want in on a big league clubhouse again, but I don't want to coach baseball. I'll coach everything around it."
"Let me think about it," he says in a way I pretty much believe. Then he gives me the tell. "Before you leave this weekend, see what the hell you can do with Brown. Jeezus that guy."
To be continued...
The Veteran Clubhouse Presence Oeuvre:
Retirement Package (Parts 2 and Possibly Even 3-Way) - Feb. 2, 2012
Bonus Ginsberg Fanboy Beat Poem Homage: BURL - August 19, 2010
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog entry are purely those of the writer, who is now strangely appreciative of the time he thought he wasted about 25 years ago in a postgraduate, cliche-ridden reading binge diet of Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Hunter S Thompson. The content and allegations contained in this piece and all those linked to hereabove are merely inspired by actual events by current or former major league baseball bats or players, one of whom is permanently ensconced in his memory, riding
smiling in your dog-
parade down the Broad Street across Philadelphia with beers
to the core of my being on a baseball night