Dickie August- Baseball Player -Chapter 3 – Not so Fast

Dickie had just been anointed the team’s new closer and Mr. Joaquin Alvarez, the team’s prior closer, what not happy.

After a quick shower, Joaquin confronted Dickie as he dressed in the clubhouse. “You think this is it?” He waved his finger in Dickie’s face. “This is far from over. I knew you were here for my job.”

Joaquin pushed Dickie, but before Dickie could throw a punch, Billy Wild and bullpen coach, Ed Cousins jumped in between the two players.

“Let it go, men.” Insisted Cousins as he held Dickie’s right arm.

As the altercation was avoided, Dickie and Cass stayed behind in the clubhouse to discuss.

“You can’t take the guy’s job.” Injected Cass.

Dickie quietly paced around the clubhouse as the manager entered. “I heard what happened. I’m sorry – but he’ll get used to it. We are a better team with you closing games. Deep down, he knows that.”

“Thanks skip, but the last thing I wanted to do was to create waves.”

“Let me worry about JA, okay?” Offered Barry Keeton.

Dickie and Cass went back to the hotel and ordered some room service.

“We have to win the next two games.” Dickie asserted.

Cass munched on his burger and fries and did not add much to the conversation.

“We can’t fall any further back.” Continued Dickie. “I hate this losing.”

The next night brought another close game. The score was 4 to 3, Kansas City in the sixth inning. Manual Espy and Cass both doubled in 2 runs and Dickie was anxious to get in the game.

Dickie sat a few seats away from Joaquin Alvarez, watching in the bullpen – Ed Cousins was positioned in between the two. Dickie wasn’t interested in creating any drama tonight and he hoped Alvarez felt the same.

As the game found the bottom of the 8th inning, Alvarez was in pitching. He needed to hold the score right there to give Dickie the chance for his first major league Save.

Keeton had Dickie warming up in the bullpen, just in case. And just in case quickly turned in to get in the game. Cleveland loaded the bases against Alvarez with only one out.

When warming up in the bullpen, Dickie never did turn it loose. He never bothered to use the Alet while warming up. He would casually toss the ball to the catcher in the bullpen at his regular speed. Because of his amazing results, Ed Cousins let Dickie do his own thing and never questioned why he only threw 65 mph in the bullpen and up to 100 mph in games.

Keeton made an early, 8th inning call to the bullpen for his new closer, Dickie August. Dickie sprinted from the bullpen to the mound and took the ball from Manager Keeton.

Keeton addressed both Dickie and Billy Wild. “No funny business tonight boys – just give them the gas and get out of this inning!”

Dickie nodded. Both Keeton and Wild left the mound.

As Dickie confidently took the mound, he tapped his back pocket, searching for the Alet. There was nothing in Dickie’s back pocket. Cass still had the Alet. Because Dickie came in during the middle of an inning, and not the start of an inning, he did not have time to take the Alet back.

He simply froze on the mound. He did not move a muscle.

Billy Wild and the umpire took several steps toward the mound. “Let’s go kid.” Yelled Billy.

“Play Ball.” Instructed the umpire.

Dickie knew if he threw even one pitch, everyone would see that he had no real baseball talent. This entire hoax could be over just like that.

Dickie held his shoulder and walked off the mound. The trainer and manager rushed out of the dugout. Barry spoke first as he approached the mound. “What the hell happened?”

“Is it your shoulder?” Added the trainer.

Dickie nodded and walked to the dugout.

Kansas City relief pitching gave up 2 runs and lost the game 5-4.

After the game Dickie sat at his locker with his head down when Keeton approached. “Did you already have x-rays and a MRI?”

“Yeah – x-rays were negative.” Dickie looked up. “We find out about the MRI tomorrow.” (Dickie knew his MRI would come back negative as well.) “I’m sorry skip – I blew it. I Cost the team the…”

“Nonsense.” Interrupted Keeton. “You got hurt. That is not your fault. You’ll get back out there.”

As Keeton walked away, Dickie again hung his head. Cass sat quietly next to him. Dickie kicked his shoes off, across the clubhouse floor. “I can’t believe we screwed this up so badly. We are the reason we lost tonight.”

Kansas City lost the next night 9-2 and were swept in Cleveland. Dickie dressed but did not play. Cass went 2 for 4 and played catcher, giving Billy Wild a night off. The team understood that their playoff hopes were all but lost.

The team arrived back in Kansas City early the next morning and were met by the media at the airport.

Two reporters approached Dickie as he and Cass attempted to find a cab. “Dickie, what happened the other night in Cleveland? My sources are saying that you have no injury.”

The other reported jumped in. “Why ask out of the game if you’re not hurt? Who does that?”

Dickie stood outside the airport, now with 5 television and newspaper reporters circling him. He paused and collected his thoughts when he noticed a familiar blue car pull up and the passenger side window cracked open.

“Could it be?” Thought Dickie.

“Get in boys.” Heidi Summers yelled from the driver’s seat. Both Dickie and Cass jumped in the car and Heidi drove away.

“Great timing, Heidi.” Complimented Dickie.

“Not to worry – we got lucky that Lucy was not here.”

(Lucy Grover was a sports reporter for channel 10 and was know for getting the scoop in Kansas City sports. She was in her 30’s, with long brown hair and a ferocious work ethic. She was well known and a highly respected reporter who had great access to the players.)

“Hi Heidi – my name is Cass.”

“Oh- I know who you are – only our newest hitting threat.”

Cass smiled from the backseat.

Dickie laughed. “Yeah, he’s a threat all right. You should see him after he eats spicy food.”

Heidi smiled briefly before speaking. “Sorry you had to deal with the reporters. But, Dickie, the media here has been pretty rough on you since the other night. Your character is being questioned.”

“Great!” Dickie slid down in the passenger side chair.

“What did happen? A.J.” (Team General Manager, A.J. Setters) “said on local radio that it seems like your shoulder might have popped out and then back in place.”

“I’m not sure, Heidi. But, if A.J. says that, I’ll go along with it.”

“You need to come up with something, Dickie. As a media person I know that the questions will keep coming unless you address them. There are some local doctors calling you out for quitting on the team.”

“Fine!” Said Dickie raising his voice. “I’ll speak to the media tomorrow about it.”

Heidi dropped Dickie and Cass off at their apartment for some much needed rest. They arrived at the ballpark later in the day. They had a 7:30 home game against Boston and Dickie was excited to play the team that he grew up rooting for.

Before that, however, Dickie had to face the media. The drama of him asking out of a game in Cleveland would not go away.

Before Dickie could speak to the full media waiting for him, Lucy Grover cornered him in the clubhouse.

“So Dickie, you’re not hurt but you can’t play? I don’t understand.”

“Hi Lucy. Listen I’m about to speak to the full media in the Interview room, will you join us?” Dickie motioned to the exit.

Lucy inched in closer to Dickie – almost nose to nose. “I’m not playing a game with you Dickie. You don’t come from nowhere and become this good and then ask out of a game on my watch. There is something up with you, Dickie August, and I’m going to find out what it is. You’re not going to make me look stupid!”

Dickie took a step back. “There is nothing to find out.”

Dickie walked away to the Interview room.

Lucy yelled back at him. “Not so fast…This isn’t over!”

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