The Dickie August Story- The Final Chapter

Cass wasn’t sure he even believed Dickie, never mind going in with him. He walked away from Dickie and strolled to the batter’s box, looking out towards Dickie, who was stationed in left center field.

Dickie carefully watched as Cass got behind the plate and simulated catching the ball from the pitcher. He then stood at the plate with a bat and took a few practice swings.

Finally, he dropped the bat at home plate and ambled out to Dickie. “So you’re saying this stupid story is real? You swear to god?”

Dickie nodded.

“But, aren’t we then just like the steroid users who deceive everyone?”

Dickie moved in closer. “I guess so. But, look at how many players tried that crap to get an edge. And, with what we do, we can’t test positive for anything. Right?”

Cass hung his head. “I don’t know – it is cheating in some form.”

Dickie spoke quickly this time. “Ok- how bout this. You try it for one game and see what you think. If you don’t like it – we both drop out, together, and go back to our boring, everyday lives. Deal?”

Cass lifted his head. “Ok- just one game- tonight. Deal!”

As the game started, Cass has the Alet in his back pocket as he took the field. Dickie had briefed him on how to manage the Alet and he caught the pitcher without any trouble. He concentrated and made each play.

As the bottom of the third inning came around, Cass was up second. Kansas City was down, 1-0. As he stood in the on-deck circle, he scanned the stands to observe the fans, and the empty seats. His hands slightly trembled as he took a practice swing.

The batter in front of Cass grounded back to the pitcher for the first out. Cass then dug in as he eyed the pitcher.

The first pitch was a sweet curveball that Cass took for strike one. He stayed in the batter’s box between pitches and snuck a look out towards Dickie in the bullpen.

“I want a home run in the 10th row in left field.” He thought. The next pitch was a fastball, Cass wasn’t quite sure what happened next.

He closed his eyes, he thinks, and swung the bat with great force. What happened next was one of those once in a lifetime moments. When Cass opened his eyes, the ball was soaring out to left field. The left fielder raced to the wall and watched the ball sail over the wall for a home run.

Cass stood, as a spectator might, and watched.

The umpire came from behind the plate and touched Cass on the back. “Move it, rookie.”

Cass started towards first base before realizing he still had the bat in his right hand. He dropped the bat as he saw the first base coach moving in for a high five.

The score was now 1-1 and Cass could have floated around the bases. The few thousand fans in the stands stood and cheered as Cass made his way for the dugout. Manager Keeton was on the top step to greet Cass. “Nice swing son – way to drive it.”

Billy Wild stood right behind Keeton. “I’m impressed kid – nice jolt.”

Cass sat on the bench and reattached his catching gear between congratulations from his other teammates. He could not see Dickie out in the bullpen, but he was overwhelmed with excitement and joy.

“This is freaking unbelievable.” Mumbled Cass.

The next time up, Cass requested, and received, a double off the centerfield wall. His teammates were mulling around the dugout and chatting about his efforts.

In Cass’ third at bat, in the seventh inning of a 2-2 game, Dickie watched intently from the bullpen. The bullpen coach, Ed Cousins, sat next to Dickie. “Is this kid for real, Dickie? He looks much better tonight. Almost like it’s not the same player.”

Dickie smiled at Ed. “Yeah – he’s going to be one we want to keep, Ed.”

Cass was a little nervous about pushing the envelop and looking too good in his first full game. Thus, he hit a routine fly ball to the center fielder for an easy out.

Kansas City was tied with Oakland, 3 to 3 in the top of the ninth inning. The team’s closer, Joaquin Alvarez, pitched around a walk to get out of the top of the inning.

Yet, in the bottom of the ninth things got interesting. Cass would be up fourth in the inning, should one of the batters in front of him reach base.

Two quick outs were registered before the third batter of the inning reached first base with a broken bat single.

Cass could not wait to get in and hit. He felt something like a superhero and was prepared to end this game in dramatic fashion.

The first pitch was a straight fastball for strike one and the second pitch was a split finger fastball that Cass actually swung at. He purposely took a weak swing for strike two. He knew he would miss that pitch and wanted to build some tension in the stadium.

As he waited for the third pitch, he took a practice swing in the batter’s box and told himself. “Home run to deep left – 20 rows back this time.” The pitch came in and Cass went for it. He wasn’t really sure what pitch selection the pitcher had thrown, but it didn’t matter. The ball rocketed off his bat and it roared for the bleacher seats, 20 rows back. This time, Cass did not look. He flipped his bat and pointed to the dugout as he made his way around the bases.

Kansas City had won the game, 5-3.

His teammates flooded out of the dugout and ran towards home plate. They congratulated him with shoves, pushes and handshakes.

Dickie sprinted in from the bullpen and jumped on Cass’ back. “Awesome game, Cass!”

Cass and the team retreated to the clubhouse and however many fans were left continued to cheer.

Team manager Barry Keeton briefly spoke to the team. “Guys, this was one to remember. I’m so proud of this team tonight and to Cass.” Barry changed his position to look at Cass. “I see now why Dickie wanted you here. You are a keeper!”

After the boys showered and dressed, they went out to grab a late dinner. One restaurant, the Blue Wave, in downtown Kansas City, was open until 1am.

As the boys each enjoyed a thick steak, they quickly got down to business.

Dickie spoke first. “Ok- you made a nice impression tonight. I don’t think anyone in this town will forget about you any time soon.”

Cass chewed a piece of steak as he listened.

“But, the question is still there. What do you want to do? Are you in?”

Dickie put his knife and fork down and waited for Cass to answer.

Cass kept on eating.

“Cass!” Dickie raised his voice.

Cass finally stopped and looked at Dickie. He raised his eyebrows.

“Well, I want to know if you are in or not. I mean you need to consider that you can’t always play like this. We will be in games together and I’m using the Alet in those cases. You will have some bad games and some struggles here and there. But, if you agree with that condition, are you in with me?”

Cass just smiled without speaking.

“Well, does that stupid looking grin mean yes?”

Cass looked around, making sure he had some privacy. “Are you kidding me? This was the best day of my life. I am in – 100%. Let’s ride this thing as long as we can. And when you pitch, you use the Alet and I’ll just suck at those times, I get that. That will make it all look more realistic.”

Cass jumped up and tried to hug Dickie across the table. Dickie stood and laughed. “I told you! This is freaking awesome.”

When the boys got back to their apartment, there were voice messages from Cass’ family and friends. Cass could not help but smile and feel amazing. He was so stimulated that he could not sleep and watched the sports news to see his highlights on TV over and over again.

He finally feel asleep in his chair in front of the television. The doorbell buzzed repeatedly and he was able to stumble over to the door noticing it was only 6 am. “Ok- hang on – I’m coming.” He yelled at the door.

Cass opened the door to see an old woman standing there.

“Can I help you?”

“We have a problem my boy.” The old woman smiled and showed Cass her missing teeth.

“Listen lady, I’m tired and I don’t want what your selling. So if you could…”

The old woman interrupted in a loud tone. “Get Dickie up – I’m Martha!”

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