The Dickie August Story Chapter 5 – Did Martha send you?

As Dickie drove away, his excitement turned to concern. In his exuberance, he over looked Martha’s third condition.

“But how bad could it be? What else could they expect from me?” Dickie passed a nervous laugh.

He decided to let it go. He would let the third condition remain unknown. He felt going back to Martha at this point might be too much. She had expressed her opinion that Dickie should be very happy and thankful with the opportunity. Any more push back from Dickie might just end everything.

Dickie was not prepared to end anything at this point.

During the next couple weeks Dickie considered how he could get himself noticed within the baseball world. After all, he had no baseball identity. And, because he needed to pay Martha within 6 months, he needed to make a major league roster and a major league salary sooner than later.

Dickie had a big problem, no one in the baseball world had ever heard of him. He was not on anyone’s radar of potential players. Why would he be? Dickie never even played high school baseball. Who in the professional baseball community would ever take him seriously? He knew the answer was no one.

He had to find someone who could “discover” him!

Yet, crazier things had happened. Dickie kept reminding himself of that thought.

Dickie was essentially coming out of nowhere and was about to make the biggest splash anyone in baseball had ever made. What would his path to the major leagues be like?

Dickie remembered that his father had an old friend who used to coach in the major leagues. That night at dinner, he asked Thomas about him.

Since Dickie’s mom, Beth, was working the late shift that night at the hospital, the men had the house to themselves. They stumbled putting together some ham and cheese sandwiches and ate in front of the television.

“Any games on now?” Thomas picked up the television remote.

“Dad, you told me once about an old friend that used to be in the major leagues?” Injected Dickie between bites.

“Oh- Sid Mages – yeah. He was a coach in the major leagues for a few years. I think he was a first base coach if I remember correctly.”

Thomas was a quiet man and spoke with a deliberate manner. He was not nearly as tall as Dickie and featured a thick mustache, which could act as a trap for his food from time to time.

“Do you know where he is these days, dad?”

Thomas sipped his sparkling water before he spoke. “I think he lives in Dallas these days. But, I haven’t spoken with him in many years. Why do you ask?”

“Oh- well, you’ll think this is funny.” Dickie looked away, not wanting to make eye contact with his father. “But, I’m going to try out and see if I can make a professional baseball team as a pitcher.”

Thomas fought not to spit up the sparkling water he just swallowed. “Say again.”

“Before I’m too old to try, I thought I would give it a shot.” Sheepishly Explained Dickie.

“Are you joking? You didn’t make the high school team but you want to play pro baseball?” Laughed Thomas.

“I’ve been working out and threw real good with Cass the other day. He was impressed.”

“Oh- and he would know, cause he did make the high school baseball team.” Thomas said grinning from ear to ear. “If you don’t like working at the shop you can go to college or …”

“Dad!” Dickie interrupted. “This is not about the shop. I just want to follow my dream. If I don’t make it, I’ll come back. Ok?”

Thomas shook his head in disbelief. “Yeah, fine. Why not?”

“Can you see if you have Sid Mages’ phone number?” Thomas agreed.

The next morning Dickie was on the phone early dialing for Sid. A voicemail message finished before Dickie left his comments. He would call back soon, right?

2 days passed with no return call from Sid. Dickie decided to phone again. This time, an old sounding voice answered the phone. “Hello?”

“Oh- hi – my name is Dickie August – you know my dad, Thomas?”

“Oh yes – how is old Thomas these days?”

“He’s doing fine, still in the antique business.” Dickie paused. “Hey Sid, I’m calling because I’m interested in playing pro baseball and wanted to get your thoughts on how I can do that? I mean do pro teams hold open tryouts for the public?”

“What is your background? Did you play college ball? Or at least make some all star teams in high school?”

“No- nothing like that. But, I’m very good – If I can say that myself.” Laughed Dickie.

Sid coughed before speaking.

“Wow – you have a hill to climb there. I don’t know.”

Sid went quiet. “Oh, you can always try out for a minor league team. They might even hold open tryouts.”

Dickie thanked Sid for his help and started to cruise the internet looking for some minor league baseball teams. He eventually found one in Rhode Island, only about 35 minutes away.

They were the Rhode Island Sea Creatures and they were a lower level minor league team for the worst professional team in baseball, the Kansas City Nine. Dickie wasn’t interested in playing for the Nine – he wanted to play for his local team from Boston. Yet, the Sea Creatures were holding open tryouts next week and Dickie would be there.

Open tryouts were as much a publicity stunt as anything else. In the world of minor league baseball, the teams had to try just about anything to help fill the stands. This would still be a good chance for Dickie to showcase his new found abilities.

That day finally came and Dickie was more than ready. He entered the park and noticed a small woman with no noticeable features working a clipboard. “You here for a tryout?” She called to Dickie. You can sign-in here and head out on the field.

Dickie quickly signed in and jogged on the field. He was met by the manager, Bob Aloofe. Bob looked to be in his forties, a slender man with thinning gray hair. He was tall, taller than Dickie, maybe six foot six.

“Hey there.” Bob looked Dickie’s way.

“Hello – I’m Dickie August – pitcher.”

“Well, Dickie, what brings you here? Are you an ace pitcher here to save our season?” Joked Bob.

Dickie smiled and thought Bob did not know the half of it.

“Stretch out and take the mound Dickie. Let’s see what you can do.”

After some light stretching Dickie started to make his way to the pitcher’s mound. He stopped to first see his manager. “What are we throwing?”

“Just your best, kid.” Encouraged Bob.

Dickie took the mound and looked at the catcher for a sign. There was none – it was all Dickie now. Dickie slightly touched his back pocket to help convince him that the alet was actually there. It was and he could again breathe.

Just before he hit his windup, Dickie thought. “I want this one to be 90 miles per hour and right down the middle.” You heard the catcher’s mitt smack with that lovely sound. Bang! Dickie tossed it right in there with some juice on it.

Manager Aloofe rubbed his eyes and made his way closer to the mound. “Nice one, kid. Do it again.”

Dickie perfectly repeated his pitching delivery and received the same result. Pop went the glove. “Can you throw a curveball?”

Dickie looked at Bob and smiled before throwing the pitch. The curveball broke down and in and in Bob’s opinion, very hard to hit.

“Wait here, I’m going to get the general manager.” Bob scurried off the field.

Within a few moments, Bob was back with the team’s general manager, Jason Bees. Jason had played in the major leagues a few years ago and Dickie knew his name.

“Ok- kid.” Offered Bees. “Let me see all the fuss. How fast can you throw?” Before Dickie could answer, Jason yelled to a team employee to get the radar gun on Dickie. “Go on Dickie, let me see something.”

Dickie was feeling confident. He wanted to let this one fly for Jason. He might be the one to discover him.

A crowd of players began to stand around watching Dickie.

This time, Dickie dialed up a 95 mph fastball and let it go. After it hit the mitt, with supreme control, a great THUD emitted – some of the other players cheered Dickie and Jason yelled to the guy with the radar gun. “How Fast?”

“Ninety-five” The employee shouted back.

“Holy Sh__.” Mumbled Jason. “That was the …”

Jason motioned to Dickie to follow him as he walked off the field. Dickie left in hot pursuit.

As Jason left the field, he led Dickie to his office. “Have a seat.”

Dickie had just left everyone amazed.

“Ok – I’ll just get right to it. We are prepared to sign you right now. This would be for one season and a club option for a second season.” Jason was scrambling through the papers on his desk. “Where is that contract.”

“How much are you offering?” Dickie asked.

“Oh- it is a standard contract. You get $350 per week and meals.” Jason held up the a paper he located. “Here it is.”

“What about a signing bonus?” Dickie continued.

“Are you serious? You came here in an open tryout, with no baseball experience and no track record and you want a signing bonus?” Jason looked Dickie square in the eyes. “Dickie, don’t be silly.”

Dickie needed more money – he had obligations. “Two Million dollars – signing bonus.”

“We don’t have that kind of money. We are a minor league team that can’t fill the stands.”

Dickie shook his head from side to side and looked away.

“Wait a second. Just wait a second. Hold the phone.” Jason stood up and came around to the front of his desk. He sat on the edge of the desk with his arms folded. He just looked at Dickie without saying a word.

An uncomfortable Dickie shot back. “What?”

Jason bit his lip. “Did Martha send you?”

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