Chapter 7-The Dickie August Story– Next Stop-Kansas City

Over the next 3 weeks Dickie dominated the league – he made 4 starts and won each of them. He pitched 27 innings and gave up only 2 singles, walked 2 batters and hit one. Meanwhile, he struck out 55 batters and he surrendered NO earned runs.

Dickie did several interviews for a couple of the local news channels and one of the car dealerships in town asked him to shoot a commercial for them. It seemed like everyone was starting to notice him and he felt happy. Dickie got word that team General Manager Jason Bees wanted to see him. His 30 day contract was up tomorrow and Dickie was anxious to find out what was next.

Dickie entered the team offices and knocked on Jason’s door. “Yeah come in.”

Dickie entered and Jason was sitting at his desk engulfed in a phone conversation. He waved his hand at Dickie and pointed to a chair. Dickie sat and waited.

Jason hung up the phone. “Well, 30 days later – ah? You really impressed some folks, Dickie. No one thought you would put up the numbers you did.”

Dickie smiled at the compliment.

“And, as I promised you, I did make the call on your behalf, for a tryout with the big club.”

Dickie shook his head.

Jason leaned back in his chair and put a cigar in his mouth. “And…they are really excited at what you’ve accomplished so far. Especially, since you came out of nowhere.”

As Jason removed his cigar and began to inspect it, Dickie sensed a BUT was on the way.

“But.” Started Jason

“They would like to see a few more months of this type of production before they call you in for a look."

“So, they suggested we sign you to a 90 day contract and then see where we are at that time.”

Jason paused. “You are only 20 years old – what’s the rush?”

Dickie looked at the floor before rising. “I don’t think so. Because it least now I have a track record that I can show other general managers. I dominated this level and it is time for a chance at the big leagues.”

He turned and moved for the door.

“Ok- wait a second.” Jason threw down his cigar. “Fine – sit down and I’ll call them again – right now!”

Dickie gladly returned to his seat as Jason dialed the phone.

“Oh hey A.J..” A.J. Setters was the general manager of the Kansas City Nine. Dickie researched him online during the last 30 days and noticed he has been in that position for the last 3 years.

“A.J., I’m sitting here with Dickie August and he’s unwilling to sign a 90 day contract. He thinks he is ready for a major league tryout.”

Jason listened for about a minute before speaking. “Yeah, I think he is worth your time.” Jason looked at Dickie and shrugged his shoulders. “You’ve seen his numbers A.J., 55 strikeouts in 27 innings- 2 ks an inning. “Otherwise we let him go and anyone can sign him.”

Dickie was impressed with the effort and pressure Jason was applying.

“Very good – I’ll send him over tomorrow, using the usual airline. Will do. Talk to ya later A.J.” Jason hung the phone and pointed at Dickie. “It’s on you now. Don’t make me look bad.”

Dickie shook Jason’s hand and headed home. He had to pack.

When Dickie arrived at the Kansas City Nine’s stadium, he was at a major league facility and he knew it. No more roughing it with a minor league team. Even the smallest details were accounted for and everything was done first-class.

As he entered the offices he was met by A.J. Setters. “Hey Dickie, nice to meet you.”

Dickie shook his hand. Thanks and I’m thrilled to be here.

A.J. brought Dickie to the field and he met the team’s manager, Barry Keeton. Barry was the manager of this last placed team and who knew how long he would be there as manager. Barry was a former pitcher in the major leagues and when he played, Dickie remembered, threw the ball in a submarine fashion, which is a type of sidearm delivery.

Barry walked over to Dickie. “Hi Dickie – I’ve heard a lot about you.”

Dickie smiled and shook Barry’s hand. “I’m looking forward to playing for you, sir.”

Barry laughed. “Well, hold your horses – not just yet. I need to see what you can do. Fair?”

Dickie laughed awkwardly and agreed.

“I going to have you pitch to Manual Espy – one of our best hitters. I want to get his opinion of your stuff.”

Dickie went to change clothes. A fresh Kansas City Nine uniform was folded on the bench for him. His palms got a little sweaty as this was actually happening for him. Dickie slowly unfolded the uniform – no number on the back – and decided to snap a couple pictures from his cell phone for Cass. “A Major league uniform. I made it – I can’t believe I made it.” He said out loud.

Dickie grabbed the alet, hidden in his bag, and placed it in his back pocket. He then reported to the field and met Manual Espy. “It is a great honor to meet you, Mr. Espy. I’ve followed your career since you broke in to the majors.” Gushed Dickie.

Espy did not respond.

Barry Keeton strolled over the Dickie. “He doesn’t speak English. Take the mound and see what you can do against him. Oh, by the way, Dickie, he’s second in the league in batting, hitting .328 at the moment.”

Dickie walked to the mound and tried to not let Barry see his hands shaking.

“No pressure out there, Dickie.” Joked Barry.

Dickie tried to look down at the catcher to get this signal, but could not stop looking at Espy. Espy was an intimidating presence. He was a big right handed hitter who slightly waved his bat, almost daring you to pitch to him. He was well know in baseball as one of the best hitters. Dickie lost it and went still.

The umpire behind the plate pointed at Dickie to begin.

“Let’s go, kid.” Yelled Barry.

Barry’s voice helped kick Dickie back in to gear. Dickie swallowed hard, focused and looked ONLY in to the catcher and got his signal. Two fingers told Dickie to throw a curveball. Dickie took several deep breaths before he even thought this pitch through. Dickie called for his devastating curveball. As he snapped off the curveball, Espy only waved at it and missed it by a good distance.

Barry clapped his hands while Espy just glared at Dickie.

Dickie again got his sign from the catcher – the number one – a fastball. Dickie knew he had to challenge Espy with something big and dialed up a triple figure offering – a 100 miles per hour fastball. Espy took it right down the middle. Strike two. Barry folded his arms and wondered what was going on.

Dickie wanted to finish off Espy in great theater. After the catcher called for another fastball, Dickie reared back and fired another 100 mph fastball, right on the outside corner. Espy did not move as the umpire called strike three.

Dickie quickly turned away from Espy. He did not want to further embarrass the all star player, after all, they might soon be teammates.

Dickie closed his eyes and relished in the moment as Barry and A.J. fast approached the mound.

“Next stop – Kansas City.” Teased Barry.

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