Dickie August Story -Chapter 8 – More than Money

“Not so fast, Barry.” Corrected A.J. “We need to talk money first. Dickie follow me please to my office.”

As Dickie entered A.J.’s office, he took a good look around. A.J. sat behind a large mahogany desk that would fetch a few dollars in Thomas’ shop. Dickie sat in a big leather chair that smelled new. The office was very impressive and Dickie waited for A.J. to speak.

“Ok- Dickie – I am impressed- we are impressed – no doubt. But, Jason says you want 2 million dollars, and we can’t give you that amount of money. I don’t even know who you are or where you came from.”

Dickie reset himself in the big chair, looking to get comfortable. “A.J.- Here’s the thing. I don’t say this to be disrespectful, but I just schooled your best hitter on 3 pitches. A major league hitter no less, a star major league hitter.”

Dickie looked away and rubbed his eyes. He focused back on A.J. “This is what I want – a one year contract at 2 million dollars and a player/club option for a second year at 4 million.”

A.J. shook his head. “No way. I can’t offer that. I’m already at my budget, the budget the team owner gave me. Not happening.”

Dickie leaned in closer to A.J. “A.J. – can you imagine what the owner will do when I leave here and sign a deal with Boston or New York? And, you could have had me here, in Kansas City.”

“One million this year and 2 million next- club option only – that is the best I can do. You need to be reasonable.” Pleaded A.J.

Dickie sat back and tapped his fingers on the chair.

A dead silence hit the office. Both men wanted the other to speak first.

A.J. lost the battle of silence – “Ok – Dickie – 1.5 million for this year and 2 for next – no club option – a two year deal for you. You are getting a guarantee of 3 and half million dollars even if you don’t make it. Fair?”

Dickie rolled his eyes, but quietly thought it over.

A.J. nervously rubbed his hands together. “If you don’t make it – then I’m on the hook and the owner is pissed at me.”

The only problem with A.J.’s thinking is that Dickie knew he would make it. This was far more certain from where Dickie was sitting and he wanted to be compensated for it.

Dickie had the solution, at least in his mind he did. “I tell you what. I’ll make one more offer and then if you like it, we have a deal. If you don’t, I’ll get an agent and then you negotiate with them. But, just know that if I get an agent and If they pull me out of Kansas City and send me somewhere else, I’m going to go.”

A.J. served up an open hand for Dickie to continue.

“1.8 million for this year and 2.5 million for next. A Bargain for the next rookie of the year.” Dickie smiled. “Oh- and a bonus for the rookie of the year award- let’s say $200,000? That way, I can make 2 million this year.”

A.J. went quiet and pulled out some papers from a desk drawer. He looked down as he reviewed information and ran a few numbers through a calculator, Dickie went on.

“There is one other thing.”

A.J. looked up and raised his brow.

“I want Cass as my personal catcher.”

A.J. pointed at Dickie. “Who the hell is Cass?”

“Cass Willis, a friend of mine who I’ve been pitching to for years. He played high school baseball. He can call a game for me better than anyone else.”

“I might be able to work the money, Dickie. But, we already have our team for this season. We can have the Sea Creatures try him out and if he makes it he…”

Dickie raised his voice. “A.J., that is the deal. Oh- and you don’t need to pay Cass a salary, I can do that. Just cover his hotels, meals and whatever else comes with a major league gig.”

Dickie reached his hand to A.J. “Do we have a deal?”

“Can this kid, Cass, play at all? Is he like you?”

“He was good in high school.” Reassured Dickie.

“High School!” A.J. took a deep and loud breath and lunged to shake Dickie’s hand. “Don’t let me down, kid.”

Dickie understood.

“So, A.J. – Now that I’m living in Kansas City, where will I stay? Any tips?”

“Speak with Heidi, she works in our media department. She can help you find a condo or an apartment.”

Dickie spent the rest of the day looking around the stadium. He has been to a few ball parks in his time, as a paying fan, but now this was his ball park. He settled in the office lobby and sat in the waiting area as he dialed Cass’s phone.

“Dickie, boy! How’s things in Rhode Island?”

“Hey man, well, I’m not in Rhode Island.”

Cass got quiet.

“Yeah- I received sort of a promotion.”

“Oh, yeah? Where to?” Inquired Cass.

“Well, are you sitting down?”

“Yeah- I can take it Dickie. What’s going on?”

“The big club called me up to the majors. I made the Kansas City Nine!”

“No kidding? You’ve only been there a month. Unbelievable.”

“And that’s not all.”

“OK.” Laughed Cass. “As if that’s not enough – what else you got?”

“I’m sort of a temperamental pitcher, you know?” Teased Dickie “And, I needed my own personal catcher.”

“Oh, they must love that.” Joked Cass. “And who are you throwing to?”

“Some knucklehead named Cass Willis!” Screamed Dickie.

Cass, who was sitting on his couch, stood straight up. “What are you talking about?”

“How fast can you get to Kansas City? You made the team with me.”

After Cass recovered from falling on the floor after hearing the news, he packed and made his way to the airport.

This was all coming together for Dickie. Before Dickie could process much more of this fairy tale, a sharp dressed, short haired blonde woman stood in front of his chair. “Dickie August?” “Yes, that is me.” Dickie stood and shook the woman’s hand.

“I’m Heidi Summers and welcome to Kansas City. A.J. asked me to help you find a place to live.”

“Oh- yeah- great. Do you have time now?”

“Sure, follow me, we can take my car. I know a great place for you.”

Dickie was impressed with Heidi, she was attractive and seemed to have a fun personality. As they drove out of the parking garage at the stadium, Dickie tried to make small talk.

“So, how long have you worked for the Nine?”

“About 3 years, right out of college. Did you go to college?

“No- I thought about it- but never did make it.”

Heidi laughed. “Well, you made the major leagues, that is better than college.”

Dickie agreed.

“A.J. mentioned that a requirement for you signing here is that he needed to sign another player along with you?”

“Yeah, Cass – a good friend of mine and a very good catcher.”

“Interesting. I never heard of that in any deal before. Does Cass need housing as well?”

“Oh- no – he’ll stay with me.”

Heidi pulled up in front of a large executive apartment complex in downtown Kansas City.” We’re here.”

As the two exited the car and headed in to the building, Heidi got closer to Dickie. “I think that is a very loyal thing to bring your friend with you. However you got A.J. to accept your terms I don’t know, but it is a really cool gesture.”

Dickie smiled at Heidi. “Thanks. But you know, there is more to life than simply acquiring things and more than money.”

Heidi led Dickie to his new home. A spacious 3 bedroom apartment with 3 bathrooms and central air conditioning.

Dickie strolled from room to room ad settled in the master bedroom. He stuck his head in the master bathroom and noticed a large walk-in shower and oversized bathtub, equipped with jet nozzles.

Dickie smiled. “Nice place.”

“Do you like it?” Heidi offered.

“Yeah, I can see this place being home.”

“Very nice – I’m glad you are pleased. I’ll inform A.J. that you’ll be moving in.” Heidi moved to the front door. “You have a good night and I’ll see you later.”

Dickie moved near Heidi. “Oh – hey – would you like to get dinner?”

“I would, but I can’t – we can’t date the players. That is team policy.”

“Oh- no – I’m sorry- I don’t want to date you.” Dickie lied. “I thought we could just get some dinner – no date – just friends.”

Heidi tilted her head. “Really?”

“Yeah, I’m hungry.” Dickie had no idea if Heidi was interested in him, but he sure was interested in her.

Dickie held out his hand to Heidi. “Show me somewhere nice.”

Heidi smiled and took Dickie’s hand as they left.


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