- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

No Scrubs

One of those baseball cliches that I believe more and more the older I get is that teams are never as good as they look when they’re stomping the tar out of somebody, and never as bad as they look when they’re the tar. Witness tonight [1].

Truth be told, I was never really invested in this one: With Joshua away at his grandparents for the night, Emily and I went out to dinner and  then decided to walk home over the Brooklyn Bridge. So I pulled out my pocket radio and headphones, with an earbud for each of us.

Awww…it’s like the baseball-geek version of a milkshake and two straws. Except the headphones were kaput.

Into the trash can, after which a hasty scan of the area revealed no prospects for headphones replacement. So off we went, gameless. I can’t remember the last time I crossed the bridge on foot at game time without listening; there may never have been such a time, unless it was during some soul-killingly long losing skid. When we arrived home it was 5-0 in the sixth, which is kind of hard to get hyped up for.

We did listen, of course, while puttering around the house. Long enough to hear Ishii finish sucking and Victor Diaz tarnish his otherwise-shiny season by forgetting how many outs there were, and for the King of Feral Cats (alias the Run Fairy, alias Felix Heredia, alias Not Heath Bell) do whatever the hell that was he was doing. Sure, there was the 9th inning, but you kind of knew there was no miracle in the cards, particularly once Mike went down looking on a called strike three against a pitcher he owns. While Clifford’s home run was of course nice to see (OK, to hear), it really only served to torment.

Now that that unpleasantness is out of the way, wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall while they’re checking on Felix Heredia?

INT. CITIZENS BANK PARK — TRAINER’S ROOM — NIGHT

Inept reliever FELIX HEREDIA sits on the trainer’s table, gazing down morosely at his thumb. On either side of him, looking concerned, are pitching coach RICK PETERSON and trainer RAY RAMIREZ. Manager WILLIE RANDOLPH stands with his arms folded, staring off into space.

HEREDIA

It’s the thumb.

PETERSON

He’s going to need to go on the DL, isn’t he, doc? Don’t you agree, doc? Huh? Huh huh huh?

RAMIREZ

Well, let’s see how much mobility he regains overnight and —

PETERSON

I really think he’s going to need to go on the DL. It’s really the best thing. Right, doc?

HEREDIA

I’m not going on the DL.

RANDOLPH

Rick, now that Felix is dead, we’re going to need another pitcher for the bullpen.

All stare at RANDOLPH in puzzlement.

RANDOLPH

I know that kid Bell is throwing well, but those stat geeks can suck on it — I want somebody with experience. Is Van Poppel still around?

HEREDIA

I’m not dead. My thumb hurts is all.

RAMIREZ

We’ll look at the thumb, Willie, but overall he’s fine.

RANDOLPH

Don’t sugar-coat it, doc, I know he’s dead. I can take it.

HEREDIA

I’m fine! I’m talking to you, aren’t I?

RAMIREZ

He’s in perfectly good health. He’s alert and moving and —

RANDOLPH

No, that’s just a reflex action. It can last for hours.

Several feral cats wander into the doorway.

FERAL CAT [subtitled]

King Felix, please come back to live with us under the stands. We will bring you the largest, most succulent rats and build a bed for you out of shredded old Alomar t-shirts.

RANDOLPH rummages in a medical cabinet and emerges with a body bag, into which he begins trying to shove HEREDIA, who flails his arms in protest.

HEREDIA

Hey! Hey!

RANDOLPH

Amazing how lifelike these reflex actions can be. Ray, Rick, a little help?

RAMIREZ

For the last time, Willie, this man isn’t dead!

PETERSON

But he is going on the DL, right, doc?

Yes, one assumes he is. Finally.

[Next-day addition: I feel kind of sorry for Felix, I really do. It’s obvious the brass doesn’t want him on this team — they tried to DL him in St. Lucie and then Willie turned him into Mike Maddux II. Now that he’s shown he can’t even handle mop-up work, what possible role does he have? I’m sure he fears if he goes on the DL they’ll never take him off, and who could blame him? For Pete’s sake, just release the poor blighter. This is getting cruel.]