Friday, October 28, 2005

Blown Start


I figured I would show up at the practice field a little early to see if I could watch Dallas throw. Diego, on the other hand, was taking infield practice and looked very crisp. Each time I come out and look at Diego I swear he knocks off a couple rounds in the next draft. I felt like a proud papa as I walked over to where the pitchers were doing a long toss drill. To my dismay, however, the project was nowhere in sight.

"He no-showed practice," the Wekiva coach announced as he jogged over from across the field.

Who did this kid think he was? He's just a freaking walk-on. Never played one single game of college yet. Plus he knew ahead of time that I was coming to talk to him. Ordinarily that's strike one, two, and three.

"I can give you his address and phone number if you're still interested. He's got your cell phone just in case something came up today."

"Has he blown off much practice this fall?" I asked.

The coach nodded. "Botton line, the boy can pitch. I'm gonna give him every shot to play. He's just got some personal issues. And like you said yesterday, he's a project."

Yeah, but that was when I didn't have three states to cover. Project's take time and a whole lot of effort. But then again, not too many kids on my radar screen hit 95 MPH. Two kids to be exact. Dallas would make it three. With that thought, my cell phone rang.

"See, that's probably him," the coach said.

I looked down at the caller ID but didn't recognize the number. It wasn't local either. I answered in a tone that voiced my displeasure for being inconvenienced.

"Ah, Mr. Jones?"

"Who's this?"

"Seth Goldbaum, sir," answered a young man probably in his mid-twenties.

Where have I heard that name before? He wasn't a prospect. Not a parent. Not an agent. Then it hit me. This was the same person that's been emailing the crap out of me. And now he's got my cell phone number. It was easy to just to ignore his emails but now he's taken it to another level!

"Listen Goldie, I don't need any help. Stop bothering--"

"That's not what Mr. Bradford told me," he interrupted. "You have three states now. I'll do anything to get my foot in the door sir. I'll get you Starbucks every morning. I'll type your reports. I'll . . ."

"Forget it," I said as I folded my flip phone. I work alone. Period. I don't even drink coffee. It was disappointing enough that Dallas was nowhere to be found. I took the coach up on his offer to give me Dallas' address and phone number. Much to my surprise, Dallas had pitched at DeBary High School during his junior year but sat out his senior year for, you guessed it, personal reasons. I had just enough time to stop by DeBary High this afternoon to talk with their head coach. A nice fellow but relucatant to give me much information. He remembers Dallas as a 6'3" kid weighing around 180 pounds. A decent fastball around 87 MPH but no movement whatsoever on any of his other pitches. No control either. And I seemed to get the hint that he wasn't just talking about the kid's pitching. I don't know about you but I'm starting not to like this kid. He's probably at home sitting back in his lazy chair trying to steal some ideas for his next act while watching Sports Center.

Anyhow, Dallas would have to wait until tomorrow. I have to catch a conference call this evening with the GM of the club. Wants to talk about my part in recommending the still unsigned Russell Reed. Apparently they're looking to blame someone for this fiasco. I'm sure Mr. DeSear promptly lied his butt off when the heat came his way. I wonder if he has pictures of somebody? I mean that's the only way he's still employed. What a jerk. Oh, that felt good.

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