Monday, March 06, 2006

Bottom of the Ninth (Part I)


Twelve o'clock sharp came and went as I sat patiently in the lobby of the Tampa International Jet Center. After about fifteen minutes, a nice young lady approached me and asked if I was Maxwell Jones. Her question took me back about thirty years. A question like that probably happened several times a week during my playing days. People just wanting autographs or maybe a picture or two.

But to this young lady at the Jet Center, I was just another face with a name. She let me know that their flight was inbound on final approach and that she would escort me out to their aircraft once it was parked.

It wasn't too long before a Boeing Business Jet emblazoned with the team logo on the tail rolled up to the terminal. A linesman guided the high performance Boeing 737 to a parking spot and then quickly chocked the nose wheel. Within seconds, a truck mounting a long flight of stairs pulled up to the aircraft door. Not wanting to face the music, I began to plan my escape route. But a sudden tap on my shoulder brought me back to reality and before I knew it, the nice young lady had me walking out onto the tarmac toward my twisted fate.

She stayed at the bottom of the stairs while I began my trek upward. About half way up I made the mistake of looking back only to find her waving goodbye as if I were on some sort of death march. How could she know anything? Anyhow, I turned my attention back to climbing the stairs. As the aircraft door popped open, I was nearly blinded by the sun reflecting off a set of large gold initials A-T-H affixed to the outside of the door. There was someone who looked like a flight attendant motioning me inside. Her smile was phony and completely void of any feeling. Things only got worse.

I expected to see Logan and DeSear but they were nowhere to be found. The woman with the fake smile led me past a spacious area that looked like a family room, then past a conference room with a large table, and eventually towards a door with the initials A-T-H.

"He will see you now," she said as the door opened automatically.

He? What happened to they? I walked into the dark smoke-filled room as the lady closed the door behind me. I could barely make out a desk and someone seated behind it. I stumbled closer to focus my eyes on the person's face. Red embers glowed from the end of a cigarette as the person inhaled. I still couldn't make out who it was. I tried to draw closer but I ran into a chair that was in front of the desk. It was at that point that I saw the person reach over to a lamp and turn it on. I rubbed my eyes just to make sure they weren't playing tricks on me. I stood in complete disbelief and utter shock.

It was none other than Angus T. Hunt-- the owner of the club.

5 Comments:

Blogger Ben said...

Well, I too am still here and the suspense is pretty fun. Though, I assume you weren't "fired," you're still writing...

12:16 AM  
Anonymous zero said...

If you get fired you should write a book about your experiences over the years. You have great style and the stuff you're writing about is fascinating.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if the owner is there that can mean 2 things 1) Promotion 2) Fired i think it is the Ladder

4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our Cutter is not a real baseball scout. What high-school educated career baseball man uses the phrase "chocked the nose wheel"? He's a good read, alright, but he ain't a baseball-lifer.
This blog is professional -- witness the picture of the plane, to say nothing of the prose.

6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Owners in Darkened Rooms? Anyone ever see The Natural?

10:36 PM  

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