“Hey buddy get up, time for practice. Come on man. This is so exciting to be back at camp, I can’t wait to show Uncle Charlie all my new tricks and tell ghost stories to Carlos and…”
“Cole if you don’t shut up I’m going to skull fuck your wife until she shits cum.”
As I came to grips with my hangover I thought back to last night where I had gone out with all the bullpen guys. This was the way according to Paps that all the pitchers in Boston bounded. I remember trying to go shot for shot with him and his douchey Affliction tee but fell short after 10 Jagger bombs. The alcohol only made him stronger.
“Come on bro, this party is just getting started!” he screamed while dancing an Irish jig, looking like a complete tool. God I wish we had kept Madson instead of this ass clown.
When I opened my eyes five minutes later Cole was still staring down at me with a stupid grin on his face. He was already dressed with a sparkle in his eyes fiddling with his glove.
“Good you’re up, come on let’s go play!”
“Get out of here you teabagging dingleberry.”
At that Cole burst out laughing and left our room. Ten minutes later I shuffled my out the door to find him still waiting for me. In just two days he had become my shadow rarely leaving my side except when I hung out with Papelbon who always referred to him as “little bitch nugget.”
As we made our way out onto the field I saw that we were just in time for our morning workout. We had missed Charlie’s opening speech, as he was already in his hammock, but that was ok. He spoke in an indecipherable jibber jabber where you could occasionally catch the tail end of a metaphor about goats but it was always unclear. The only one who ever listened to his ramblings was Jimmy who hung on every word and would occasionally burst out into uncontrollable laughter, which always took everyone by surprise.
Morning workouts were always the same; a brief jog followed by stretching that even a yoga instructor would find mind numbing. Afterwards we split up into pitchers and hitters and worked out separately
“Bye Aaron, see you later.” Hamels called.
I made a mental note to bitch slap him later.
“Ok boys” Greg Gross said after the two sides had split up, “I expect much of the same this upcoming season. Swing early and swing often, Jimmy I’m lookin at you buddy.”
“Yes sir.” Rollins said, what a kiss ass.
“Good. As you know Ryan will be missing some time this year. This could mean a potentially breakout season for one of you. With all the time he’s gone it will give each and every one of you a chance to win the big prize at the end of the year. For you new guys you might not know it but each year we have a strikeout competition. Whoever can strike out the most or who can strike out during the most crucial of times will win the grand prize at the end of the year. With Ryan and his 180 + rate out this really opens the door to one of you guys to step up and claim the prize.”
“What!” I screamed “You mean to tell me that there is a strike out pool, and a cash prize involved.”
“Of course. Why do you think Ryan has ended the last two postseason’s so egregiously. Did you think he was doing that on purpose? No, that guy is just a genius who knows how to strike out and precisely the greatest time. There is also a second prize to whomever can swing at the most first pitches. Again lookin at you Jimmy, you killed that last year.”
“You got it skip.” Jimmy said. This fuckin guy.
That actually made a lot of sense. The next three hours turned out to be a clinic of flailing at sliders, whiffing at fastballs and freezing on changeups, and that was only from Placido who was looking more and more like a cross between the Planters man and Igor.
I for my part did ok, but that was only against the new warm up pitcher, David Herndon, but then again everyone hits off of him. I struggled a lot more when Charlie got off his hammock and brought Halladay in to throw. He’d been there since 3:00 am and was getting antsy to start really bringing it.
“Alright guys go work. You all did a great job of swinging at balls in the dirt and chasing those high heaters. Damn fine work, but now it’s time to shag some flies.”
I went out to left field with Dom Brown who seemed to have a mantra which he kept repeating to himself.
“I can do this, I will not run into the wall, I will track the ball off the bat, I will become the prospect everyone thought I would be.”
First shot to him he back peddled, turned right, raised his glove above his head and missed the ball by three feet. A rough start. For my part I was no better. After failing to catch a single ball and generally looking like one of the kids from the home run derby I trotted off the field when Charlie rang the dinner bell.
After practice we all headed in to the locker room. While showering off my failures of the day I looked around and noticed Chase showering across from me.
“Not to sound weird or anything, but I am a huge fan of yours.”
“I mean ‘World Fuckin Champions’ is the greatest thing I’ve ever heard.”
“So do you think you’ll be ready for a season where you hit better than .275.”
“Well I feel good. My legs don’t hurt for the first time in a long time. So yea I do.”
After a few minutes of silence I couldn’t help but look.
“Jesus what are those!” Chase followed my line of sight to his balls which were the easily size of grapefruits.
“Yep.” Chase said. It was all he needed to say. God Chase is awesome.
Once out of the locker room it was time for s’mores and Dr. Pepper. We sat around and listened to Charlie mumble something about cows and Doc talked about dancing with snakes. I couldn’t here most of it as Cole kept whispering secrets to me while I tried to ignore him and talked to Shane about where I could find good weed. Now that story hour was over it was back to our rooms for lights out.
“Yo broseph hold up man.” It was Papelbon. “Hey man check it, I gots a bottle of Jack and a couple of skanks with our names on em, you in?” He held up his hand waiting for me to high five him. Well maybe Papelbon wasn’t so bad.