Wednesday, July 21, 2010

If Rick Anderson Starts Drinking More, We'll Know What Happened -- A Story

It's about 11 pm. Joe Vavra and Rick Anderson go to a bar after the game that the team they work for as the hitting coach and pitching coach, respectively, just played. They badly need a drink.

The establishment is a small place: a little too dark and a little too rank to be considered "nice." There are only a handful of people inside. The men take their seats toward the far end of the bar and wait for the bartender to finish her conversation with another patron.

"Summit, tall," Rick requests when she wanders down to greet them. "I'll have the same" Joe adds. The bartender is an average woman: a little too old and a little too heavy to be considered "pretty." It's clear she and the bar have been together a long time. She retreats to tap their beers.

"So, that was another clunker, huh?" Joe offers, trying to generate some small talk.

"Yeah," Rick replies, rubbing his brow. "But at least your guys have some fight in 'em. My guys...I don't know..." he continues with a sigh.

"Well, my guys aren't exactly perfect. They're hitting into way too many double-plays. And I still can't figure out how to get them to hit with more power at home.... But, I hear ya'. Yeah, I don't know what to tell you, Andy. They're capable of doing so much better." Joe replies helpfully as the bartender returns with their drinks. The men thank her. She lingers to see if they want anything else and to be friendly.

Rick continues, trying to include the bartender, because his frustration runs so deep, he's willing to vent to anyone who'll listen -- even strangers. "I don't know what their problem is. They're just not listening to me. They have great bullpens, but then they go out and stink up the joint. They're leaving pitches up....They're not trusting Mauer.... They're not making adjustments.

"They're so shitty lately, and I'm getting so sick of walking out to the mound every fifteen minutes to tell them to trust their stuff. I'm sick of all of it!" he yells, and then cuts himself off.

The bar becomes quiet as Joe, the bartender, and even the other patrons look at Rick with both concern and sympathy.

Suddenly, Rick slams his fist on the bar.

After a moment, the bartender looks at Rick and states, "hell, if they were my guys, I'd line them up just like kids picking teams, pick out the good ones and take them to Dairy Queen. The bad ones? I'd sell them for beer money."

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