Rough Draft Excerpt. Errors are Okay.
The next time I’d talk to Joe was in that private meeting. It actually wasn’t between just Joe and I, it was most of the top level staff, including Andrew Friedman.
They wanted to get to know me, talk about why they brought me in, get a feel for me as a person. All pretty standard stuff except for addressing one little detail that made me unique to baseball in a liability kind of way.
They said that they liked how, when I was healthy, I threw big bunches of well located strikes, and that I had a reputation for being a good guy. But, they wanted to make clear that while they respected the things I did off the field—meaning, my writing—they didn’t want me to write about anything I saw go on in “here”. No transmitting insider talk, dirt, or anything they didn’t like.
For a second I thought about how absolutely preposterous it was for them to request of me not to write about things I experienced in their organization by simply asking me not to do it. Unless they were going to have me sign something legally binding, it was just words. And if the words exchanged in meetings between players and management were ever meant to be taken as binding, half the horror stories player’s swap about being screwed over by organization’s wouldn’t exist.
“Of course,” I said, “I don’t write about people who don’t want to be written about. Unless you guys release me, then I’ll burn you all to the ground.”
I smiled and calmly set back in my seat.
There was a moment in which some of the staffers wondered if I was joking or not. I was, at least at the time, and I told them so after a strained second or two. There was a collective smirk among the group, but in the seconds between my confession and their smiles, we learned a lot about each other. What they didn’t learn, however, was that I was retaining the right to change the terms and conditions of my joke at anytime, without notice.
The third time I’d talk to Joe was also writing related. I was working on my next book, Out Of My League and I figured a blurb from Joe would really make it stand out among other, lesser books. Since the terms and conditions of my stay in Big League camp were subject to change without notice, I though it best to make a request of him while I still had access.
When I came into his office to make my request, he was listening to some classic rock which you could hear blaring all the way into the cafeteria. He had various artifacts scattered around the office, some baseball, some personal, including a ten-speed bike was parked against the wall. He’d been known to ride it into work, although I don’t know why he’d bother considering he drove a finely restored 1972 Chevy Malibu. I guess when you’re Joe Maddon, you do whatever the fuck you want.
When I entered, he turned down his music and offered me a seat. I took it. Then I came right to the point, asking him for his blurb. Sure, he said, though he’d like to read it first.
“Have you read my other one?”
“Not yet, but I’ve heard good things about it. I really need to read it. Right now I’m working on this series of…” I don’t remember what he said. Some complex series of books, richly layered with plot and intrigue. He told me I should check them out sometime and I nodded that I would, but, if I was around in year and we had this conversation again I knew full well we’d be saying to each other, “not yet, but I’ve heard good things about them.”
“I hear you’re a wine drinker.” I said.
“No, more of a beer man. I’d like to drink wine though, I think it makes a person seem more interesting if they do.” I nodded at him. “Just haven’t found any I like yet.”
Next thing I know Joe’s writing out a wine list for me on the back of an unused lineup card. Telling me about their origins, rarity, underrated value, subtle complexities, and what cheeses they’d pair best with. He handed it to me and I folded it over and put it in the back of my uniform pants pocket.
“Thanks” I tell him. “I’ll try and get my hands on a couple bottles.”
“Let me know what you think and I’ll give you some more.”