Shortly after sunset, Robin and Parent sit Indian style upon the glass ledge of the Willis Tower, scratching at it with their fingers like its yellow wallpaper, watching the fog roll in from Lake Michigan. Their eyes peered through the shaving cream smeared all over their faces. There was an elephant in the glass cube causing an awkward silence that had been hovering all afternoon. Finally Robin spoke.
"You know, I really wish Swisher hadn't done that."
"The worm at home plate, the push-ups on first base or the discount double-check after the homerun?"
"None of that, he has the will to win and he has every right to demonstrate it. Its not his gumption and grit that makes me sad, it’s his switch-hitting. I don't like that."
"I know what you mean, how are you supposed to win when you can't have a lefty pitch to a lefty and a righty pitch to a righty.
The prior night against the Indians Robin had employed a new tactic to deal with a switch-hitter in the latter part of the game. So in the fifth inning he replaced Axelrod with Veal when Swisher came to the plate. Swisher went to hit right-handed and as soon as he stepped in the box, Veal fainted and after a once over from Herm it was decided he couldn't continue.
So Robin brought in Lindstrom and Swisher stepped into the box as a lefty, Lindstrom threw the ball 20 feet above Swisher head and immediately fell to the ground holding his elbow. Robin then brought in Thornton and Swisher switched sides again, Thornton blatantly doctored the ball with some Vagisil and was thrown out of the game by home plate umpire Lance Barksdale. Crain was next, Swisher swished again but Crain suffered a heart attack.
This dance went on until the bullpen was exhausted and Sale was brought in to finish the game. Sale was visibly pissed at having to come in as a reliever and he grooved a fastball out over the plate and Swisher crushed it into the left field stands.
"I thought he would get dizzy. I know if someone did that to me, that I would get dizzy. I'm dizzy now."
"Well, Peavy said he would have Dr. James Andrews surgically attach an arm to the middle of his back so he could throw over his head to switch-hitters. He could come out of the pen and still start the next day. He's be the first SOOGY ever and he might help usher in a brand new era in major league baseball."
"Naw, I don't want to be the next Billy Beane."
"Then we are going to have to forfeit every game just like last night."
"I didn't think Swisher would get to the plate again."
"He got to the plate again in the same inning."
"I'll bet the press is crucifying me."
"No way, the blog guys maybe but not the press. The press understands what it takes to win a ball game."
"If I hadn't pinch hit for Paulie in the fourth, then Santiago might have been available for Swisher, perhaps then he would have been dizzy but there was a man on first with no outs and pitchers are pretty good bunters."
"The last thing a manager should ever do is second guess himself. Santiago got the Dunn to second, it was a great bunt. How did you know that they would put the Keppy shift on and move all the fielders to the right side of the field. Shit, Reynolds was on the dugout steps when he caught that linedrive."
"I think Francona might be out-managing me, that was brilliant. How are we supposed to hit behind the runner with a shift on like that?
"I don't know Robin, I just don't know."
"I've been thinking…If we could find a pitcher with no arms then maybe Peavy wouldn't have to have that surgery but we'd have to find a no-armed soccer player or maybe a thalidomide baby that can hackey-sack."
"That would be cutting edge, Robin. Cutting edge…but I don't think Hahn scouts hippies."
"You're right we don't need pot in the clubhouse. Maybe we should look at the numbers and see which pitchers historically do well against lefties and righties. Perhaps then we could make an educated guess on who can perform the best."
Silence again reigned supreme in their self-imposed fishbowl prison cell, there was only an hour before the ball game. They didn't have much time. After a time, Parent broke the wall of soundlessness.
"Are you suggesting we use advanced statistics?"
"No, not really, I mean, I just think we could run some algorithmtations and but also factor in the will to win. At this point I am willing to try anything. I can't take this losing."
"What are we going to do about the defensive miscues?"
"I haven't decided yet but I think deterrence might be an option. A kangaroo court ran by the coaches might scare them straight. Also, I have clearance from Hahn to bring in Tom Emanski as special consultant to the team. He'd be our ace in the hole kind of like the Red Sox think James Williams is for them with his cybermatrixes."
"Fred McGriff swears by Emanski. We might have just stumbled upon the new market consistency."
The two coaches thought they were alone but they heard some shuffling behind them. They turned around to find Alexei Ramirez standing behind them, arms crossed, with a disappointed smug look on his face.