The Dickie August Story -Chapter 9 - Welcome to the Big Leagues

When Cass arrived at the airport, the team sent a car to pick him up and bring him to Dickie’s new bachelor pad. As Cass entered the apartment, he was blown away when he saw the massive size and A+ quality of the apartment. “We even got a doorman!”

Dickie just laughed.

“Dickie, how is this happening to us? I mean can you explain it to me?”

The apartment came partially furnished and there were two high-end reclining oversize chairs facing a gigantic flat screen television bolted to the wall. Cass immediately went to sit in one of the big chairs – Dickie took the other one.

“I mean I'm not saying that I don't appreciate all of this, but where does it come from?” Cass looked directly at Dickie as he spoke. “This is like a dream come true, but us playing professional baseball? It really makes no sense and I don't know how you got here. We've been friends since junior high school and I've seen you play baseball many many times Dickie, and you're not a major league talent. Just like I know for sure that I'm not a major league player.”

Dickie scratched the stubble on his face while thinking of what to tell his friend. “Yeah, I know what you mean. But, we’re still young, right? Who's to say that I just didn't improve to a point where I got good enough? I mean it happens right?”

“Yeah it happens but usually it happens with the help of steroids or something. I mean it just doesn't happen out of the blue and what are you telling people? No kidding Dickie, but people must be asking you where you got this ability. Right?”

“You know Cass, there's an old saying, don't look a gift horse in the mouth.”

Cass held his hands up, palms to the ceiling. “What does that even mean?”

Dickie clenched his teeth before leaning over in his chair closer to Cass. “It means that we have it good. Why try and break it down and take it apart? Let’s enjoy this – we are in the major freaking leagues.”

Cass shook his head. “Yeah- Ok- you’re right. But, I can’t stop thinking that you are not telling me everything. How am I…” The doorbell rang and startled Cass.

“Oh- that is the pizza I ordered.” Dickie jumped up and moved to the door. “We have a big day tomorrow at the park, so let’s eat!”

The team sent a car the next morning to make sure the guys got to the stadium on time. On the ride over, Dickie was excited and must have double and triple checked that the alet was in his workout bag.

“So I met this woman – and she is a woman – I think she is about 24 years old. Her name is Heidi and she works for the team- in the marketing or p.r. department, or something. She is fine.” Bragged Dickie.

“Sweet. Does she have a sister?”

Dickie frowned. “Good question -I don’t know – I forgot to ask her.” Dickie let out a strong laugh. “But, here’s the thing, she’s not supposed to date players, so she is keeping it quiet.”

“Yeah, right. She’s probably keeping it quiet because she’s ashamed of you and doesn’t want anyone to know.” Cass held his good-sized belly as he laughed uncontrollably.

“Yeah- whatever.” Deadpanned Dickie.

When the guys arrived at the stadium, they entered the empty clubhouse and noticed their lockers were next to each other. The name above the locker said simply – August 59. “Number 59 – I have number 59, Stumps. What about you?”

Dickie moved to look up at Cass’s locker. There was no name or number, just an empty space for a placard. Before Dickie could comment, he heard a noise behind him.

Team Manager Barry Keeton walked over. “Hi boys – glad to see you made it – and early – excellent.”

“Hey Skipper – this is Cass Willis – or you can call him Stumps.” Laughed Dickie.

“Ok Willis – or Stumps –or whatever - Dickie tells me you’re his personal catcher – fine – I don’t care. But, you better get the job done. We’re in last place and I need him…” Pointing to Dickie. “to change the fortunes of this team. Understood?”

Cass lowered his head. “Yes, sir.”

“We are playing Oakland tonight at 7:30pm, so go out on the field and work out. I want you two on the same page. The rest of the players will be arriving anytime in the next 4 or 5 hours.”

Barry turned to walk away.

“Oh Skip.” Dickie interrupted Barry’s escape.

Barry stopped and turned.

“Am I going to be a starter or reliever?”

Barry shrugged his shoulders. “For now you will come out of the bullpen.”

The boys dressed and ran on the field. They walked around the field and marveled where they were. In between taking peeks of the stadium’s nooks and crannies, they played long toss.

“Don’t pinch me to wake me up, dude. This is so awesome!” Yelled Cass.

Dickie nodded.

Cass slowly walked closer to Dickie. “I’m sorry about all the questions yesterday. I’m so happy that I figure this won’t last. And, I know you aren’t telling me everything. But, I’ll let it go and ride it out as long as possible.”

Dickie put his hand on Cass’ shoulder. “Good man. Now let’s go and get ready for the game.”

One hour before the game, Dickie and Cass sat in the clubhouse and attempted to meet some of the players. They tried not to act too much like fans.

Manual Espy walked by slowly and glared at Dickie and Dickie back at him.

“What was that?” Whispered Cass.

“Long story.” Remarked Dickie.

One of the veterans lumbered over to the boys. Billy Wild was the starting catcher and captain of the team. Billy was a muscular guy, in his early 30’s and he looked like he could pick-up a car if he so desired. He chewed some type of tobacco and spit in to a cup he was holding. “You August?” Dickie held out his hand. “Yeah, that is me – Dickie August.”

Billy did not accept Dickie’s handshake. “Barry says you need your own catcher…” Pausing to look at Cass. “What’s the problem throwing to me?” “Oh – no problem at all Mr. Wild.” Dickie motioned to Cass. “It’s just that Cass has caught me for years and he does a real good job calling my pitches.” Billy took a step back and smiled. “Ah – Isn’t that cute. Well, then that makes sense.” Tobacco juice ran down his chin when he spoke. Billy reached out his hand this time.

Dickie went to shake Billy’s hand when Billy pulled it back and spit tobacco juice in Dickie’s hand. Dickie quickly moved his hand to avoid as much of it as possible. But, it did reach its target- Dickie’s right hand.

“Welcome to the big leagues.” Billy chuckled as he walked away.

Dickie went for a towel.

Cass smirked. “Wow. You’re really liked here.”

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