Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Wright Time

"When to win?" his back grazed the floor. "WRIGHT NOW!" He sat up. "Am I a winner?" His shoulder blades kissed the floor in unison. "WRIGHT ON!"

David Wright was doing sit-ups. There would be time for cavorting and bandying about. This was not one of those times. This was Wright time. "I'm really a pretty chill guy. I like to hang with my buds, play a little X-Box, go for walks y'know?" This was an interview with the popular magazine Baseball Moonthly, but he had said similar sentences more times than he could count. He could enjoy his social life as long as it was balanced with Wright Time. Without Wright Time, he became moody, despondent. Instead of an even give and take in conversations he would alternate between silence and rants.

He had a narrow window before Tuesday's doubleheader, but he was making the most of it. "What's that stuff?" Lifting up, "THE WRIGHT STUFF!" When he was in the Wright Zone, images of balls well seen and well hit, groundballs stabbed and bases stolen flashed through his mind. When he said "The Wright Stuff," inevitably an image of him post swing next to those words on the back cover of the Daily News appeared on his mental screen. At this point, he was unsure if it was a memory or his imagination. He told himself that it didn't matter, but he would check every time he walked by a newspaper stand.

"Who's Wright?" Down. "I'M-"

knock-knock-knock

This was weird. Damn, what was up? Everyone knew about Wright Time! You do not come to floor 5. Period!

"Who is it?"

"Ike!"

The rookie. He'd been on the team a week. The kid didn't know. Don't be angry David- the man didn't know. He stood up and leaned casually on a pillar.

"Come on in, son!"

Ike entered and David offered up a high-five. "High-five, good to be alive!" He was trying to channel some more of the Wright Energy, but there was no denying it- the flow had been broken.

"Sure is," said Ike. "Say we're facing a knuckler today. That's like going on a jungle safari and seeing a blue whale!"

"And let me guess," said Wright, flexing, "you've never been whaling." Ike nodded. "Well then siddown and grab yourself a coconut Ishmael. Ol' Queequeg's gonna tell you how it is."

They spent the rest of the time until the team bus carried them to Flushing discussing the ins and outs of the knuckleball and how to hit it. Ike left feeling great. David felt like he had done good, but his stride was off. His Wright Time had been interrupted.

Through game 1, David managed. He had a single, a walk, a run scored on an alert play. A good game, right? Right. But not Wright. There was a short break between the two games. He knew what he had to do.

Ah, but this would be tricky. He needed privacy, and there was no obvious place to find it. The clubhouse was always occupied, the bathroom would never do, and anywhere among fans he'd get mobbed.

??      ?    Where? Where?? Where???       ?      ??
There isn't much time!!

Then it hit him: The umpires green room. It was where the umpires relaxed before and after games. It was taboo for a player to enter, but garb nangit! Ike walked in on Wright time, so if he had to pay it forward, so be it. The idea struck him while he was putting on his shoes, and he didn't take the time to put on the second one. He raced through the hallways, down paths he'd rarely been and into the umpire's green room.

"OUT" yelled Paul Nauert.

"Ignore me!" It wasn't a plea, it was a command.

"David, this is sacred territory!" said Brian Gorman. "This isn't half the respect you showed me on the field when you asked about my German shepherds!"

"JUST IGNORE ME!"

The umpires complained, but there was nothing they could do. David was pumping out push-ups, yelling "Which turn? WRIGHT TURN! You mean here? WRIGHT HERE!"

Now it was the umpires who were thrown off their game. The only one who didn't mind was Dan Bellino (pictured left, looking typically affable). He sat on one side of the room, puffing a pipe. "I've had better success arguing with the weather than the likes of what befloors us," he mused. "He's just a boy, distilling in his own vapors."

After ten minutes, Wright stood up. "Sorry," he said. "See you on the field!"

"Wright on," said Bellino, while the other three grumbled.

David Wright, Tuesday, April 27th 2010, doubleheader against the Dodgers:

Game 1: 1 for 3 with a single, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 1 stolen base, 1 run.

Game 2: 3 for 3, including a 3-run triple, a double and an RBI single, 1 walk, 1 run.

3 comments:

  1. This is one of the most hilarious stories I've ever read. Well done!

    ReplyDelete