Friday, July 9, 2010

Stars in his Eyes

Omar Minaya looked deeply into the mirror, pretending to shave. He did actually need to shave, he'd been letting himself go, but he was too deep in thought for something so grounded. He had found, many years ago after an altercation at a bar with Mackey Sasser, that he did his best thinking while pretending to shave.

Omar had let himself dream. First there was the news on Thursday that LeBron James had rejected his overtures. Then a report that the Yankees were on the verge of trading for Cliff Lee. His calls to Ilya Kovalchuk had been nothing short of embarrassing:

OMAR: Standard Russian salutation! May I speak to Mr. Kovalchuk?
ILYA: That's me.
OMAR: Ilya old friend! It's me! It's Omar Minaya! Come play for me Ilya! We have no salary cap!
ILYA: Omar, you are the GM of a baseball team.
OMAR: A Metsball team!
ILYA: Omar, I'm a hockey player.
OMAR: You're going to let that define you?
ILYA: I don't need a bag, I'll just carry it.
OMAR: I really know what you mean.
ILYA: What? Sorry, I was just buying a sleeping bag. I'm going camping this weekend!
OMAR: Well, when you look into the clean night sky, speckled with unfathomably large glowing dust, brushing away moths, protecting them from your campfire, thinking about how big the trees are and how small everything is... you think about my offer.
ILYA: Omar, I'm a hockey player.

"Ah!" gasped Omar as he pretended to nick himself just above his jawbone. He had imagined a revolutionary team with Lee in the rotation and James and Kovalchuk redefining "baseball." It had been a beautiful dream one that Omar had allowed himself to believe. He splashed his face, but not with real water, because that would be wasteful. He toweled off his face and lit a pipe. At times like these, he liked to call a friend most considered a rival, but Omar thought of him as the person best equipped to understand him. He tapped in Brian Cashman's number and hit "talk."

BRIAN: Omar! Omar! Omar! Two steps ahead of you baby, one step back. As soon as I finish this deal for Lee, I'll send you Vasquez. I don't even need anyone that good. Someone who could maybe hold down the 7th in a year or two. I hate signing relievers. They make you pay em like 8 million dollars that they're just going to fritter away on ho-hos and ding-dongs and half the time they suck.

OMAR: Cash, do you think I'm a good GM?

BRIAN: Ain't none like you Omar. Hey, we should get some flat noodles at that place you like. We'll wine and dine like we're nobody and everyone. Y'know. It'll be like a waking dream. Like when you're camping and the trees look so small and you feel so big. Hey Omes, I gotta run. Jack Z's on the other line, and he's about to offer me a ride on a swordfish. I'd say just kidding, but I'm totally serious. Ciao!

Omar quietly patted himself on the back. The subtle tendrils of influence had reached Cashman, and were loosening him up for a trade. "I bet he'd do Vasquez for Mejia," he said to himself.

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