The Top Prospects:
The Southern Californian was the center of the clubhouse action until Greg Woodrow entered, emerging from the trainer’s room. The shift in attention was pronounced.
The nineteen-year-old big left-handed outfielder was the Nationals first round pick two years earlier, out of high school in Connecticut. He’d made his professional debut last season for Class-A Hagerstown to national fanfare. The power-hitter’s every move had been tracked since bashing home runs as a freshman. With his chiseled jaw and thick black hair, he looked like the old comic strip Superman."
Lauren Day, Back On The Beat
She’d switched papers from the rival Trenton Daily, when they sliced-and-diced the staff and issued extreme pay-cuts. The opportunity arose to take over the ‘Truth’s’ blog, which had previously been taken over by Dan Beller, after Brad Kelly left two years earlier to cover the Phillies for MLB.com. The editor didn’t think Dan was so hot at the blogosphere, firing him, then offering Lauren the job.
“You’re young and I like your snappy style,” the editor said. “Plus, we don’t have any women on the staff since the last one left.”
She hated his cocky smarminess, and gritted her teeth through ‘the last one’ comment, but the job was better pay and Truth had a higher readership. Selling her soul to a smarmy sports editor seemed inevitable at some point in her career.
A scout, talking about the infielder on his third stint at Trenton, sat beside her, and said to another scout, “Drafted as roster filler. The top guys need guys to play with.”
Lauren knew that, but it never sounded any less cruel to hear out loud. They can’t know when they’re drafted how true that is, or maybe they do and that’s what drives them. No matter who did what, even hugely talented guys on the Hunters were small in comparison. The only story that day, and looking ahead to the season, was how great a big league ballplayer Greg Woodrow would be.
He entered the dugout alone, grabbing a plastic cup, and getting Gatorade out of the oversized pitcher on the bench. She could feel his watery blue eyes on her as he sipped from the cup.
“Hey, what are you doing after the game?” he asked casually, almost dopey.
“Not sure,” she said without looking at him. “I know what I’m not doing.” He pulled his head slightly back in surprise, which almost made her smile.
Girl On Deck
As she got close to the doorway, she heard shouting and laughing. Suddenly Taylor emerged, shaken and angry.
“What the hell?” Lauren said, looking toward the door and hearing their loud laughter and voices continue. It was a sound she’d gotten used to and learned to work around, without becoming overwhelmed.
“One of the players just said something gross to me. The team got a kick out of it,” Taylor said, staring down at her notes. “Horrible timing because they were all bare-assed. I just needed--“
The door opened and one of the players popped his head out.
Looking tentative and uncomfortable in each of his four at-bats, he struck out looking twice and popped up in the infield twice. The last time, with clenched teeth, he sharply dropped his bat and yelled something. He left while the writers stood in the hall waiting to be allowed in the clubhouse. His dark expression was barely concealed by keeping his eyes on his phone.
The Job, The Truth
By November she figured it would be like it was every year: she’d want to be back again, her faith in humanity and baseball restored. She’d return to her job and be glad for it. Players weren’t the only ones that needed short memories.