In which we recall the moves, mentions, and misery of our enemies in the form of overexaggeration, hyperbole, and (most likely) fictional prose.
Frank Wren smiled to himself. That last meeting with George Sherrill and his agent had gone so great, he could cross the last thing off his to-do list and spend the rest of the winter burying his memories of the 1999 Orioles under a thick layer of scotch and self-satisfaction.
It was that smug sense of completion that perhaps distracted him as he walked out of the Dolphin Hotel. Ruben Amaro was on his way back inside and the two collided, sending Ruben spiraling to the ground, papers flying.
“Hi, Frank!” Ruben chirped, his tone an enthusiastic, oblivious pitch above everyone else’s. He quickly crammed the multitude of files (Ruben had been referring to the collection as “my opus” during the Winter Meetings) back into his briefcase.
Frank smirked. “Hey, Ruben. What’s up.”
“Oh, nothing,” Ruben replied, standing up and finally meeting Frank at eye level. He winked knowingly. “We just signed a fella named Dennys Reyes. Maybe you’ve heard of him?” He winked three more times.
“Oh, uh… yeah. Yeah, Ruben. That’s real good.”
Ruben peered down at Frank’s holdings. There appeared to be many. Frank noticed him noticing this.
“Did you guys… ah… did you acquire anybody?” Ruben asked with all the tact of a man wearing a wire for the first time.
Frank considered mentioning the key signings he’d locked down in the last 72 hours, let alone the off season. Dan Uggla, Scott Linebrink, and now Sherrill made Atlanta a fine batch heading into spring.
“Nah, Ruben. Just bad luck I guess. Hey, have a great winter. Good luck to you guys.”
“Thanks!” Ruben called. “Hey, is that Aaron Rowand?!”
Before the conversation could technically end, Ruben was barreling down the hallway toward a bellhop who did not really resemble Aaron Rowand that closely. Frank shook his head and smiled.
Things may have changed today.
“SHIT!!” Michael Hill shouted in his hotel room. The assistant showing him the computer screen recoiled from a shower of saliva. “Shit-balls. Well that’s splendid. Fucking Philadelphia… why the fuck are they trying to get starting pitching?!
Michael had never thought of Twitter as anything but one of the things he grounded his sons from. Now it was being used to broadcast news–real news, his news–to inform him that the deal he’d gotten so excited about, the deal that maybe, just maybe, could have brought Zach Greinke to Miami, was crumbling before his eyes because the Phillies had decided to pad their ridiculous pitching staff with another ace.
“They just do whatever they want, don’t they?!” he asked no one, as both the assistant and the Dolphin Hotel employee pretended they weren’t witnessing the Marlins GM have a mental breakdown. “Amaro is a salacious little prick!”
“Sir, do you still want this cheesebur–”
Michael punched a hole in the nearest window and waved his bloodied fist in the bellhop’s face, ignoring the question. “First Arizona swipes Paterson, then Amaro stumbles in here with $150 million stuffed into his pockets, and I’m supposed to compete with a lousy $55 mil?! I can’t even move Nolasco or Nunez! FUCK THIS SHIT! And now…”
He gestured desperately toward the computer screen and Jon Heyman’s tweet. “…now the Phillies get Greinke for Ross Gload. Ross Gload! Remember him?! He was the guy whose career highlights include ‘7th runner-up in 2004 Rookie of the Year voting! Shit, we really hit the wall today.”
The assistant rolled his eyes. Michael had been using distance runner-lingo since he participated in the Miami Marathon two years ago. It had been an endless onslaught of stilted vocabulary ever since.
“You know,” the assistant breathed, speaking for the first time in an hour, “we don’t know if this is real yet. No one’s confirmed.”
“Nah, fuck it,” Michael replied, packing his suitcase. “We’re outta here. I don’t care we got nothing done. I’m just… I’m done with this.”
Michael stormed out, knocking the room service cart over on his way. The aroma of all-purpose meat and cheese permeated the air.
Things were changing. It was time to make the Marlins a part of them.
“Gentlemen,” Mike Rizzo announced, glass in the air. “To noticeable steps forward.”
The rest of the front office staff gathered in the hotel room smiled and clinked glasses. There was a sense that they were all getting in at the ground level with the Washington Nationals; maybe they wouldn’t be true contenders this year, but they were far from limping also-rans, just trying to keep up with the pack.
Some staffer across the hotel room had his hand over the phone’s receiver. He’d been the only one to hear it ring as the room had been full of raucous laughter for the past hour. “Hey, do we want Carl Pavano?”
“Why the shit not?!” Rizzo exclaimed. “Lee, too. And LaRoche, since Pena’s off limits. All of ‘um. Because we’re the Nationals. We are quite literally America’s team.”
“Well, what about the Yankees?” asked one of the younger front office staffers, who’d clearly had too much to drink. As a dangerous silence settled on the room, all eyes turned to Rizzo, whose self-contained smirk stared down at his glass as though a nuclear bomb of rage hadn’t just gone off in his brain.
Looking up, he had to give to burly men from the security detail knowing glances before the inquiring staffer was grabbed roughly by the arms and dragged out of the room.
“H–hey!” he yelled, but his cries of confusion were soon muffled under a thick blanket of gut-punches.
Rizzo nodded, weirdly gratified by the sound of human suffering.
Things had changed.
Here’s New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson mocking the offensively malnourished Nationals for signing a player who can actually hit for the only amount of money and time that would get him.
Here’s an article titled “There Is No Hope for the New York Mets” that explains how they have 10 players making a total $94.5 million whose talent is worth a combined $54.3 million.
Oh, also. They’re being sued.