Here’s how all this has panned out so far, from the point of view of the voice in Luis Castillo’s head.
- Well, its another spring training for you, Luis Castillo. Time to awaken from those five months of walking into New York sandwich shops and having people throw old lunch meat at your face while hissing.
- Man, look how in shape some of these guys are. It’s like they work out during the offseason. Don’t they know that’s against the rules? You should tell somebody. First, though, you need sit down. Nobody’s going to respect you if you go out on that field wearing slipper/shoes. Well, maybe they would… nah, don’t risk it. Next year.
- I wonder what Terry Collins wants to see you about. I wonder who Terry Collins is. The other guys sure seem to respect him. But he’ll have to prove himself to you, the lone wolf of the team, Luis Castillo. He probably knows what your name is. Everyone seems to. So just refer to yourself as “lone wolf” during the meeting. That’ll intimidate him.
- “Sullen behavior?” How dare that guy, whoever he is, tell me he’s the manager of the team, and then tell me my behavior hasn’t been up to par. I’ll show him how great I am by being even more sullen.
- Hey look, its Mets beat writer Andy Martino, and he’s looking especially weaselish. Oh, wow! He’s headed this way! You don’t think… I mean, whatever. You’re Luis Castillo. Journalists want to talk to you all the time.
- … shit. Was there a team visit to a veterans hospital or a burn ward lately? If there was, be glad you didn’t go. It’s not like a nurse has to come into the children’s hospital at three in the morning to calm down a 10-year-old who refuses to sleep because ‘oh boy, oh boy, Luis Castillo’s coming tomorrow, and he’s my hero.’ ‘Yes,’ the nurse would respond, quietly pumping a generous dosage of morphine into the tyke’s system as she closes her eyes in gutwrenching silence, ‘He’s… everyone’s hero.’
- What were you just talking about? Oh, right. Martino’s just three steps away now. Man, he’s walking slowly. Well, let’s just hope there wasn’t any PR assignments you missed; not that anyone in this clubhouse would keep you up to date on that kind of thing. Do they all hate you? Probably.
- What’s that, Andy? Was being released by the Mets fueled by racism? You hadn’t even considered that, but that’s a great reason. It totally removes “sucking” from the equation! And Andy’s clutching his notepad and pen really tightly while smiling and nodding. It seems like “Yes” is the answer he’s looking for, regardless of what you say. Better just breathe some ambiguous quote at him and let him run away with it. Remember, you don’t have a job yet, so let’s reserve the wild accusations for a time when you’re assured a paycheck.
- Okay. So the Mets kicked you out; and sure, it is kind of like being evicted from a refrigerator box by an angry, starving cat. At least now people will forget about that whole “dropped pop fly” thing. You’re right, I’m sure nobody even heard about that outside of New York. Time to forge a new legacy, and let’s start by sitting down and watching a little TV.
- Relax, take it easy. You may have just lost your job, but look how fast you got another one. You’re a wanted man. You’re a hot commodity. You’re Luis Castillo, after all. Like you’ve never had to win a job in 10 days. It’ll be like that movie. That one you were were on your way to see but then didn’t because you showed up four hours late, having assumed they wouldn’t start it until you got there.
- Wow, this is a fast game. Roy Halladay sure knows how to keep up the pace–wait. This is the recap. And you’re in a hotel room, not a baseball stadium. Huh. What time is it?
- All right, so you missed the first day you were scheduled to play with your new team. You’re Luis Castillo, remember? People wait for you. Remember that airport in New York? People waited eight hours for your flight to come in just to sneer and boo.
- Aha! See? You’re already back in the lineup. Now, to put on a career-making, legendary performance to get a starting job in professional baseball within the span of a week. Meh, better take it easy. I mean, it doesn’t seem like you can screw up in a way that will make the Phillies take you out of the lineup. Don’t forget, you’re Luis Castillo. And there will always be a tomorrow.
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