The Tactician

You look beat, Tom. That's okay, how's your arm feel? A little tired? Okay. Look, I asked you to give Jeter a couple of pitches way off the plate just to buy you some time. I have a plan, see, because I thought we might find ourselves in this situation, runners at the corners, nobody out, tie game, all but a certain loss. Now I just need you to stand here talking to me just a little longer, just keep talking like we're discussing baseball. Because at exactly 10:46, there's a seventy-thirty chance that there's going to be ten million fire ants rampaging across this diamond. That's right---ten million. That's the plan. We're going to break this thing up bigtime and regroup for an hour, two hours, however long it takes to clear the fire ants off the field.

Well, yeah, I say there's a seventy-thirty chance because I've worked with this guy before, the guy who's setting this up, and I'm not totally sure he understood my instructions because of the language gap. But I'm reasonably confident that all our problems will be temporarily solved at exactly 10:46. So like I said, just keep talking. Say anything, it doesn't matter.

Oh hell, here comes the umpire. Just one minute left! Can you sort of wince a little and stretch like your arm's bothering you? If you could do it so that he thinks you need a couple of warmup tosses, that would be perfect....oh yes, hello Sherwood, I was just leaving, we're just about done here, Tom felt something give a little in his shoulder...I'll be off the mound in fifteen seconds tops. Thanks, Sherwood. Good game, good game.

Okay, okay, here it comes, Tom....at the first sign of the ants you should probably run like hell, all right? I paid for the fastest ones they ship from Uganda.

And....there it is, 10:46. Do you see anything out in right center? Nothing? The wall's not opening, is it? Hold on, just wait....nope. Nope, nothing doing. Damn.

Hmmm. Let's give it another five seconds or so, yes? See if there's movement.

Ugh. No. I see no movement of any kind. I said 10:46, right? Yeah, on that point I know I got everything right. Shoot.

Well, I guess the communication just wasn't there this time around. That makes me a little angry, I have to say. So okay, you'll pitch on then. Sorry, that's my fault.

Wait, I think I see---no, that's not the fire ants. My mistake.

All right, so....I'm going to head back to the dugout now. Feel good? Just don't walk A-Rod, go right at him, I think. But we definitely will do the fire ant thing at some point, definitely. I just need to get on the same page with my guy. The language gap, like I said. It's tough sometimes.

Later, Tom. Go get 'em!