Building A Ballclub With Bill Bavasi: Part III


Bill Bavasi is sitting on the edge of a linen-lined bed.  The dark room is illuminated by his cigarette.  He sits in the darkness, smoking slowly.  He slides across the bed to the night-stand, the fire-red of the cigarette revealing a wine glass and a silver watch.  He quietly grabs the watch and clips it around his left wrist.  Looking over his shoulder, he sees light escaping through the bottom of the bathroom door.  He lets out a sigh, sips the pinot noir, and closes his eyes.  He tries to be enveloped by the darkness, but the florescent “ARORUA NO LETOM” shines too brightly.  The light of the sign pierces his closed eyes.

Soft, warm hands massage the back of his bald head.  A scantily-clad woman whispers into his ear, “Bill, oh Bill.  Don’t fret so much.  Things aren’t so bad.”  She kisses his neck and he recoils in surprise.  “Hmm,” she scoffs with a southern accent.  “I guess things are that bad.”

Bavasi is quiet.  He ponders to himself, scratching his goatee.  “Candy,” He quietly mouths, “I have a lot to get off my chest.”

February 15th, 2006.

Bill: I don’t understand it.  Why can’t I win?  Better than last year, but with 69 wins, we still found ourselves in the cellar.
Bill: *Shakes head*
Bill: I mean, I tried hard to put a great product on the field.  Look at our corner infielders: Richie Sexson was mashing, 39 homeruns, come on – Adrian Beltre just came off an MVP caliber season.  He placed second!  If it wasn’t for Barry Bonds, his confidence would be through the roof.
Bill: *Shakes head*
Bill: I mean, how did he go from hitting 48 homeruns to 19?  Where did his power go?  Sexson was among the top ten homerun hitters in all of baseball last year!  Beltre hit more homeruns than Bonds his last year with the Dodgers!
Bill: *Facepalms*
Candy: Bill, sweety – it’ll be okay.  Tell me more if it makes you feel better.
Bill: I’m just lost and confused.  I thought Miguel Olivo was going to pan out, but he didn’t.  So I traded him.  I drafted another catcher.  Ugh, we just need a reliable person behind the plate!
Bill: *Shrugs*
Bill: And what happened to our pitching?  The lowest ERA a pitcher had was Moyer, and his was 4.28.  I don’t know what I was thinking when I traded Freddy.  So I spent more money.  I signed Jarrod Washburn to a huge deal.  Four years, $37 million.  I loved what he did with the Angels.  He pitched his heart out in the postseason for them.  He more than certainly can repeat that success here. 
Candy: *Massages Bill’s back*
Bill: Baby, you know money’s not a problem, right?  I gave this catcher a big deal, too.  His name is Kenji Johjima.  I think him and Ichi will get along well, and will keep the people coming to the ball park.  Did you know we were fourth in attendance in the American League?  People are still coming out to see the product I put on the field.
Bill: *Sighs*
Bill: This could’ve been a special year.  I mean, Dan Wilson.  He didn’t have to come back, he could’ve retired when he had that ACL injury.  But he came back to catch one more game.  He caught Jaime Moyer.  It could’ve been a special season.  So, I drafted another catcher.  This city needs another catcher to stay with them as long as Wilson did.  This kid is going to be great. 
Candy: Well, what’s this young man’s name?  What makes him so great?
Bill: I love his approach.  I love his swing, his build.  He looks like he is going to pan out.  Jeff Clement.  Jeff is his name.
Bill: *Turns around*
Bill: You know, I had so many people this year whispering into my ear, it’s annoying.  I’m the boss!  Listen to me!  Some people were saying I should’ve drafted Ryan Zimmerman or Ryan Braun.  I just don’t see the ceiling with them that I see with Jeff.  And then the papers, oh, the papers.  Every beat writer was saying that we were going to sign Troy Tulowitzki.
Bill: *Sighs*
Bill: Most people just don’t understand the complexity of the draft. 
Candy: Tell me more. 
Bill: There’s this kid.  This pitcher.  Felix Hernandez is his name.  He’s great.  I mean, he’s really good.
Bill: *Grabs Candy’s hands*
Bill: I’m considering trading him.
Candy: Well, if he’s so good, why would you want to get rid of him?
Bill: That’s just it, he’s so damn good.  His first two starts, he struck out ten while only walking two.  He has this mean, intimidating presence on the mound.
Bill: *Sighs*
Bill: He’s nineteen years old.  Do you know what I could get for him in a trade?  Do you?  It would be a king’s ransom, that’s for sure. 
Candy: Well, then.  What are you going to do about it?
Bill: I just don’t know.  I’m so lost.  So confused.
Candy: You know, one of my sisters turned me on to this religion called Buddhism.  Maybe you should check it out?  It’s nice, it’s all about, harmony and, revitalization and, respect.  Hey, harmony?  That’s one of my sister’s names!
Bill: Religion?  You’re a prostitute, Candy!  That’s just, that’s just…absurd.

Bill Bavasi stands up, pulls out a wad of money from his pocket and throws it onto the bed.  He opens the door to the motel room and glances back over at his mistress as he crosses over the threshold.  She smiles, he waves.  The door slams behind him, leaving her alone in that room.  He approaches his car parked on Aurora Avenue, lights a cigarette, and enters his car.  He pulls out his RAZR cell phone, dials a number, and takes a drag.

“Charlie?  Yeah, yeah.  Yeah, that’s what I want.  We’ve been talking about it for a while.  Yeah.  Let’s give Raul Ibanez an extension.”


Adam H. Wong
Follow: @themarinerspen