WAVE AWAY, FRIEND. IT’S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE I’M THE ONE COACHING THIRD BASE
By Hank “Squints” O’Hara
Look at him, blissfully signaling into the dugout. Completely unaware that he is already caught within a plot so diabolical that it will only be when it is too late, when he arrives a shattered man at a minor-league affiliate, that he will understand — and I will be the one coaching third base.
Taking batting gloves and shin guards, pointing up in the air on a fly ball, administering butt taps — the first base coach job is wasted on a man like me. The third base coach stands at the pivot of history: who must stand where he is because he is a stumpy-legged catcher, who may challenge the noodle arm of a platoon left fielder, who shall hit, and who shall bunt. Last week, this oaf Butter Wilson waved Josh Swiedley into a hopeless play at the plate; his judgement is not sound and he is a mewling, feeble man destined only to be trodden upon by a stronger base coach.
The myopic fool doesn’t realize how I’ve poisoned the locker room against him. Is it mere coincidence that once again the barbecue sunflower seeds vanish in his hands, leaving behind only the inferior ranch flavor? Has he noticed that I greet all runners at first with a “nice hit, glad Butter didn’t make you bunt again?” Has he been paying attention to the registration on his Texas Edition F-150? Because when I scraped the sticker and painstakingly replaced it with last year’s only to have the police stop him and warn him that he should get that taken care of or they might have to give him a ticket next time, he should have known that there’s no institution where my tentacles do not reach.
The full-scale power of the media has been leveraged against him. Little do the small-minded, content-desperate wretches of the press know that the @unsoundbaseballstrategems twitter account with his picture that I use to broadcast asinine baseball strategies is not a “bizarre and opaque parody” as noted by the comments section of a team blog, but an elaborate disinformation campaign emanating from first base.
Soon, everything will fall into place. I have, after weeks of incessant badgering, convinced the manager to switch the hit and run sign from touching the earlobe to the nose to the point of the chin. Does he think the likes of Frankie Rincón and Eddie Jort are capable of stealing signs? Ludicrous. I had a bat boy slip them to their dugout while telling them it was the phone number of that buxom woman in the third row, and I can tell they memorized it before crumpling the paper and laughing with each other for the rest of the game.
And where will Butter Wilson be during this high-level baseball strategy session? Probably looking for his precious Skoal, taken from his locker where it has been the only sign left is the unmistakable impression of Jake Parmany’s crucifix. Not even Butter Wilson could be that oblivious. And while the two exchange mouth tobacco recriminations, his chance to learn the new signal will be lost forever.
Look at him. Imperiously holding the runners, blithely sending them into the path of the catcher. The trap is set. The next butt he slaps will be his last in this organization.