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Spring Training: The Lost Tapes

Last week I received an unsigned postcard directing me to the hot dog counter at a QT in the KC metro area. After much searching, I discovered that I was at the wrong QT, and drove to the correct one five minutes down the road. At the right QT, under the dog roller was a key and a small note attached to the key chain with the name of a safe deposit box. The box was in a bank in the downtown of a town in the Royals Radio Network. Inside the box was a variety of yellowed reporter's note pads, mimeographed stories with lines crossed out, and a dozen or so old tape recorders.

It is now my understanding that my mysterious source, or sources, have chosen me, the writer of one of the fifty most popular Royals blogs on the internet, to give these old stories the light of day. I do not know what happened to the original reporters or why these various unpublished stories, blurbs, and snippets ended up together, or what happened to their original compiler. To protect myself, and whomever may be helping me, I have removed most proper names from these quotes, as well as any obvious tells as to their identities.



"I'd forgotten how horrible it was to take a shower with twenty five men."

You know what? It isn't 1933. That's the last time spending a month and a half at a glorified day camp made much sense. Of course, back then it took three days to get here by train, which itself did enough damage to the legs to justify the dog and pony show. If I could, I'd contract TB just so I could feel authentic."

"Worried? They assured us that the samples would remain anonymous and that in any case they would all be destroyed."

"It's all good. [Obscure AAAA player] is just here so that he isn't seen by [division rival]. My job is safe, and I'm sure [obscure AAAA player] will love Japan."

"Why are all the celebrity fans of baseball men over the age of fifty? Is there a way we can get games on MTV, like tomorrow?"

"Actually, I'm a professional athlete. I've been in shape since I was fifteen years old, have had a regulated diet since nineteen, and have the genes of a Greek god. But thanks for asking if I've benefited from three wind sprints a day."

"We have a new manager this spring, which means we'll have to sit through every cliched motivational ploy in the book for three weeks. My main concern is that the "strippers in the locker-room to remind us this is a game and we need to loosen up" day is early. You can run into a variety of... issues if that day comes late."

"I'm excited about moving to the bullpen. I haven't been a good pitcher for three years, but now I'm sixty fluky innings away from three more contracts."

"Hopefully, I can turn an ankle tomorrow running the outfield. I actually blew out my shoulder last month doing [non-baseball activity] and at least two months away from being functional. Luckily [a former Astro] was here last week, so nobody noticed my weak throws. I need to disappear."

"I'm confused, why are the jerseys always mesh and half-black during the Spring? Did our uniform mate with the Pittsburgh Steelers?"

"I'm happy to be here. Did you ever see that Mad Men where Draper's kid is having a birthday party, and there's a million people there, and his wife asks him to go get the cake and instead he just leaves for six hours, never comes back, never says anything? Well, my wife is [gives age] and didn't look like January Jones when we got married."

"Now, betting on the NCAA Tournament is ok, right?"

"Look, this is a temporary situation and everyone knows that. Bud Selig is an owner, period. In five years no one will remember that for six months he was essentially the Commissioner."

"I'd forgotten how incredibly dull baseball practice can be. What if I said, 'write a third-grade level sentence 500 times in a row,' that's what taking infield is like."

"My goals for Spring Training... probably learning how to use all the apps on my iPhone, contesting the taxes on my winter league check, and trying to remember how to throw a slider."

"I'm trying to figure out if I should be more worried about performing well here, or during my completely pointless September call-up in which I appear in three games over a two-week period."

"Can we win the division? That depends on our attitude this spring. The tone gets set right here, right now.... We have to... do the little.... no, really... actually... I can't do this... we have no chance."

"[Brilliant young prospect] may be really good someday. But right now, we all know that [thoroughly washed up vet] can get the job done now."

"MySpace isn't on Google, so what's the problem?"

"I always knew I'd eventually get a chance to be teammates with Reggie Sanders."

"I'm excited about this new stat, 'wins' for the pitcher. This will really improve our understanding of the game."

"We ended last season going 5-4 over our last nine games, and that momentum has ran right through to this spring."

"So we play in 'Surprise' and about half our road games are in 'Goodyear'. If you give me ---- this season, I'm going to personally see to it that next season we're headquartered in Peoria. Write your ----- ----- headlines then, Hemingway."