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House of Kratz

A serious political drama.

[INT. CLUBHOUSE OFFICE - NIGHT]

In a gloomy, dimly lit clubhouse office sits Royals manager NED YOST at his desk. Before him are three catchers - SALVADOR PEREZ, ERIK KRATZ, and FRANCISCO PENA.

NED YOST:

So obviously Salvy here will be the starting catcher all year.

(He rises, walks over to ERIK KRATZ to put a hand on his shoulder, but does so in a patronizing way).

But I'd like to rest Salvy more this year. Kratzie, you’ll be in a competition with Francisco Pena for the reserve catcher’s job. I’d like to get whoever wins it in some more ballgames this year. We're talking once, maybe even twice a week – major playing time.

ERIK KRATZ nods knowingly, and turns to the camera.

ERIK KRATZ:

Six months ago, everyone thought this dunce would be run out of town on a rail. Now that he’s fluked his way to a pennant, he thinks he’s John McGraw.

(looks at NED YOST)

I almost pity the man. He’s in a hunt, but doesn’t know he’s the target.

(addresses NED YOST)

That sounds great, Skip. Anything I can do to help the ballclub.

NED YOST (satisfied):

Great. If we work together, I think we have a great shot defending our pennant this year.

As SALVADOR PEREZ and ERIK KRATZ exit the manager’s office, ERIK KRATZ puts his arm around SALVADOR PEREZ to address him.

ERIK KRATZ:

Salvy, I want to do anything I can to help you out this year.

SALVADOR PEREZ:

I appreciate that, my friend.

ERIK KRATZ:

I was wondering if you’d want to start working out together? Weight training, endurance, that sorta thing.

SALVADOR PEREZ:

Nah, weights aren’t really thing. But thank you, my friend.

ERIK KRATZ:

Its just that….some of the guys were talking….

SALVADOR PEREZ stops to hear what ERIK KRATZ has to say.

SALVADOR PEREZ:

Talking about what, my friend?

ERIK KRATZ:

The way you wore down last year. They felt you could have used more time in the weight room. Your body took a toll last year. It was in all the Royals blogs.

SALVADOR PEREZ:

Royals blogs? Is that like on the DEEP WEB?

ERIK KRATZ:

Uh yea, something like that. Even Lorenzo said it cost us the championship.

SALVADOR PEREZ:

Hermanito said that?!?

ERIK KRATZ:

I’m only trying to help. Let me know if I’m stepping on any toes. But I worked out with Jose Bautista in Toronto, and you can see the results there.

SALVADOR PEREZ mulls it over for a second.

SALVADOR PEREZ:

Well, my character really has no reason to go along with you other than to serve the plot. But….okay, my friend. We work out together. Thank you for being honest with me.

As SALVADOR PEREZ walks away, ERIK KRATZ turns to the camera.

ERIK KRATZ:

Such childlike exuberance. It will be like taking candy from a baby.

As ERIK KRATZ leaves, he runs into DON WAKAMATSU, bench coach for the Royals.

ERIK KRATZ:

Don! So sorry you didn’t get that managerial job with Tampa Bay. There will be other chances.

DON WAKAMATSU:

Well thanks. I really want to get back to managing in the big leagues, but I’m happy to be back here helping you guys.

ERIK KRATZ:

I’m sure you’ll get your shot soon. Say, did you hear the backup catching job is between me and Francisco Pena?

DON WAKAMATSU:

Yea, I’m sure you have the inside track. You’ve got the experience we need. Let me know if I can help you out.

ERIK KRATZ

(turns to camera)

It can’t be this easy, can it?

(turns back to DON WAKAMATSU)

Thanks Don, I appreciate it.

As DON WAKAMATSU leaves, ERIK KRATZ grabs his cell phone.

TITLE CARD: Text: "DOUG, GET VICTOR CONTE"

[INT. – LOCKER ROOM – DAY]

ERIK KRATZ and SALVADOR PEREZ have just finished their workout and are walking back to their lockers.

SALVADOR PEREZ:

Good workout my friend. I’m going to bother Lorenzo for a bit. I’ll catch up with you.

ERIK KRATZ waits for SALVADOR to leave before reaching into his duffel back and pulling out a bottle marked "ILLEGAL STEROIDS – DO NOT USE IF YOU ARE A MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER." He plants a few vials in SALVADOR’s locker.

[EXT. ROYALS BASEBALL FACILITY – DAY]

ERIK KRATZ is crossing the parking lot of the baseball facility when he comes across a limp dog whimpering in pain. He kneels before it and takes it in his hands.

ERIK KRATZ:

This dog has been struck by a motorist.

(to the dog)

There, there.

(turns to camera)

The problem in baseball now is that its gone soft.

We hear the dog begin furiously barking, while Kratz stands over it tensely, his arms out of shot, but clearly around the dog’s neck.

ERIK KRATZ:

No one wants to lay down bunts, sacrifice themselves, take the collision at home. Its the backup catcher that has to do the dirty work.

The barking suddenly ceases. The dog is dead. ERIK KRATZ looks at the dog’s collar.

ERIK KRATZ:

The dog’s name was "Metaphor." How appropriate.

[INT. – NED YOST’S OFFICE – DAY]

ERIK KRATZ comes running into the office with NED YOST seated at his desk.

ERIK KRATZ:

Coach, I have something to show you.

NED YOST:

What is it? A stuffed squirrel?

ERIK KRATZ:

(holding up a syringe marked "ILLEGAL STEROIDS")

I found this in Salvy’s locker.

NED YOST looks over the syringe and considers what to do next.

NED YOST:

I don’t think we should be rash about this. Opening Day is right around the corner. We wouldn’t want to hurt our chances of getting off to a good start without getting the facts in first. Why don’t you let me hang onto this, and you forget this ever happened.

ERIK KRATZ:

(turns to camera)

I don’t have anything to add here, but if I break the fourth wall enough times, it will remind you of a Shakespearean play. Which must mean this is good, right?

(turns back to NED YOST)

I’ve already forgotten, Skip.

(smiles)

As ERIK KRATZ leaves NED’s office, he picks up his phone and begins dialing.

ERIK KRATZ:

Hello, ESPN? Get me Pedro Gomez.

[INT. – DON WAKAMATSU’S OFFICE – DAY]

ERIK KRATZ enters the office holding his phone with DON WAKAMATSU sitting at his desk.

ERIK KRATZ:

Don, how’d you like be manager of the Kansas City Royals?

DON WAKAMATUS:

Why, what happened to Ned?

ERIK KRATZ:

I have Pedro Gomez of ESPN on the other line. As soon as he hears about Ned Yost’s cover-up of a steroid user in the Royals clubhouse, he’s finished. I can either bring you down with him, or give you the managerial job you so richly deserve.

DON WAKAMATSU:

Steroid cover up, what are you talking about?

ERIK KRATZ:

Salvy’s busted. Ned’s covering it up. Now is the time to decide which side you are going to be on.

DON WAKAMATSU:

(mulls it over)

So if you make me manager, what do I have to do for you? Give you the backup catcher job over Pena?

ERIK KRATZ:

You make me starting catcher.

DON WAKAMATSU:

Savly’s out 50 games anyway with a suspension.

ERIK KRATZ:

All season.

Zoom in on a troubled DON WAKAMATSU as ominous music reaches its climax.

[EXT. – KAUFFMAN STADIUM – DAY]

It is Opening Day and we see the Royals in the dugout about to take the field for the first time that season. ERIK KRATZ is dressed in complete catcher’s gear, ready to take the field. Cue ominous music.

ERIK KRATZ:

(to camera)

Starting catcher for the defending American League champions, and I was barely replacement level last year. WAR is so overrated.

The team runs onto the field, fade to black. Roll credits.

*******

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