MLB Power Pros Forum

Albuquerque Roadrunners
Page 1 of 3

Author:  scott0530 [ Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Albuquerque Roadrunners

Part 1: Early spring 2007 Framingham, Mass.
Santeri pulled his car up the curb outside of a white, split-level house just as he had every day for the past few years. It was still early in the morning and the sun had yet to rise and Santeri could see, as he exited his car with coffee in hand, that the garage door was still closed. Given it was mid-March in Massachusetts that seemed the prudent idea, since it was still very cold out.
Though the cold here never seemed to bother him much. Santeri was a native of Oulu, Finland and had moved to the United States when he was ten. Santeri was just shy of six foot and had blue eyes and light blonde hair that he wore just a few inches from his shoulders.
He walked down the concrete driveway and wondered how many more time he was going to have to make this particular walk into work. His best friend and business partner had graduated from MIT a few years ago and had promptly began their own software development firm. Given they were still young and didn’t have much capital after graduation, they had converted his friend’s mom’s garage into their workspace. But, as fortunes would have it, the business had really begun to start making some real money over the last year and they would soon be moving their operation to a professional office space.
Santeri reached a side door that led into the garage. He turned the handle and pushed the door open. The one-car garage was well lit from the additional lighting Santeri and his friend had installed once they had commandeered the space. There were four single desks in the garage, each with a computer setup on it. Two near the garage door for their two employees and two towards the back for Santeri and his friend. There were two long tables setup along the far wall with multiple computers sitting astride them that they would use for testing their software after it was developed. Scattered throughout the garage haphazardly were tables with stacks of paper, a printer and other various equipment needed to run a business.
“Morning, Dawson. You got an early start.” Santeri said as he closed the door behind him and noted his friend was already sitting and working at his desk.
Dawson shook his head and looked annoyed. “I looked at my email first thing this morning and what do I see? Another God Damn email from Ron over at Southberry asking me when his new POS program was going to be ready.” He finished angrily, his Boston accent prominent.
Dawson was short, only about five foot seven. He had a slender build and had short dark hair and brown eyes.
Santeri shook his head and frowned as he removed his jacket and sat down at his desk next to Dawson. “We told him it was going to take a month to develop and it’s only been two weeks. Did you write him back and remind him of the timetable we set to complete the project?”
“I wanted to tell him to hold his freaking horses is what I wanted to tell him.” Dawson replied. “But I figured I’d let you handle it since you’re the diplomatic one.”
“What would you do without me?” Santeri said with a smile as he booted up his computer.
“I would definitely have one less customer.” Dawson replied sarcastically before turning back to his computer and continuing to work. He stopped after clicking just a few keys and turned back towards Santeri. “Hey, Sam from the pharmacy called me last night.”
“Yeah, is he finally going to make his last payment? It’s only been a year since we upgraded his network. Not to mention the maintenance we’ve had to do to it.” Santeri replied as began opening his email.
“Yeah, he’s paying us back. And it’s better than cash.” Dawson replied excitedly and Santeri looked at him skeptically. “He gave me his opening day Sox tickets. Right field line right next to the Pesky Pole. We could catch a homerun and a foul ball without ever leaving our seats.” Dawson finished with a smile.
Santeri shrugged indifferently. “You know I never understood baseball. Now if you want to talk about Biathlon, then you’ve got my attention.”
“Fourteen years I’ve known you and I still can’t get you into baseball.” Dawson replied with a pained expression.
Santeri sighed. “Alright, I’ll go. But you’re going to look awfully silly having to explain the game to another grown man.”
Santeri sent out the email to their client and began the day by helping Dawson work on the project he had complained about. Around nine their office manager, a short blonde haired girl named Carissa showed up shortly followed by Ed, their other developer.
The morning turned into an unusually warm afternoon and Dawson opened the garage door to let in the fresh air. Carissa went out for lunch and returned with sandwiches not long after twelve. Shortly after they started eating the mailman showed up. He got out of his truck and stated walking down the driveway. While it wasn’t odd to see the mailman walking down the driveway, he almost always had packages to deliver, Santeri thought it was odd that the only thing he was carrying was a letter.
“Hi, Al. How are you?” Carissa said bubbly as the older gentleman approached.
“Not bad. I am enjoying the unseasonably nice weather, though.” Al said with a smile and handed the letter he was carrying to Carissa before presenting her with his electronic pad. “The letter’s certified, I need a signature.”
“Sure.” Carissa replied as she signed the pad. “I wonder who the letter’s from.”
“I don’t know. They only pay me to deliver them.” Al said as he retrieved his pad and smiled before he started heading back down the driveway.
Carissa turned the letter over in her hand as she stood up and walked back towards Dawson. “Here, Dawson. It doesn’t say who it’s from but I had to sign for it.”
“I wasn’t expecting anything to come certified.” Dawson replied as he eyed the envelope suspiciously. He opened the letter, pulled out the folded paper and began to read the letter.
“Maybe it’s a nice fat offer for a government project.” Santeri joked as he continued working at his computer.
“Dawson. Are you alright?” Carissa asked and Santeri looked up from his computer, now thinking it was odd Dawson hadn’t returned his flippant remark.
Santeri was surprised to see the look on Dawson’s face. His eyes were as wide as globes and his jaw was hanging open. It almost looked as though he had seen a ghost. His jaw finally unlocked and his lips began to move silently as it appeared he was reading the letter over again.
“Hey, Dawson.” Santeri leaned over and tapped his friend on the shoulder. It seemed to partially work as Dawson snapped out of his trance but still looked shaken.
“Hum, what?” Dawson replied still looking a bit shaken.
“You look like the Grim Reaper sent you that letter and it has the time and place of your death on it.” Santeri said looking concerned.
“Yeah this.” Dawson replied weakly as he looked over the letter again and massaged his mouth with his free hand. After a few moments more of contemplation he handed the letter over nervously to Santeri. “Here. It may be better if you just read it.”
Santeri wore a wary expression as he took the letter from Dawson and started reading it over. As he began to read, his jaw also began to drop and the color started draining from his face. “Is this for real?” He demanded as he held the letter back up in Dawson’s direction. “This is a joke, right?”
“No, it’s legit.” Dawson replied in a wavering voice.
Santeri looked back over the letter quickly and exploded, his normally docile demeanor sent to cower in a corner somewhere. “You bought a baseball team!?” He blurted out loudly causing Carissa to jump and Ed to turn around to see what was going on.
Dawson shrugged, still looking shocked. “I did it as a goof. I didn’t even bid much. I never thought for a second…”
“You’re insane.” Santeri replied as he waged an angry finger. “Where the hell is the team and how much did you bid?”
“Second page.” Dawson replied sheepishly with a look that clearly said he was expecting another outburst.
Santeri looked over the second page and fired off again as his eyes threatened to leave their sockets. “Albuquerque!? And please tell me this isn’t the number you bid! I thought you said it wasn’t much! We don’t have anywhere near that kind of capital.”
“Look… I know we don’t have the assets on hand…”
“Bill Gates doesn’t have the assets on hand!”
Dawson shrugged. “Like I said, I did it as a goof. I never thought I’d win.”
“That’s because it’s freaking Albuquerque!” Santeri said loudly before he tried to calm himself down. “Can we get out of this? Call the commissioner’s office and tell him it was a joke.”
Dawson shook his head. “It’s for and expansion team. When I filed the paperwork with the bid the league office said it was a binding contract. They can sue us for full value of the team if we back out.”
Santeri finally dropped the letter onto his desk and rubbed his forehead with the palms of his hands. “We had better find investors, and fast. We barely have a percentage of that kind of money on hand.”
Dawson nodded as he looked over at Carissa. “Can you give Sam at the pharmacy a call? He knows some pharmaceutical reps that may be able to get us an interview with their bosses.”
Carissa acknowledged his request and returned to her desk. Dawson turned and saw Santeri looked annoyed.
“I’d could kill you. Really.” Santeri said his voice returning to normal.
Dawson smiled. “Ah, come on. This is going to be fun.”

Author:  scott0530 [ Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Albuquerque Roadrunners

Roadrunners Ownership
Santeri Varra: Age 24, Immigrated to America with his parents when he was two. Co-CEO and President of the Albuquerque Roadrunners
Dawson Benfield: Age 24, Lifelong resident of Framingham, Massachusetts . Co-CEO and GM of the Albuquerque Roadrunners.
Carissa Thompson: Age 26, Office manager/ secretary of the Albuquerque Roadrunners.
Ed Hill: CIO for the Roadrunners.

Author:  scott0530 [ Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Albuquerque Roadrunners

Part 2: “The Money Man”
Late April 2007, Albuquerque, New Mexico

It had been a long few weeks for Santeri and Dawson as they had attempted to find a financial backer who would be willing to help them secure the purchase of the new franchise in Albuquerque. They had certainly spoken to their fair share of perspective investors, but none seemed too keen on buying into an expansion franchise with a couple of inexperienced baseball professionals at the controls, not to mention the $300 million dollar asking price.

Which was odd that they now found themselves sitting in a large boardroom at the corporate headquarters of Stratosphere, the largest manufacturer and whole seller of hot air balloons in the world. The room they were sitting in had a large conference table, which could easily accommodate twenty people, complete with large, leather reclining chairs. A large bank of floor to ceiling windows faced west and provided a spectacular view of the city with the Rio Grande standing out in the far background and the New Mexico desert beyond that.

Santeri and Dawson sat on the side of the table facing the windows with just Carissa and Ed accompanying them. On the opposite side of the table sat a majority of Stratosphere’s corporate team, including their CEO and potential investor George Kaiser. Kaiser was in his early sixties, but still had a full head of thick, stiff white hair that was combed backwards. He wore a pair of wire rim glasses and was dressed impeccably in a perfectly tailored suite that probably cost him upwards of a thousand dollars. The same could be said for the rest of the executive staff’s wardrobe as everyone was dressed crisply. Santeri found it a bit intimidating. He, Dawson and the rest of the group tried to dress professionally, but it was clear they were out of their league.

“Well you and your team have certainly done a fairly good job as far as planning how to build a baseball club.” George said in a voice one would think should be deeper for a man of his size, yet by no means high pitched, as he paged through Dawson and Santeri’s franchise model. “Draft young players, controllable contracts, no big free agents and a strong development program. It’s something even established teams strive to adhere to and an essential way of life for a small market team here in New Mexico.”

“You sound like you know a thing or two about baseball, Mr. Kaiser.” Dawson replied sounding impressed.

George smiled as he placed the report on the table. “I know a thing or two about running a franchise. Tom Hicks is a friend of mine and we’ve had numerous conversations about what it takes to run a professional baseball team. And I’d say you all know a few things about it yourself, considering your development model. It’s very impressive.”

“I’ve followed the game my whole life. I even consider myself an amateur sabermetrician.” Dawson replied with a smile.

George smiled back but looked at Santeri. “What about you? What’s your overall knowledge of the game?”

I’m not much of a fan. I barely know much about the sport.” Santeri replied as evenly as he could. “Though I’ll be active in more of the marketing and sales side of the game, and I do have a minor in those categories.”

“That makes you the only one in your group with any real understanding of the game then doesn’t it, Mr. Benfield?” George said as he looked back at Dawson.

“Yes, sir. That’s correct.” Dawson replied keeping his cool. “But we have a good team and we’ve already started reaching out to respected coaches for managerial and other coaching opportunities.”

George nodded and scanned the report briefly one more time. He then stood from his chair and walked over to the large windows and looked out over the landscape. “What you’re asking for here is no small favor, Mr. Benfield. Three-hundred million dollars to purchase a major league franchise, plus first year’s operating costs. That’s a lot of money.”

“With all due respect, sir, you called us.” Dawson replied trying not to sound thankless.

“Yes. Yes I did.” George replied as he turned away from the window. “And, as a matter of record, it would be untruthful of me to say I didn’t have a vested interest in your acquisition.”

“You bid on the team?” Santeri inquired quickly as he caught the implication.

George smiled and walked back towards the table but didn’t reclaim his seat. “I did, and you all outbid me. With an expansion team coming to a small market I could never fathom to post a bid anywhere near the number you did, Mr. Benfield. Not when my CFO valued the team closer to Two-hundred and thirty million. Much less than your reckless bid.” George waited for a response, but it didn’t seem Dawson had one. In fact, for the first time, Dawson truly was starting to feel like he was biting off more than he could chew. George, thinking he had the group right where he wanted them, smiled maliciously. “Simon, if you would.” He said addressing one of his executives.

“Yes, sir.” He said as he pulled a small stack of papers out of a folder and handed them to Dawson. “Mr. Kaiser’s offer to you.”

Dawson took the paperwork and handed it to Santeri so he and Ed could have a look.

“It’s a preliminary agreement, Mr. Benfield. Obviously we would both want our legal teams to have a look before we signed anything.” George said getting Dawson’s attention. “I’ll finance the purchase of the team as a silent investor. You and Mr. Varra will be the owners of record and are free to make the decisions you need to run the team.”

“What’s this clause here about repayment and repossession?” Santeri asked as he looked over the paperwork.

George smiled maliciously again. “Like I said, you outbid me. You have three years, staring with the 2008 season, to repay my loan. We are going to require payment by the end of each league year. If you don’t, I will default on your loan and then I will take control of the team as payment for defaulting, making your four expendable. Simon here calculates you will need to make the playoffs all of your first three years and win a World Series in there somewhere to be able to make your payments in full.”

“Ed?” Santeri inquired knowing he was the best with math.

Ed paused then nodded as he looked over the numbers. “He’s pretty accurate with that assessment.”

“This whole meeting was a rouse just for you to get control of the team.” Dawson said angrily to George. “You’re a baseball guy so you already know there’s a really good chance we’re going to fail and you’re going to be able to take this team from under us.”

“With limited resources, a small market team and expansion, your chances of succeeding are almost zero. This team will be mine by the end of 2008” George replied indifferently.

“You manipulated us.” Santeri said somewhat disbelievingly.

“Call it what you want. I call it business.” George replied as he turned his back and walked back to the windows. “Seeing how Major League Baseball can sue you for your full bid, I’d say I’m your only choice.”

Dawson excused himself as the team exited the conference room and had a quick meeting in the hallway.

“I can’t believe the old man just hustled us.” Dawson said frustrated.

“He’s right, though. You guys don’t have much of a choice.” Carissa replied with a frown.

“What are you looking at me for? I don’t know anything about baseball.” Santeri said once he saw Dawson looking at him silently seeking advice.

“I know. Obviously marketing and sales will be your domain.” Dawson replied. “I have some buddies of mine I know that are really into the college and minor leagues side that can offer up advice on building our roster. Carissa, we’re going to need you to keep our schedules straight.”

“You mean you want me to be your secretary?” Carissa replied with a cross smile.

“Essentially, yes. Ed, you’re good with numbers. Money is going to be tight, so I’ll need you to stay onto of our finances.” Dawson replied and Ed said that he was up to the task.

“You taking this jerks offer?” Santeri inquired as he pointed a thumb towards the conference room.

“It’s like Carissa said, we don’t have a choice.” Dawson then smiled. “Besides, I going to enjoy shoving it up his crotchety ass when we win the series in three years.”

Two weeks later Dawson and Santeri reluctantly signed their deal and started looking to build their roster.

Author:  scott0530 [ Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Albuquerque Roadrunners

Part 3 Contract Negotiations
Mid May 2007 Framingham, Massachusetts

The accommodations weren’t much at all, but it was better than Dawson’s mom’s garage.

Dawson and Santeri had managed to move into a small office space in an office park that they had intended to use for their budding software development firm. However, now that they had found themselves in the midst of trying to finalize a deal to purchase a Major League Baseball team, the space had been converted into a the makeshift headquarters for the Roadrunners. There was, however, a downside to the new accommodations: it was trashed.

The old tenants had left in a hurry and didn’t bother clearing out the space. Some old cubicles had been dismantled and their parts were strewn in piles or leaning against the walls. The cubicles that were left intact became dumping grounds for desks and boxes full off paperwork and office trinkets. The office space was dark since only a few of the overhead incandescent lights embedded in the drop ceiling were lit. Conspicuously missing from the piles of junk were office chairs. While there were a few busted ones upturned inside of the makeshift cubicle landfills, the ones that were in working order had been commandeered to furnish the reception area and a back office, which was the only current working space.

Dawson and Santeri had managed to repair the lighting in the small ten-by-ten room as light from the doorway, which the door was missing from, split out onto a small section of dingy flooring. Inside the small, windowless office, Dawson and Santeri had setup two desks, facing long ways, to try and make one large table and surrounded it with chairs. There was a large whiteboard hanging on the back wall that had names written on magnets that were clinging to the board. Some of the magnets appeared to be set in order, as a list ran from top to bottom. Others looked to be placed randomly on the board.

Sitting around the table were Santeri, Dawson, Carissa and Ed. They were all facing the head of the table where and an older gentleman, dressed in slacks and a crisp, button down shirt, sat. The man was an attorney that was a friend of Carissa’s family and he was currently reviewing the proposed deal they had received from George Kaiser’s office the day before. Whatever Kaiser’s team had proposed, the attorney didn’t like it as he continued to rub his chin and his frown deepened as he read each page in turn.

“Not looking good, Barry?” Carissa asked cautiously as she noticed the attorney’s body language.

“For you guys, no. This whole contract is setup to benefit Kaiser and Stratosphere.” Barry replied as he continued to review the document.
“He did say something to us about having to make the playoffs for the first three years to even have a chance at buying him out.” Dawson recalled.

“It doesn’t say anything about having to make the playoffs specifically, just that you have to repay their investment in three years. And there are a quite a few non disclosures in here as well.” Barry said as he continued to read on.

“Just from the interest and fan experience of being able to attend a big league game, we should be able to draw enough fans in the first year that making the playoffs probably won’t be necessary. But, if we aren’t winning in year two, we’re not going to see the attendance necessary to create revenue.” Ed said as he had been crunching the financial data.

“Maybe we can take out a loan to pay Stratosphere back sometime next year and buy them out. You know… in case we have a hard time winning, so we don’t lose the team.” Santeri added hopefully.

“It doesn’t say anywhere in here that you can’t do that.” Barry replied as he put the proposal down. “But if the team is heading in the wrong direction it’s going to be difficult convincing a bank to invest, especially since you can’t even disclose who your silent partner is.”

“What do you mean by that?” Dawson inquired with a quizzical look.

“Like I said, he’s written in some non-disclosures. And one of the clauses he’s written in is not revealing who you’re investors are. Namely himself or Stratosphere.” Barry replied.

“That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.” Santeri said looking confused. “You can’t hid the fact that you’re the owner of a baseball team forever, someone’s going to find out.”

“Well he does have the whole thing setup for his success and not much room for you two to be able to survive, so I’m sure there’s a reason he’s not allowing the disclosure.” Barry replied. “But he does agree to have you and Dawson listed as the owners of the team unless you miss a payment. Then he’ll assume control and terminate the both of you.”

“This guy’s really starting to piss me off!” Dawson exclaimed as he sat back roughly in his chair. “Can’t we call this guy on his crap and tell him to take a hike?”

“Sure. I’ll just go grab the next potential investor from the line wrapping itself around our building.” Santeri replied dryly and Dawson settled for throwing him an irritated look.

“I don’t see where you have much of a choice, guys.” Barry chimed in as he stood from his chair and walked over to the whiteboard to examine it. “He’s holding all the cards and you two are begging for an inside straight-flush.”

The team started discussing their options; should they accept or not? Where there clauses of their own they would like to see added? Barry only listened with one ear as he perused the names on the whiteboard. He was a fan of baseball himself and it didn’t take him long to figure out that this was Dawson and Santeri’s draft board. He recognized some of the names on the list but, not a great many since he wasn’t familiar with collage and most minor league systems.

“Looks like you guys have quite a bit of pitchers up here.” Barry said once it sounded like the group was taking a break from talking.

“Huh?” Dawson replied before tuning in his chair to face the board. “Oh, yeah. Well, you can’t win games if you can’t pitch.”

Barry smiled and continued to look over the board. He stopped as he spotted a name and leaned in closer to the board to examine it. He looked curiously at Dawson while he pointed at the name on the magnet. “Is that for real?”

Dawson chuckled. “I have some buddies of mine that are hard core into scouting, sabermetrics, and all other levels of baseball. They swear to me her game will translate to the majors. I guess we’ll see.”

“We expect that people will pack the stadium every night she pitches. It’ll be a big event to see the first woman to play in the bigs.” Santeri replied.

“I keep telling you guys we’re not in a position to be pulling publicity stunts like that.” Carissa said as she crossed her arms.

“Well, from where I’m sitting, I think we don’t have a choice but to pull as many gimmicks as we can. We need the revenue.” Ed replied.

“And speaking of revenue.” Barry said as he returned to his seat. “What do you guys want to do about this purchase agreement?”

The team was silent for a moment as they looked amongst themselves for a few moments. “It feels like you guys are making a deal with the Devil.” Carissa finally offered.

“I don’t disagree with your assessment. I already hate this guy.” Dawson replied.

“Barry, do you think you can write in a clause, which explicitly states, that we can buy Stratosphere out within three years by any means necessary? Not just from revenue generated by the team?” Santeri inquired thoughtfully.

Barry nodded. “I don’t see why not. I can argue that this is the only part of the agreement that gives you and Dawson any real chance at owning the team after three years.”

After there was a consensus of agreement. Barry left the office as the rest of the team headed to grab a quick bite to eat before returning to their office and continuing to scour their draft board for as many diamonds in the rough that they could find.

Two days later: Albuquerque

George Kaiser was looking out at the sunset over the city from his conference room and didn’t even budge when he heard the door to the room open and close.

“We received a counter proposal from Mr. Benfield and Varra.” George’s lawyer said once he reached the conference table.

“No major changes I expect?” George asked as he continued to admire the exquisite view.

“They are just asking to be able to buy you out at any time in the first three years of the arrangement. However, they didn’t specify the means by which they would intend to do so.” The lawyer replied as he relayed the information.

George smiled and shook his head. “We figured that it would be difficult to slip an agreement past them without them asking for that concession. This agreement is very much setup predicting their failure.” George turned and looked at his attorney. “Contact their legal aid and tell them we’re agreeable and have Betty make arrangements for them to fly out here to sign the agreement.”

The lawyer acknowledged his assignment as left the office as George turned to face the window again as a sinister smile started forming on his face.

Author:  scott0530 [ Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Albuquerque Roadrunners

I apologize if my writing seems clunky or rushed. I'm making a lot of this stuff up as I go along, though I do have some story lines gathering in my head for characters down the road, and I'm only giving myself so much time for writing updates/parts. I had intended to do a log similar to this with the Cannoneers, but it turned out that team was way to good (I was beating teams 15-1 consistintly) so I had to abandon it.

This team will consist of a few success players, but not with players that would be considered overpowered, as well as a few edited players to give me some speed and the rest will be graybars. The goal is to create a more realistic expansion roster than what the game assigns you without going crazy.

But can the team win and stay out of the clutches of George Kaiser and Stratosphere? We'll all have to wait and see.

Author:  scott0530 [ Sat Apr 07, 2018 12:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Albuquerque Roadrunners

Part 4 2007 MLB Entry Draft
Players point of view June 7th, 2007

Jason had just finished up with his last congratulatory phone call. He was going to rejoin the company that was currently gathered upstairs, but decided to take a few minutes for himself as he sat back on the couch in his parents finished basement and began to reflect on the events of the day.

Jason knew he was going to go high in this year’s baseball draft, but didn’t think that he would be going number one overall. He was only going to be completing his second year of college and figured a player with more college experience than him would surely go in the top spot. But here he was, still trying to make sense of things, even at days end.

As he continued contemplating his new reality as a number one pick, he heard the door to the basement open and someone walked down the stairs. He turned and saw his father approaching him.

“There you are. Everyone was wondering where you disappeared to.” His dad said as he walked across the floor and had a seat on the couch next to his son.

“I’ve been taking and returning phone calls all day from people congratulating me. Some people I haven’t heard from since middle school. I don’t even know how they got my number.” Jason finished.

“Well, it’s not everyday someone you know get drafted to play baseball for a living.” His dad said with a proud smile. “Especially first overall.”

“I’m excited.” Jason replied with a broad smile of his own. “I can’t wait to play baseball professionally.”

“How many times did I see you pretend to hit a World Series winning homerun in the back yard?” Jason’s dad reminisced as he rapped Jason on the shoulder. “Not many people get to live that dream.”

“Albuquerque is still a long ways away from Nebraska.” Jason replied.

“Nebraska’s a long ways from a lot of things.” His dad joked. “But, don’t you worry. Mom and I are going to find a way to make it there for as many home games as we can. Grandpa was already talking to me about going halves on buying a townhome in Albuquerque that the whole family can use if they want to go see you play.”

“That would be great. I’d love for everyone to come down and see games.” Jason said with a smile.

“So, I know we didn’t talk much about what happens from here.” Jason’s dad replied with a bit of seriousness. “What’s the next step for you once the college season is over?”

“I can’t officially sign till the collage season is over.” Jason replied. “Once that’s done, Mr. Benfield is going to fly me to New Mexico to sign my contract. From there I’ll be assigned to their minor league team in Oklahoma to finish the season. Then Fall league in Arizona before I get a month off before spring training.”

“Well it certainly sounds like your about to be very busy. Why don’t you come upstairs and see everyone one more time before you disappear till next spring.”
“Ridiculous!” Sal ripped as he threw a tennis ball against the side of the fence in his parent’s back yard and bent down to retrieve it when it bounded back to him. “Freaking New Mexico!”

“Watch your mouth!” His grandmother admonished in broken English with a heavy Italian accent. “And if you keep complaining about being picked to play a game for a living and I’m a gonna break’a you face.”

“I’m not complaining about playing, grandma.” Sal replied as he continued to throw the tennis ball roughly against the fence. “I’m complaining about where I’m playing.” Sal’s grandma crossed her arms and fixed him with a cold stare. “I live on Staten Island. I grew up a Yankee fan and wanted to be a Yankee. They even had a chance to get me. They even told me they were going to take me at the end of the round if I was still there. Instead I end up across the country playing for some scrub expansion team.” He finished angrily as he threw the ball again.

“Everything all right out here?” Sal’s mom asked suspiciously as she joined his grandmother.

“Ungrateful! He’s doing nothing but complaining about playing a game.” Grandma said hotly before Sal could say anything.

Sal stopped throwing the ball, placed his hands on his hips and looked at his mom. “I really thought I was going to New York.” He said a little less edgy and more disappointed.

“Well you’re not the only one that’s bummed out about not going to New York. We were all hoping you were going to stay local.” His mother said before she smiled malevolently. “It may have even of been ok if it was the Mets.”

Sal cringed. “I would have quit.”

“See now. You don’t feel that way about New Mexico now, do you?” His mother asked.

Sal heaved a deep sigh as his expression softened. “I’m going to make sure they never forget the mistake they made by passing on me.”
Cody was trying to have a conversation with two of his friends in the noisy frat house where there was currently a party going on. They were able to start their conversation, but had to pause when a ‘chug’ chant broke out when someone started doing a keg stand.

“We’re going to miss you around here, Cody.” One of his friends said as he saluted him with a beer bottle before taking a swallow.

“I’m not going anywhere yet, Aaron. I still have to finish the season. And aren’t you graduating?” Cody asked.

Aaron shrugged. “In a year or two depending on how lazy I’m feeling.”

“Aaron and I are going to come out and see your games once you start playing. We figure it should be an easy drive from here.” Cody’s other friend said.

“Steve, it’s a twelve hour drive from LA to Albuquerque.” Cody replied with an incredulous look.

“Whatever, bro. We’re still going. I wouldn’t want to miss one of my best friends playing big league ball.” Steve said as all three clanked their bottles and drank.

“So what happens after the college season’s over? Where are you going?” Aaron asked.
Cody was about to answer when he was interrupted. A girl he knew approached him, placed her hands on his knees and leaned over to face him. The shirt she was wearing was loose and Cody could see clearly down it.

“Hey, baby. I heard that you got drafted to play baseball or something.” She said with a predatory look.

Cody was sure she was giving him an eyeful on purpose so he kept his eyes down for a few moments before he looked up. “Yeah, Denice, I did.”

Denice wasn’t Cody’s girlfriend but, they managed to keep each other company on lonely nights.

“Congratulations.” She said seductively as she leaned in closer. “Feel like celebrating?”

Cody smiled and was about to say yes, but another buddy of his came bounding up to them before he could. “Bro’s! Dave just got back from San Diego and he has some killer Hydro. We’re about to go down to the basement and get seriously baked.” He said and laughed a stoner’s laugh. “You guys want to hit it?”

“I’m in.” Steve said as he stood up and Aaron followed. But Denice still had Cody pinned down.

“Man, baseball tests for that stuff.” Cody said as Denice let him up but stayed close. “I can’t really be doing that stuff anymore.”

“You’re not there yet, bro.” The newcomer said with another laugh.

Cody sighed. “Save me a rip or two. Denice and I are going to go and…hit something else first.” He said as he and Denice slipped away.
Abbey hung up her phone and set it down on the coffee table in her apartment as she reached for the TV remote and turned up the volume just as the MLB commissioner reached the podium and announced that she had just been drafted by the Albuquerque Roadrunners. Abbey held her chin in her hands a she frowned. There was a stunned silence that found its way through her TV set as the broadcasters were caught so off guard by the pick that they didn’t know what to say.

Her heart sunk as one of the analysts finally found his voice and seemed to be doing his very best to try and put Abbey down as he picked apart her game. Her frown deepened as she continued, for some reason, to listen. After another minute she was getting ready to shut the TV off but looked up as her apartment door opened and her roommate walked in.

Her roommate was carrying a couple shopping bags and greeted Abbey cheerfully as she entered the apartment and closed the door. Abbey spared her only a glace as she grunted a greeting and returned to the TV.

“What’s wrong?” Her roommate asked as she put her bags down and looked at the TV after not getting a response. On the TV there was a picture of Abbey smiling back at her and a graphic showing that she had just been drafted. Her expression changed as she became cheery again. “Abbey! That’s fantastic. You’re going to be the first woman to play in a pro league.”

“Not according to the jerk sitting on the right.” Abbey said with a scowl and an edge behind her voice. “He thinks I should just stay in the women’s league and that there’s no place for a female on a major league roster.”

“He doesn’t know your game very well than does he?” Her roommate said as she sat down next to Abbey. “There’s been talk for years that, if a woman did make it to the majors, it would be you. Don’t listen to what that guy said. You should be elated.”

Abbey managed to smile. “I ‘am excited, Sue. But, I don’t want to become some kind of side show whenever I pitch. I want to succeed.”

“I don’t think you’re going to be able to avoid that. It’s going to be a circus even on days when you don’t pitch.” Sue paused briefly. “Did you speak to the owners?”

“They called me right before they made the pick.” Abbey replied and continued with a smile when Sue prompted her for details. “They think I can pitch at that level and be successful. They promised me they weren’t drafting me as some kind of stunt and even agreed to put an escape clause in my contract when I sign it. I can opt out any time in my first year if I’m not comfortable.”

Sue smiled and nudged Abbey. “Are you going to play?”

Abbey nodded and smiled. “As soon as the woman’s league is over I’m singing with the Roadrunners.”

Author:  scott0530 [ Sun Apr 08, 2018 9:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Albuquerque Roadrunners

Albuquerque Journal Sports
Breaking Down Roadrunners Draft
By Doug Mosley

The Roadrunners got most of their draft right. They took the best prospect in the draft first overall, stole a potential star pitcher in the second and grabbed a potential leadoff man in the third. Their last pick, however, not only raised some eyebrows, but already has some people questioning weather ownership really knows what they’re doing. Here’s a look at the players acquired by Albuquerque in this year’s draft along with scouting reports I was able to compile while speaking to GM’s and scouts around the league.

Jason Piersol (R/R) – SS/ College: Nebraska/ Age: 18/ Hometown: Lincoln, NE
Considered the best player in the draft and only a sophomore, Albuquerque finds themselves with a player many scouts say is a can’t miss talent that is going to be one of the best players in the game when he develops. A solid defender, throws the ball very accurately, and possesses good speed. Piersol also has the potential to become a power hitter at a premium position.

Sal Garlisi (L/L) – P/ College: Clemson/ Age: 21/ Hometown: Staten Island, NY
Everyone in the draft world had the Yankees taking the local kid at the end of the first round, but passed and took Andrew Brackman instead. Garlisi is a four year starter at Clemson. The hard throwing lefty tops out in the mid-nineties and also has a twelve-to-six curveball, slider and has started to develop and two-seam fastball. Albuquerque plans to have Garlisi in their opening day rotation next spring, but will probably be the team’s third starter assuming they sign veteran free agents.

Cody Zeller (R/R) – CF/ College: Cal & USC/ Age 22/ Hometown: Bakersfield, CA
Zeller is a speedster and a solid defender who should start next spring as Albuquerque’s everyday centerfielder and leadoff hitter. An aggressive fielder and base stealer that one scout told me not to be surprised if he’s among the leaders in stolen bases his rookie year, but to not expect much in the way of power. Zeller does come with some baggage. He was dismissed from Cal after being arrested on drug charges before transferring to USC. Albuquerque will need to make sure he stays clean.

Abbey Baker (R/R) – P/ College: None/ Age 22/ Hometown: Santa Fe, NM
When Allure CEO Karen Tipman created a new women’s baseball league back in 2002, Abbey Baker had just graduated high school and signed on immediately with the Chicago Winds. Baker has dominated the league ever since. A good fastball to go along with a forkball, slider and curveball. No doubt the first woman in MLB history will help put fans in the seats both at home and on the road but, can she help this team win? Scouts disagree on that fact and most believe she will be a reliever if she can pass AAA.

Author:  scott0530 [ Tue Apr 10, 2018 6:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Albuquerque Roadrunners

“Mr. Intensity”
Part 5: Late June 2007, Durham, North Carolina

Dawson and Santeri had been trying to navigate through the tunnels and walkways beneath Durham Bulls Athletic Park for the last twenty minutes as they attempted to locate the exit to field level. Eventually they gave up and found a custodian who pointed them in the right direction. A few minutes later they exited the tunnels and emerged in the home team’s dugout. It was a bright, mid-afternoon and there were only a few players lingering in the dugout. The rest of the team was currently out on the field either taking batting or fielding practice.

“So, where’s the guy were looking for?” Santeri asked as he and Dawson exited the dugout and stopped after a few steps.

“Davis! You better hustle harder than that or else the only ball you’ll be playing will be in a Friday night beer league! Move your ass!”

“That’s him.” Dawson said as he spotted a man standing halfway between the first base line and the dugout. He started walking towards the man, but Santeri stopped him.

“Are you sure about this guy? He just laid into his right fielder for not catching a fly ball in practice.” Santeri said with a frown.

Dawson smiled crookedly. “And here you keep telling me you don’t know baseball.” He joked before he started walking again. “He didn’t get the nickname ‘Mr. Intensity’ for being soft.”

“Harris! Get in front of the damn ball, don’t backhand it! The next time I see you doing that you’ll be practicing without a glove!” The man barked at his second baseman as Dawson and Santeri approached.

The man they were walking towards was a shade over six feet tall and was wearing white baseball pants and a light, pullover blue jacket, a ball cap and what Dawson assumed were sunglasses since he could only see an arm resting on the man’s ear.

“Excuse me, Billy Radowski.” Dawson said as they approached.

Billy glanced over his shoulder briefly as he looked over Dawson and Santeri briefly from head to toe before turning back to face the field. “Can I help you, gentleman?”

“Yeah, I’m Dawson Benfield and this is Santeri Varra. We’re here to speak with you regarding our open manager’s position in Albuquerque.” Dawson replied as he and Santeri stopped next to him.

“Funny, I never got a call from your offices regarding your interest. Or a call from either of your two.” Billy replied sounding like he was being pestered.

“We were in the neighborhood and decided a visit in person would be a more personal way of meeting.” Dawson continued coolly.

“Somehow I doubt that.” Billy replied not taking his eyes off practice. “Durham’s a long way from Alb… Ahh come on Smith! You’re a power hitter! What’s with the dinky grounders to short!? It’s batting practice! You should be hitting someone in the head who’s walking out of the courthouse across the street!” Dawson was grinning trying not to laugh, but he saw that Santeri was looking even more skeptical. “Sorry about that, but some of these guys need to be reminded to stay focused.” Billy finished as he instantly calmed down to speak with Dawson again.

“That’s one of the main reasons we want you to manage for us.” Dawson said taking advantage of Billy’s explanation for being rough with his player. “When you played you were always fiery, focused. You were a utility guy and were always ready to play when your number was called.”

“Wish I could have hit like him though.” Billy replied as the player he had just yelled at hit a couple balls in a row hard. “Never did hit much.”

“We’re a young team so we’re going to need to concentrate on the fundamentals: Fielding, running the bases, making sure we’re aware of game situations. Those are all things you excel at.” Dawson replied and felt weird about pitching Billy to himself.

“You must know something about what you’re doing as a manager. After all, Durham’s won the International League championship the last two years.” Santeri followed up and Dawson looked surprised to see that Santeri was aware of that fact.

There was a prolonged silence and Dawson was sure Billy was giving their offer some thought when he saw a pair of infielders miss an easy double play and Billy didn’t react.

“You played every position on the field.” Dawson added, taking advantage of the silence. “Like I said, we have a young team, you can help mentor our guys the right way to play every position, where to be and when to be there. Being able to teach all those skills… quite frankly, it’s invaluable.”

If Dawson thought Billy was thinking about his proposition before, he was sure he had Billy hooked when he finally took his eye off the field and turned to face Dawson and Santeri.

“I’d love to manage a big league team, but I have more than myself to think of here. I have my wife and two kids to consider.” Billy replied. “We’ve lived here in North Carolina since I retired and started managing the Bulls, over four years now. And my oldest is about to start kindergarten.”

“We understand that just picking up your family and moving can’t be an easy thing.” Santeri said sympathetically. “And we’d both understand it if you needed some time to talk our proposition over with your family.”

Billy nodded before continuing seriously. “I manage my way and I set my own lineups based on who I believe gives the team the best chance at winning. I don’t give a crap how much money a player makes. If someone’s hurting the team, they can take a seat. And I don’t want any grief about how hard I’ am on players. My players will understand how hard they have to work to keep a roster spot and to win ball games.”

“Billy, if I wanted a manager who was soft and didn’t give a crap, I wouldn’t have bothered visiting you in person.” Dawson replied with a smile.

Billy kept his stern expression and extended his hand. “Give me a week.”

“We can do that.” Dawson replied shaking his hand before Billy repeated the gesture with Santeri.

Dawson supplied Billy with a contact number for Carissa, so they could setup a meeting to discuss a formal agreement if Billy decided to manage, before he and Santeri made their way back to the dugout to leave the field.

“You sure about this guy?” Santeri asked.

Before Dawson could answer Billy was already yelling at one of his players again.

“Oh, yeah. He’s our guy.”

Author:  scott0530 [ Wed Apr 11, 2018 10:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Albuquerque Roadrunners

Albuquerque Journal Sports
Roadrunners Introduce Draft Class
By Doug Mosley

The Roadrunners formally introduced their draft picks this afternoon at Albuquerque Park as the team wasted no time in preparing for its first off season. Roadrunner Co-CEO’s Dawson Benfield and Santeri Varra presented all their draft picks with kerseys and posed for pictures before taking questions from a media presence that was larger than normal for a simple introduction.

The reason for the abundant number of media was obvious to see as the majority of the questions coming from the press core were directed at Abbey Baker, who will become the first woman to play in the majors this spring. The sports reporters present only seemed to have one question on their mind and must have asked it a hundred times: “How does it feel to be the first woman in history to be playing in the majors?”

“It’s all now just starting to sink in.” Baker said graciously. “It’s an honor to be a part of the Roadrunners organization and to be the first woman in baseball. But, I haven’t played any games yet. I still need to earn a roster spot. Skip’s (Manager Billy Radowski) not going to put me on the twenty-five man if I don’t earn it.”

Fair enough. But even through the deluge of questions for Baker, some reporters managed to have questions for the other players drafted by Albuquerque. “I was wondering if the rest of us were going to get to speak.” Sal Garlisi said dryly when he was asked about being passed up by the Yankees. “I grew up a huge Yankees fan, but now I’m the biggest fan Albuquerque has. I’m just waiting for or schedule to be released so I can circle the dates we play New York.”

Cody Zeller may have had to answer the toughest questions of the day as reporters kept bringing up his narcotics arrest from 3 years ago and his dismissal from Cal before transferring to USC. “It was a dumb mistake and it’s been tough putting that poor judgement behind me.” Zeller said when asked of the arrest. “I’m just trying to focus now on working hard and making this team out of spring.”

First round pick Jason Piersol was all smiles as he answered questions. The first round pick was grinning from ear to ear the moment he walked out on sage and was excited at the prospect of playing ball. “I’m thrilled. When you’re a kid and you say things like ‘I want to be a baseball player’ and then it actually happens? It’s a dream come true. I’m extremely fortunate to be able to be playing baseball at this level.”

Benfield ended the press conference by addressing the remaining openings on his coaching staff. “Now that the season is over, Billy and I will be working together to put together a staff. Billy knows what he’s looking for in his coaching staff and we’ve already put together a list of potential candidates. Our goal is to have our staff filled out by Thanksgiving.”

Author:  scott0530 [ Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Albuquerque Roadrunners

“Second Chances”
Part 6: November 20th 2007, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Dawson and Santeri had managed to completely move their offices and headquarters out of their small, dingy office they were leasing in Massachusetts and into their new offices located inside Albuquerque Park. Since moving in, Dawson and Santeri had been working almost non-stop over the last few weeks with Billy to complete the work needed to fill their coaching staffs at both the major and minor league levels. The three had worked late into the night the previous evening, but had finally filled out the remained of their staff, leaving Carissa to draw up a press release for the signing, which was released this morning, and to setup an introductory press conference to introduce their new coaches the following week.

After working in his office all night and sleeping on a couch, Dawson had now wondered across the street to a small café and was sitting at an outside table sipping his morning coffee and munching on a bagel while he was going over roster data. Dawson was also looking over player data from other teams as he was preparing for the upcoming expansion draft. Knowing he was on a limited budget, Dawson had been scouring scouting and stat sheets trying to find young players, who were going to be on reasonable contracts, which could help contribute to the team right away.

He was in the middle of marking a report of a pitcher he liked when he hear someone call his name. It was beginning to become common place that people here in Albuquerque would recognize either him or Santeri when they were out, so Dawson wasn’t surprised that someone had said his name.

Dawson looked up from his laptop and he saw a woman about his age with dark hair and a professional business suit approaching him. She had a curious expression on her face at first, but an understanding look began to grow in her eyes as she smiled.

“Hey, Dawson! I haven’t seen you in forever.” The woman said as she approached.

Dawson recognized the woman as well as he smiled and stood up to greet her. “Rebecca, hi. How are you?” He said as he and Rebecca hugged awkwardly. “I don’t think I’ve seen you since high school. What are you doing all the way out here in Albuquerque?”

“I took a job as an associate with a law firm out here a few years ago.” Rebecca replied.

“New Mexico, huh? You certainly picked somewhere a long ways away from home to move too.” Dawson replied.

“I hated the winters back home and wanted to move someplace a bit warmer.” Rebecca replied. “I was going to go to California, but I moved here instead. Albuquerque’s a nice city and I really like living out here.”

“Well it’s nice to see a friendly face. You’re definitely the last person I would have expected to see out here.” Dawson replied.

“Well I can’t say that I didn’t expect the same.” Rebecca said as she gestured to the stadium behind them. “I heard you and Santeri brought the Roadrunners.”

“Oh, yeah.” Dawson said with a nervous laugh. “That’s a long story.”

Dawson invited Rebecca to join him and she took a seat at the table as she and Dawson spent almost the next hour catching up on their lives since the last time they saw each other. Rebecca and Dawson exchanged phone numbers and agreed they would get together again once the holidays were over.

As Rebecca said goodbye and walked away from the table. Dawson was smiling inward and was having trouble concentrating on his stats and scouting reports once he went back to his laptop.

He and Rebecca had been friends all through high school and, weather Rebecca knew it or not, Dawson had always had a crush on her. He had never had the courage to actually admit it to her back then as he always seemed to be watching her from the outside. It was worse whenever Rebecca started seeing someone new, it always ripped his insides apart that it wasn’t him with his arm around her shoulder making her laugh.

Perhaps it was fate that brought them both to the same city and that this was an opportunity for a second chance for him to say how much he cared.

However, Dawson’s daydreaming was interrupted once he looked at his watched. He cursed as he gathered his things and shoved them roughly into his laptop bag and started hurriedly across the street. He had lost track of time and needed to be at the airport in an hour to fly back home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. His last but of respite before spring training started.

Author:  scott0530 [ Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Albuquerque Roadrunners

Albuquerque Journal Sports
Roadrunners Select Four in Expansion Draft
By Doug Mosley

The Roadrunners selected four players in this year’s expansion draft adding two position players and two pitchers.

Mike Bruner 1B (L/L) 24/ Previous Team: Atlanta Braves
Bruner can hit but may be a bit of a below average defender, which goes against what Albuquerque wants to do. We’ll see if he improves his fielding skills this spring.

Kyle Garrett Lf/RF (L/L) 24/ Previous Team: Washington Nationals
Garrett can play both corner outfield positions and do it well. He has above average speed. He has sneaky power and should be able to drive the ball to both gaps.

Evan Andrews P (L) 25/ Previous Team: LA Dodgers
A mid-nineties fastball to go along with a slider and changeup. Andrews will start for the Roadrunners either as the #1 or #2 depending on the spring Sal Garlisi has.

Brad Lawson P {R} 25/ Previous Team: San Francisco Giants
With an abundance of young, good pitchers, the Giants opted to not protect Lawson in the draft. The righty throws in the low nineties and have developed a splitter and a knuckle curve.

Albuquerque Journal Sports
Roadrunners Announce Coaching Staff
By Doug Mosley

With about eight weeks to go till pitchers and catchers report to Arizona for spring training, the Roadrunners today announced their coaching staff. The Roadrunners put together a staff of former all-stars and gold glover’s in what owner-GM Dawson Benfield said was “A mix of guys who played the game hard and the right way. We want to focus on the fundamentals of the game and I believe this staff will help us achieve that goal.”

The new staff will look like this:

Billy Radowsi - Manager
Mike Lieberthal - Bench Coach
John Olerud - Hitting Coach
David Cone - Pitching Coach
Devon White - 1B Coach/ OF Coach
Brett Boone - 3B Coach/ IF Coach

Author:  scott0530 [ Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Albuquerque Roadrunners

Phew. So my setup chapters are finally done and I can start getting into things.
I'm going to be writing more about my players than I have been now that I've finished establishing ownership's backstory. Player stories are going to start in my next part as players arrive at spring training (Is there already trouble brewing with two of Albuquerque's key players?) . An update or two and I'll release my complete roster and officially begin playing games. And yes, there will be game log updates as well. I'm going to do at least one per every turn through my rotation and maybe a second.
For everyone who's been reading through the log, thanks for your patience and for following. Games will start soon.

Author:  Baseballteen9500 [ Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Albuquerque Roadrunners

I'm really impressed with the value you put into the words you are writing. I can't wait to see how things start to come together for this young squad with the grizzled veteran manager. Great job so far.

Author:  scott0530 [ Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Albuquerque Roadrunners

Thanks, BBT. I really appreciate the compliment.
As for the grizzled vet, he's not taking any crap. I won't say more than that b/c I don't want to spoil the next part that I'm working on.

Author:  scott0530 [ Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Albuquerque Roadrunners

Spring Training 2008 Part 1
Scottsdale, AZ

It was something you didn’t see much of anymore, though the Albuquerque coaching staff was happy to see it. It was mid-February and, not only had pitchers and catchers reported for the start of training camp, but so had all of the teams position players. With the team being so young and in its first year of play, everyone was excited to get the spring season started.

Albuquerque’s home for the spring was located in Scottsdale, AZ and they would be sharing the Salt River Fields with the Rockies and hometown Diamondbacks. Since the club didn’t have housing accommodations this season for its players and coaches, they had rented out almost an entire floor in a nearby hotel for the team to use while they were here in Arizona.

The entire team, along with the coaching staff and ownership, were currently in the hotels banquet hall. They were all enjoying a buffet style dinner celebrating the team’s inaugural camp. There were trays of food sitting up against one of the side walls and carving stations, being tended to by the kitchen staff, had cuts of prime rib and roasted chicken.

The team was spread out in the hall as they sat at round tables that sat about five people a piece. The coaching staff and ownership sat at a long banquet table at the front of the hall. There was music being played over the halls sound system, at reasonably soft levels, and the room was also a buzz with conversation as the players were taking this opportunity to get to know their new teammates, since this was the first time they had all been together at the same time.

“I was watching your game on TV. You pitched a great game. I’m sorry you guys didn’t advance.” Sal was saying to Abbey Baker who was sitting at the table with him along with fellow pitchers Evan Andrews and Brad Lawson.

“Yeah, me too. Especially losing to LA. I hate those guys.” Abbey said with a smile as she took a sip of water.

“You’re going to have to find a new team to hate then I guess.” Evan said with a laugh.

“I don’t know why but I can’t stand Colorado.” Abbey replied. “Must be a division thing since I grew up a D-Backs fan. How about you?”

“Well we’re going to be in the AL West so I guess every other team in our division. How about you Brad?” Evan finished.

“Any team from Chicago.” Brad replied as he swallowed his steak and looked at Abbey. “No offence.”

“None taken.” She replied with a smile. “What about you, Sal?”

“That’s easy. Boston. Can’t stand them.” He replied promptly. “Though you can put the Yankees on the list now too. I was super disappointed when they didn’t take me.”

“Sounds like you don’t want to be here.” Abbey said curiously.

“Nah, nothing like that.” Sal said with a smile. “If they don’t want me, I don’t want them. I’ve already got the dates we play them circled on the calendar. I’m going to be bugging Billy to let me make a start every time we see them.”

“Being out here in New Mexico is something I bet you weren’t expecting then right, Mike?” Kyle Garrett asked of his fellow expansion draftee Mike Bruner.

Mike shrugged. “I figured I was going to be on the move once they signed Texiera, there was no room left for me at that point. Suits me just fine though. I’ll probably be starting here and, if I stayed in the Atlanta system, it would have been sent back to the minors. You could have started for Washington, though.”

“They liked Kerns and Pena better I guess.” Garrett replied with a shrug of his own as he looked at Cody Zeller who was sitting to his left. He had his phone sitting out on the table and kept looking at it. “Are you expecting your phone to run away? You keep looking at it every ten seconds.”

“I’m waiting for my boys to text me.” Cody replied as he picked up his phone again and shook his head before sending a text and putting it back down. “We’re supposed to be going out somewhere to party. If there are any around here to party.”

“I don’t know if it’s the best idea to be going out and doing that with our first practice early tomorrow morning.” Kyle said with a frown.

Cody laughed nonchalantly. “Man, do you have any idea how many games I played in college where I was hungover or still fried from the night before.”

“Maybe if you had toned down the partying you wouldn’t have gotten yourself kicked out of Cal.” Mike said disapprovingly.

Cody ignored him and smiled broadly as he got another text and stood from the table. “As much as I‘d like to stick around, that was my boys. You all have a good night and I’ll see you early in the morning.” He finished as he left the table and headed for the door.

Roadrunners first practice, the next morning.

The sun had risen about an hour ago, but the morning air that hung over the desert town was still dry and cool. The Roadrunners found themselves on one of the fields on the northern end of the complex. The team was lined up in several lines in the outfield as the strength and conditioning coach was leading the team in warmups.

The coaches weaved their way in-between the lines of stretching athletes as they would briefly stop to talk to their players. Billy was also walking among the players as he would stop randomly to speak to some of his players and try and school them a bit as they stretched. He left one of his players and was walking through a middle line when he stopped in his tracks, looked back over his shoulder and started slowly backtracking.

He found the player he was looking for and had him stop stretching. Billy had a stern expression on his face as he quietly addressed his player. Once he got an answer from that player, he had that player follow him as he pulled him from the line and led him a short ways away.

“What do you suppose that’s all about?” Sal asked as he continued to stretch.

“No clue.” Said Jason Piersol who was standing next to him.

“I may have an idea.” Kyle said softly from the row behind Sal.

Sal peeked back when he didn’t get and explanation and saw that Kyle didn’t look happy and neither did Mike standing next to him. “I’m not a mind reader.” Sal said expectedly when Kyle didn’t answer him.

Kyle inclined his head towards Billy and the player. “Cody said something last night at diner about meeting friends to go out partying.”

“So. That’s no big deal. He showed up for practice, didn’t he?” Sean McMillan said as he continued to stretch next to Kyle.

“It will be a big deal if he showed up hung over and still baked.” Mike answered abruptly.

“What!? He went out and got high last night? What a dumb ass.” Sal said as he attempted to keep his voice down.

“He’s going to get us all in trouble if that’s what he did.” Jason replied sounding a bit skittish. “Billy doesn’t play around with that stuff.”

“What are you guys yelling about?” Abbey asked from the line in front of Sal and Jason.

Sal was going to answer but saw that Billy was leading Cody over to where the strength coach was standing. “If you’re right, Jason, I got a bad feeling we’re about to find out.”

Billy interrupted the coach and told him to stop before he addressed the team. “Alright. I need everyone’s attention please.” Billy said and the team could hear the seriousness in Billy’s voice. Cody, for his part, was adverting his eyes and was trying to look around Billy and out onto the road adjacent to the outfield.

“We were going to do some baseball activities today, working on some basics. However those exercises for today are going to be cancelled.” Billy said loudly and severely as the remainder of the coaches joined him at the front of the line. “This is a team, gentleman. If someone makes a mistake on the field that costs us a game, it counts against the entire team and not just that player. Everyone feels the loss. And today we’ve suffered our first loss.” Billy paused and placed a hand on Cody’s shoulder and stared icily at him, causing Cody to drop his gaze. “Mr. Zeller here thought it would be ok to go out last night, party, and show up for practice still smelling like stale alcohol and weed. I don’t need to tell you all how unacceptable that is. Or at least I shouldn’t have to.” Billy stopped looking at Cody and addressed the team as a whole again. “So, since we’re a team, Mr. Zeller’s mistake is not only his own, but it belongs to every one of you here. As punishment we are going to be doing a lot of running and conditioning today starting with running laps around the field, suicide sprints and whatever else I can think of that will keep us moving.”

“How many laps are we running, skip?” Mike asked bravely, voicing the same question everyone was asking.

“Till I tell you to stop.” Billy snapped back. “I don’t tolerate blatant disregard for the rules. And, in this case, a total lack of respect for the uniform you’re all wearing. Hopefully this will be the first and last lesson you’ll all need regarding this matter.” Billy paused for a moment and inspected his squad. “The warning track runs around the entire field. If I catch anyone wandering off of it, I’ll be adding laps. Now, get moving.”

The group begrudgingly headed off and started running. Sal slowed his pace just enough till Cody caught up with him.

“Nice job there Cheech and Chong. Way to go and *(censored)* it up for the rest of us on the first day.” Sal shot sarcastically at Cody when he caught up.

“Go away, Garlisi. I don’t want to hear your mouth.” Cody replied in kind.

“Is that what you told mommy and daddy when you got kicked out of Cal? You seemed to have still not learned your lesson.” Sal said angrily.

“You bring up my parents again, Sal, and I swear I’ll beat the shit out of you.” Cody said matching Sal’s temper.

Sal laughed. “Now you’re the one that’s mad? Like you’re the victim here? You’re the dumb ass that went out last night, got high and showed up smelling like a drunk skunk.”

“On my time, I can do whatever I want.” Cody replied back. “You keep lecturing me and I’ll knock you out right now.”

Sal cut in front of Cody and stopped running, forcing Cody to stop as well, and the two of them came face to face. “Go ahead, take a swing, tough guy. I want to see you try and knock me out.”

This time Cody laughed. “You really want to spend sixty-days on the DL for being a dumbass?”

Before Sal could respond Abbey came up next to him and grabbed his arm to try and get him to leave it alone. “It’s not worth it. And if Billy sees us just standing here, he’ll start adding laps.”

“What are you all standing around for!? Move you’re asses now!” Billy barked loudly right on cue.

Sal threw Cody one last menacing glance as he and Abbey jogged away and Cody followed behind them.

“He’s not wrong, you know.” Jason said as he ran up next to Cody.

“Leave me alone, Jason. I don’t need a lecture form you either” Cody said as he slid his eyes forward.

“Then I won’t give you one.” Jason replied. “But, just know this, your actions effect more than just you. You can’t do whatever you want if you’re going to be a part of this team. Sal may have been the one to say something to you but, I guarantee you, there isn’t one guy running around this field right now who likes you.”

“I wasn’t trying to piss anyone off.” Cody said with a sigh.

“Well you’ve got a lot of work to do to prove, not only to Billy and the rest of the coaches, but to the rest of us that you’re committed to playing the game and not just being a distraction.” Jason didn’t say more and ran ahead of Cody to leave him by himself.

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