"Hey Ben, we've got to talk - step into my office when you're done changing."
The Milwaukee Brewer starting pitcher and Springfield Isotope 5th round draft selection walked in a few minutes later.
"There's no easy way to say this, and I apologize in advance if I sound flippant - but I have bad news and worse news for you... First, I'm benching you this week-"
Ben had the look of someone who was half-shocked - someone who was preparing himself for the worst case of bad news - but was assured that he had nothing to worry about... He had thought wrong. He still had more to be wrong about-
"-and you've been traded to Commie Bastards."
Chien-Ming Wang was recently activated by the Yankees off the DL. He was slated to start Tuesday's game, meaning last year's 19 game winner and Cy Young runner-up would have two starts in the following week. Everybody on the 'Tope staff was expecting him to see action immediately in the starting lineup. However, with Mark Buehrle also having two starts (and fresh off a no-hitter last week) there were going to be a lot of turnover in the next week's lineup.
The truth is, Ben let his ego cloud his future. He was the first pitcher selected by his manager. He called him his "ace" before Opening Day. Would he really place Danny Haren above him on the depth chart? He did. Ben's ERA had quickly got to 5.00 (which appears worse if you consider his first start was a complete game one-hit shutout). Danny's ERA is 1.44 and looking ahead at another two start week (just like Wang and Buehrle).
After emotionally catching his breath Ben said, "I thought you would've gotten rid of John [Lackey of the Angels] first?" The writing on the wall was no longer penned with invisible ink for him... and more of it was appearing... He knew the answer before his mouth closed.
"Nobody really recognizes John around the league... People know you... You're an American hero, right?" Ben slumped in his chair - his performance in the Olympics felt like lifetimes ago. "I need to make a move - and I have to use good players to get good players. You see the standings, I can't afford to wait any-"
Clad from thighs to neck in black Under Armour, Gary Sheffield forcefully walked toward the manager. Blinded by the odd reflection of the fluorescent lights off the shimmery black nondescript material - and shock - the manager was frozen.
Yelling and borderline incoherent, "You motherfucker trader bitch! Traded?" At this time the manager realized that he had a Louisville Slugger in his right hand.
Gary's good friend Barry Bonds had leaked the news to him. Bonds had a monster week to help send the Isotopes to a second straight loss. It must've been in a post game handshake did Barry slip him the news. God only knows how he found out?
Yelling back, but still clearly intimidated, the manager said, "You're batting one-nineteen buddy, POINT ONE ONE NINE!
Gary then took the bat and cross checked the manager against the wall, pinning him: torso to wood. "You suck Shef - what? You stop juicing?"
The bat was taken off his chest, but this was only to use the knob of the bat to poke him in the gut - which made him double over in pain... His head was now just below Gary's belt - if he was wearing a belt that is...
An instant after Gary began a back-swing there was a knock at the door.
It was Vladimir Guerrero, dressed in a custom-tailored three piece light grey suit. After the knock, and eye contact with Gary was established, Vlad calmly continued his way out of the locker room.
Sheffield dropped the bat. "I'm sorry Shef."
"Yeah... yeah... (deep sigh)... ok ok ok."
And with that, Shef walked away.
"I kinda was hoping he'd swing." The voice of Ben had surprised the manager, he had forgotten he was still slumped in the chair.
"Well, I'd have a little worse than a one in ten chance of him missing, right?" Ben let out a pathetic chuckle as he collected himself and walked out of the office.