KEVIN TOWERS, general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks
TONY LA RUSSA, Chief Baseball Officer for the Arizona Diamondbacks
A relatively small private meeting room, roughly 8 feet x 8 feet, lit brightly by a fluorescent glow that is somehow entirely yellow and entirely blue. A small square table sits in the middle of the room. On one side sits Tony La Russa. La Russa’s wardrobe is a sharp, casual one. His lavender polo shirt is crisp, without wrinkles, and pinned on the left breast is a small, bronzed Arizona Diamondbacks logo. Sitting directly across from La Russa is Kevin Towers. Towers wears so much hair gel that when he sweats, as he’s presently doing quite profusely, the smell of his hair product fills the room. K.T. is wearing a thin white polo shirt, and the outline of his black undershirt’s graphic – an eagle riding a motorcycle flying a Don’t Tread on Me flag – shows clearly through.
TONY: So, Kevin, I think you and I both know why we’re here. The team isn’t performing well this year, and my purpose is to evaluate why that is and fix it so that we have a better chance in the upcoming seasons. That said, we need to talk about where you stand within the organization’s long term approach.
(Kevin does not respond. He holds his cell phone under the table and discreetly plays Clash of Clans.)
TONY: Kevin? How about we focus on this discussion. Tell me briefly about your vision for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
KEVIN: Well hey, lookit Tony. This year’s been pretty rough, right? Next year, though, can be really big for us. I’ve got a couple of aces up the sleeve, if you know what I mean. You know, like pitching aces, but it’s also a figure of speech. Heh, that was a double metaphor.
TONY: Let’s talk about these aces, then.
KEVIN: Ok, so there’s the Bradley kid – Archie Bradley. There’s a lot of interest around the league in this guy; he’s the one everybody calls about. Then we also have this other kid, Blayne Weller. I honestly don’t know much about the guy, but one of the dorks from our nerd department told me he’s starting to get some attention on the internet. Some basement-dweller on graphs.com or whatever said he has a nasty curveball, threw a no-hitter, and struck out 16 batters in a single game.
TONY: 16 strikeouts? That’s impressive.
KEVIN: Yeah, but he didn’t hit anyone.
(Kevin becomes noticeably aggravated.)
TONY: Ok, these guys sound good. You called them aces up your sleeve. What’s the plan?
KEVIN: I think if we really sweeten the deal – ya know, maybe throw in some cash – we could spin both guys for Logan Morrison. That guy’s a helluva player – really grinds out at bats, plays the game the right way. He’s the kind of dude who grits his teeth to chew his grits.
(Tony is silent. He doesn’t know it, but his mouth is hung open.)
KEVIN: Uh, Tony?
TONY (startled): Oh, uh, yeah. So, and what about this McCutchen situation? Are you prepared to back off those eye-for-an-eye comments? We’re under a lot of pressure to not only to make real changes in our approach there, but to do so very publicly. This is a P.R. disaster.
(Kevin pulls an 18″ cheese-filled corn dog out of his pocket and eats it in two bites.)
KEVIN: I don’t think so, boss. Right now it’s more important than ever to stand our ground. If someone hits, uh, who’s our best player now? Aaron Hill? If a pitch gets away from our opponent’s pitcher and clips Aaron Hill on the wrist, I say we throw directly at the head of that opponent’s best guy. And why stop there? Let’s throw at the guy’s grandparents. Does he have a baby? Let’s throw at the baby, too.
(Tony La Russa perks up, smiles.)
TONY: Kevin, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
(Both men stand up and begin their exit. As La Russa opens the door, the room’s adjacent hallway is overcome by the terrible smell of Axe Whatever Messy Look Paste.)