"Rise and shine, kid. You've been blessed with a mid-season visit by the only magic fairy who grants wishes for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the greatest sports franchise in the history of Earth. But I haven't got all fucking night."
I rolled over and turned on the lamp. It was a little after three o'clock in the morning and a gruff, pot-bellied pixie was waiting for me to make, according to legend, four wishes. He was also wearing cleats.
"OK, OK, sorry. My first wish is to get one million wishes," I finally said, half-heartedly trying to sell him on the pioneering concept of a four-year-old child.
He stared me down for a good two seconds before the backside of his right hand met the left side of my face, creating a sensation that quelled any lingering concern whether I was dreaming or Incepting.
"OK, smartass. You get three wishes, now. If you want to find out how many wishes -- and slaps -- an asshole gets, then keep running your mouth like Kurt Bevacqua, that two-hundred fuc---"
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I want a better glove up the middle off the bench," I said quickly while the breeze from his wings stung my face with each flap.
He reared back to show me the Bevacqua special, wings buzzing like a hummingbird. I flinched.
"Look, look, I'm just saying we need a better guy off the bench for second base and shortstop in the late innings," I pleaded.
"Go on, kid," he said as he came to a rest at the foot of the bed, suddenly wearing a blue Dodgers warm-up jacket to cover his wings.
"Don Mattingly is going to double-switch no matter what, he's obsessed with it. He's also hell bent on giving Skip Schumaker playing time at second base at the expense of Mark Ellis or playing Nick Punto at either spot up the middle, since even Hanley Ramirez is fair game to be subbed out in Mattingly's world."
|This is a problem. Schumaker, Punto and Jerry Hairston can play|
many positions, but none with authority.
Dodgers / Jon SooHoo
"I gotcha. You want a good Venezuelan shortstop off the bench, let the son of a bitch hit worse than Bevacqua for all we care, as long as we're not on edge with every ground ball in the 9th inning, since Donnie's going to do his thing no matter what. That's one."
I leaned forward and sat up. This foul-mouthed fairy was only a foot tall and reeked of garlic, but he still had the power to address two more concerns about the Dodgers.
"I want to be overly cautious with Matt Kemp. In fact, we shouldn't think twice about shutting him down for the season, if that's what it takes."
His jacket flew off as his wings furiously flapped again. He turned his hat around and got nose-to-nose, kicking pixie dust all over my chest and face.
"You listen to me, you little twerp! The Bison is an outstanding Dodger who busts his ass every day and wants nothing more than to---"
"I know, I know," I interrupted, trying to calm him down. "That's the problem, he'll keep pushing himself and tweaking this and we'll wait for a test on this, analyze that and brace this -- it's too much! He had a very serious shoulder injury last year and he's going to set himself up for another major surgery this offseason if he screws up now, and for what?"
|Tommy and The Bison|
Dodgers / Jon SooHoo
"You're right, we're starting to figure things out without him and he hasn't contributed all year anyway, unfortunately. We're a helluva lot stronger with him, but we've got seven more years of his prime career under contract to think about, right?"
"Exactly," I said, relieved I could reason with the pot-bellied pixie. My cheek thumped on. "And for my third wish, I want Mattingly to stop bunting all the damn ti--"
"Yeah, yeah, kid," he said dismissively as he rose above the bed and moved toward the bedroom door. "Bullpen help, exactly what we need. There's your third wish. Good wishes, all of them. I'll see what I can do."
He reached the door and turned to face me as if he was waiting for something.
"Come on. You making me a sandwich or what?"