Chapter 7 The Dreamers
After our first practice was over, Bolton asked me to meet him at his truck in the parking lot. He said it would give us a chance to get acquainted.
The practice was pretty tame by any standard, 15-20 ground balls, 10 swings in the cage, some 30 yard sprints in the outfield, and then we all took 5 laps around the ball park and took it into the showers. The players admitted it would pick up by Wednesday as Red didn’t want to push it too much early. His hope was everyone came in shape and would not end up lame the first week. Hopefully Andrew’s wrist was only a mild sprain and with some tape to support it, would heal fairly quickly. Everyone else seemed to have no physical complaints as no one went into the trainer’s room at all.
Dave sat quietly in the back of his truck. He’d take a sip from the can then rest his fore-arms on his knees and stare into the floor of the truck bed. He glanced up at me with the most serious look on his face.
“Will you promise to keep what I tell you to yourself,” Dave finally asked? “I’m not sure how Tavy would take our discussing his personal life considering the nature of it all,” he continued.
“Dave, if you feel uncomfortable talking about it then, let’s not. I’m not that big into gossip anyway as his problems don’t have anything to do with me. Remember, I just got here a few days ago,” I stated. I felt I needed to let Dave know that I had no intention of being “Padre” to someone who had taken an instant dislike to me before he even got to know me.
“Bill, it is a little more complicated that the,” Dave went on. “Sooner or later you will become involved if only because of your relationship with the Lollars. Maybe what I have to say will help you understand a very complicated situation, a situation in which there may be no soothing speeches to offer to any of the involved parties. Maybe there is no right or wrongs to what happened. Maybe it was just one big mistake after another,” he finished.
Dave became quiet again. He finished his first beer and reached into the cooler and pulled out two more, setting one of them between my feet. Dave took a couple of large gulps from the new can and wiped the excess from his chin with his shirt sleeve.
“You have any Coke or Pepsi in that cooler of yours,” I asked? I handed him the beer back.
“Ya,” said Bolton, “I keep a few in here for the tea-totallers,” he replied with a smile. He handed me a Coke.
“Have you heard any of the accounts of Bob Lollar’s campus visit,” asked Dave? I informed him I had not.
“Well, the young cheerleader in question that night turned out to be from a southern California family named Tavy,” Dave began.
I had just filled my mouth with Coke when those words made their way to my brain causing a large portion of the liquid to enter my wind pipe. I stopped coughing and in a weak voice asked Dave if this was some kind of a joke. He truthfully stated that he wished he was joking.
“It seemed that both Bob Lollar and Cheryl Tavy had too much to drink that night and that nothing ever happened between them, but neither wanted to talk about it or seemed willing to even try to remember what transpired. Bob was a great guy, still is. He used to come around the ball park with Gus all the time, even took some batting practice with us once in a while. Man could he hit. He could have stepped right into this league out of high school with no problem. But, anyway, after this dorm thing he stopped talking to everyone. He even shut out his parents. Even Gloria, his old girlfriend, couldn’t reach him. When Gloria found out it was Tavy’s sister who was the cheerleader, she burst into the locker room one day and threatened to get even with Tavy for ruining her life with Bob.
It turned out Jon knew nothing about it and called home to get the California version of the story. Cheryl Tavy couldn’t remember what had happened, but the family decided that Bob had to be the instigator since he was probably like all jocks with their hormones out of control. The problem was they didn’t know Bob Lollar. From that point on the Tavys and the Lollars took each other off their respective Christmas card lists.”
“How come Gus never let me in on it,” I broke in? “Did he think I would never hear about it or what”?
“I don’t know,” replied Dave. “I guess they felt it wasn’t worth opening up old wounds. Gus thought one day Bob might play for the Monarchs, and well, that’s all changed for good. You’ve helped fill that void for them. You have taken Bob’s place in that dream. Fate is sure a funny thing. You coming to the team, staying with the Lollars, that’s what set Tavy against you from the start. It had nothing to due with you personally. You could have stayed with anyone else in town and Tavy would not have said boo to you. He figures you have already taken the Lollar’s side.
“I didn’t even know there were sides to take until two seconds ago,” I offered. “This happed years ago. Doesn’t Tavy forgive and forget,”?
“Tavy, never,” replied Dave. “His sister Cheryl went back to school, graduated, and married some law student from Denver. That’s where they live now. Jon’s wife could never get him to drop his dislike for the Lollars. He eventually started even closing himself off from the team. He didn’t seem to have any real enemies, but somebody did a number on him.”
“What did Jon have to do with Bob and Cheryl,” I asked?
“Nothing, not a thing,” stated Dave. “But Tavy felt that anyone that even was civil to Gus was taking his side. We all just wanted to forget it, but not Jon. Then he made the mistake of having one to many lunches with one of the front office girls named Beth Mason….
“Hey, Jonny, how’s it going,” Beth Mason shouts to Jon Tavy in the on-deck circle during batting practice before the game with the Pittsfield Cubs.
“OK, doll,” Jon replies. “Crowd looks pretty good tonight. Maybe I should ask for a raise with all these dollar bills coming in tonight,” Jon jokes.
“Don’t you wish,” said Beth with a big grin on her face. “You and 25 cent beer will always fill the stands,” she concludes.
“Ya, OK, OK, you can let up now,” replied Tavy. “I’ll still try and hit a couple out, even if they’ll be for free. What time is our bus leaving tomorrow for the road trip?”
“Round 2PM I think,” replied Beth. “Don’t worry, I scheduled it around your beauty sleep,” she quipped laughing.
“Thanks, I appreciate that,” said Tavy through a big grin. “As a token of my appreciation lunch is on me tomorrow if you’d like?”
“I don’t think your wife you like us having lunch, do you,” replied Beth?
“She’s in California until after this road trip is over, and it’s only lunch,” stated Jon. “If this is too much for you we don’t HAVE to go? I don’t need any trouble with the wife.”
“NO, I’m sorry,” said Beth sheepishly. “I didn’t mean anything. Lunch would be fun.
“OK, I’ll meet you here at the park at noon sharp,” concluded Jon as he entered the batting cage to take his swings.
“You weren’t kidding last night about that home-run were you,” asked Beth referring to their conversation last night? “You went 3 for 5 with a homerun and the game-winning RBI single in the ninth.”
“Beth, talk is cheap in the batting cage,” said Jon in a chuckle. I just took what the pitcher gave me last night, and last night they gave me fastballs right where I like’em. All mistakes. Good hitters feast on mistakes. Last night was my turn. Now were still on for noon tomorrow, right?” asked Jon already knowing the answer.
“All right, but nothing fancy,” stated Beth. The Blue-Light Diner is just fine. The food is good there.
“The Blue-Light it is,” stated Jon. He turned and began getting serious about his BP. Beth made here way to the press box.
“It’s pretty lonely for a ballplayer’s wife,” Jon began telling Beth at lunch. “Same boring routine every day, lousy apartments, long road trips. It’s even tougher if you don’t like the game of baseball very much. Chris was beginning to miss her family and it had not seemed like a good couple of weeks. She’s almost three months pregnant and its better she do her traveling now,” stated Jon.
“You seem excited, Jon,” said Beth. “Aren’t you at all nervous? It’s a big responsibility bringing up kids these days. So much pressure on kids today, much more than when we were growing up,” Beth concluded.
“Ya, I know what you mean,” replied Jon. “I’ll just have to try and be there for them. I think good parents can make all the difference in the world.”
“I’m sure you will, Jon,” Beth stated. “It will be tough with you playing ball, but I’m sure you will pull it off. Chris will be a great mother, too.”
“Did you know she comes from a family of 5 kids,” added Jon? “We don’t want that many, but she sure had the opportunity for crisis management in a family that size. There’s little she isn’t prepared for…What do you say, let’s eat?”
“Chris, what are you talking about? It was only lunch for Pete’s sake. Nothing is going on between Beth mason and me, not now, not ever,” said Jon strongly through the phone. “Who ever told you that is lying. I don’t know who would tell such a lie like that either. Who told you we went to lunch anyway? What do you mean you don’t know? Did they call or send you a note? Don’t hang up on me Chris…talk to me….I’m telling you the truth…nothing ever happened between me and Beth or anyone else …Chris you don’t mean that…..You don’t really want a divorce….not over a lie….what do you mean I should have thought about it before I went to lunch with Beth…I didn’t do anything but have lunch with the girl….there wasn’t anything else…why can’t you and why won’t you believe me,”! CLICK!
“Tavy was never the same after his wife left him,” Dave added. “Resentment and anger seemed to be his only personality traits. He viewed everyone as his enemy. Maybe he even thought one of us told on him, but we didn’t. I don’t think there was ever anything between him and Beth. It just seems impossible for a man to have a girl-friend without tons of baggage coming along. A close friend, no way. I think Jon was just a little naïve about people and their perception of others. I think bob Lollar was the same way.
“Dave, you mean that Jon never found out who lied about him and Beth,” I asked?
“He never had a clue,” replied Dave as he shook his head. “I didn’t either. Why would someone what to hurt Jon that bad?”
“Maybe they didn’t think it would go that far with Jon’s wife demanding a divorce,” I added with my Perry Mason like wisdom. “Maybe they just thought Chris would be mad for a few days and it just might be a minor marital thorn for a while?”
“You could be right, Bill,” added Dave. “I don’t have any clues anymore. But one thing for sure, Tavy will make things pretty tense once in awhile until he puts this thing behind him, if he ever can.”
“I’m sure not many could deal with it,” I added. “Not the pressure of that and trying to make the NY Monarchs like Tavy is trying to do,” I say sadly. “I’m not sure I would not react just like Tavy is doing right now, myself. It might be a trade to a team out of this league might help.”
“Red had thought about that,” added Dave. “But Jon has too much talent and most teams are reluctant to give up too much for any class AA prospect. The Monarchs are not ready to let Tavy go just yet.”
Dave seemed to understand the situation pretty well. Everyone was caught between a rock and a hard place, Tavy, Chris, the Lollars, the team, Red Dodge, The Monarchs, and now me. What a mess.