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Scenes From An Offseason, Volume 6

Reviewing the winter meetings, through the magic of the screenplay.

Tom Szczerbowski

SCENE: The Phillies' suite at the baseball winter meetings. Pat Gillick, the club's senior adviser to the GM, wanders through a room that's filled with the detritus of four days of meetings. Half-eaten deli platters and discarded paperwork litter the room, and the MLB Network blares from a TV in the background. Gillick, pacing, is checking his phone for updates.

GM Ruben Amaro enters, suddenly, with a triumphant look on his face.

AMARO: We got him! Heck, we got ourselves a deal. Paperwork's being faxed to the league office right now.

GILLICK: Who'd we sign? Did we get Bourn? What's the deal?

AMARO: Nope! I pulled off a trade. I think you're gonna like this one, Pat, I really do. I was talking to Terry Ryan, and I tell you, suddenly things just came together. It was like one of those Magic Eye things where you can't see the picture, and then bam! There's a kitty there!

GILLICK (guardedly): Wait a second... you were talking to Terry Ryan? By yourself? (He grows agitated.) Oh, no, this isn't good...

AMARO: Why not? I got them to give up Ben Revere! And all I had to give up was Vance Worley and Trevor May!


AMARO: Yeah!


AMARO: Yeah! Wait, no... wait, what?

GILLICK: Oh, I know exactly what's happening here.

Gillick walks over and looks Amaro right in the eyes. Slowly, he raises his hand, places his thumb and middle finger together, and snaps his fingers.

Amaro begins to cluck like a chicken and strut about the room as if pecking for seeds on the floor.

GILLICK: Not again.

He snaps his fingers again.

AMARO (who by this point is up on one of the beds): Wait a second. What am I doing up here?

GILLICK: Son, you've been hypnotized. Happened to Sabean, a while back. Terry Ryan gets you on his own, gets you talking trade, and suddenly you're emptying your minor-league system for the guy.

AMARO: That's not possible.

GILLICK: Isn't it? I'll tell you what. Reach into your back left pocket. Terry likes his little jokes, too, and if your pocket isn't completely full of crunchy peanut butter, I'll take the whole thing back.

Amaro reaches into his pocket. As he does, his expression goes from one of anger to one of complete shock.

GILLICK (sighing): I'll start working on a crazy rationale for this trade.

SCENE: The Twins office at Target Field. It is the day after the winter meetings, and spirits are high. Employees have gathered near the front entrance of the office, and are laughing and joking in small groups. There is rock music blaring, and someone has put out streamers and a bowl of punch. It is, in short, a party. Just then, the conquering hero blasts through the door.

TERRY RYAN: Who's the man?


RYAN: Dang straight! (He swoops through the office, high-fiving everyone within reach. The staff cheers, slapping him on the back as he passes.)

ASSISTANT GM ROB ANTONY: Three cheers for Mr. Ryan! He leads the cheers.

RYAN (having reached his office door, and backing in while waving to the assembled masses): Thank you, thank you! I couldn't have done it without each and every one of you! This is a great day!

He shuts the door behind him, a smile creasing his face. He crosses to the desk and sets down his briefcase, still chuckling to himself. The music continues to play from the lobby area.

Ryan sits, turns on his computer, still smiling. As he shuffles some papers, though, his face slowly falls. Suddenly, he looks up in alarm, in the manner of a man who's forgotten an important dental appointment.

RYAN: Holy crap, I forgot to sign a starting pitcher.