Current and old friends unite to inform the new closer on the way things are done in Twins Territory.
SCENE: Wednesday afternoon, the Minnesota Twins clubhouse. The Twins just took the rubber match of a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers. The players are joyous, jovial, excited after the win. JORGE LOPEZ is at his locker and GARY SANCHEZ approaches.
GARY SANCHEZ: Nice work, man. What an inning! It went by so quickly.
JORGE LOPEZ: Thanks! It feels good to be a part of a winning team. Getting relied on in situations like that really amps me up.
SANCHEZ: Yeah, of course. Say, just so you know, you might get a visit from the big guys upstairs soon.
LOPEZ: Oh yeah? Why’s that?
SANCHEZ: I’m sure you’ll find out soon. Don’t worry about it, though.
TYLER DUFFEY walks up to LOPEZ and SANCHEZ. He has a look of anguish on his face.
TYLER DUFFEY: Hey, Lopez, come with me.
SANCHEZ: Oh shit…
LOPEZ: What for?
DUFFEY: It’s… it’s no big deal, just, uh…. just follow me.
LOPEZ and DUFFEY walk casually out of the clubhouse and down one of the chilly passages under Target Field. LOPEZ hears something behind him and glances back quickly, seeing a shadow disappear immediately, beyond a light that flickers.
LOPEZ: Duff Man, what’s going –
LOPEZ turns back to face DUFFEY, but is surprised by a cloth bag being put over his head, obscuring his vision. He is brought to the ground by a bat pushing behind each of his knees from behind and is dragged off. A few minutes later, he is sat in a chair with his hands tied behind him. The cloth bag is pulled off his head. A group consisting of DUFFEY, EMILIO PAGAN, DEREK FALVEY, and FERNANDO RODNEY are standing in a semi-circle in front of him in a dimly-lit room. RON GARDENHIRE is sitting on a folding chair behind them, elbows on his knees, sipping a warm Busch Light.
LOPEZ: What the hell is this?
EMILIO PAGAN: We gotta talk to you, Lopez. Today didn’t work out like we wanted it to.
LOPEZ: What? What are you talking about? We got the win!
DEREK FALVEY: It’s not that we go the win. It’s how we got the win.
DUFFEY: It went smoothly, Jorge. Just a bit too smoothly.
PAGAN: You didn’t let any guys reach base. No runs scored. What kind of save is that?
FALVEY: Plus, you struck out a guy. What do you think that says to the fans?
LOPEZ, confused: I… I just don’t get it. What do you mean?
FERNANDO RODNEY, leaning in: Lopez, the fans here in Minnesota want heart palpitations when they’re paying attention to the game in the ninth inning.
FALVEY: If we’re winning and we go that far, we didn’t give them enough excitement, obviously. It’s the principle of the thing. Give ‘em what they paid for! smacks fist into hand
RODNEY: Hell, they named the whole experience after me.
DUFFEY, steps closer: Listen, we’re glad you’re on the team, man. But if I don’t cause a ruckus earlier in the game and Pagan doesn’t give up a homer before it’s your turn, you gotta let loose a little bit and frighten the fan base a bit.
PAGAN: They’re not used to this one-two-three-ninth-inning bullcrap. Not even the dugout is. Right, Rocco?
ROCCO BALDELLI is in the corner of the room, staring at the screen of a 1960s computer machine that has a bevvy of flashing lights and is whirring continuously. He turns to look at the group.
ROCCO BALDELLI: Hell no, the computer doesn’t like it, either.
FALVEY: You gotta dirty up your act, Jorge, or you’ll be out of here and sent across the river.
LOPEZ, bewildered: Okay, okay. I got it. Give the fans some excitement.
FALVEY nods and DUFFEY unties LOPEZ and leads him out of the room with PAGAN and RODNEY. FALVEY turns to GARDENHIRE.
FALVEY: How was that?
RON GARDENHIRE: I think he got it, but you could’ve been more rough.
FALVEY: I think that’s as mean as we could be, Gardy.
GARDENHIRE: Well, maybe we could be a little more straightforward with our next one. Hey, Rocco, let’s talk about your anger management skills on the field… sips from can of Busch Light
BALDELLI does a full turn from the computer screen with a worried look.