GM Vic Caleca
Vic Caleca: Come in, come in!
(The door swings open and Phantoms DH Norris Rutledge and left fielder Fernando Reyes walk in, wearing street clothes. Caleca stands and welcomes them with warm handshakes and claps on the back).
Caleca: “Norris! Fernando! Come on in, boys. Make yourself at home! (Gestures towards the camera) You know John Pruitt, I’m sure. He’s recording this momentous meeting for posterity.”
Rutledge: (Grins and winks at Reyes) Glad you’re in a good mood boss. We thought we were in trouble when we got the message you wanted to see us …
Caleca: Trouble? Oh hell no. Anything but, men. Norris, I haven’t had a chance to congratulate you yet on hitting your 400th. That’s a hell of an accomplishment and those whiny little girls from Brooklyn were way out of line complaining that you celebrated a little. Like you said, we’ll show ‘em in September.
Rutledge: Well, thanks, Vic. ‘Preciate it.
Caleca: And Fernando, I just wanted to say thanks to you for your outstanding play – and for reaching 40 homers for the second year in a row. That’s a hell of a thing, too. You’ll be breathing down Norris’ neck here before long.
Caleca: Yes, indeed you have. Both of you have, and that’s why I wanted to talk to you guys. The fellas up in marketing and promotions had an idea they wanted me to pitch you. As you know, our attendance has been slipping a little here lately, and they want to do some things to help fix that. One of their ideas was to do some ads tying the Phantoms to Huntsville and some of its great traditions.
Rutledge: (Sounds a little wary) OK … well, what did they have in mind, boss?
Caleca: Well, I’m sure you know the Marshall Space Flight Center is here, where they research those big rockets that carry our brave astronauts into space …
Rutledge: (Definitely wary now): Uh huh … you ain’t fixin’ to blast us into space now, are you boss?
Caleca: No, no. Don’t be silly. Just the stratosphere …
Reyes: Say what now?
Caleca: Have you boys ever heard of the Vomit Comet? It’s a plane they use to train astronauts – flies straight up and then straight down, and the folks inside are weightless for awhile. Helluva crazy thing.
Reyes: Ummm. And that involves us how?
Caleca: Well, the boys in promotions thought we’d get you guys a ride on the Vomit Comet and we’d film you weightless … the pitch would be ‘Rutledge and Reyes visit some of the baseballs they’ve hit into the stratosphere high above Rocket City.”
Rutledge: (Now visibly alarmed) Straight up and then straight down? And why do they call it the Vomit Comet, boss?
Caleca: Well, you know, some folks have a little trouble with the motion and the weightlessness and all and, um, lose their lunches up there. Now, a couple big baseball heroes like you wouldn’t have any trouble with that …
Reyes: (Interrupts) And these lunches those people lose … what exactly happens to those?
Caleca: (Hemming and hawing a bit) Well, now, you know, I suppose they float around with the folks while everything’s weightless, and then I guess they’d splat somewhere when things aren’t weightless anymore.
Rutledge: So, let me get this straight: you want to celebrate Fernando and my homers by sending us up in the air to throw up?
Caleca: Well, no, of course not. You guys wouldn’t throw up … would you?
Rutledge: You know, Vic, this is sort of a thing with you, ain’t it? We know about that elephant ride while you were in Mumbai and your shortstop Robbie whatever his name was …
Caleca: Robbie Hart. He’s the third baseman …
Rutledge: Yeah, well, whatever he is, he won some kind of award and you made him ride around on an elephant and then he got sick and threw up in his glove.
See where I’m coming from with this? That poor guy is going to have that following him around forever now …
Reyes: I think what Norris is getting at here, Vic, is that we don’t want to throw up for you or be floating around with someone else’s throw-up.
Rutledge: Hell, boss, why do you want to do that to us? You mad at us?
Caleca: No, no. Of course not. We thought it would be a unique way to celebrate your accomplishments and bring a little good PR for the team. No, we’re not mad at you – hell, you’re one of the few bright spots in this awful season. I wish some of your teammates were playing half as well as you guys.
Caleca: (Sounding resigned to defeat) Well, I guess I can understand your position. Barfing isn’t a pleasant feeling.
(Rutledge and Reyes nod in unison)
And I would know, because that’s how I feel every time Frits Brinson comes out of the bullpen.
Rutledge: (Standing up and edging towards the door) Now you’re talking, boss. Send Frits up there with the upchuck. Come on, ‘Nando. We gotta get to batting practice.
(Reyes stands, and he and Rutledge exit hurriedly, calling goodbye on their way out).
Caleca: (Leans back in his desk chair.) Well, hell. What do we tell the guys in promotion? (Long silence follows).
Aw f*&k it. Maybe those boys had an idea there. Turn the damn camera off, would you, John. You don’t have Brinson’s number by any chance, do ya?”
[Video clip ends abruptly]