Chapter list for At The Deadline

  1. At the deadline
  2. At the Deadline, Part 2

In the spirit of the Major League non-waiver trade deadline on Friday, I am writing a two part story about a GM trying to make a deal so that his team can make a playoff run.  You’ll get the first half today, but you’ll have to wait until Friday for the conclusion – just as the suitors of Roy Halladay must wait.  (At press time, Halladay had not been traded.)

Buzz Bismarck munched on a mid-afternoon donut as he stared at the list of possible targets. The Jackals were on the cusp of contending for the playoffs. With so many teams still in the race, it had been difficult to find a willing trade partner. It had already been a long day. Many donuts had been eaten since he got into the office at 5 AM.

Buzz kicked off his shoes, put his feet on his desk, and called the GM of the Sharks.

“Hey, Prescott, this is Buzz.”

“Buzz, I keep telling you, Blanchett is not on the block. This team in right in contention.”

Buzz sighed internally. The Sharks were nine games out of the wild card spot. They had caught every lucky break possible this season, and when the luck turned against them, they would quickly be eliminated from the race. Prescott Williams refused to wave the white flag, however, and a fine pitcher like Al Blanchett would pay the price – languishing on a Sharks team that would fade into a second division club instead of leading the Jackals into the playoffs.

“I do like that catcher you have down in the minors,” commented Williams. “What sort of price would it take to acquire Bishop?”

Bismarck made a non-committal response that left a door open. Oscar Bishop wasn’t in the long term plans for the Jackals, and he would be a good fit for the Sharks, whose starting catcher was aging quickly. However, this sort of deal could wait – he had bigger fish to fry. Buzz asked a few quick questions about Prescott’s family. To be honest, he didn’t really care about the answers, and paid scarce attention.

Buzz took a brief respite from the phone and sniffed in the general direction of his feet. One of his scouts had told him that his feet smelled like dead fish. The was clearly not true. Live fish, perhaps. Dead fish, no.

The phone rang and Buzz broke from his reverie to grab it.

“Buzz Bismarck,” he grunted into the phone.

“Buzz, good to hear your pleasant voice again,” chirped the always-pleasant GM of the Rhinos, George Peyton. “We’re still looking for a good right handed power bat. Is there any chance Larry Morrisson might be available?”

“Sorry, George,” replied Buzz. “We really need to keep Larry Mo in the mix in our outfield. We could make Maloa available if you’re interested.”

“We’re not as interested in Maloa. His power has been sliding for the last couple of years.”

Peyton was right, of course, which was why Buzz was trying to dump him.

“OK, George. I’ll let you know if I can figure out a mutually beneficial deal.”

Bismarck grabbed the phone again and chatted up the GM of the Hyraxes. Hyrax pitcher Travis Wolf would be a good fit for the Jackals, but Gordon Auth wanted two good young pitching prospects. Lewis Burke was the sort of guy he was looking for, but none of the other pitching prospects in the Jackals organization interested the Hyraxes. Bismarck sighed once again, and hung up the phone.

Buzz grabbed the remote and flipped to some random game on the idiot box. The Sharks were playing, and Blanchett was on the mound. Bismarck was distracted by his thoughts, but a sharp crack made his head jerk to an upright position. It was not a good sort of crack.   It was the sort of crack bones make when they break.

The batter had driven a line drive off Blanchett’s leg, and the pitcher was in obvious pain as the medical staff tended to him.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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