St. Louis, MO. August, 2012. Grey skies and a thick fog envelope the downtown city blocks outside of Busch Stadium, as garbage skitters across Ballpark Village Parking Lot. The sour odor of decaying foliage and rust wafts through the air, as a steady breeze whips a tattered and faded 2006 World Series banner that hangs from the boarded up shell of Mike Shannon’s. The wind puncturing the hot, heavy air is the only sound to break through the suffocating silence.
Cut to the Cardinal’s locker room.
Adam Wainwright: (shoves broom carelessly across the floor, mutters under his breath.)
Kyle Lohse: (looks up from the toilet he’s scrubbing.) What’s that, Waino? Did you say something?
Wainwright: (continues nonsensical rambling, this time in Mandarin.)
Matt Holliday: (wipes sweat off his brow, wrings out the dirty ShamWow in his hand.) Don’t bother, Kyle. He’s just not right in the head now that Albert is gone. Who knew he would take it so hard?
Yadier Molina: I swear I saw a possum crawl out of his beard the other day. That guy is a goddamn mess.
Lohse: This whole place has become horribly depressing. Is it just me or has this locker room started to smell like a funeral home?
Molina: It’s probably just your arm rotting off. I mean, what’s your average pitch count up to these days? 18? 19?
Wainwright: (looks up at Molina, lets loose a loud cackle, pumps pelvis vigorously, runs flailing into the next room.)
Lohse: That’s just great, Yadi. Now you’ve got Waino all wound up. (Yells into the gutted remains of the clubhouse,) CAN SOMEONE GRAB HIM BEFORE HE STARTS TRYING TO EAT THE BATTING GLOVES AGAIN?
Holliday: This is awful. We just got done getting our asses handed to us by the Astros for three straight days and now we’ve got to scrub toilets and launder jock straps? WHERE IS THE JANITORIAL AND MAINTENANCE STAFF? Hell, I don’t even know why we bother suiting up. This club is in complete ruin!
Lohse: Well, we’ve got to burn off these contracts somehow. I probably wasn’t going to do much pitching anyway, so this seems like a reasonable alternative.
Molina: I swear to god, I’m going to punch you in the head.
Lohse: (Ignoring Molina,) You know, I actually thought about walking on with the Rams, but it turns out that franchise was entirely reliant on Pujols’, too. It’s quite strange, honestly. I think they relocated to somewhere in Oregon? I don’t know. It’s somewhere on the East Coast.
Molina: You’re an idiot.
Holliday: (Clears throat, shoots a heated look at Molina.) Say, has anyone heard from LaRussa lately?
Lohse: Not since he went on that cocaine and hooker binge back in February. Although, I heard from one of the pitching coaches that he was spotted at a steakhouse somewhere in South Dakota about a month ago wearing a fur coat made out of a Labrador. Guy has REALLY gone off the deep end.
Holliday: Well, you knew he wasn’t going to take it well. I’m surprised he didn’t burn this place to the ground when negotiations stalled. It showed major restraint to just walk off the job and shoot Bill DeWitt in the face with a paintball gun.
Molina: I agree. If it were me, I would have raped him in the earhole with a curling iron. And then lit him on fire. (Smiles whimsically, slings bag of trash over his shoulder.) Okay, guys, I’m going to take this outside and then get to work on mowing the outfield. What time do we leave for Pittsburgh on Sunday?
Holliday: I think we actually go tonight. The team is late on payment for the charter planes, so we have to leave early and drive. They got us a couple of luxury coaches, so it shouldn’t be too bad.
Lohse: Actually, that’s not true.
Holliday: Really? We still get to fly? (Sighs with relief.)
Lohse: No, I mean, it’s true we can’t afford to take the planes. I’m pretty sure the charter company is liquidating DeWitt’s estate to cover the back payments, so there’s no way we’re flying. Probably ever again. However, they couldn’t pay the deposit on the luxury coaches either, so they hired back a couple of the equipment guys to drive us over in their mini vans. ROAD TRIP!
Molina: (Drops garbage bag, fishes out an empty Gatorade bottle, throws it at Lohse’s head hitting him squarely.) This is just unbelievable! I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE! If you guys need me, I’m going to be in the training room taking a bath. Say, Matt? You still have that hair dryer lying around?
Holliday: Sure thing, buddy. It’s right over there next to my exfoliating body scrub.
Molina: (Drops trash, grabs hair dryer and walks purposely out of the room.)
Lohse: Poor guy! He really needs to relax. (Chuckles to himself.) That bath is probably a good idea.
Molina: (90 seconds later,) AHHHHHHHHHHHH! (Loud pop, the lights in the clubhouse are extinguished.)
Holliday: That can’t be good.
Wainwright: (Stumbles wild eyed back into the locker room.) ALBERT??? IS THAT YOU????
Holliday: No, Waino, it’s not good news. In fact, I think Yadi just killed himself.
Wainwright: (Drops to the ground wailing, begins making snow angels.)
Holliday: (Looks at Lohse, shakes his head.) We really should have locked it down with Pujols.
Wainwright: (Lifts his head from the floor, a temporary flash of clarity in his eyes.) Agreed.