The ARod Files - Chapter 3

Friday, February 28th, 2014

6:30 PM

A ceiling fan. That must be the difference between a hotel and a motel. A hotel has air-conditioning. A motel has a ceiling fan, but a vision quest takes you some strange places.

Staring up at the fan as it spins and spins pushing the same thick Tampa air around and around I can imagine what it must have been like at the first spring training. No private rooms. No AC. No mini-fridges filled with Gatorade. Just baseball. What I wouldn't give for 'Just Baseball'.

I had been wondering for too long. I knew I had to get off the street. The thin line of reality had long since blurred unrecognizable. So I walked into the first place I saw that offered rooms by the hour.

Who even needs a room for an hour or two? Other visionquesters I imagine. Though I can't really tell. 

I only planned to be here for a night at most, but when I handed the man behind the counter the money he told me I could stay as long as I wanted. The days continued to blend into one another. Each time the room went dark I put a scratch on the wall to mark another day passed. It was my own self imposed prison.

At one point I did step out on the walkway to see if I could tell what time it was. While I was out there a man approached me with a video camera. I assumed he wanted a picture, but he asked me if I wanted to make a hundred dollars. I'm so detached right I'm not even sure what my answer was. Its impossible to tell if he ever even gave me that hundred dollars.

And now, as that familiar orange hue flooded room I knew it was time for the next scrawl. Without a pen, I've been keeping track of the days with a table knife I had picked up during my time on the street. Andre had turned on me and I needed to be able to protect myself.

Ten days on the streets of Tampa had changed me. It was time to take stock of how.

At first I tried to stay away from the Yankees, but the temptation was too great. Baseball was all I knew. Security kept me from entering the facilities through the player's entrance, but they had a clue for me. Bud must have contacted them. The security guard told me that if I wanted to enter the facility I could buy a ticket.

For the next game I bought out the entire Walgreens Deck in right field. From there with a pair of binoculars I was able to read the catchers signs and relay them to my teammates. Right arm up for fast ball. Left arm for offspeed. Some might say that using binoculars to read signs from the outfield is "stealing" or "cheating". But I'm a team first guy. And whatever I can do to help my team win is what I do. 

Unfortunately, the Yankees didn't see it that way. Not this time. By the second inning, Skip was pointing at me from the top step of the dugout and security on me within a minute. Something about how I had to go because I was causing a disruption. I tired to explain that I was just being a good teammate, but they weren't having it.

I left after that. And back on to the streets of Tampa. As I wandered the hours turned into days. The days started to blend into one another. There was only light and dark, light and dark. Gradually my body came in tune with nature, but even this new stage of enlightenment took its tole. I found myself in a lonely place.

Baseball had needed me for so long, but now its like the game didn't even know me. Now I was starting to wonder if I even wanted baseball anymore. From my new plain of understanding I can see all the pieces moving and the ring of baseball had closed with me on the outside. I could continue to fight my way in, but to do so may upset the universe in ways which no one is fully prepared. 

Baseball is over for now. Its time to find find a new purpose. That's why Bud sent me here. But what is that purpose?

Its dark now, but the humidity hasn't broken. The bed is soaked, the pillow's soaked. Its time. I don't know what to do, but I can't stay here. Its time to move. I've got nothing left in Tampa and Tampa's got nothing left for me. 

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