Ok, so y’all remember Carter? He’s the dude that Keaton saved from a fight a while ago, and who talked to me at the Volcano the night of that crazy 18 inning game in the World Series.
When I met him that second time, he was all interested in how I’d been a ball player. It was almost like an interview. Turns out he was asking me all those questions for a reason.
This past Sunday, Keaton asked whether he could pass my number along to Carter’s parents. Keaton said Carter said they had something they wanted to ask me, and Keaton was his only way to get my phone number. It sounded pretty weirdass, but I was curious. So I told Keaton, sure, give Carter my number.
As Meemaw would have said, Carter didn’t let no grass grow under his feet. His mother called me on Monday night, and said they had a proposal for me. So could I come over so we could discuss it? They live here in Pasadena, so it certainly was convenient. I met their son, and he looked normal enough. So I figured it was safe to think that they didn’t want me as a human sacrifice for a satanic cult lol.
And I really wanted to find out what it was all about.
I went over tonight. It was one of those great big Pasadena houses you read about sometimes. This was the first time I was in one of them, and I have to admit I was impressed. I parked on the street and walked up the driveway to the door. The doorbell didn’t make any noise, but a maid answered it before I could start wondering if it worked or not.
“I’m…Hunter Block. Mr. and Mrs. Andrews said I should come over to see them.”
“Yes, please come this way, señor.”
At least she didn’t call me el guapo lol.
She showed me into a comfortable room where Carter’s parents were sitting and watching TV. It wasn’t fancy and formal, so I reckoned it was the family room and they kept the big front parlor I’d seen on the way in for when they had company. Mr. and Mrs. Andrews looked like pretty normal people. Although they were probably a little younger than my parents, they looked even less cool. Mr. Andrews had on the dorkiest slippers I’ve ever seen.
Mrs. Andrews had a haircut just like Joyce’s – short and straight. She was a little too dressed up for watching TV; maybe she’d just come in from a meeting or something. From what Joyce has been telling me about charitable boards in Pasadena, Mrs. Andrews looked like she could have been at a meeting of the Pasadena Lyric Opera.
She did most of the talking. Practically all of it. Which was a little weird, as they’d called me over to discuss something to do with baseball. In the Block house, Dad made all the sports decisions.
So this was the deal: Carter has a younger brother who’s in a fancyass private school. The school has a very good Division II baseball team. The brother wants to make the team. The problem is that he wasn’t good enough to make the JV team last year, and so they’re all afraid he’s not going to make the team this year. I reckon he wants it pretty bad, and it was real obvious that Mrs. Andrews wants her younger son to have everything he wants.
So where do I come in, I was wondering (and y’all are probably wondering too)?
Mrs. Andrews said they wanted to hire a “baseball tutor” for Carter’s younger brother.
I’ve spent 20 years of my life involved in baseball…and I never heard of such a thing as a baseball tutor. I mean, I know what a coach is and I know what working 1 on 1 is, but I’d never heard anyone call it a tutor. Calling it that kinda ruins it. It’s sports and supposed to be fun. Tutor sounds like a school thing.
When I asked what she meant, it turned out to be pretty much what I guessed: they want someone who knows baseball to work with their son until baseball season starts and get his skills up the level where he can make the team.
Mrs. Andrews said that they’d been looking for someone, but they were having trouble finding the right man for the job. When Carter told them that he’d met someone who played pro ball (did he tell them he met me when he was drunk out of his mind?) and that I might be what they were looking for, they called me. And there I was in their family room.
I was interested, but the first question I had to ask myself was if I could do the job at all. I’ve never coached, unless you want to count helping out someone on one of my teams now and then. But I do know a lot about baseball, and I think I’m good at communicating (I hope y’all agree on that lol)…so I reckoned I might make a good “baseball tutor”.
(We needed a better name for that, but, if I suggested “coach”, they’d probably turn it into “personal coach”, which sounds like “personal trainer”, which sounds super gay.)
Even before they mentioned the money (which might add up to more than I was making in Hickory), I had another worry: what if the kid sucked? I think I can help a kid who was decent and help him to get better, but, especially since I’d never coached anyone, I know I’m no miracle worker. Although he could use a fight tutor (was that job available too? lol), Carter looked pretty athletic… but what if his little brother was seriously overweight, ran like a girl and had no hand-eye coordination?
I wasn’t sure how to ask the question, but it really was a deal breaker. I couldn’t just up and say “is your son fat and does he throw like he’s gay?”.