Pat Gillick didn't take Amtrak to New York this time to see Madame Rue. Instead, weary of failing again, like the last time (type in Madame Rue in the Search This Blog slot and hit search, then click on the blue title:"Curse of the Stingy Paper Promise,"and read about Gillick's last meeting with the ball that sees). Gillick decided to change his pattern of behavior--and his luck--and drive to the Big Apple.
He parked in the Hilton garage at $25 bucks an hour, and took the C train south toward Greenwich Village. Coming above ground, he walked south again, just like the last time, and turned right onto King Street, then climbed the five or six concrete steps and knocked on the door. The small metal plate opened and shut quickly, and the door opened.
"Ah Patty," Madame Rue said, "how good to see you. Did they not fire you this time?"
"Oh no," Gillick told her. "No, not at all. Everything is still good."
"Patty," Madame Rue said, "You can't fool the ball that sees. I know in the place where you keep the bull, great trouble has fallen upon you. Men with sticks have hit and hit until the score has fallen against you. You keep sending them to where they hunt the moose in the north country and it doesn't help, does it, Patty? It's good you came to see mama."
"Mama helped you with your last two teams where the birds fly. You beat down the wild thing in the last bracket of the world game...but Patty, you haven't been back to the world game since, because why?"
"Well, Madame Rue, I just haven't had the luck..."
"Ah but Patty," Madame Rue said, "it's not luck. Your mama will get you back to the world game. Now sit. Let's look into the ball that sees and discover where we go from here."
"Ah, Patty, you made bad choices. Choices where you didn't check with your mama, like the catcher who fears the slam. The third baseman you signed who can't hit long with the stick. And Patty, I told you to get rid of the Pretty Boy with eyes that look upward when the stick misses. I told you last year, but you haven't done so. Why Patty, why?"
"Madame Rue," Gillick said, "he has a no trade clause. I can't just get rid of him."
"But Patty, if you would have come to mama, we could have sprinkled on the special powder and he, the Pretty Boy who looks upward and makes many people do low noises with their throats, would have asked to go to the team by the Tampa Bay as a no-field hitter. Why didn't you come to mama about that, my son?"
"I'm sorry Madame Rue, I really am. I'm in trouble now, what can I do to get out of trouble?"
"Okay Patty, take it easy," Madame Rue said, as she placed her hand over his. "Mama is here to help you now. Mama will get you back into the world game."
And with that, Madame Rue reached into her magic purse, the one with many sparkling diamonds, and pulled out a sheet of paper.
"Patty," she said, "here is the list. You must study and study this list and think about who you can pick from it, that will quiet the long sticks of men from New York and Atlanta."
"Wha...what is it Madame Rue? What is this list?" Gillick said, peering over his glasses.
"Patty," she said, "it's the list of No Tomorrows. It's the list of unloyal men who will jump to where the greener grass is for the goat on the season next. But you have to study this list and pick the ones who will silence the big sticks. Only a few on this list will take you to the world game again, Patty."
"Don't worry about where you keep the bull, my dear," Madame Rue told him. "The Young One with the weak shoulder and strong arm will return soon, along with the Old One who has still some very good strikes left this one last year. They will combine to keep you strong in the bull area."
Madame Rue reached into a small cup on the table next to the
ball that sees, and sprinkled on the list some white-looking dust. It made a smoky effect.
"From this list, Patty, if you make the right choices, will take you back to the world game where once again much liquid will fall from the sky and you will ride on a great wide platform down a Broad Street with little white specs floating in the air, and children calling out your name."
"Patty, only a select few will take you there from the list of No Tomorrows."
"Oh Madame Rue," Gillick said, "oh how I want to experience that again. But what names shall I pick?"
"I have sprinkled the dust, Patty. Go home to the City of Brother loving Brother, and make your choices wisely. Greedy men who pull strings will want to give them up to you before they flee when the ball becomes pig and the field long.One or two will take you for a ride down that Broad Street.
With that, Madame Rue handed Pat Gillick a list of next year's free agent pitchers. Gillick took the list, and on the way home, called David Wharton on his cell phone and asked for a special meeting to pick from the list of No Tomorrows.
Here is the list Madame Rue gave Patty (their age in brackets):
Carlos Zambrano (27); Curt Schilling (41); Jason Jennings (29); Kenny Rogers (43); Mark Buehrle (29); Bartolo Colon (35); Joe Kennedy (29); Tomo Ohka (32); John Thomson (34); Kip Wells (31); Wade Miller (31); Livan Hernandez (33)*; Randy Wolf (31) - $9MM club option for '08; Paul Byrd (37) - $8MM club option for '08; Jeff Weaver (31); Tom Glavine (42) - $9MM player option for '08; Kris Benson (33) - $7.5MM club option for '08; Jaret Wright (32): David Wells (45): Eric Milton (32): Kyle Lohse (29); Matt Clement (33); Rodrigo Lopez (32); Josh Fogg (31); Byung-Hyun Kim (29); Odalis Perez (31) - $9MM club option for '08; Brett Tomko (35) - $4.5MM mutual option for '08 You can see Ron's book at: http://www.ourcitythebook.com/