Copyright © 2019 DouglasDD. All Rights Reserved.
WELCOME TO THE BIG LEAGUES
WEDNESDAY, JULY 23
Aiden did what he had promised Marty. As soon as their call was disconnected, Aiden called his sponsor. Even though Aiden wasn’t convinced he was an alcoholic, he was trying to create what Marty called insurance against getting scary thoughts about drinking again. He’d gone to four meetings since his first one, but baseball and other commitments got in the way.
He also missed a couple of meetings because he didn’t feel like going, which he thought was a good excuse. After all, why go to something I don’t feel like going to? he asked himself. If I don’t feel like going, then the meeting isn’t going to help me and would be a waste of time.
The phone was answered on the second ring. “Hi, Aiden,” Sammy said. “I thought you had a game.”
Sammy hadn’t been prepared to be Aiden’s sponsor. He had been surprised when Aiden said he wanted to talk to him after a Tuesday meeting. “I do and this will be short. Marty says I should have a sponsor,” Aiden said bluntly.
“Marty is a wise man,” Sammy said. “He is like a sponsor for you himself, you know.”
“That’s what I told him, but he said I need somebody I can talk with, like, face-to-face.”
“Like, I said, Marty is a wise man. But why me?”
“Because you’re older and you’ve been doing this for over a year and maybe you could help me when I asked you.” Asking him probably won’t happen, Aiden thought, but at least I can make Marty happy and say I have a sponsor.
“I’ll do it,” Sammy told Aiden without hesitating.
“Yes, I will. I guess what happened to us when we first met doesn’t bug you anymore.”
“Not that much since you apologized.”
“There are three things I want you to do every day and three conditions I want you to agree to. The three things I want you to do is make your bed every morning, say a prayer every morning, and call me every day.
“I make my bed every morning already or my dads would kill me. I tell God what I am grateful for most nights. And I guess I can remember to call you.”
“Don’t guess, do it. Here are the three conditions. You have to accept the three conditions or my yes becomes a no. I promise you that I will never ask you to do anything I don’t do. I had to agree to the same things with Mel.” Aiden waited for Sammy to tell him the conditions. Whatever they were, he planned to say yes. “First, are you willing?”
“What does that mean?” So much for saying yes right away, Aiden thought.
“It means do you really want to do this?”
“Second, will you go to any length?”
“That means you will do everything you’re asked to do. Whatever it takes to stay sober, you’ll do it.”
“And finally, will you pass it on?” Sammy then answered Aiden’s not yet asked question. “It means, will you help anybody who asks you for help by teaching them what you’re going to learn?”
“Yes,” Aiden said again.
“Those answers had so little feeling behind them, they made my bullshit meter move well up the scale.” Sammy decided Aiden needed to know that if he truly wanted help, just saying yes when he was expected to say yes wasn’t going to make it happen.
“Go home and think about it, dude. Or go home and call Marty to see how his bullshit meter reacts. Or go home and ask your dads to explain it. Or go home and do nothing, which just might be what happens.”
“Okay, I guess.” Aiden felt totally lost. He found himself wishing he’d asked Peter Astor or Barry or one of the high school kids to be his sponsor. He wasn’t expecting Sammy to disrespect him, but he felt that is what happened. And so he went home and did what Sammy predicted he would do, which was next to nothing, which would affect Marty’s bullshit meter just as Sammy predicted.
Sammy knew that by agreeing to sponsor Aiden, all his plans of seducing the ravishing little blond would come to an end. He figured he could still jerk off to thoughts of seducing Aiden, but why bother since his relationship would become totally different. Not that I’d ever get Aiden into bed with me, but the thought was always nice to have, Sammy thought. His relationship with Aiden would be on the same level as his relationship with Mel—that of mentor and pupil.
FRIDAY, JULY 25
Aiden sat naked on the deck munching a BLT he had cooked up for lunch. Larry sat across the patio table from him. Aiden had made a sandwich for each of them. This summer he had become more involved in making lunch. This was his first foray into a sandwich that required some cooking as opposed to being made with cold cuts.
He wondered if everybody on the Yard Goats was as nervous as he was. Tonight, was the first round of the Southwest 12 and Under District Tournament. They would be playing the Kelso Kangaroos who had been second in their league. The game wasn’t a loser out game but winning would make it much easier to advance to the Washington State League State Tournament. Only one team from their district would advance to State.
The Goats had played well since their disaster in the Tri-Cities tournament. They went 7-3 in their remaining league games and finished third in their league. They were entering the district tournament as the third seed.
Scott Keller was slated to be the starting pitcher. He had turned thirteen on the fourteenth which was late enough to allow him to play in the 12 and under league. Coach Scott and Coach Connor never announced the starters (except the starting pitcher) until just before the team started warmups. Even though it wasn’t official, Aiden was certain he would be starting at third base.
“I can’t believe how much stuff I did this month,” Aiden said to his pop as he tried to steer his mind away from the upcoming game. But as much as he wanted to steer his mind away from baseball, most of his July activities seemed to center on baseball.
“I went to the day baseball camp after school was out, which was extra cool because Nolan got to spend a couple of nights here instead of going home.” Nolan stayed at home two of the four nights because he had a game that evening. “And then Nolan, Gordy, Miles, and I all got to go to the Monte baseball camp, and that went good because we only missed one game. Okay, Nolan missed two. But anyway, our teams both won while we were gone.”
“And we went to a Rainiers game,” Larry reminded him.
“Yeah, with Nolan, Trent, Scott, and, this is the coolest part, Ronnie.” While Scott’s cousin, Ronnie, hadn’t yet received a completely clean bill of health and wasn’t able to play baseball, he could do activities that didn’t require a lot of physical exertion. In other words, he was close to being a normally healthy boy. Marty went 1-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored, and an RBI double. The Rainiers’ 8-5 win over the Fresno Grizzlies made the day almost perfect.
Aiden took the last bite of his sandwich and added the game and practice time associated with the Yard Goats. “And that work got us to a District game tonight,” Aiden grinned.
And then there was the activity he didn’t want to discuss with his pop—the sex. July was kind to the boys who were moving from preadolescent boys messing around to young adolescent boys who had to admit that what they now did with each other was more than messing around; it was sex. The best was with Nolan, of course. They had agreed from the beginning that they weren’t married, however, and had no problem with the other having sex with a friend if they informed each other either before or after. With a couple of already agreed on exceptions, they would avoid fucking.
Almost all of Aiden’s experiences during the month of July were with the usual suspects, Gordy, Miles, Lenny, Lance, and Mason. He also had fun one time each with, Brody, Collin, Trent, and Scott Keller.
He even had his first overnight one-on-one with Blake. Sucking Blake’s big cock was a different kind of experience, but he made Blake more than happy. Even though he couldn’t take it as deep as his other friends, he used every trick he had learned about using his tongue and lips, often in combination with his hands. Aiden was happy he and Nolan had their fucking restriction which kept him from being tempted to take the almost six-inch monster into his ass. Aiden wasn’t the only one who thought that if you sat and watched you might actually see Blake’s cock grow, and not because he was boning up. To top it off, Blake shot what seemed like gallons of tasty, sweet cum. Of the incoming seventh graders, only Muddy was more mature sexually, and other than occasional trysts with Mason and/or Miles he didn’t take part in the sexual hijinks of his peers.
“You timed our train trip just right,” Aiden told Larry.
“As you know, it wasn’t by accident,” his pop told him. “Your dad and I looked at the baseball schedule, gave ourselves a couple of days’ cushion from the end of the State Tournament, and picked our date. Unless we get weird weather raining everything out, it all works out.”
“Well, I can’t wait. Traveling with Nolan is going to kick major ass.” Aiden grinned as he waited for a rebuke for his colorful language, but when Larry calmly nodded his head, Aiden realized what he said didn’t have the shock value he thought it had.
The trip Aiden had referred to was Aiden and Nolan traveling with Larry and Phil to Whitefish, Montana on the “Empire Builder”. There they would stay at a resort and do some boating, fishing, hiking, bike riding, and horseback riding along with anything else fun that cropped up. A big reason for the trip was for Aiden and Nolan to spend a day and night with Robert, better known to the boys as Espowyes.
Aiden wasn’t certain what he could gain by the meeting. He had shared that opinion with his dads more than once. But after his incident in June when he so desperately wanted to find out if getting drunk would work for him, Larry, Phil, and Marty all told him to have an open mind and listen.
“The worst that could happen if Espowyes wastes your time is you got to spend a week having fun with your dads and boyfriend in the mountains of Montana,” Marty had told him. “Looks like a good deal to me.”
Even though he was skeptical, Aiden told Marty he agreed. Later, Aiden felt bad for not being completely honest, but didn’t mention that to Marty, which made him feel worse.
“I’m gonna go into the pool and float on the air mattress,” Aiden announced. “I’ve got food in me and now it’s time to work on my zone.” Aiden had learned that the kind of zone he wanted was different when he was a pitcher than if he was playing in the field. He had also learned that he wasn’t always successful in getting into the right zone or into any zone at all. He thought he was getting better at it, but his meditating and thinking didn’t always work right. Maybe that’s what Espowyes can teach me, he thought.
Aiden had Larry rub sunscreen on his back and butt cheeks. He took care of the rest and went down the steps to the pool. He jumped in and then climbed onto the air mattress.
Larry stood at the railing and admired the beauty of Aiden as he got out of the pool. His young, athletic body was on the cusp of puberty and was close to perfect.
Aiden felt good when he rolled off the air mattress and into the water. He knew the half hour of floating and working on his focus helped him clear his mind of all the clutter, as Marty put it. He grabbed onto the side of the pool and pulled himself up on the deck. He entered the cool house when he heard the phone ring. He answered it, even though he knew it was for one of his dads; all his friends called him on his own phone. But the call ended up being for him.
“Hey, Aiden, I tried calling you, but you never answered,” Nolan greeted him.
“Nolan!” Aiden said gleefully. “I was in the pool working on getting in my zone.”
“I won’t bother you for long since I know what you and your zones are like. I hope you were naked in the pool.”
“Yep, and on an air mattress. I think I’m ready to play. So, what’s up?”
“Damn, I wish I’d been naked with you in that pool. Anyway, I just wanted to wish you good luck. If we both win, we play each other tomorrow afternoon.”
“Yeah, and if we both lose, we play each other tomorrow morning,” Aiden reminded him.
“And if we don’t do the same thing it will be even longer before we play each other, if we do.”
The Yard Goats and the Centralia Timbers would be playing that evening at the same time on different fields in the complex. “Well, let’s both win.”
“Sounds good to me. You kick some ass and we will too,” Nolan said confidently.
That evening, the Goats played well. Scott pitched his best game of the season, Trent hit a three-run homer in the first, and the Goats earned a 5-1 win over the Kelso Kangaroos. Aiden went one-for-three with a walk and a double, scored a run, and had three assists at third. He felt good about his game.
On the adjacent field the Timbers had a tougher time but defeated the Mariners from Vancouver, Washington, 6-4. The Timbers and the Yard Goats would be playing at noon the next day.
SATURDAY, JULY 26
Marty was happy to have been able to sleep in. The Rainiers had played a long, 12-inning game, the night before, losing 4-3. Marty had gone only one-for-six, but his one hit was a two-run double. That was offset by his two-out strikeout with two men on in the top of the twelfth to the Omaha Storm Kings. Marty’s roommate was outfielder Devon Johnson, who was still asleep. Their game that day was a night game, so there was no need to be in a hurry. The team bus wasn’t due to stop at the team hotel for three more hours, so Marty saw no need to wake up Devon. As he did every morning, he texted a good morning to his husband and then headed to the shower.
When he came out of the shower, he saw that Devon was awake and sitting up in his bed. “Good morning, Marty,” Devon said with a wide grin. Marty liked his roommate, who had become his best friend on the Rainiers. The big African American had played in fifteen big league games earlier in the season, filling in for an injured player. After he was sent back down, he told Marty what a great experience it had been, and that Marty should keep himself prepared for a callup. “You’re gonna be up soon, bro. The way you’re hitting and fielding that hot corner, there’s no way the big club can ignore you.”
“Andy Packard is a pretty good third baseman and has been with the team for a few years now,” Marty reminded Devon.
“Yeah, but I hear that Packard walks after next season,” meaning that Andy Packard would be eligible to be a free agent. “He’s playing real good and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him moved before the deadline.”
Devon yawned and said, “I cudda slept longer—games going past midnight should be stopped. How about you?”
“Yeah, I slept okay considering how I sucked at the plate last night.”
“Like I said, you bring both a bat and a glove. And that fucking diving stop you made in the eighth made up for a lot of shit.” With a runner on first, Marty dove to his left to snag a hard-hit grounder and threw to second from his knees, the throw just barely beating the runner.
“I’m ready for breakfast.”
“Hang on and let me shower and I’ll go with you.”
Marty dressed while waiting for Devon to take his shower. He heard his phone vibrate and saw that Aiden was calling. Considering the two-hour time difference, he was surprised Aiden was making a morning phone call. “Hey, bro,” he said, greeting his little bro. “How did your game go last night?”
“Better than yours. We won 5-1. Sorry you guys lost.”
“We’ll get them today. Do you get to play your lover this afternoon?”
“Yep. At noon, so I can’t talk much since we gotta get going soon.”
“That will make it hard to go to your noon meeting,” Marty said.
“It’s hard to make all of them. I forgot to tell you, but Sammy and Peter talked to the church secretary and we got the meeting changed to ten in the morning instead of noon. But I still can’t make this one.”
“And next weekend you’ll be playing at State and that gets in the way again,” Marty chuckled.
“I’m glad you talked me into getting a sponsor. That’s kinda helped me when I remember to call him.”
“I’m willing to venture a guess that it doesn’t happen very often.”
“I’ll call him as soon as we’re done,” Aiden said. Marty interpreted that as Aiden telling him he was right.
“Well, I’ll let you go so you can have no excuse not to make that call. Are you pitching?”
“No, Yonder, the wild boy, is.”
“Kick ass, bro, but don’t go too hard on your boyfriend.”
“And you make up for yesterday with a couple of dingers. I love you, bro.”
“I love you, too, sport.”
Devon came out of the bathroom just as Marty broke the connection. “Was that your little bro?”
“Yeah. He just wanted to check in.”
After Devon dressed, he and Marty went to breakfast at the Denny’s up the street. They were too late to partake in the free hotel breakfast, which was hard on both; their daily meal stipend barely paid for the day’s food as it was.
Devon received a text while they were eating. He checked his phone and saw it was from Aaron Clayton, one of the Rainiers’ starting pitchers.
“Holy crap,” Devon said. He stared at his phone as if he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. “That is fucking amazing.”
“It’s a text from Aaron. Didn’t you get it?”
“I’ve got my phone off. What does it say?” Marty pulled his phone out of his pocket.
“It says Andy Packard was traded to the Nationals for three prospects this morning.”
Marty looked at his phone which was now on and saw some of Aaron’s text and some of the replies that were pouring in from others on the team. “I thought they would wait until next year, since that was his walk year.” A player’s walk year is the year he can become a free agent.
“Grady says the M’s got a really good package for Packard.” Grady was Roy Grayson, one of the Rainiers’ catchers. “Looks like it was a good deadline move. The Nats needed a third baseman and we need some prospects. Looks like since we’re twelve games out, we’ve become sellers. I’ve been told that’s what the baseball business is all about at deadline time, but shit, making up twelve games from the end of July until October is doable.” The Mariners were the third of five teams in the American League West and were willing to trade a star in order to get younger and deeper in talent. “Your time to get the callup is here.”
“Right now, I have a game to think of tonight,” Marty shrugged.
After finishing their breakfast, they paid for their meal and headed back to the hotel. Manager Steve Parker was sitting in the lobby. He got up when he saw Marty and Devon coming through the door. Devon gave Marty a knowing look as Steve sauntered over to them.
“Good morning, boys. Did you have a good breakfast?” Steve said.
“As good as Denny’s makes it, which is pretty good,” Devon said.
“I assume you heard the news.”
“Yeah.” Devon looked over at Marty, who was nervously bouncing on his feet, one more time.
“Devon, I need to have a word with Marty, if you don’t mind,” Steve said.
“Not a problem.” Marty got another smile from Devon, who headed for the elevator.
Steve waved Marty over to the small cafeteria where breakfast was served by the hotel. Since time for breakfast had ended the location was empty. Marty and his manager sat at a table.
“I’d normally wait to tell you this when you came to the ballpark, but time is of the essence right now.” The manager gave Marty a grin and said, “Welcome to the Big Leagues, kid.”
“For real?” Marty had been expecting some kind of news as soon as he had seen Steve in the lobby. He figured he either was being called up to the big club or was being sent off in another trade.
“For real. The promotion is well earned. Now you gotta do the toughest part.”
“Sticking. The toughest part isn’t being called up. Lots of players get called up. Nope, the toughest part is sticking around. You’ve got competition behind you, who’d love to have your job, so you gotta work to keep it. There are no scholarships in the big leagues, Marty. You gotta earn your stripes.
“Just between me and you, son, I think you’re better than any of them, including the dude they got in the trade. Anyway, you need to call the front office and get your travel arrangements taken care of and then get packed, because you’re flying out to Houston to meet the M’s there.”
The two men stood up and shook hands. “Good luck, son. You’ve had to fight a lot of crap to get here, and I have faith you have what it takes to stick.”
Steve was referring to the flack Marty got for being openly gay. It wasn’t anything overwhelming, but it was there. Marty had to learn to deal with adversity in social media, from the stands, and, on a few occasions, from opponents or even in his own clubhouse. But now his dream had become reality, and Marty felt he was ready to be a Major Leaguer.
Before Marty could call the Mariner front office, he received a call from General Manager Patrick McKenzie, who welcomed him to the team. He told Marty what his schedule would be for the next couple of days and what the expectations would be for the next couple of months. The GM then patched Marty to the team’s Travel office where he was issued a ticket for his flight to Houston.
Marty then called his husband, who laughed, yipped, and cried with happiness. His next phone call was to his father, who made no attempt to stay calm. Marty could feel his emotions through the phone. And his third phone call was to Aiden, his little bro, who wasn’t available to answer his phone.
Aiden had just finished talking with Sammy. It was the first phone call he’d made to Sammy in four days. Sammy wanted to chew Aiden’s ass, but Mel had told him to be patient. Sammy did know that he and his sponsee needed to have a meeting soon to discuss the direction Aiden was taking. He decided to hold off on suggesting the meeting since he knew Aiden had to leave for his game.
“Okay, I did what Marty said and called you.” Aiden’s voice brought Sammy’s mind back into focus on the present.
“You might want to think about doing what I said and calling me every day.”
“About whatever you want, even if it’s nothing.”
“Why call you about nothing?”
Sammy let his voice become a little sterner, just like Mel would sometimes do with him. “Because if you call me about nothing, it will be easier to pick up the phone when you have to call me about something important. You’ve made a habit out of it.” Damn, I’m sounding just like Marty and Mel, Sammy thought.
“Okay, whatever. I gotta go. Thanks for answering the phone. Later, Sammy.”
After breaking the connection Sammy thought of how Aiden was getting a smug edge to him. He was more concerned with doing things the way he wanted to do them instead of the way that worked. Sammy thought how not long ago he’d known an eleven-year-old just like that and his name was Sammy Bednarzyk. That smug eleven-year-old quickly turned into a twelve-year-old drinker and a thirteen-year-old alcoholic. Sammy wondered if he had what it took to help Aiden realize what he would need to do to prevent himself from going down the same path.
Yonder Sanchez pitched one of his typical games against the Timbers—a lot of strikeouts along with a lot of walks. Nolan had one of his best games of the season, going three-for-three with two doubles, two runs scored, and three RBI as the Timbers beat the Goats 7-4.
Aiden and Nolan did nothing special in the handshake line. They exchanged high fives like they did with everyone else, knowing they would get together at the concession stand as soon as the team meetings were over.
The Yard Goats’ team meeting was quick so everyone could get something to eat. The Goats learned they would be playing the Washougal Wolves at four on the same field they had just played on. When the meeting ended Aiden met Larry, who was standing next to Nolan’s mom and dad at the concession stand. Phil was coaching his 16-and-under team in the District Tournament in Tacoma.
“Tough loss, son,” Larry said.
“We didn’t play very well and Centralia did, especially Nolan,” Aiden replied.
“Did I hear you say my name?” Nolan said as he came up behind Aiden.
“Yep. I said we’re breaking up because you were mean to me today.”
Nolan put his arm around Aiden’s shoulder and brought his face to within inches of his boyfriend’s. For a moment Aiden thought Nolan was going to kiss him. “You’ve been mean to me more than I’ve been mean to you.”
Aiden broke into a smile. “Yeah, you’re right. I guess I’ll keep you around for a while, but only because I have to.”
“Why do you have to?”
“Because my dads already bought your train ticket to Montana and if I’m going to share a sleeping car room with somebody, it’s going to be with my boyfriend.”
Nolan fought back an urge to kiss Aiden’s kissable lips and let go of his boyfriend’s shoulder. “You say the nicest things.”
“Only to you.”
After they got into the concession line, Aiden checked his phone and saw he had a missed phone call from Marty. He looked at the time and knew Marty’s game had already started. He decided to return the call and leave a message. He was surprised when Marty answered the phone.
“Hey, aren’t you supposed to be playing a game right now?” Then he remembered the time difference. “Oh, I bet the game is over by now.”
“It is, but I didn’t suit up. In fact, I just got off a plane and am at the baggage carousel.”
“Where are you?”
“I’m in Houston and as soon as I claim my bags, I’ll be catching a ride to Minute Maid Park…”
“You mean where the Astros play?” Aiden asked excitedly.
“…yep, where the Astros play, and I’ll be wearing Mariner uniform number 43. I just got called up today.”
Aiden’s screech of joy could be heard across the entire complex. “Wow, that is so awesome. Quick, tell Pop!” He handed the phone to Larry, who was now second in line.
“Let me guess,” Larry said to Marty. “From Aiden’s scream, I would say you got called up.”
“Yep, I’m at Bush Airport in Houston, my bat bag just got dropped onto the carousel, and I gotta get going.”
“Congratulations. I’m very proud of you.” Larry found himself fighting off tears. “We’ll talk more later, now go kick some Astro ass.”
“Can I help you, sir?” the high school age girl at the concession stand asked. She saw the look on Larry’s face. “Are you okay?”
“Thanks for asking, but I’m more than okay. Right now, I’m the happiest high school baseball coach in the state of Washington.”
“Oh, okay, I’m, like, glad you’re okay. What can I get for you?”
“I’ll get the order,” Paul Moyer said. Aiden had just told him and Nolan what Marty’s phone call had been about. Larry thanked him, put his arm around his son, and they walked away from the concession stand together.
“Are you okay Pop?” Aiden asked.
“I am, and how about you?”
“I think I’m like you—so happy I want to cry. When are we going to see the Mariners?”
“As soon as we get back from our trip. I’ll get tickets for a full series—one game isn’t going to cut it.”
Aiden wiped away a sudden tear and wrapped himself around Larry. “I love you, Pop, and Marty loves you, too. You and Dad are the very best there is.”
Next: Tops and Bottoms (Part 1)