10

Time Traveling Ross Atkins

Since it’s the All-Star break and stuff, I thought it would be fun to type up this little fictional something because I’m bored. Hopefully it entertains you. If not, whatever…

***

The Toronto skyline looks less good-looking than ever on another hot summer morning, as the cranes continue to work hard piling more glass on top of glass – a tragic tale for Torontonians who wish their city was as cool as Chicago. The early morning hustle is on. Commuters cuss, smoke, and sip their coffees, as they inch their way slowly into the downtown core.

Ross Atkins is stuck in traffic on the Gardiner Expressway singing along to Hall and Oates’ greatest hits. He is ready to get his hands dirty and trade some players to add to the future that he has been dreaming about. No car jam is going to throw off his early morning vibe. He can’t wait to get to the Rogers Centre, pour himself a coffee, and get to work. Ross loves to work. Ross loves to work for the future.

He finally arrives at the Rogers Centre, nestled in the glass condos. After parking his car, he decides to walk around the concrete-box stadium and take the air before locking himself in his office all day. He knows today is going to be a big day for his future Blue Jays. He feels it in his baseball swindling heart. It is finally time for him to swindle Cashman.

Ross’ phone dings. It’s Mark.

Ross hurries in humming the lyrics to Hall and Oates’ Rich Girl, You’re a rich girl, and you’ve gone too far. ‘Cause you know it don’t matter anyway. You can rely on the old man’s money. You can rely on the old man’s money. ’

 ***

Moments later.

Ross walks into Mark’s office, still humming the Hall and Oates tune.

“Hall and Oates? Good stuff, Ross. Fine duo,” Mark says.

“I know. So, what big thing is happening today, Mark? Have you spoken with Cashman? Stearns? It’s Milwaukee, isn’t it? Wait…wait…It was Luhnow, wasn’t it?”

“I didn’t speak to any of them, Ross,” Mark says. “It’s bigger than that. This whole thing is bigger than anything you could imagine.”

Ross stands there confused, as the Hall and Oates song slowly slips out of his mind. He starts to think about what Mark could be talking about. “Rogers approved your budget for stadium upgrades?”

Mark laughs, “Of course not, Ross.”

“Well, what is it?”

“You’re going to San Antonio today.”

“San Antonio?”

“Yes. And your plane leaves in one hour. Here’s your ticket.”

“But…”

“Don’t ask any questions, Ross. There will be somebody waiting for you at the airport. Now, get going…And remember, ‘Don’t find the fault, find the REMEDY.’

Mark pushes Ross out of his office and closes the door.

***

Ross is standing outside the San Antonio International Airport. He looks down the strip of pavement and stares at all the ‘Rental Car Shuttle’ signs, as he waits for some sort of vehicle to pick him up. He reaches in his pocket and pulls out his phone and turns it on. 4 unread messages from Mark.

Ross puts his phone back in his pocket. It bings again.

Ross is about to text Mark back when he suddenly hears Stranglehold by Ted Nugent in the distance. He looks in the direction where the music is coming from and sees a cherry red 1967 Mustang cruising towards him. It’s Tim Leiper.

“Don’t just stand there looking like a dumb little schoolboy, Ross! Get in,” Leiper shouts.

Ross opens the car door.

“Where are we going?”

“What?” Leiper yells.

“Where are we going?!”

“To Gibbers’ ranch!”

***

One hour later.

Leiper and Ross drive up the dirt path to John Gibbons’ ranch and the old skip is standing outside waiting for them. Leiper parks the car and the two get out.

“Hey John, what’s this all about?”

“Ol’ tight-lipped Leips never told ya, huh?” Gibbons chuckles.

“No. No one has told me anything.”

“Follow me,” Gibbons mumbles.

Ross follows Gibbons and Leiper to an old barn on the property. Gibbons pushes open the wood doors and swaggers in followed by Leiper and then Ross.

“There she is,” Gibbons says in excitement.

“What is it?” asks Ross.

“It’s a goddamn time machine,” Leiper jumps in excitedly.

“It looks like a phone booth made out of Coors Light cans,” Ross exclaims.

“Nah, you’re wrong there, Ross. It’s a damn time machine made out of Coors Light cans,” Gibbons stoically states.

“A time machine?”

“Yup. This offseason Mark called me and Leips and asked us if we could make a time machine just in case the season got real shitty. And the season did get real shitty. So, now it’s time for you to get in this thing to go back in time for the future. And this here tin can thing is gonna take you there.”

“This is a fucking joke, right?”

“Nope. No joke, Ross. This here is the time machine that you’re gonna get into, so the past couple of dogshit seasons will be worth something. You’re gonna fix all the shit now that we know how shitty it really is.”

“You’re going to press the goddamn reset button,” Leiper chimes in.

“The reset button…Well, where am I suppose to go?”

“The 2016 offseason,” Gibbons says.

“And do what?” Ross asks.

“Trade everyone.”

“Everyone?”

“Here’s the list of players Mark gave to me to give to you.” Gibbons passes the folded up list to Ross. Ross opens up the list and looks at it.

“How am I supposed to do that?”

“Ya see, you’re gonna get in this ol’ tin can time machine, punch in the date written on that piece of paper, and trade who is on the list. And then when you’re done trading the players on that list, you’re gonna text Mark and he’s gonna tell you where you have to go next,” Gibbons explains.

“Go next?”

“Don’t worry just get in.” Gibbons pushes Ross into the time machine and closes the door.

“Type in the date!” Leiper shouts.

“Ah, okay, I guess,” Ross says.

Gibbons walks over to an old beer fridge in his barn and grabs two Coors Light tall boys. He passes one to Leiper and they crack them open.

“To the future,” Gibbons raises his can.

“Yeah, to the future.”

They take a sip of beer. Ross Atkins and the Coors Light tin can time machine disappear.

***

Ross Atkins opens up the door to the Coors Light tin can time machine and looks around. He is outside of this strange looking outdoor stadium. It is snowing and it is cold. He looks up at the bleachers and sees a bunch of Canadians wearing toques and parkas. He then realizes he is behind the right field wall at a baseball stadium. He is very confused. He can hear Anne Murray singing the Canadian national anthem.

“This can’t be right,” Ross mumbles to himself.

To be continued…maybe.