"I want to stay in," Wells told him.
"Well, it's time to come out."
"No, no, no."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah."
Torre tried to pry the ball from Wells's hand. Wells wouldn't let go. "Boomer!" said Torre. "You're making me look bad. Just gimme the damn ball and get outta here." Reluctantly, Wells handed it over. "You've got to keep your thumb on Boomer a little," Torre says, "or he'll try to get away with as much as he can."
"SHAPE UP," UNDERWEAR SALESMAN TELLS WELLS
Jim Palmer, the Hall of Fame pitcher and Jockey pitchman, is relating a brief encounter with Wells. It was on the first day of spring training in 1996, Wells's first day as an Oriole. He was a season away from free agency.
"I congratulated David for joining the team," says Palmer, now an Orioles broadcaster. "He looked at me and said. 'Do you know anybody in San Diego?' " Palmer was flabbergasted. "Here it is, Day One with a new team, and he's already thinking of where he's gonna be in '97."
Wells doesn't deny he was looking ahead. "San Diego and New York were the only places I wanted to play," he says. "I figured this would be my final contract, and I should finish my career where I felt most comfortable."
He never felt comfortable in Baltimore. He hated the ballpark almost as much as he loved the ballplayers. "I'm a fly-ball pitcher," Wells says, "and fly balls are home runs in Camden Yards." And he cared little for Baltimore ("If you cruise around anywhere outside the Inner Harbor, it's dead," he says) or Baltimoreans ("I kept getting hassled by idiots on the street").