Does he really think Langston is worth it?
"Yeah," says Tellem. "Every cent."
"This is a sick business," Tellem cackles. "Sick people are in it, like me." At 35, he has the air of a man who could negotiate a truce with guerrilla forces while armed only with a cellular phone and chutzpah. He's a Philadelphian in exile, a Broad Street Danny Rose. Langston, who met Tellem in 1981 while still at San Jose State, calls him the Master Manipulator.
The Dodgers are the first team in line. They invite Tellem, Langston and his wife, Michelle, for a get-acquainted lunch at Dodger Stadium: vegetable soup and broiled salmon. Team attorney Santiago Fernandez jokingly suggests that Tellem should rent a room at the Biltmore Hotel and raffle Langston off.
"I've been thinking about it," says Tellem. He isn't kidding. He's been toying with the idea of holding a silent auction with sealed bids. He would like to hold it in the Felt Forum in Manhattan with Brent Musburger doing color commentary and maybe Vanna White opening the envelopes.
"Would you consider sealed bids?" Tellem asks.
"No!" Fernandez says flatly.
Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda drops by to schmooze. He talks about the pride of wearing Dodger blue, how once you put on a Dodger uniform you never want to take it off.
Lasorda, however, is wearing a sport jacket and a tie as he shows Mark and Michelle around the clubhouse. They inspect the photos on his Frank Sinatra and Don Rickles walls. "These are the nicest walls I've ever seen in a manager's office," says Langston.