"That's not free," I said. "I'd be doing your job. You get paid for selling ballplayers."
"Well, there's nothing further to discuss," Short said. "Goodby."
"Who discussed?" I said. "All I did was listen."
I hung up the phone.
"Now I'm a general manager," I told my wife. "It's the first time I ever heard of cattle being told it's O.K. to go ahead and sell themselves as long as they turn the proceeds over to the rancher."
"I think you're getting the old squeeze play," Anne said. "What can they do if you don't sign?"
"Sit on their hands until March 11. Then they can sit on me. If I don't sign by then, the contract is automatically renewed on their terms."
"What kind of business is that?" she said.
"It's all part of the game, honey," I said.
"When are we leaving for Florida?" my daughter asked.