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At this point I expected Hodges to blow his stack. Instead, he said, "You should have started. Now do you want to play ball for me or not?"
"I've got a job to do and you've got a job to do," I said. "It doesn't make any difference, I suppose, who I play for. But you don't like me and I think you know that I don't like you."
"It's not that I don't like you," he said. "I just don't like some of the things you do."
"Well, Gil, I'm sorry," I said. "If you can get rid of me, I'd like to go to another ball club."
Then I walked out.
I thought, if nothing else, that talk would clear the air between us, but things got worse. Hodges criticized my hair, my clothes, my hats—everything but my baseball.
Although more and more unhappy with this guy, I was playing well. I had my stroke back and was hitting the ball hard and fielding very well. I didn't have much hope of being traded but I figured if I could last the season without going nuts I'd be all right. There were rumors even then that Hodges would leave Washington and manage the Mets when the 1967 season ended.
"Are you going to be in your room for a little while?" he asked. He sounded friendly, almost humble.
"Yes," I said.