"Sure, Bob Short can be accused of exploiting," he said with less than Olympian detachment, "but all I'm doing is giving this kid a chance he's earned. I guarantee you that if he had been signed by any one of the other clubs, he'd be a starter today. Look, I've got a big investment here. I'm not going to risk losing it by ruining Clyde's career for the sake of one big box-office appearance."
The next day Clyde himself was too busy bathing in the warmth of public affection to take much heed of these arguments. But, surprisingly enough, he said he would not object if the Rangers found it necessary to farm him out. "If I'm not helping this team," he said, sincere as always, "and I'm losing confidence, then I wouldn't want to take up space here. I'm not kidding when I say I would've signed for popcorn to play professional baseball. I love this life. I've already had so many thrills. I was tingling all over when I went out there last night. All those people! I loved it. Now, I guess you could say I'm both relieved and disappointed, disappointed because of all those walks. It was agreed I would leave the game after a hundred pitches. I thought I was gonna throw that many in the first inning and still not get anybody out. I was lucky on a lot of pitches."
He paused, anticipating the inevitable.
"No, I'm no franchise saver. This franchise doesn't need saving. All it needs is a few wins."
On the night after Clyde pitched, the Rangers drew 3,992. That day, tickets for Clyde's next start, on Monday, went on sale. Some 25,000 were sold in three days.
Maybe the mayor is right.