"I'm sure you've seen guys make money off it," I tell him.
"And there are guys who lost money," he says, "because their bodies broke down. And who knows what problems they still face."
Day 2: Of Maxim and Meat Loaf
Now I feel like a big leaguer. I have discovered the miracle of freshly laundered clothes waiting for me in my locker. One day you take off the sweaty stuff and chuck it into a large bin, and the next morning it's all there hanging neatly. My spikes are out-of-the-box spotless. For this I can thank clubhouse manager Kevin Malloy and his crew. ¶ Batista's locker is the talk of the clubhouse. Nothing is on hangers. Everything is folded crisply into neat piles. Finally, Batista walks in and explains: "That's so I'm ready when I'm traded. I've got everything packed up. I just throw it into a bag, and I'm gone. Because you never know when it's going to happen to you in this game."
Everybody laughs, knowing, of course, that he speaks the truth.
At 8 a.m. we are back in the classroom--Wells, with a fresh apple, in the same seat--this time for the annual umpires' presentation, delivered by umpire supervisor Rich Garcia. Garcia notes that the average time of game increased by one minute last year, to 2:51, and players need to be aware of pace-of-game guidelines. He also says more strikes on the upper and lower edges of the strike zone will be called this year--too many were called balls last year, according to the laser-guided QuesTec umpire information system.
Johnson asks Garcia if it is true that QuesTec allows a two-inch buffer zone on each side of the plate when grading umpires. Garcia acknowledges that it's true, and adds that if you include the three-inch width of the baseball, the 17-inch plate actually becomes a 27-inch plate to QuesTec.
There are grumbles in the back of the room.
"Schilling gets more."
"Pedro gets more."