"I'll be home soon," he would answer earnestly. "Janeane's got her mother with her."
"But you should be home."
He was everyone's favorite: polite, affable, a whiz with names. And he had just the hint of the devil in him. One father introduced himself and said, "You're 21 years old, the Most Valuable Player of the World Series. You're going to meet the President, and you've got a healthy son." He shrugged. "What do you do for an encore?"
It was a question Saberhagen had been asked by the media about 50 times already. He answered with his high-voltage smile. The man smiled back. "It's just that I've got a 21-year-old son who hasn't done anything yet."
That's the problem with living a dream: You can't get out of it by waking up. Everyone expects you to follow it up with something. Sabes? Saa-abes? Yoo-hoo. Here's a toothpick for those eyelids. Just a little longer. Only 17 miles to Kansas City.
"It shouldn't have gotten dark," he said, yawning, squirming deeper into the arms of Polar, the faithful bear with the demented smile that he was bringing home to Drew. Sabes rubbed his fingers over his mustache, an inconspicuous growth that he had been working on, he claimed, for 21 years. "If you think it's bad now, you should have seen it three years ago," he said. He yawned again. "Somebody called about doing a Pampers commercial. And there might be a movie or something. My agent's from Beverly Hills. And we're building a house in Leawood, Kansas. On a golf course. A lot of the guys live around there—Bud Black, Dan Quisenberry, Charlie Leibrandt, Joe Beckwith."
He closed his eyes. It was pitch-black in the fields beyond the highway. Tomorrow he would meet the President of the United States, and he was wondering what clothes to wear.
Sabes? One last thing. Something you said after Game 7, something that should give all the fathers in America pause. Mothers, too. After you won Game 7 of the World Series, after being named MVP and all the rest of it, you said that the birth of your son was still your greatest thrill. Did you mean that? Now that you have had a few days to come back down to earth? Sabes was looking out the window. He thought awhile. "Don't get me wrong," he said. "It's pretty close. Maybe I should have listed them as 1A and 1B. But, yeah, Drew was the biggest thrill, the World Series the second biggest."
A lot of folks will like that answer. Now get some rest, Sabes. And sweet dreams to you, Saby's baby.