Even Yount will not be able to play on a baseball team forever. He may, however, end up owning one. Larry has served as a member of various committees in Phoenix that have sought a major league expansion team. Over the past several years, he and Stone have tried, without success, to get a ballpark built. Says Larry, "We will get it done."
He has business relationships with Selig and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, and Stone, who once tried to buy the Boston Red Sox, has numerous baseball contacts. It is widely assumed among baseball people that if and when Phoenix gets a team—probably in a 1998 expansion—the owners will be Stone, Yount and Yount. "Bud and Jerry wouldn't let the team go to anyone else," says another owner.
"Owning a team is a dream," says Larry. For Robin, though, owning a ball club is a distant concept. "I haven't really even thought about how long I'll play," he says. "That depends on whether I stay healthy, on my family, on how I feel about the situation. I doubt I'll ever lose the thrill of the competition, but my body may get in the way. I don't think I'll have problems retiring. I'll miss the guys, and I'll miss going up against pitchers. But there are so many things I like to do, I think I'll be happy doing anything."
Larry says he envisions Robin "becoming part of LKY—he'd be a brilliant contractor." Robin has other ideas. "The first year I'm retired, I'm going to the Indy 500," he says. "Maybe I can work in the pits. After baseball, I know I'd like to get involved in automobile racing. I'd probably be too old to drive the big circuits. I'm probably not good enough either. But maybe I could sponsor a racing team and be a mechanic. That would be neat."
During the last two weeks of the lockout, Yount was busy playing. He took off into the Arizona mountains for three days of fishing and camping with Deer. He raced his go-kart and took the dirt bike into the desert. He played golf and attended the U.S. Grand Prix in Phoenix. He went to two Phoenix Roadrunner hockey games, holding Jenna in his lap as he yelled at the goaltenders. Twice he drove an hour to Deer's house and took batting practice in the cage Deer had built in a nearby junkyard. "This," Yount said as he stood by the cage and surveyed the bald tires and spare parts and broken-down cars, "is my idea of what a batting cage should really be."
Deer laid down patches of artificial turf to cover the weeds in the cage and started up the pitching machine. Yount stepped in. The first ball exploded from the machine. Yount hit a line drive back up the middle. "Kid, you make the rest of us look pitiful," said Deer.
Yount's stare was fixed on the pitching machine. "Look at those eyes," said Deer. "You'd think that machine was Roger Clemens. He has to beat it. Rope after rope after rope. He's the most amazing person I'll ever know. He just wouldn't want me saying it."
Yount finished his round, gathered up the balls and placed them in the machine. "Kid," said Deer, "what should I say about you?"
"That I'm boring, and that all I am is a baseball player who is nothing special," replied Yount. "That's what I am. Just an all-right baseball player. Tell the truth."
That's as close to a boast as will ever be heard from Yount: The Kid is all right.