Frederick had been having trouble generating any kind of offense. The game had gone to the bottom of the sixth inning with neither team scoring. Jason had recorded thirteen strikeouts, giving up just two hits, one of them a bunt single for the first hit in the game in the third inning. The manager had already told him he was done. If he was to get the win the team had to score in the bottom frame and then hold them.
At that point Alexis got up from the bench screaming in English, “We got to get some runs. Too much chitter chatter going on here. The pitcher is giving away his pitches. We’ve got to see that, but no one is paying attention. No respect for the game. We can’t be happy with our bats here. Time to wake them up.” He walked over to the bat rack, pulled a number of bats out and threw them to the ground, kicking them where they lay. The other players were struck with silence, watching him as he booted the bats around like soccer balls. “Wake up bats. Get some life in you.”
Alexis was easily the biggest man in the dugout so they certainly did not want to confront him. His tattoos also made him intimidating. Alexis grabbed his bat from the others strewn about the dugout floor. He left the other bats lying there for the batboy to pick up, stormed up to the on deck circle. “The Beast will wake things up. The Beast is going deep. Deeeeeeep! I know exactly what this pitcher is throwing.” He stomped into the on deck circle like the giant he was.
When Alexis talked about himself he liked to use the first person. If he was hungry and wanted to get something to eat it was “Alexis is hungry. Where are we going to eat?” If it was baseball related he always referred to himself as The Beast.
The opposing pitcher had only given up three hits, none of them stroked solidly. If he was giving away his pitches Kevin hadn’t noticed.
One of the players mumbled under his breath once Alexis walked into the on-deck circle, “Rookie. He hasn’t been in the locker room long enough to be messing with our bats.” Kevin glared at him and the player shot his glance towards the ground.
Alexis didn’t hit a homerun but he rocked a pitch into the right centerfield gap. He was no gazelle when running the bases, but the further his body lurched forward the faster his long strides carried him. He didn’t stop when he hit second and he rumbled for third. As soon as he got close to third he flew his body into the air, stretching his arms out as far as they could go, eventually hitting the ground with a thud and bouncing like a basketball towards the base. It was an ugly slide, but it got him to the base before the ball did.
There was a huge roar from the crowd. Alexis bounced up, called time to brush the dirt from his uniform. He gave out a yell, shouting out unintelligible words to his teammates in the dugout. Those in the dugout were also starting to show some enthusiasm for the first time. They were yelling “Beast” back at Alexis while bumping each other’s chests.
“That’s what I’m talking about,” Kevin yelled from the dugout among his celebratory chest bumping teammates, even though he didn’t have a clue what Alexis was screaming from third. It was a mixture of Spanish and English.
As the next batter walked to the plate Joe Palmer said to Kevin, “Good ballplayer.”
“Yep. He can play on my team any day.” Kevin was still a little amped up and he shouted out his response a little louder than he wanted. He began to realize the more he played with Alexis the better he liked him. He still didn’t like the rap music he played in the locker room or the tattoos riding along his arms, but at least he stopped wearing his pants halfway down his rear.
“Wonder where he learned to read pitchers like that?” Palmer shot Kevin a knowing smile. Moose talked to the other managers almost weekly via tele conference calls. Larvell wanted them all on the same page. To do that they had to talk to each other to find out what the others were doing. Dusty Rhodes had already relayed the story of Kevin dressing down Alexis for his inattentiveness to the game.
“Makes you wonder,” was all Kevin would offer.