Archive for October, 2013

Bears Take Game Two

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

The Doosan Bears erupted for four runs in the 13th inning, fueled by the Jae-il Oh solo homerun to win the second game of the Korean Series 5-1.  The game broke the record for being the longest post season game in KBO history at five hours and thirty two minutes.  The now go to Jamsil Stadium, home of the Bears for game three, up in the series two games to none.  They will not have to go back to Daegu if they can win two of the three games in Seoul.

Lions closer and free agent Seung-hwan Oh had come into the game in relief in the ninth with the score tied 1-1.  The other Oh had also come into the game in the ninth as a defensive replacement.  While Seung-Hwan was striking out eight of the 12 hitters he faced Jae-il rocked him deep in the 13th to drive him from the game.  Si-heon Son added a 2-run single later in the inning.

The Lions ended up stranding 16 baserunners, including bases loaded opportunities in the tenth and eleventh innings.

Jae-Ho Kim drove in the first run for the Bears in the eighth inning with a 2-out RBI single.  The Lions tied the game in the bottom frame on an RBI single from Tae-in Chae.

Rick Vandenhurk pitched well for the Lions in the start, shutting the Bears down for five plus innings while he struck out seven.  Lion pitchers struck out a record high 18 Bears in the 13 inning game.  Dustin Nippert matched him with six scoreless innings for the Bears.

You can read more about the game here:

Dominican Winter League Update

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

This is the first update of the Dominican Winter League.  It attracts some of the better prospects from the major leagues as well as veterans who stand in the gray area between major league starter and sitting the bench or playing in the minor leagues.

Aguilas Cibaenas (5-1)

Alexis Gomez (.450) and Dan Black (.286) are tied for the team lead with six RBIs.  Gomez has slashed four doubles while Black has three.  Zolio Almonte (.333, 2, 2) has hit two of the team’s four homeruns, but both of them have been of the solo variety.  Juan Perez (.350) has four stolen bases in four attempts and leads the team in runs scored with seven.

Angel Castro (2-0, 0.79) has had two effective starts where the only run he has allowed has been on a solo shot.  Command has been a struggle for him with a 5/10 walk to whiff ratio in 11 innings of work.  Tony Pena Jr. has not given up an earned run in four appearances covering five plus innings.  He has struck out six without allowing a walk.

Tigres del Licey (5-2)

Licey has a pretty impressive group of players including the top prospect from last year Jurickson Profar (.520, 1, 2).  He also has a six to two walk to whiff ratio allowing him to score a team leading nine runs.  His OBA is .520.  Another player getting on base with a .500 OBA is Yamaico Navarro (.500, 3, 12).  His 12 RBIs easily lead the team.

A couple veteran Cubans lead the rotation in Yunesky Maya (0-1, 2.53) and Jose Contreras (0-1, 6.48).  Jairo Ascencio (1-0, 0.00) anchors the bullpen with three saves.  He has had an impact in four of the five Licey wins. Hector Noesi (1.80) got a good start while Chris Volstad (8.10) did not.

Leones del Escogido (4-2)

One of the top prospects in the minors Gregory Polanco (.458, 3, 8) is shining for the Leones. His nine runs scored lead the team and he has added four doubles resulting in seven of his 11 hits going for extra bases. Jorge Polanco (.450, 1, 4) is the other big early bat.

Armando Rodriguez (2-0, 0.00) has two of their four wins, all in relief. He has a team leading eight whiffs in just five plus innings. Chris Martin has two saves in his three appearances. He has also not allowed a run. Jarrett Grube threw four shutout innings in his only start. Red Sox prospect Allen Webster (2.25) gave up only one run in his four inning start.

Gigantes del Cibao (2-4)

The Gigantes bats have been pretty silent. Cuban J.C. Linares (.313, 1, 1) and Maikel Franco (.304, 0, 1) are the only two bats hitting over .300. Robinson Diaz (.259, 1, 4) and Moises Sierra (.211, 1, 4) are the leading RBI men.

Fabio Castro gave up one unearned run in his four inning start.

Estrellas del Oriente (2-5)

Nelson Perez (.333, 2, 3) has gotten off to a strong start. His 5/4 walk to whiff ratio has given him a .529 OBA. He also leads the team in runs scored with five. Leandro Castro (.346, 0, 5) is the big RBI man.

Bruce Billings (1-1, 1.80) has gotten out of the gate strong with 10 whiffs in 10 innings of work. His four walks were in a struggling second start that he lost. His first start he did not allow a run in five innings of work. Marcos Mateo (1-0, 0.00) has the other Estrellas win and he got credit for the save in the other win.

Toros del Este (1-5)

Eugenio Velez (.500, 1, 4) has a double, triple and homerun. He also has four stolen bases and leads the team in runs scored with four. Veteran Ricardo Nanita (.300, 0, 6) is the RBI man despite not having any extra base hits. Prospects Cesar Puello (.227, 1, 4) and Gary Sanchez (.222, 0, 1) hope to get on track.

Jose Lugo (1-0, 2.70) has the only win for the Toros.  He has pitched in three games of relief.  Elih Villanueva (0-1, 3.18) has been the only effective starter, but he has given up nine hits in his five plus innings of work.

Giants Win Opener

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

The Rakuten Golden Eagles chose to start rookie pitcher Takahiro Norimoto instead of Masahiro Tanaka, becoming the first rookie pitcher to start the opening game of a Japan Series in sixty one years.  Though he pitched well, giving up only two runs in eight innings of work while striking out ten, the Eagles offense provided him with no support in the 2-0 loss.

Tetsuya Utsumi worked six innings of shutout ball for the Giants before yielding to his bullpen of Scott Mathieson, Tetsuya Yamaguchi and Kentaro Nishimura, who each worked one shutout inning.

Hisayoshi Chono drove in the first run in the fifth with an RBI single and Shuichi Murata added an insuranced run in the eighth with a solo shot.

Rakuten put two runners on in five of the nine innings but failed to get the big hit to score a run.

You can see the box score for the game here: .  A record 25,209 showed up to see the first ever Japan Series game played at Kleenex stadium in Sendai.

Camden Debut (cont - 8)

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

They broke off in different directions, Zeke trotting towards the third base dugout and Kevin walking towards the first base dugout. Kevin jogged down the steps, grabbed his bag that housed his catcher’s equipment. As he was putting on his shin guards more to try them on than with any expectation of using them in a game he heard the dugout phone ring. One of the coaches picked up the phone. “Taco, its Moose. He needs to talk to you. Pronto.”

The Orioles manager was Frank Nestor. All of the coaches called him Taco. Kevin had yet to learn why. He assumed it had something to do with the Mexican heritage he inherited from his mother and his fondness for Mexican food. This was his first year as the Orioles manager. He was a short guy, who like Kevin spent much of his career as a catcher. Short squatty guys have a proclivity for that. He must have used every curse word in his vocabulary when talking on the phone. His face turned red with rage as he slammed the phone down on the receiver.

“Bones,” he said to the coach who had originally picked up the phone. Kevin assumed he got his nickname because he was wiry and thin. “Put Kevin Beamer in at catcher replacing Sal. Put Lee in the DH slot.”

“Got it Taco,” said the thin framed Bones. This was Kevin’s first day in the major leagues and he was still drinking everything in. He didn’t know any of the players, only heard of their names from reading the papers and watching the baseball highlights on television. He had never caught any of the pitchers on the team either. Everything was moving so fast for him. Now to hear Moose had called to insist his name be put in the lineup. The manager did not seem too happy with this turn of events. That made Kevin uncomfortable.

The manager walked up to Kevin. He had a scowl on his face. “Warrior, we’ve had a lineup change. You’re going to be catching today. Put your game face on.”

Kevin tried to contain his excitement. “Not a problem.” He felt the words came out a bit awkward.

The stadium was filling up. The electricity from the excitement of those entering the stadium was bouncing off the brick warehouse hovering over Eutaw Street, the volume of the crowd getting louder as the seats turned orange. It was hard for Kevin to determine if this buzz had any impact on the players. After all, this was Kevin’s first major league game. It had an impact on him. The giant pterodactyls had returned to his stomach, absent since spring training and they were flapping their massive wings, turning his insides into jelly.

Jason was doing some running in the outfield. He did his best to keep his stare away from the crowd gathering around the fence watching him jog, pleading with him to sign autographs to hats, programs and jerseys. Cameras and cell phones were flashing as people were jostling over each other to take a picture of Jason as he went through his warm-up routine. He was given the number 18, the same uniform number he wore in his spring training game and for all his minor league games. Many of the fans taking his picture were wearing an Oriole jersey with the name “Woo” on the back of the jersey and the number 18.

Terry Battier came over to Kevin. ‘It looks like you’re in the lineup. Congratulations.” He put a long, right arm around Kevin’s shoulder. There was strength and sincerity in the grasp. “Nervous?”

“Absolutely.” Kevin tried to contain the pterodactyls in his stomach, thinking thoughts of Jasmine. Funny, those pterodactyls never seemed to bother him in a minor league game. It wasn’t so bad when he saw his name was not in the lineup. Now those giant wings were flapping, making a mess of his insides once he learned he would be playing the game.

“Just treat everything like a minor league game. Do the same thing you did in spring training. After the first pitch everything will settle down. In fifteen minutes I’d like to see you and Jason to talk over the hitters. Then we’ll walk over to the bullpen together for the warm-up.”

The Yankee lineup was almost the same as the one they had for spring training, so the review from Terry was almost a refresher course. The biggest change was their first baseman, Armando Santiago, a rookie tearing the league apart with 40 homeruns. He had replaced Rudy McGee in the lineup. They lost some speed but gained some power. This lineup was filled with power.

Josh Bravo LF – 22 homeruns
Victor Murray 2B – 33 homeruns
Armando Santiago 1B – 40 homeruns
Bobby Boehringer RF – 28 homeruns
Alexis Moreno DH – 30 homeruns
C.J. Veras 2B – 21 homeruns
Yasmani Maduro 3B – 20 homeruns
Marshal Mahoney C – 3 homeruns
Antonio Suzuki SS - 8 homeruns

Only the last two hitters in their lineup provided any relief from the power. “Just go out there like you did in spring training. It’s the same game, only a different stage. We’re now oh and whatever against the Yankees this year so you can’t do any worse than what we have done so far. Now let’s go get our warm-ups in so we can kick some Spankee ass.”

That last statement was meant to light a fire under their ass to get them motivated, but nothing broke Jason from his calm approach. Kevin was amped. Jason was serene. The only fire you could see from Jason was in his eyes. That is where Kevin could tell Jason was focused. He had that look today.


Japanese Draft Completed

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Right before the Japan series the Japanese professional baseball league held their amateur draft.  The drafts go between five to nine rounds, depending how many players the teams want to select.  The Hiroshima Carp only selected five players while the Rakuten Golden Eagles grabbed nine players.  You can review the selection of Pacific League teams here: and the Central League teams here:

Yuki Matsui was the most popular player selected.  In the first round of the Japanese draft each team submits the name of a player it wants to draft.  If more than one team selects the same player a lottery system is used to award a team the winning player.  Sometimes the best strategy is to pick the second or third best player because you may have a better shot of getting that player.  If after all the selections are made and the lottery picks completed and you did not get the player you selected in the first round you are given another opportunity to pick from among those remaining players not already awarded to a team.  As the team with the worst record you man end up with the eighth pick becuase you were not awarded the top pick you selected.

Five teams selected lefthanded pitcher Yuki Matsui for the first round.  The Rakuten Eagles were awarded the player.  Righthanded pitcher Daichi Osera was the second most requested player.  Three teams named him as their first round pick.  The Hiroshima Carp were awarded with the selection.

Camden Debut (cont - 7)

Friday, October 25th, 2013

There was Zach, Zeke’s nephew, mouth gaped wide open, large soda embraced in both hands. His dad was sitting next to him, disinterested, eyes focused on his phone as he was checking his messages. Prior to Kevin’s arrival this pudgy, pint sized kid had his mouth attached to a straw sucking up the sugary syrup inside a large cup he could barely get his hands around, a motor engine filling up his need for fuel. When he saw Kevin approach his eyes got big and his mouth removed itself from the straw. He shook the arm of his father in wild excitement. “Dad. Dad. The Warrior. Uncle Zeke is bringing the Warrior here.” His dad looked up with feigning interest before returning his focus back to the phone.

Zach stared at Kevin as if he was some sort of super hero. Kevin wished he had learned some super hero tricks he could perform to match those expectations. A flight around the stadium would be impressive. He couldn’t remember if his video character had that ability.

Zach didn’t look at all like what Kevin expected from a Zeke Thompson relative, but then his father had a shade of obesity wrapped around his bones. The brother of Zeke wore glasses and had no muscle definition. The only similarity with Zeke was his first name began with a “Z” – Zealous. His son had the same round shape of his dad, carved from the multiple hours he sat in a chair all day playing video games with large sodas by his side. If you described Zach he would be called pudgy and round. Perhaps he will grow out of that fat as he gets older and begins to sprout, but looking at his father this did not seem promising. He also wore an Oriole uniform jersey which conflicted with the Yankee garb his father wore. Zeke couldn’t be too happy about that. The father seemed quite bored to be at the game, more interested in what news was being distributed through his phone than the actions taking place at the ballpark.

Zeke had a smile on his face from watching his nephew’s excitement as Kevin approached. The kid scrambled through his bag looking for something hidden in the crevices. As he bent down towards the bag Kevin could see the back of his uniform jersey. It read “Warrior” and matched his number, which was “22”. He had been seeing a lot of Oriole uniform jerseys with either “Woo” or the “Warrior” name on the back. When Zach found what he was looking for he proudly displayed it to Kevin. “Warrior! Can you sign this?” His open smile showed off his crooked teeth and bubbling enthusiasm. He was bouncing up and down in his seat. His father had finally put his phone away as Zeke introduced him to Kevin. They both shook hands.

“My kid talks a lot about you,” the father commented over the shouts of his son bouncing up and down in the seat next to him clamoring for him to sign a baseball card. Kevin’s approach to the sidelines created a minor wave of fans rushing to the same area to shout forautographs.

Kevin reached for the object the nephew was begging Kevin to sign. It was one of his old minor league baseball cards from three years ago. He had been signing a lot of minor league baseball cards lately, but they were more recent ones. He ignored the shrieks from the other fans begging for his autograph. “I haven’t seen one of these in a while”. Kevin wondered how much this baseball card might be worth. Minor league baseball cards usually did not fetch a high price.

As he was signing Zach said, “I can’t believe my uncle knows the Warrior. You’re in trouble now,” he said to Zeke. “With the Warrior playing for the Orioles you have no chance.”

Zeke smiled. “Not even if I’m pitching?”

“Well, if you don’t give up any runs the best you can hope for is a tie. Nobody scores against the Warrior. Not when Woo is pitching.”

“There are no ties in baseball.”

Kevin returned the card to the kid. He did not have the heart to tell the kid he was not in the starting lineup today. Let that piece of reality filter in later. “There are ties in Japan. At least I saw a game there once and it ended in a tie. I appreciate the confidence you have in me Zach, but your uncle is a pretty good pitcher. One of the best.”

“Wait till I show this to my friends. This is awesome.”

“I like your jersey.”

“Yeah. It’s pretty cool. My uncle got it for me at the sports shop here. It’d be better if you played for the Yankees though.”

The crowd surging towards the seats got louder. Their begging became more desperate. Even Yankee fans who had noticed Zeke with the Warrior were shoving to get in the scrum. The longer they stayed the more difficult to ignore their pleas. They were like a flock of sea gulls flying above a land fill. “Your uncle’s a good man. And a pretty good pitcher. He’ll make it tough for the Orioles.”

“Yeah. I know. But he has his work cut out for him.” Kevin wondered if Zach had looked at the standings lately to notice the Yankees were in first place almost 50 games ahead of the last place Orioles. The kid has been living too long in his video fantasy world to recognize reality and that would soon be caving in after the game today.

“The Warrior’s got to get ready for the game. Anything else you want to say to him before he goes?” Zeke had taken notice of the large crowds gathering near them to ask for autographs.

A blank expression appeared on his face for only a short while before it burst out into a sparkle of enthusiasm. “Could you come to my school one day? You know, speak to my class. It would be so cool if you could do that.”

Zeke smiled and took a glance over at Kevin. “The Warrior’s a very busy man.”

Kevin didn’t know what to say. He looked over at Zeke to catch his wavering smile, then the father Zeolous, who also did his best to form a smile. “When the season’s over I’ll talk to your uncle. Perhaps we can work something out. If your uncle tells me you’re getting good grades in school then we’ll see about making a visit.”

“Awesome.” Zach took a big slurp from his straw, sucking in the sugary syrup to increase his hyper ventilation. When he stopped he admired his newly signed Kevin Beamer minor league baseball card.

As they turned to go back to the field Zeke said to Kevin. “Kids. Sometimes you just don’t know how to motivate them. As you can see, he’s a bit hefty. None of us can get him to get any exercise and his school grades are abysmal. You’ll experience all of those joys soon.”

“You let me know when he gets those grades up and I can see about visiting his school. That is if my fifteen minutes of fame which have extended to an hour have not expired and he still wants me to visit.”

“I appreciate it.”

EDA Rhinos to Play Uni-President Lions in Taiwan Series

Friday, October 25th, 2013

In the Chinese Professional Baseball League the EDA Rhinos won the first half of the pennant while the Lions won the second half to face off in the Taiwan Series.  Last year’s defending champs, the La Miga Monkeys will have to watch the games this year.  The first game will start October 26.

Both teams who qualify for the Taiwan Series will also qualify for the Asian Series since Taiwan is the host for the Asian Series.  Teams from Italy (champions of the European Cup), Australia, Japan and Korea will participate in what is more of a true World Series. 

Bears Win Opener Over Lions in KBO Championship

Friday, October 25th, 2013

The Doosan Bears remain hot, winning their opener against the Samsung Lions in the Korean championship series 7-2.  The Lions may have been a bit cold since they have not played since October three.  The Bears have already won two series in their approach to this final series against the Lions. 

Hyun-Soo Kim and Si-Seon Son slammed solo shots and Won-Seok Lee drove in two runs with a triple to lead the offense.  The Lions got on the board first with a solo homerun from Seok-Min Park in the first inning to give the Lions an early 1-0 lead.

Kyung-Eun Noh settled down after giving up the solo shot to Park, allowing the Lions only three singles through the sixth inning. 

Game two will see the Dutchman Rick Vandenhurk go for the Lions against Dustin Nippert for the Bears.   

Red Sox Split with Cardinals

Friday, October 25th, 2013

In the opener of the World Series the Cardinals played some sloppy defense and the Red Sox took advantage to maul them 8-1.  The normally sure handed Pete Kozma booted two balls at short, David Freese made an error and Adam Wainwright allowed a weak pop up to fall in front of him to create the nightmare for the Cardinals. 

The Red Sox did bring their bats with David Ortiz slugging a 2-run homerun in the seventh and Mike Napoli driving in three runs with a double.  Jon Lester also shut the Cardinals out for seven plus innings, allowing just five hits and one walk.  Matt Holliday hit a solo shot in the ninth for the lone run after the Red Sox had taken an 8-0 lead.

Carlos Beltran did reach over the fence to rob David Ortiz of a grand slam homerun in the second inning, but injured his ribs on the play and had to be taken out of the game.  David Ortiz did get an RBI on the play with a sacrifice fly.

The Cardinals rode the rookie arm of Michael Wacha to win the second game 4-2.  Wacha gave up only two runs on three hits in his six innings of work.  One of those three hits was a 2-run homer from David Ortiz that gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead.

The Cardinals recaptured that lead in the seventh off Boston starter John Lackey, David Freese drawing a one out walk and John Jay following with a single.  Craig Breslow came on in relief for Boston and Pete Kozma came in to run for Freese at second base.  The Cardinals successfully pulled a double steal, leaving an open base for Daniel Descalso to occupy after he was walked.  A sacrifice fly by Matt Carpenter tied the game and when Craig Breslow threw the ball into the stands after the ball skipped away from the catcher in an attempt to get John Jay advancing to third to allow a second run to score on the play, giving the Cardinals a 3-2 lead.  Carlos Beltran added an insurance run with an RBI single.

The Cardinals called on Carlos Martinez to pitch the seventh and eighth.  He retired the side in order in the seventh but a Matt Carpenter error and 2-out single by David Ortiz put runners on first and second with two outs.  Mike Matheny stuck with the rookie and he got Mike Napoli to pop up to end the threat.

Trevor Rosenthal pitched the ninth and struck out the side with his three digit heat to send the game to St. Louis tied up at one game apiece.         

Camden Debut (cont - 6)

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Larvell spotted Pablo in the crowd. He was with his Dominican Double D wife who had her arms wrapped inside the tanned right arm of Pablo like a Christmas bow. Pablo was a lucky man to have the opportunity to sleep with a woman like that every night. He shouldn’t complain so much. Larvell took note of Pablo walking over to John, tapping him on the shoulder and pointing towards Larvell. The two of them broke away from the group, with his Dominican wife breaking her grip from his arm. Pablo had a serious look on his face that worried Larvell. He wondered why the two of them would be coming his way. He didn’t need to be introduced to John. That would inch him closer to Jason, a personal entanglement he did not seek.

This should have been a time for Larvell to celebrate. Here was his China prodigy pitching on national television for the Baltimore Orioles with the President of the United States and the China Premiere soon to be arriving to occupy a room next to them and all he could do was drown in his own anger. He could not shake this feeling of doom surrounding him, capturing him like a prisoner in a cell, the walls slowly creeping in on him, making it harder for him to breathe – to focus. Venting his anger was the only way he knew how to fight.

Larvell took a last glance at Pablo’s wife to escape his thoughts of suffocation. The Double D bombshell with cleavage one could fit a lineup card in was now alone to fend for herself in a room full of lascivious men. It didn’t take long for her to stay alone. Pablo had only taken three steps away from her before she was joined by two other men who engaged her in conversation, the drool in their eyes focused only on the cleavage from her chest, not hiding their intentions. She brought out a contrived laugh in response to what one of the men said, a gift she had no doubt learned at a young age.

“Larvell, I don’t know if you remember John. I don’t think you were ever formally introduced. John was the caretaker for Jason while he was growing up in China. You may have seen him in the Dominican Republic when you went down there that one day to see Jason pitch. He had a little more hair then. John this is Larvell.”

Larvell smiled. They shook hands, John yanking at the right hand of Larvell as if it was a water pump. Larvell wondered where John had placed his bobble head. He was not carrying it when he shook his hand. When their hands broke apart John rubbed his right hand on his bald head. “Head much smoother now. Don’t have to carry comb.” He forced a nervous laugh.

Larvell smiled again.

“John would like to talk to you briefly in private. I think it is something you need to hear.”

The smile from Larvell disappeared. “We can go next door.” Larvell didn’t like surprises. Especially when it came from someone so close to Jason Woo. Next door was a room where the President and the China Premiere would be sitting. They had yet to arrive so it would be empty. Or so he hoped. Once the game started no one would be allowed in that room except personally invited guests with a yellow badge. Mr. Hwa was one of those personally invited guests. Larvell was not.

When they walked out of the owner’s box to the room next door a secret service agent with a wire snaking from his pocket to his right ear was standing in front of the door. “No one is allowed entry sir without the proper identification,” the stern looking man barked.

“I’m the Vice President of Operations for the Orioles.”

“Sorry sir. You need a yellow colored badge to be allowed entry into this room. Your color is green. Your friend’s card is red. The only room he will be allowed in on this floor is the one he just left and the rest room across from it.”

“Oh, for Christ’s sake. I’m a prisoner in my own facilities.”

Larvell looked around. There were secret service agents standing in front of each of the rooms. The amount of security involved in just getting inside the stadium had been a challenge. Getting into the owner’s box area was an additional challenge. With those two stringent security checks Larvell wondered what they thought he could have gotten through to cause such danger. The rest room was his only alternative. When they got in Larvell opened the three stalls to make sure no one was inside.

“What did you want to tell me John?” There was no disguising the disinterest in his voice. In one of the biggest games the Orioles would play the last place he wanted to be was in the restroom talking to a man he hardly knew.

“You know story I tell bout finding Jason in front of adoption agency. That not exactly true.”

“That doesn’t surprise me. We’ve learned a lot of what you said about Jason that was not true. What do you want to tell me this time?”

“The Asian woman with me at party? Do you member seeing her?”

“Yes. I remember you with an Asian woman.” Shu, her parents and Misty were the only Asian women in the room other than the woman John was with. This was kind of surprising for a game to be pitched by Jason Woo. Larvell assumed all the other Asian women were in the other room, where all the China delegation would mingle.

“Her name Moogi. She the mother of Jason.”

The statement leapt out like a bat flying out of the darkness of a cave, swooping down in front of his face. Larvell could not hide his shock. This is not what he needed to hear, not with all the other stuff going on, even if it was not true. Larvell tried to keep his composure. “So now you’re telling me Jason has a mom. What happened to the story of Jason being left at the front door?”

“That was lie. It cover up for my bad actions.”

“And what were you trying to cover up?”

“Moogi was a massage girl when I met her.”

Another statement coming out like a left hook to the jaw. “You mean a prostitute?”

“No. A massage girl. Massage girl and prostitute two different thing. A massage girl does not have to sleep with client. If you tip her well the choice is hers.”

”So are you going to tell me next you are Jason’s father?”

“No. Jason too big for me to be father. Moogi call me to tell me she pregnant. She not know what to do. She not want to abort so I help her through pregnant time. When she deliver I take Jason as my own. He not drop randomly at doorstep. I drop him at door step then discover him.”

“What a surprise. You can tell some nice tales John.” Larvell wiped his hands across the top of his forehead and brought them down to his chin. He tried to remain calm. “Trying to identify which was are true is the real challenge.”

“This story true. I swear. After delivery I hire her as cleaning woman so she could be near Jason. Jason know her. He not know she his mom though.”

“What about the father? Does she know who the father is?”

“Father very complicated. She saw too many men in that short period of time to know for sure. She not see me for very long time that why she know I not father.”

“Sounds like she was still a very busy girl for a massage girl.”

“She also have crazy dream about time she got pregnant. She dream an angel came down through roof while she sleeping. The angel made love to her. Normally she not remember dreams, but after this dream she woke up naked with her night gown on floor. This never happen to her before, a dream seeming so real. Most dreams she not remember but this dream seem so clear, the details still fresh in her thoughts. She also have different feeling inside.”

“So are you telling me the father of Jason could be an angel?”

“That could explain the thunder.”

“The idea is crazy. What makes her trust you with Jason?”

John seemed embarrassed by the question and averted his eyes from the glare of Larvell. He hesitated for a moment, but somehow found the courage to force the words out.

“That could also explain the voices she heard inside her head while she was pregnant. They were like tiny whispers. After she have Jason those voices disappear. Later, Jason tell me he hear voices inside head.”

This was all getting very strange. “Jason hears voices?”

“Yes. Angel voices. Angels talk inside head of Jason.”

“How do you know they are angel voices?”

“Jason tell me their names. I not remember names now. Gabriel is one name I remember. Rafael another. All English names. I look names up on internet. They all names of arch angels.”

Larvell could feel his forhead sweating. He grabbed some paper towels from the dispenser and wiped them across hisforhead.

“Why you think we come to Baltimore?”

“I thought you had told Pablo you came to Baltimore because we were such a bad team?”

“I not know that but I had to tell Pablo something. He think I crazy man if I tell him voices inside Jason head reason we go to Baltimore. Not easy to do with little money and no visa. Jason insist it could be done. Voices would help. I not know what they did and it not easy but we did it.”

“You’re starting to scare me with this story. It is very hard to believe. Who else knows about these voices?” Larvell searched for the trash, located a receptacle and shoved the moist paper towel inside.

“Only me. I not tell anyone else. Life has not been easy. After wife die I get lonely and take advantage of services Moogie offered, as a number of men did. I one of her regular customers. She think I treat her nicest of all men. She try to think of all men she sleep with during that time but too many to remember. She careful though. Every man sleep with her must wear condom. No exception. Not even for me. I with her when Jason born. We used what you call mid wife. No hospital. When she deliver Jason there loud thunder come down from sky. It made us all jump because it was last thing we expect on clear day. Then light shine through window onto Moogie. It all very strange.”

“So now why are you telling me all this? Does she want money? You know if she is not the mother we have DNA tests that can easily validate that. You do know what DNA tests are?” Now Larvell was getting defensive.

“No. She no interest in money. She only here see Jason pitch. Then she go back to China. You may never see or hear from her again. I thought you should know. Decision too big for me to make. It might be good for Jason to know his mother. It might also not be good decision. I leave for you to decide.”

The door opened. A man walked in. He stopped when he saw Larvell and John in the middle of the restroom talking. Larvell glared at him. “Could you find another restroom or just hold it for five minutes. We’re almost done.”

The startled man turned around and walked out the door. As Larvell thought about it, his comment did not come out right. Now in addition to his sex video he would find himself in some gossip magazine with an allegation he was having a homosexual affair with some Asian man in a rest room. The walls continued to close.

He focused his attention back to John, trying to find some calm in his voice. “And the father?”

“The father will probably always remain a mystery.”

“Thank you for telling me this John. I’ll have to think about this for a little bit. This was not the kind of news I was expecting to hear today. How can I reach you?”

John tore off a paper towel from a dispenser hanging over the sink. He searched his pockets for a pen. Larvell gave him his and John wrote his number on the paper towel. “You can reach me here. I not know if phone will take call from States once I back in China but I put email here too.”