The little spat my father, Vets announcer "Red" Scott, and I have had over the past few days grew larger last night. We beat Albuquerque in the afternoon and I pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning, probably my best outing since the return of my healthy arm. The game ended around 3:45 and we were on plane flying to Omaha by 7:00 (what were 11-hour bus rides in AAA as recently as the 1990s are now 3-hour plane flights). I got to my lousy hotel room (what were lousy hotel rooms as recently as the 1990s are still lousy, only 10 years older) by 11:30 and, as I turned on my laptop, got a text message on my cell phone: "Jimmy, I'm going to kill you."
Now before you start thinking this is going to turn into a horror movie (I guess the demented serial killer with the manual miter saw would be waiting for me inside the box spring of my bed), you should know who wrote the text. No, not a fan who lost a bet on me (I have received death threats in the past, seriously, from guys who stood to owe lots of money to bookies if I pitched well on a particular night). My father wrote the text. And he isn't really going to kill me. He's just mad.
He said some dumb, untrue things about me on a couple of NYS broadcasts. I posted some true, but possibly dumb, things about him here. The media has printed and said plenty more, which he liked at first, since he's part of the media and I refuse to speak to them. His "brothers" were going to stand beside him. That's what he thought. Because I don't speak to the media, he thought the media would automatically side with him in this dispute, whether he was right or not. Only, he's starting to get skewered just as badly as me. He's starting to look as bad as me (even though I'm definitely going bald - I can just tell - and he's still got a full head of hair). The media have turned their backs to him.
So that has angered him. But it isn't the sole reason for the horror-inducing text message. There's more.
There were two voicemails on my cellphone that I didn't mention earlier. Both were from my super agent, Jack Perry. The first:
Jack: Jimmy, call me.
Jack: Call me now.
Jack's a no-nonsense kind of guy. If he needs you to call him right away, he's most likely got a very good reason for you to do so. I decided to eat before speaking to him.
Around midnight, just as I was stuffing my mouth with a piece of toast smothered in grape jelly (the kitchen in this dive of a hotel only makes breakfast for room service starting at 11PM in the evening), my phone went off. My girls stole my phone for a little bit last week and put on a bunch of ringtones. Now, if I receive a call, some hideous Hip Hop song bleats out of the phone's tiny speaker, reminding me of when the 19 year old guys come up to bat in these incredibly (compared to as recently as the 1990s) nice AAA ballparks. Thus, I had a piece of toast (rye) halfway down my throat when I hit Talk, instantly ridding the room, my ears, and the serial killer in my box spring of the hideous Hip Hop song.
Me: (unintelligible choking sound)
Jack: You didn't call me.
Me: (more choking)
Jack: Swallow, please.
I guess you can now tell Jack has heard me answer the phone with a neck full of food before.
Me: (after swallowing, taking a drink, the liquid going down the wrong tube, coughing and then clearing my throat, then having another drink and clearing my throat again) What?
Jack: You didn't call me.
Me: Yet. I hadn't called you yet.
Jack: Don't get all tense with me.
Me: You're funny when you make jokes about the English language.
Great agent - a super agent. Terrible sense of humor. Just ask one of his three ex-wives.
Jack: Got a call from Mrs. Delaney tonight. She owns your team.
Me: I have heard of the woman.
Jack: She wants you and your father to make nice immediately or he's going to be suspended or fired.
Me: But nothing will happen to me?
Jack: You'll feel really guilty.
So it was now up to me. Either man up and speak with the father I wasn't speaking to so we could end our public squabble, or keep up the public squabble and see him removed from office in disgrace, eventually led away from a Chevy Caprice in handcuffs, a dark raincoat draped over his embarrassed head (that is less bald than mine even though it's 33 years older than mine).
It was 2 AM on the East Coast. I couldn't call Vanessa for her thoughts. She was busy asleep, probably dreaming of men with hair. I couldn't call my shrink since I don't have one anymore as a result of his lawsuit against me for breaking the terms of our confidentiality agreement. There was only one person I could call.
The phone rang. I heard a real ringing sound, not the latest hit by Chingy. The "Hello" was spoken clearly, the voice deep and respected.
"Dad," I said, "it's me. I'm sorry."
Public squabble over.