Mark and Jack sat across the table from each other. Coffee steamed between them, untouched.
"Who’s your ace?," Jack asked, staring at his TI-89.
"I’ve got Carmona-his FIP is at least league average right?," Mark shot back.
Jack didn’t respond. He tapped away at the calculator. There was a hot game of "Drug Wars" on his hands. As he worked his TI-89, he thought of defense. Defense and Franklin’s OPS.
"I said, his name is Carmona," Mark said, speaking louder, asking for an argument.
"Carmona? No. I ran the numbers-your ace is Hombin."
"Hombin? Who’s Hombin?"
"The young kid. Texan or something," Jack said, still not looking up from his calculator.
"Tomlin. That guy’s name is Tomlin. And he’s not that good."
"Whatever you say, bud. I’ve got an ace-type pitcher going tonight," Jack said as he reached for more Nerd Rope.
"Wait, I thought we were missing Hernandez?"
"You are, mi amigo. You’re seeing Mr. David Pauley, though. Or, as I call him, the future Mr. Tom Glavine."
Shapiro shook his head, trying to get the cobwebs out, "Wait, Pauley’s going to marry Tom Glavine?"
"No, that’s not what I meant. I meant he was good."
Shapiro took a long pause. He thought of Sowers. Thought of the past. Then, he lied to himself. Then, he spoke, "Good? You want to see good? You should see the players I’ve got stashed in AAA!"
Silence for a moment. Jack stared forward. Stared at Mark's head. Thought of Mark's life. Then, Jack spoke. "You mean the guys in the majors now?"
No one spoke.
Finally, Jack whispered, "I guess you’re still waiting on Carrasco."
Jack chortled, thinking of Mark’s staff.
Mark chortled, thinking of Jack’s offense.
The league chortled.