The Time Shifter Chapter 72

We finished our U.S. tour in early September and headed to Europe. We only took our guitars, effects and other basics while entrusting the rest to the promoters. We missed the festival season, unfortunately, but we needed to focus on the U.S. first anyway since it was the largest music market outside of China. They loved us over there and our cd was selling well in Finland, Germany, Sweden and Britain. We also had a hell of a good response in Russia to our shows in Moscow and St. Petersberg. After a month in Europe, we traveled to Japan playing 1-2,000 seaters. Japan was fucking awesome even though it was only eight dates. I stayed there for a month following the end of the tour and didn’t get home until the first week of December.

I hired a well known agent to handle negotiations with the M’s, but it wasn’t Scott Boras. My agent wasn’t entirely pleased with the proffer I wanted to make to the Mariners, but I didn’t give a shit. I demanded a $5 million signing bonus with my base salary to be the major league minimum and then I would ultimately be paid according to hitting certain incentive targets. For example, if I hit .300, I would get $2 million. If I reached 30 homers, I would receive another four million. If I hit 40, I would get five million, six million if I went over 50 and seven million if I connected for more than 60. If I hit .400, I would get $25 million plus all other applicable incentives. I would receive much smaller bonuses for making the all star team and winning post season awards such as the MVP, the Gold Glove and the Silver Slugger Award. 

Also, they weren’t going to make me cut my hair. They agreed to everything I demanded, which probably made it one of the shortest negotiations for a top draftee in MLB history.

We then had a hastily thrown together press conference due to how busy I was. It was largely a festival of inanity, as most press conferences are. About the only bit of news out of that was my assertion that when I got to ten years I would start thinking about hanging them up and definitely would not play any more than 15 years. I also said that I was a guitarist playing baseball and not the other way around, as is usually the case, and that baseball was second in my heart after music, which was the truth. That made the meme in the media one of,  "is Parker really committed to baseball or is he just messing around? "

Red Sentinel’s sales were now closing in on a million copies worldwide. I reported on February 15st to the Mariners’ spring training facility in Tempe, Arizona along with the pitchers and catchers. The thing about Arizona is that because of the dry air,  the ball just flies for days. So all you have to do is put a nice stroke on it and let the lack of wind resistance do the rest. The first pitch I saw in batting practice, I demolished it 600 feet or more. In Boston in late March, that would have gone 450 or 500 tops.

Also on that first day, I walked on to the field wearing a piece of duct tape over my mouth.  "Now THAT is a rookie I like! " one of the veterans remarked. Naturally, they put me through all the usual hazing shit over the ensuing weeks: calling me not by my name, but just  "rookie " or  "rook, " making me carry their equipment and even having me do a set for them back at the hotel. If one of the reporters wanted to do an interview with me, I would just point to the duct tape and throw my hands up in a  "what can I do? " gesture. It was hilarious.

A couple weeks into this, I brought the band out to rehearse at night for the recording of our next record,  "Lords of the Wasteland. " I also had to get up in the middle of the night a few times to do phone interviews with rock magazines in Japan and Germany.

I was ripping the cover off the ball in the run up to our exhibition slate and so I was inserted into the starting lineup in early March for our first game, which was against St. Louis. I was thrown a first pitch fastball down and away and blistered it just inside the rightfield foul pole for a leadoff homer and a 1-0 lead. I came up again in the third and there was a new pitcher, who must have figured I liked to dive out over the plate. So I was given a heater up and middle in and I got all of it, lacing a laser beam more than 500 feet away. I thought I would get pulled after that, but they allowed me to have one more turn at bat. In that air, breaking stuff doesn’t bite like it will in a more conventional environment. So I was given a hanging slider that seemed to scream,  "hit me! " and it went way out to center.

The following game, I finally saw a splitter and swung over one for strike three. Ugly. So the next time I was up, they threw me another one in the middle of the plate and maybe ankle high and I golfed it over the centerfield wall.The look on the pitcher’s face was priceless.

During my next plate appearance, they tried to get me to fish on something above the zone, but I didn’t go for it. Then they went down and away and I sliced that off the rightfield foul pole.

By the end of spring training, I was leading the team in homers by far and hitting over .600. With a piss poor offense, they were pretty much forced to put me in the Opening Day lineup at age 17 and seven months. That brought me shitloads of attention, some of it embarrassing because it seemed like they were cutting the plaque to Cooperstown before I’d even taken one regular season MLB at bat.

We opened the season in Oakland and I batted leadoff with Franky Guitierrez second and an aging Ichiro Suzuki third. When I came to bat to kick the game off, I expected, and got, a fastball down and away and lifted it into the seats in right for a quick 1-0 edge. The pitcher hit his spot, but I got to it before the ball did. Franky singled to center and Ichiro slipped a grounder up the middle for a knock and they pulled the double steal. We plated two more on a grounder and a fly ball and that made it 3-0.

In the second inning, I ran down an extra basehit bid in left center to help out our starter, Felix Hernandez. He retired the next 12 men in a row after that. In the meantime, I came up in the second with the bases loaded and nobody out and a chance to ice this early. I was looking for something in due to the fact that I got full extension on a pitch away in the earlier time up. I got something in, but too far in for a ball. I took a circle change for a strike and then he came back with a fastball that was middle in and I just killed it. Absolute defenestration. The ball landed way up in the bleachers of the abomination that is the A’s home park and it was now 7-0.

Now given how far I hit that, I was expecting chin music my next time at bat and yep, I had to duck one.  "The next time that happens, dude, you’re going to be out for the season, " I told Kurt Suzuki, their catcher.  "Get back in the box and shut the fuck up, rookie, " he answered.  "You’ve been warned, asshole, " I snapped. He jumped in my face and the umpire got between us. Good thing the umpire got to hm before my right foot did. I looked for something away either in the dirt or on the corner. He left it up and I rifled it off the rightfield wall for a double. The second baseman barked something at me, but I don’t talk to the enemy, so I acted like he didn’t even exist. Ichiro came up one out later and doubled into the alley. I smiled at Kurt as I dashed across home plate. I was back up in the seventh and wondered if they would flip me then since they had a disposable reliever on the hill and someone else warming up. I was thrown a heater on the inner half, but belt high, and I top handed it into the third row to make it 9-0. My last at bat in the ninth, the reliever got behind to me 3-0 with two on and then threw a  "get me over " fastball, which I got over the centerfield wall. I had broken one of the most asinine of unwritten baseball rules, letting 3-0 pitches go by. Fuck that.

All their infielders squawked as I trotted by them and then I rolled into home and, of course, Suzuki gives me shit. I shouted at him,  "compete on every pitch or go work at Burger King, " I snarled. Then I flashed the number  "4 " with my fingers to represent what I just victimized him and his pitching staff for to put myself in the history books with just one day of major league experience.

The next day, KI was fully expecting to get flipped when I came up in the first. And yep, here comes a fastball right at my head. I backed away from it by bending my back. Then they threw a slider down and away and I swung and missed at it. I was out on my front foot. But I did this intentionally and let the bat fly at the pitcher with all the force I could use to snap my wrists to make it happen. The bat crashed into the southpaw’s throwing arm and he went down like he’d been shot because he now had a broken upper limb. The benches emptied. I spun around and caught Suzuki, who stands all of about 5’11 ", flush in the face with my metal spiked baseball shoes and not just put him in a coma for three weeks, but ripped part of his face off. Several of his teammates came at me, but I knocked them all out with a combination of roundhouse kicks, straight righthands and karate chops. The police had to come on to the field to settle the brawl while I stood tall inviting more of their players to try to take a shot at me. I was ejected by the umpire, so I got in his face and backed him up against the screen because he kept retreating as I vociferously made my case. My manager and one of the coaches pulled me away.

Once I went to the dugout, I phoned up to the press box and told the media that the lefthanded pitcher should have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon and attempted mayhem, but that the Oakland police were so in the pockets of the ballclub that I didn’t think it would happen.  "If he had thrown at a cop he would be dead so quick from a hail of gunfire it would have made everybody’s head swim. They kill Oscar Grant for having the temerity of being a black man on a passenger train, but they let a white guy with a hard sphere in his hand that has been known to kill people off by mere dint of him committing the assault on a baseball field, " I advocated.

That day’s Oakland battery were out for the remainder of the schedule. Two of the guys I punched out sustained facial fractures and were o the DL for a couple of months. One of them was their starting third baseman, so that hurt both him and the bay area nine further. The other guy was a scrub. I was out for a month due to the ensuing suspension. But during that time, I not only expressed zero remorse for what I did, I accused the commissioner, Bud Selig, for being soft on beanballs and thus creating an atmosphere that will one day get someone killed.  "You’ll have blood on your hands there, Bud, and people will remember how I called you out on this issue and how you just sat on your hands and let someone die. If that isn’t contributory negligence, I don’t know what is, " I charged. I also called the A’s manager and the lefthander in question  "a couple of headhunting bush leaguers who are disgraces to the game. " The manager shot back,  "wait, he takes out four of my players, puts one of them into a coma, and he calls ME  a disgrace? He has a screw loose and belongs in prison. " I retorted that,  "not only was what I did an act of self defense, but that he was willing to call a pitch that could cripple me for the rest of my life or even kill me for a competitive advantage during a kid’s game. He’s the one who belongs in prison for essentially inciting a riot and taking part in a conspiracy to commit an act of mayhem. The guy is a complete thug, as are Suzuki and his pitcher. Why are they not being prosecuted? " I fumed.

MLB’s lawyers, afraid that the commissioner’s unwillingness to deal with this question was going to see the league filed on by the kind of mass lawsuits like the NFL was being inundated with, advised him that he had better do something about this issue

This was the last time anyone threw at my head. When I came back, I was seeing a lot of pitches out over the plate and I was hammering them. By the end of May, I had 21 homers and 52 RBIs. So in June, I rarely saw a fastball and my walk rate went way up because breaking balls are harder to command than heaters are. I absolutely crushed some hangers. I was also running all the time because of the bases on balls and so if you walked me with nobody on it was like giving me third base. Despite the incident with the A’s, I was voted on to the all star team. At the break I was hitting .464 with 33 homers and 60 steals

With my growing fame, the number of girls interested in being with me also swelled. On a road trip to Anaheim, I had my pick of half a dozen blondes, who immediately surrounded me when we landed in the hotel lobby. I took this one little hardbodied girl upstairs to my room and watched as she peeled her halter top and her little white dress off of her tanned, toned physique. She also had nice, thick lips and I spent a while just kissing her while I fondled her natural looking D cups and flicked her stiff nipples with my fingers. She had a little landing strip fronting her pussy and I brought the noise to it with gusto, reaming her to a number of orgasms before I unburdened my balls inside of her.

As she lay there with my spunk drooling out of her pink entrance, I took in how amazing she looked. That was all she was, a fuck object, because she had very little content. I had to probe her inner wetness again with my dipstick and turned her twat into a sloshing mess with the two loads of semen I injected into her. Fuck, it was soooo good to be me. .