Changeup, Chapter 16

Joe studied the list.

The number of names surprised him. He knew a baseball team was more than the starting nine, but he hadn't thought the number of people who now worked for him would be this high.

Ticket takers. Parking attendants. Cleanup crew.

Human resources. Physical trainers. Stats analysts.

Travel agents. Media relations. Sales and marketing.

He looked up from the list, sat back in his chair and sighed. He glanced at the man sitting across the desk from him.

"And where do you fit into all this, Mr. Finnigan?"

Nathan Finnigan was a tall man. He wore a tailored suit and his shoes shined. Not a hair out of place on his middle-aged head. Joe imagined he'd fit in better on Wall Street than in Kansas City.

"I make sure it all runs smoothly, Joe."

"So everyone reports to you?"

Mr. Finnigan smiled and waved a hand in Joe's direction.

"Not everyone."

"So what do I need to know, Mr. Finnigan?"

"You need a new shortstop, but you need him cheap and temporary."


"Your current one is out for half the season."


"Suspension. Used performance enhancing drugs. But the good news is you don't have to pay him while he's suspended, so you have $9 million freed up to find a temporary replacement."

"We pay our shortstop $9 million a year?!?"

"$18...9 is for half the season."

"If he's a cheater, I don't want him. Cut him."

"Can't do that, Joe."

"Why not?"

"Harold Dempsey is still under contract. Cutting him means paying him, big-time. Besides, he's your star player."

"Then what do you suggest? How do you bring in someone good enough to play shortstop, but expect them to do their best knowing they're not going to stick around?"

"Easy. Find a star on his way out, an old-timer. Offer him $3 million for a one season contract. He'll play half the season, and then go on the injured reserve for the second half, but he won't mind because he's collecting for the entire season."

"You can put someone on the injured list if they're not injured?"

"Someone's injured when I say they're injured, Joe."

Joe stared at Mr. Finnigan for a while, absorbing the facts of life. He decided to switch topics for a moment.

"I want to make tickets more affordable for families, Mr. Finnigan."

"Of course, Joe! We have a family night every other month. Tickets for $5 a person."

Joe stared again.

"Cut Dempsey. And general admission tickets are $5 a person. Every game this season."

It was Finnigan's turn to stare, but he quickly recovered.

"I'll need to know who you want me to replace him with. I'll have a list of eligible players to you by the end of the day."

"Don't need a list, Mr. Finnigan."

"Who do you have in mind?"

"Not who, Mr. Finnigan, what. Put out a press release. Open tryouts for starting shortstop start tomorrow."