Tryouts lasted a week.
Joe watched on and off, but did not offer any input. He had expected most of the hopefuls to be hacks simply having a good time. He was surprised at how many had showed up with talent as well as a glove.
On the last day, he sat in a dugout watching with Mr. Finnigan. Mr. Finnigan was pacing, again. He was angry and more than a little anxious with the approach Joe had taken to fill the shortstop position.
"Tell me again why we're putting on this circus instead of bringing in a pro."
"A 'pro' is one thing, Mr. Finnigan. A washed up star coasting into retirement is another. Not only would that be more expensive, but nobody fitting that description could be expected to try as hard as a rookie."
Mr. Finnigan paced, his scowl growing.
"We're making fools of ourselves. I'll bet the other owners are laughing themselves to sleep every night knowing we'll put anybody on our team."
"I bet the other owners already have shortstops."
Lou came into the dugout, a stack of bats over his bony shoulder.
"Who would you pick, Lou?"
Lou looked up at Joe, started.
Lou glanced nervously at Mr. Finnigan, and then said, "I'd pick that Carson kid."
Mr. Finnigan snorted derisively. "Him? He's 17!"
Lou's eyes narrowed and his jaw set as he said, "He's quick on his feet. Nothing gets past him in the gap between second and third, and he attacks sharp hits instead of flinching from them."
Mr. Finnigan laughed, but his tone was curt. "He swings at everything. He had no patience at the plate."
Lou was undaunted. "Doesn't matter. Comes with experience. You can't teach someone hustle or drive. I can teach him patience."
"Not your job, Lou. Leave the bats in the corner on your way out."
"It is now", said Joe. "You're fired, Mr. Finnigan."