Outside the Foul Lines - Book V

by Rick Beck

Chapter 8

Breaking In

Andy often left me alone, jumping up out of bed in the morning at school, racing to the shower or to finish a paper that was due yesterday. I'd lie in bed watching him, wanting him. I got usedto it, feeling content with being in the same room together those mornings.

The morning after Andy came to Mrs. Olsen's, he was in my arms when I woke up. It was long past daylight. We had an afternoon game and I wasn't expected at the park until after noon. Lying in bed holding Andy was a luxury. I nuzzled my face into his neck. My arms were wrapped around him just below his chest, my hands dipping low on his torso to hold his ever stiff cock. When I squeezed it pulsed in my fingers, my cock pulsing against his butt in response. This was the natural order of things.

I lingered on the edge of sleep for a long time, having no desire to break my hold on him. If it was a dream I didn't want to wake up and if it was real, I wanted to hang on to him for the rest of time. His physical absence from my life was a significant burden on my heart.

Knowing what I wanted and what was best for us weren't the same thing. It didn't matter just then. I had what I wanted. I'd be a major distraction to his career if I moved to Lincoln. I'd have been in Lincoln long ago, but ball was ball and at this level you were either in the game or you weren't. There had been a little fallout from my reentry back into ball, but it was a misunderstanding and no more. Andy's reaction caught me completely by surprise. As well as I knew him I never saw this coming.

Many guys got married while still in the minors, but I'd bet more of them don't make it to the big show than do. Marriage and the responsibility that goes with it is too much of a distraction. Love should be done with all your energy, and if you're playing ball, you needed to give all your energy to playing ball.

Most of the scouts watching the talent marked it down on the pad the moment a player tied the knot. Then he drew a line under it and what he wrote under that line would make or break a baseball career. No scout would ever write under Andy's name, boyfriend has come to stay.

No one else might ever read that note but the guy who wrote it knew it was there. If the player continued to field and hit it would never come up again. He'd be told once he was called up, 'Be discrete. Don't do anything to embarrass the team. Otherwise, you do what you want.'

Everyone knew there was a lot more diversity on a team than anyone talked about. As long as it stayed out of the news, no one cared. You hit and catch big league ball and your job is safe as long as you 'keep your nose clean.'

There were no moral's clauses or legalese to get a club out of a contract. That was too obvious and would subtract big time from a player's value if implemented. You fail to live up to your potential and fulfill you obligation to the team and you find yourself on wavers and word goes out you are on the trading block before you can pack your bag. Even superstars know there is a line you dare not cross.

Everything else was fair game and the writers could write their hearts out and the management could shake their heads in everlasting exasperation, complaining anytime a microphone is stuck in their face, but as long as it didn't alter the game or turn the fans off, most times it would slip by with a, 'no comment.'

How many gay baseball players have come and gone is unknown. There have been some. Statistics don't lie and being gay doesn't really have anything to do with being a man if you don't subscribe to it. All guys are men first and gay afterward. If you define yourself as a gay man, then you get to do that, but don't sell men short. Many are all men and loving men has nothing to do with playing baseball.

If there are rumors, hints, or suggestions about someone's sexuality on a big time pro team, you might expect some discomfort expressed in the clubhouse. Actually, the success of a team is a precarious balance. You'll find most players more interested in winning than gossip. The bottom line is the end game and a player pulling his weight is worth his weight in gold.

I'd suspect there are more gay football players than baseball players. On the matter of principle an athlete that's gay has something extra to prove. There's a matter of proving you are as good a football player as any. It's a physical and brutal test of wills. No football player is a gay man. He's a man who is gay.

I was gay as a boy and I must admit that I came to baseball for different reasons than most. My parents could have gotten me through college and would have, but they'd have scrimped and scrapped the entire four years. I had a unique talent that I developed because of losing my first love. I needed to focus on something. I picked up a baseball glove and nine years later I was a coach in Louisville, lying in my bed with my lover in my arms.

How many coaches have been gay? How many coaches never played a minute of pro ball before becoming a coach? I can't answer either question. I was coaching without ever playing pro ball. I learned my craft well and the right people entered my life at the right time, and I was coaching in Louisville with my love lying in my arms across the street from the ball park. I don't know how many people have done that either, but I was happy to be doing it.

Yeah, I wanted to play ball. I liked ball. I liked coaching. I loved Andy and I wanted to be with him. I liked the players I coached, especially the infielders, who listened to my tips and took me seriously. I liked Hack and Slip, because they didn't question my credentials and treated me like I belonged at Louisville.

I was making next to nothing, living in a room paid for by the club, and eating food mostly provided out of the goodness of my landlady's heart. Indeed I was lucky not to be on a roof in Statesville, sweating my ass off, and no future in it.

No, I wanted to be in Louisville. I wanted to be with Andy. I wanted to play ball. I wanted… I wanted… I wanted.

How much future there was at Louisville, I didn't know. I figured as long as Coach Bell was there I had a job, even if it came down to sweeping up the clubhouse if I'd do it.

There was a connection between Coach Bell and I. I didn't know how to account for it or what led to its developing. I was merely there and he did the rest. There would be nothing but the roofs of Statesville if not for that fortuitous happenstance. We didn't have the same relationship at Louisville, but Louisville wasn't State. I had a job and I did it. Our time together at State was a long time ago.

Never in my wildest dreams, when I went to school at State, did I see myself as playing ball regularly. I knew I'd be lucky to be a utility infielder, because I was a good fielder. I couldn't hit, but what Coach Bell saw in me had nothing to do with how I hit a pitched ball.

Andy and I would be together until Sunday. We'd be in Davenport, Iowa for games Saturday and Sunday. Friday was a travel day and this afternoon we played Lexington at home. It wasn't a lot of time together. It wasn't even enough time, but we were together and that was very very good for both of us.

I was angry when I thought of Andy hurting himself because of me, but I wasn't a fool. I wouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. No, I'd hold on to him, make love to him, and be glad we had the time we had. It would help us get through the season on separate teams in separate cities.

While it was unfortunate circumstances that brought him to town, the result worked for now as the future was in the process of writing itself. These days together would make our eeparation more tolerable later in the season.

"You awake?" Andy asked in a drowsy uncharacteristic voice.

"Yeah," I said, not wanting to break the mood or my hold on him.

"I just had the weirdest dream ever. I wasn't really awake, but I could smell you. I thought I was back at State. I thought we were in bed together in the dorm. I opened my eyes and it scared the shit out of me. I didn't know where I was. I've never had that happen."

"Smell is a powerful stimulant for memories," I said, having heard it somewhere.

"You telling me. My arm hurts," he said.

"Jesus, Andy, I'll see if our trainer will take a look at it," I said.

"I hurt it when I jammed it against the wall over across the street."

"Don't remind me. Not one of your brighter moves," I said.

"I didn't know what to think. Some strange damn dude is answering your phone. I thought…."

"You thought wrong. You made an ass out of yourself."

"I love you too, babe. I did it for you," he tried tentatively.

"The hell you did. You jumped to a conclusion and it bit you on the ass."

"Yeah, but it ain't my ass that's hurting."

"I'm surprised Lane took it so well. You really knocked the wind out of him. He's capable of being a real jerk. Let's don't argue. I want to make the most of having my hands on you."

"I would kiss you, except I need to brush my teeth," Andy said.

"You remembered to bring your toothbrush?"

"Ops! I don't guess you got an extra?"

"No, we'll stop at Broadway Market. They should carry them."

"Do they carry underwear? I didn't pack a bag. I need a shower and a change of clothes."

"Bingo, we do have a shower. The rest is up in the air. Maybe Lane has an extra pair of underwear he can lend us. You're a lot closer to his size than mine."

"I just met him. Getting into his underwear after only one date never entered my mind."

"You, asshole," I said, realizing Andy was not one to crack jokes about his circumstances. The fact he cracked one about Lane was a good sign.

Of course the kiss led to kisses and the kisses led to more lusty ideas, leading us to being locked in a loving embrace. The feel of him was worth all the pain and frustration coming from our being a part from one another for so long.

It renewed the intensity of our love. I had no question about his devotion to me or mine to him. It was often on my mind. Feeling him, seeing him, indeed smelling him was instant intoxication. I was liberated by love. It gave my life meaning beyond my own narrow spectrum. Loving Andy was the best thing I'd ever done, but I'd get better. Practice makes perfect.

As Andy got ready to jump in the shower, I ran into Mrs. Olsen coming up the stairs to do her morning dust up.

"Morning, John, I've got breakfast ready to go. You boys say when. It'll only take a few minutes. I made fresh biscuits for you."

"You're a doll, Mrs. Olsen," I said.

"Oh, John," she blushed.

"Toothbrush. Where can I buy Andy a toothbrush?"

"I keep all those toilet item for my boys. I'll bring one right back. Have him put his clothes out by the bathroom door. I'm about to do laundry. I'll toss his in and have them ready before it's time to go over to the park. I'll get him one of Mr. Olsen's robes. He can wear that while I'm getting his things ready."

"You're one of a kind Mrs. Olsen. I think I might want to stay here forever."

"You'd be welcome, John. You're a fine boy."

We had a breakfast of bacon, eggs, biscuits, and some homemade blackberry jam Mrs. Olsen put up in the summer. Andy liked her strawberry, which smelled like heaven, but I didn't like mixing my preserves.

"These smell great," Andy said, as we walked across the street to the press box to get Andy a ticket for the game.

They always had a handful they shared when players wanted to get someone in. We were way early and I had dressed at Mrs. Olsen's, because she did my uniforms up for me. I took Andy down through the tunnel and stopped at Coach Bell's door.

"Hey, Coach," I said, sticking my head in the door.

"I got work to do, John. See me after the game," Coach Bell explained.

"Hell you say," Andy said, pushing his way around me.

"Lord have mercy. Look what the cat drug in."

"Oh, I drove out to see Do."

"What did you do to your arm?" Coach Bell asked, focusing in on the cast under Andy's jacket.

"It's a long story, Coach."

"Well what about Lincoln? I didn't hear anything aobut you leaving there."

"No, I'll start rehab Monday. I'll be able to pinch hit in a month."

"What's the damage, Andy?" Coach Bell asked concerned.

"Broke my wrist?"

Coach Bell shook his head and took Andy's fingers in his dusky hand.

"Flex your fingers," he said, feeling ever so gently as Andy wiggled his fingers. "I want you to see my trainer. Dr. Wells is a wonderful bone and joint man. His specialty was sports injuries. You realize a wrist injury can end your career, don't you?"

"No, no one said that to me. It's just my wrist."

"Your swing, son. That wrist heals wrong and your swing will change. You've got one of the most natural eye hand coordination I've ever seen. You rank with some of the best sluggers I've ever seen. There's something about the eyesight, angle, and velocity that all matches up together to launch a ball off the bat. You're a natural. You alter any of it and you'll change it. You change it and you might not like the result. You let my trainer see it and do what he tells you."

"Yes, sir," Andy said, a lot more troubled than when he arrived.

"I'll have a chair put in the dugout for you. You'll sit next to me," Coach Bell said.

"I've got a ticket, Coach," Andy explained.

"You aren't listening to me, son. You still hard headed?"

"No, sir. Chair in the dugout. Thanks."

"Get out of here. I've got some business to take care of," Coach Bell ordered, walking us into the hall.

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