So Alex Rodriguez now wants to talk to the Yankees without Scott Boras. Interesting. I wonder how that would go…
A-Rod whips a folded piece of paper out of his suit pocket and opens it. The paper is an email printout from Brian Cashman, telling him to go to the third floor of Yankee Stadium, room 310, at 1:30 p.m. A-Rod gets into the elevator, checks his hair in the mirror and takes a deep breath. The elevator rises. Three stories up, the doors open. He steps out. He stands there for second. Is he ready for this? He’d better be. This is a job interview, and he can’t be late. As it is, he only has a minute. Is room 310 to the left or right? He looks at the signs on the wall. It’s on the left.
He pauses after he takes one step and takes a deep breath. As he does this, someone rounds the corner and heads for the elevator. It is a man who is walking with the casualness of someone who travels these halls for a living. The man studies A-Rod’s suit, tie, and briefcase and knows why he’s here. Alex smiles politely and knowingly and begins walking away from the elevator, trying to hide his nerves. He already feels like a fool. He comes to the end of the hallway and takes another left, which, in three seconds, he realizes is wrong. He turns around, red-faced, and passes three occupied open-doored offices before coming to room 310. It is 1:31. His appointment was at 1:30. He is late.
He knocks on the door.
There is no answer.
Brian Cashman (inside): Should I get the… ?
Hank Steinbrenner (in whisper): Shhhhhhh!
Cashman (quietly): But I thought…
Hank: Let’s make him wait.
A-Rod knocks again. There is no answer.
Cashman: Hank, do you really want to… ?
Hank: Brian, SHUT UP.
A-Rod thinks he has the room number, or the wrong floor. Embarrassed, he goes back to the elevator well. His printout said to go to the third floor, but those were merely directions to the Legends Field offices. Had the email said something different? The fourth floor, maybe? He isn’t sure. All he knows is that, feeling a slight change of heart, he had emailed the Yankees behind Scott Boras’ back, and this was wrong on so many levels, and now he was lost inside Yankee Stadium just like he was lost on the outside… and so embarrassed, too…
He goes to press the button for the elevator and thinks better of it just as his thumb depresses the up arrow. It illuminates. He takes out his cell phone, which should still have Brian Cashman’s number in it, and is searching his address book when the elevator doors open. There are three people inside, and they look at him. He stammers something like ‘No, I’m good,’ and they look confused and chuckle to themselves. He tries to take it in stride, but he is breaking.
He dials Brian Cashman’s number. He thinks he can hear a phone ringing somewhere in the distance, but he can’t be sure.
Hank: Shut that damn thing off!
Cashman (turns off ringer): Sure thing, but shouldn’t we… ?
Hank: I’ll decide what we’ll do and when we’ll do it.
Cashman: Okay, sure thing. You’re the…
Hank (expectantly): … the what? Say it.
Cashman: You’re the… boss.
George Steinbrenner (on speakerphone): I heard that!
Hank: Heard what?
George: I don’t… remember. I…
Hank: It’s okay dad. He didn’t say anything.
Cashman: It’s okay, Mr. Steinbrenner.
Hank (mouthing): “I’m Mr. Steinbrenner now.”
Hank: Give me that phone.
Hank takes out the phone and called A-Rod.
Hank: Is this you, Alex? You are late.
Hank: This is Hank Steinbrenner, Alex. Hello.
A-Rod: Hello, ah, Hank.
Hank: Hank, Alex?
A-Rod: Yes, Hank. Oh, I’m sorry, I meant Mr., ah…
Hank: Yes, Alex?
A-Rod: Mr., ah…
Hank: Yes, Alex?
A-Rod: Mr. ah… Steinbrenner?
Hank: Yes, Alex.
A-Rod: Oh, ah… thank you, Mr. Steinbrenner.
Hank: You are welcome, Alex. Why are you late?
A-Rod: Sorry, I got confused about the, um, floor. What floor are you on?
Hank: We are on the third floor, Alex.
A-Rod: Okay, what room?
Hank: Room 310, Alex.
A-Rod: Really? Because I was just, ah, there… I knocked on the door.
Hank: I can assure you that you did not, Alex. We have been here the whole time.
A-Rod:A Yeah, okay, it must have been my mistake. I’ll be there in one second.
Hank: Thank you, Alex.
A-Rod walks back down the hall, back to room 310 and knocks on the door. Brian Cashman quickly opens it. He has gotten up from one of two chairs facing Hank Steinbrenner, who sitting with his back to a large window looking upon Legends Field. It appears there are still Halloween decorations along the field: there is a mummy hanging from the backstop. Cashman, per usual, looks like he has not slept for days, but he is even worse now. Steinbrenner is sitting back in his chair, smiling. There is a phone on the table, and there is an illuminated light on the phone. Along the wall there are approximately 30 identical stuffed black garbage bags.
Hank: Hello, Alex.
A-Rod (nervously): Hello, Mr. Steinbrenner.
George: Who is that?
Hank: It is Alex Rodriguez, dad.
A-Rod (toward phone): HELLO, MR. STEINBRENNER. HOW ARE YOU FEELING?
George: Son, is he there?
Hank (coyly): Yes, father.
George (in firm, entirely changed tone of voice): Please sit down, Alex.
A-Rod: Mr. Steinbrenner! You’re okay!
George: Yes, Alex. Now sit down.
Hank: Wait… not just yet. Remember what we talked about, dad?
George: Yes, son. I nearly forgot.
Hank: Alex, you have demeaned this organization. And for that you must be punished.
A-Rod: I… uh…
Hank: You must wear this.
Hank pulls out a crude dunce cap emblazoned with the words “i like the red socks”
Hank: Put this on.
A-Rod: Um… okay.
He puts on the cap.
A-Rod: Should I… uh… sit?
Hank: No, Alex, you should not. Not only do you have the gall to spurn our offers, and not only do you show up late, you have the gall to wear that hat inside my office. And for that reason you should not sit.
A-Rod: But you just gave it to me…
Hank: Alex, Alex. It is useless to resist. You shall stand. Now tell me why you are here.
A-Rod: I just… um… I just…
Hank: Speak, Alex… It is time.
Hank: NOW, Alex!
A-Rod: (starts crying) I WANT TO COME BACK. I’M SORRY. SCOTT MADE ME DO IT. I DIDN’T WANT TO… I’LL PLAY FOR ANYTHING I SWEAR.
Hank: Scott made you do it, Alex?
A-Rod: (sniffs) Yes.
Hank: Are you sure about that, Alex?
A-Rod: (horrified) Wait… you didn’t… you didn’t talk to Scott, did you?
Hank: Why yes, Alex. We did.
A-Rod: This can’t be happening…
Hank: It was all your idea, Alex! It was all your idea! We know everything.
Hank: And we are the only ones who know.
A-Rod: What… what happened to Scott.
Hank: (swivles in chair) That’s not a mummy out there, Alex!
Several seconds pass.
Hank: Have you composed yourself? Our final offer is this: nothing. Not even the fee for the contract notarizing, which would appreciate if you put up personally.
A-Rod: Wow, that sounds familiar.
Hank: It’s from The Godfather 2.
George: Wonderful film. Michael has his brother killed. Ruthless. I love it.
George: Where is Hal, again?
Hank: Our work here is done, dad. You can go back to playing crazy again.
A-Rod: One problem. The union will never let me play for free.
Hank: Good point. How about $27.5 million per year, 8 years? With two option years?
A-Rod: Like my old contract?
A-Rod: I’ll do it.
Hank: Alright, take four of these garbage bags and get the hell out of here.
A-Rod takes the bags and peers inside. They are full of money.
A-Rod: Thanks so, so much. You won’t regret this.
Hank: No Alex, we will not.
A-Rod turns to leave.
Hank: Oh, Alex. One more thing. Take off the cap.
A-Rod: That’s probably a good idea. (Takes off cap) Thanks, Boss.
Hank: That’ll do dad. That’ll do.