The Hot Corner
Bella Black and Emmett Cullen are co-owners of the Chicago Cubs Baseball Team. Edward Masen is a free-agent third baseman looking for a fresh start. Bella and Edward have a hidden messy past. Can they work out their differences on and off the field? Will they be able to find love again?
2. Chapter 1: You Can't Always Get What You Want
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Song Choice: “You Can't Always Get What You Want” by Rusted Root
“He is definitely the best on the open market right now” my general manager, Jim Hendry told me over the phone.
“Do you think he would be a good fit for our team? I mean, he's only three years younger than Ramirez,” I questioned. “Of course, I suppose, he is healthier and doesn't have that nagging shoulder injury.”
Decisions, decisions. My GM was currently in Las Vegas working at the Winter Meeting. We didn't intend to go looking for a third baseman this year; we had signed Aramis Ramirez for a five year deal in 2006, but after two shoulder injuries last season alone, we have quietly been looking at our options. We love the guy, but business is business, you know?
This is our year. I can feel it. The Chicago Cubs are more than due for a World Series Championship. Since my cousin, Bella, and I took over ownership of the team two years ago, we have been slowly building one hell of a team. We have good depth in all of our positions at this point, which is exactly what is needed if we want to make it to the "big show."
Most teams can put together a good team, but we are not looking to just be "good," but rather are looking to dominate the league. Because of this, we were really hoping our big acquisition would be Jake Peavy, as a team can never have too strong of a bull-pen or enough starting pitcher options. Unfortunately, that deal doesn't seem to be in the cards for us. San Diego was just asking for too much, and we simply are not willing to spend millions of dollars on a player while giving up so much good, young talent in the process. In all honesty, everything in California is over-priced, so it would make complete sense that a ball player would fit into this pattern. Damn them! We want to be the best, but come on, just because we are young owners doesn't mean we are stupid. They need to get their heads out of their asses, off the beach, and use their brains for once!
Well, what happens when a deal you have been working so hard on looks as if it is heading down the drain at a lightening pace you ask? You drink a beer or two (or get shit-faced), shake your head at the situation, and move on like a big boy. In our case, moving on means to look at all of our options. These are things we have many of, but it is more than picking a needle out of a haystack. Bella and I are looking for that one player who can make a seamless transition into our organization and is willing to be a team player. Due to the fact that Bella has NO patience for "hot-dogging" around on the field, I need to make sure that the next option is the best! I already have to hear about my decisions from Rose, and so help me God, I don't want to hear about them from Bella too. She may be a tiny peanut, but DAMN she can pack a giant size punch!
Cue Edward Masen. He is a quality player and certainly the Diamondback's star. He is a Gold Glove third baseman, has consistently had a batting average right around .300 and has over 30 home-runs in each of his last six years of play. However, he would require a significant monetary contract and probably want signed for at least eight to 10 years. We need to see if he is willing to make the transition of being the center of attention, to a player who is able to come to the field day in and day out to do his job.
With this in mind, the question of the day is was why did the “Golden Boy” want out of Arizona? Inquiring fucking minds want to know, because the answer could unlock a world of mysteries! There was no question the team had been abysmal over the last three years, but he was their captain and was practically a celebrity in his own right. The baseball community was surprised when he opted out of his contract and his agent, Jasper Whitlock, filed for free agency. In all honesty, the only news that would trump this, was if Derek Jeter decided to leave the Yankees, and that was never happening. So yeah, this was a big deal. Because of this, we needed to move on this deal as quick as a lion cub would pounce on a mouse, if we wanted to snatch him off the market. Hold on folks because it is time to negotiate! I love this part of my job!! In the end, all rounds will go to us!
“Well, I'll discuss it with Bella and see what she thinks.” We would definitely need to look over the finances and see if we could open up that kind of money. “Why don't you go ahead and give Whitlock a call and see what he's looking for, Hendry."
“No problem. I'll give you a ring back later tonight, Mr. Cullen.”
Now to call Bella and see what she thinks of the situation. We always made unanimous decisions, as we were equal partners in the business. Our Grandfather Swan had been the owner of the Cubs for many years and both Bella and I had studied Sports Management in college, so we could have active roles in the organization. Feeling the need to be a little “over-achiever”, Bella also decided to show my ass up by double majoring in Accounting. Because of this, she has sort of taken over the finances of the team. Although we have an accounting department, it is good to know that she understands the numbers side of the operations. Better her than me! Sadly, when our grandfather passed away two years ago we, along with my sister Alice, inherited the team.
The team rightfully should have gone to our parents. Bella's father Charlie, was Vice President of Operations and was readied to take over the team when the time came. Unfortunately, Charlie was killed in a boating accident on the lake many years ago. My mother, Esme had never quite taken to the baseball business. Her only interest was the striking young, team Orthopaedic Surgeon that caught her eye about 32 years ago. Dr. Carlisle Cullen is my father and still the team's surgeon.
Bella, Alice, and I spent every summer here at Wrigley Field, even after Bella had moved to Washington. Our grandfather was an amazing man. In business, he was very old-school, a take no prisoners type of approach. He was ruthless, but extremely well respected. As a family man, he was a teddy bear. He adored having us kids with him at all times. He was also smart enough to invest in some fledgling company stocks for us when we were little. All three of us graduated from college as millionaires thanks to my grandfather and Steve Jobs' Apple Corporation. Bella and I learned the business from the ground up while shadowing him. Alice on the other hand, well, she was always more interested in redesigning the team's uniforms. Oh, Alice!
My sister, like my mother, had never shown any interest in the baseball world. Don't get me wrong, she loved to catch a game now and then, but her heart was always in fashion. Bella and I had bought Ali out of her part in the team, much to her pleasure. She now had even more money to dedicate to her true passion. She was currently the lead buyer at Bloomingdale's in downtown Chicago, which worked out well for us, since Bella and I had to attend a great deal of social functions. Alice's long-term goal, though, was to open up her own boutique on North Michigan Avenue.
Bella answered after the first ring, chuckling .“Hey Em. I hope you like your present tonight. So what's up? Did you talk to Hendry?”
Present? What is she talking about? God, I hope Rose went lingerie shopping again.
“Yeah, the Peavy deal is dead” I said matter of factly. “They're just are asking for too much in return. It's not worth it for us.”
“I agree. The minor league prospects they want have too much potential for us to part with all of them. Anything else? Did he have any other suggestions?” she probed.
“Nothing in the way of starting pitchers, but we did discuss the possibility of Edward Masen as a free agent. With Ramirez's shoulder problems, we really need to look at our options at third base. Hendry is going to talk to his agent and get an idea of what they want. What do you think?”
There was an immeasurable moment of silence on her end. “Bella, you still there?”
“I'm here” she croaked out in a voice that was no more than a whisper.
She sounded out of breath. Hmm, weird.
I heard her clear her throat and finally speak after another a seemingly long pause. “I don't know, Em. He's definitely a good all-around player, but do we really need another player with that type of ego? I am willing to look over our contracts and see what we have available, but I just don't see it working out.”
I have heard her use this statement many times, but in this case there was something about the way she said it that was different. There was an edge to her voice that I haven't heard before. And she still sounded out of breath. Odd.
Okay, something is definitely up. Bella is not known for having a tight pocket when it comes to spending money. We don't have the type of money that a team like the Yankees has, but believe me, we push our flow as far as we can. In addition, we had just secured some great new advertising sponsors, (thanks in great part to my beautiful fiance Rose, who is the Director of our Marketing Department) so this really should not have been an issue. I needed to get to the bottom of this and fast. Time to play Inspector Emmett!
“What are you talking about Bella?" I asked in an inquisitive tone, hoping to get to the root of her aforementioned statement. "Did we lose one of our new sponsors? Is the deal with Under Armour completely unresolvable? When we talked last week, we still had roughly $30 million available to spend per year. There is no way he is looking for a contract that big."
“The deals are secure. Look Emmett, I just don't like him as a person. I don't know if he has the right image for our team. He is a perpetual playboy,” she quipped with an irritated tone. “And let's be honest, we already have our hands full with all of Milton Bradley's antics."
“Well, I want him." If she was going to give me half-ass reasons, I was going to get to the root of her attitude with Edward Masen. Two can play this game! "The reasons you have given me so far to not acquire him are complete bullshit, Bella and you know it. So why don't you give me the real story. Did Phil say something bad about him?”
Phil Dwyer was Bella's stepfather who, consequently, was also the hitting coach for the Arizona Diamondback's. His presence in the organization could certainly give us an edge with Masen. I knew Phil had worked closely with him since he had come up from the minors and it was widely known that Masen truly respected Phil as a mentor.
“Umm, no he hasn't mentioned anything I can think of off hand, but I can ask him again,” Bella replied.
Why is she digging for excuses not to sign him?
“Look Bella, we don't often disagree about the players on this team. We both want the best available. Edward Masen is the best available. So if you are hiding something, it would be best if you just came out and said it. Stop beating around the bush for God's sake! The reasons you have mentioned so far are pathetic and deep down, you completely know it. We don't have the time to play around with this because another team, will come and swoop him up in an instant. We need to have at least one big-name acquisition this off-season; you know this. We have the money to offer him and the position open to put him in. We have a team that is without a doubt, a playoff contender. We also have the advantage of Phil's influence. Bella, come on now, we have a real shot here with him.”
My patience was definitely wearing thin with my dear cousin and her lack of real reasons against this deal. Moreover, it had been a long week, and thus far, nothing was going according to our plans. I didn't want to fight with her, but I was wound up tighter than a rubber band and was about to snap.
“Tell me right now, Bella, what is it that you have against Edward Masen.”
Come hell or high water, I was getting to the bottom of this and fast!
- D Pattinson
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