Post-Season

Afterward, in the locker room, it began to hit them.  Sure, there would be a week or so of indulgence – Jeter with his women, A-Rod with the cocaine, Pettite with his prayer group, and so on – but this would be a transient thing.  At that moment, as they changed out of their champagne-soaked pinstripes and readied for the human pleasures that awaited, they exchanged silent glances of recognition. They were part of something larger than any one individual.

After a few days they would start to trickle back into the clubhouse.  They would resume training, even though it could wait two or three months.  For no reason they’d toss balls around the infield, shag flies, and run sprints.   They would simply want to be together, for something that so few players, so few people on the planet, could share.

All but one.

After stripping down naked, Rivera walked to his door between the showers and the exit.  The team clapped him on his back, one by one calling out their congratulations and thanks.  The door hissed open, letting slip a pool of fog and some bluish light.  Rivera entered the chamber and began hooking up the connections.  The team gathered around as the automatic systems took over, inserting tubes into Rivera’s spine and between his buttocks, up his nose and into his armpits.  A fine titanium needle began uploading new routines to his cortex.  In a few moments he would lose consciousness, and the players were bidding him farewell.  Already the sound was fading, so all he could hear was his heartbeat’s unchanging rhythm.

Just before he slipped away, Rivera said, “Good season.”

And then he was gone.

–Steve Kilian

Sweet Boroughs

Ominouse Orange

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