The Phillies’ Bench Construction: The Truth Revealed

Posted by Mike Frohwirth

The Minion's fist struck Phillies' General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. squarely in the mouth. The captive Amaro remained emotionless and unperturbed. "I'll never tell you our secrets.", Amaro stated dispassionately, directing a mixture of blood and broken teeth at his interrogator. Red Sox' General Manager Theo Epstein was similarly unmoved, lifting his left leg slightly to shake the shattered remains of Amaro's front teeth from the bottom of his khaki pants. "All I need to know is how many lights you see, Phillie.", Epstein responded flatly, "How many lights?"

***

"Ruben, this is a waste of time. We shouldn't be concerned about an event that has such a low probability of occurrence.", Phillies' Assistant General Manager Scott Proefrock argued. Proefrock had learned a great deal from these private meetings in Amaro's Citizens Bank Park office, and he suspected he might be in for yet another lesson.

Amaro pondered a response, as he sipped from his glass. "Cliff Lee's return was highly improbable, and we planned for that eventuality. The possible effects of this event certainly dwarf that, though I must admit that the probability is lower."

Proefrock grimaced, ignoring his own drink. "We've taken every possible precaution to ensure your safety. Ever since we hired (former reliever) Rudy Seanez as Head of Security, we haven't even had an attempt on your life. Well, I guess there was that thing the Mets tried to pull, but I would hardly classify that organization as a threat of any kind."

Amaro nodded. "Seanez has done a commendable job. Much better than he did the last time he worked for me. But I just like to be prepared."

Proefrock continued to ignore his drink. "Well, I've got the emergency protocols, and I know exactly what to do, if the time comes. Not that it ever will."

Amaro finished his drink. "Very well, then. With Spring Training now a month away, let's talk about how we will construct our ben…" Amaro felt his surroundings become blurry, then black, as he collapsed in his chair.

***

Amaro sat in the windowless room, secured to the chair where he had spent the last (seven? ten?) days. At first he had tried to keep track of the days, but his perception of time was now long lost. It required most of his remaining strength to simply remain conscious, a state in which he was spending a quickly diminishing amount of time. He fiddled with the ropes securing his wrists to the back of the chair. Freeing himself from the binds seemed hopeless, but at least it allowed his mind to focus on something. At least something rather than the pain cascading through his battered body.

"Good morning!", Epstein greeted Amaro, as he entered the room to continue the interrogation. "Or, good afternoon. Or, good evening. You're not really sure which salutation is apt, are you, Phillie?"

"Ruben Amaro, Jr. Sixteen home runs, one hundred RBIs", Amaro countered.

Epstein chuckled softly. "You know your feeble counting stats have no meaning here, Phillie. Make it easier on yourself, and answer the question. How many lights?"

Amaro sneered at Epstein, but did not respond. Epstein gestured to his muscular Minion, who immediately swung a Louisville Slugger bat, connecting violently with Amaro's kneecaps. The Phillies' GM howled in anguish.

Epstein laughed malevolently. "Do you know who that bat belons to, Phillie? Adrian Gonzalez. You may have heard of him. A lot cheaper than your Ryan Howard. Good fielder, too. We might play him in left field, during interleague play. And in the World Series, of course. What do you think would happen if you tried Howard in the outfield? He'd make Raul Ibanez look like a competent outfielder, I reckon." Epstein laughed again.

"Ruben Amaro, Jr. Sixteen home runs, one hundred RBIs", Amaro replied weakly, feeling the strength continue to drain from his body.

"Just answer the question, Phillie, and this will all be over.", Epstein promised. "Just tell me, how may lights do you see?"

Amaro answered with the rest of his strength, "There are…"

A quick flash blinded the room's occupants, and Amaro's vision was momentarily clouded, as smoke filled the room. Amaro could barely make out a maroon blur, which flashed around the room, making quick work of Amaro's captors. When the dust cleared, a muscular figure, dressed head-to-toe in maroon, stood above Amaro. The maroon ninja removed a knife that had been secreted within his attire, and raised it above Amaro's head.

Amaro winced in anticipation of a killing blow, almost welcoming the end of the torrent of pain. The maroon ninja deftly used the knife to free Amaro from the chair, and helped the now-fragile GM to his feet. The ninja removed his hood to reveal himself as… Phillies' pinch-hitter Ross Gload.

"I'm here to get you out of here, Mr. Amaro. But, first, you need to agree that, if I ever come to you with a request, it will be granted without question.", Gload informer his superior.

"Of course, of course.", Amaro replied weakly.

Neither noticed as Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman entered the room, approaching the pair from behind. Cashman raised his bat to swing… and collapsed awkwardly to the ground. Cashman flailed his arms, trying to remove the blow dart that had suddenly become lodged in his back, before the poisonous contents entered the prone Yankee's bloodstream. Cashman was unsuccessful, losing consciousness mere inches from Amaro.

A second maroon ninja entered the room, holding a blow gun in front of his small, athletic frame. "I want the same deal as Gload, Mr. Amaro.", utility infielder Michael Martinez demanded, as he removed the hood covering his face.