Changes

I’ve streamlined TysonChaney.com. I’ve dropped most of the subdomains. I’ve pruned thousands of posts, spanning five years, from the site. I want the focus to be on my writing so I’ve moved the excerpts of my work to the main page.

There are a few pages each of my e-book, Bobcats vs. Lobsters, and my novel-in-progress, Play Along, that can be found here. The bulk of the writing is from my book, Paul Spangler. I hope you will consider buying a copy soon. Best wishes.

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Chapter 17 Excerpt

Discretion is advised.

3:11 p.m.

Jeff seems very calm considering he just booted an easy grounder. I can’t decide whether I’m happy or upset about that. That’s his second error of the game. Not technically his second error but that’s only because the scorer is a dumbass.

Still, I need to feel better so let’s pick on him. He’s an asshole anyway. Not like I’m disappointing Skip or Jud.

Maybe if Jeff drank some milk, he would have fielded the ball cleanly. Maybe if he fucked his wife once in a while and didn’t leave her to me for servicing all the time, he’ll grow a pair of balls and field an easy grounder.

On one hand, I don’t want the guy to panic. Odds are he’ll get another chance. I don’t want him thinking about making an error or about my screaming at him. On the other hand, he should be angry that he missed a ball the Little Leaguers along third base could have fielded. Who am I kidding? The bikini girls would have made the play.

Maybe if I tell him his wife likes being my whore, he’ll be too angry to panic and actually play well. Like Corbin Bernsen’s character in Major League. Maybe Jeff is thinking too much and needs to simply react. It’s worth a try. What’s the worst that could happen? I call a timeout and signal to Jeff to come to the mound.

“What’s up?” Jeff asks.

“Your wife’s legs while I’m fucking her,” I reply.

“You motherfucking asshole!”

“You’re right. I am a motherfucker. Your wife is a mom and I fuck her hard at least twice a week.”

“How long have you been doing it?”

“Six years.”

“Six years! You’ve only been here six years.”

“You’re right. After the first game I pitched here, your wife went to my hotel suite. She said you’re a lousy fuck who would rather drink and hunt with your friends than take care of her needs. I’m an asshole so I fucked her all night. I forget what excuse she gave you. She must have needed a lot of them since I did her so much.”

“I ought to…”

“You ought to what? Learn how to field a ground ball? Learn how to swing so you can do something beside hit a homer and strike out? Learn how to fuck your own damn wife so I don’t have to do it for you every night? Or learn how to eat with a straw after I crack your skull open?”

“This is not over, buddy. After the game, I’m going to kick your ass.”

“It’s over because I say it’s over. If you don’t like it, you’ll be over. Now go back to your position and quit fucking up my game.”

Jeff glares at me for a long moment. I aim the baseball in my hand at his balls and smile at him. He quickly retreats to second. That did the trick. I do feel better now. I guess deep down, I prefer to be an asshole rather than deal with negative emotions. Hey, it’s better than drugs.

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Chapter 16 Excerpt

2:58 p.m.

Fans want to be entertained but even they have their limits. Players can understand the fans having their limits with players. I sure have my limits with fans. Sometimes they think the fans are too patient. Fans love sports and that love is used against them at every turn. Owners use them to fill their stadiums, their TV contracts and their coffers. Players use them to satisfy their egos and boost their endorsement deals. Media outlets use them to boost ratings and subscriptions.

As fans, you have yourselves to blame. If players are abusing you then you are co-dependently letting me. It’s not the same thing as being abused in a relationship. The mentality sure seems similar to me though.

Fans threaten every so often to boycott games but you never do. Look, the 1994 World Series was canceled due to a labor dispute. The 1995 season was shortened and replacement players were almost used before a deal was made. Despite that, the attendance and TV ratings were better than ever by 1998.

I was at Berkeley during the last baseball strike. I was crushed by the damage I thought was being done permanently to the game but I was wrong. The game wasn’t hurt at all. At least players get paid to support the game. You pay for the privilege of rooting for people you often despise. What’s your excuse?

The fans like to cry wolf but you’ve done it too many times to be taken seriously. Maybe you’ll be mad for awhile and walk out. Whatever happens, you’ll be back. You always come back. Your love is too strong. Don’t you think they don’t know it.

If sports weren’t more socially acceptable than sharing needles, it’d be almost like fans are junkies looking for the next fix. You don’t want to hear it but you’re an addict. Users always say they can stop anytime they want. If you don’t believe me, quit. See you next week.

Like most users, fans tend to start feeding their habit early in life. Unlike crack or heroin though, the habit usually begins through family members. Father-son outings to the ballpark create long-lasting bonds between relatives and keep baseball going for another generation. That’s why there are so many family discounts in baseball. Other sports are following suit. Like a drug dealer getting his hooks into new clients, the first hit is offered for free.

If you’ve ever been to a taping of a sitcom, you’ve seen the red “applause” light flash every so often. That’s your cue to clap and laugh your head off. Otherwise, you’re supposed to stay quiet and let the actors concentrate on their work.

Baseball players must wish their sport worked that way. I’ve seen Tiger Woods, Pete Weber and Maria Sharapova scream at fans who coughed or took pictures during a backswing. At least, players in team sports aren’t whiny babies. In that regard, anyway.

I know it’s not good to bite the hand that feeds you but if the fans don’t have enough self-respect to stop being abused, why should you expect athletes to respect you? The truth is teams would be happy if fans simply arrived on game day, went to the ticket office, handed the staffer enough money to pay for tickets, parking and concessions, and then quietly went home. Some intern could pipe in crowd noise as appropriate so the empty stadium wouldn’t matter.

At least then the teams wouldn’t be booed and the fans would watch the games on TV and increase the ratings. Better ratings mean the networks can charge advertisers more money for commercials and leagues can charge the networks more money for broadcasting rights fees.

Fans complain during the playoffs that the ticket prices are too high. Therefore, “real fans” can’t afford to attend the most important games of the year. The seats are then left to rich people who don’t care about the game, just about being seen on TV. Fans should know they are a necessary evil in the eyes of organizations. Teams want your money, not you. They’re still working on a way to get your cash without having to deal with your whining. I’m sure it’ll happen one day. You are expected to stay home during the playoffs to boost the TV audience.

The typical athlete wishes you would follow the Rock’s advice: Know your role and shut your mouth. Yeah, I know he’s gone back to being Dwayne Johnson but the thought is the same. Athletes say that sometimes at press conferences. The quotes are posted on message boards the following day. They should stand by their comments though even though the words may be unpopular.

Everyone has a role in life. You also have a role in your family. You have one in your relationship. You have one at your job. You have one among your friends. So you should understand the concept better than you do. The fans’ role is to be supportive of your team, to the death. If you’re not willing to fulfill that role, they don’t need you. Their job is to play a game, not to be popular.

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Chapter 15 Excerpt

2:47 p.m.

Rivera takes a fastball outside for a ball to start the eighth. He then crushes a curveball and doubles deep to right-center. Jim makes a strong throw to third and keeps Rivera from taking the extra base. Wayne takes a sinker inside. I kick at the dirt. I have no idea about my pitch count but I’m sure it has to be pretty high by now. I know a lot of pitchers quit after throwing 100 pitches or so, no matter they’re doing or feeling. That’s stupid to me. At long as I’m still getting outs, I want to keep throwing. Especially today. It’s going to be a long offseason.

Wayne fouls off a curveball, then takes a fastball on the outside corner for a strike. I throw a sinker next. Wayne hits a slow grounder to second. Jeff bobbles the ball. By the time he throws to first, Wayne is safe and Rivera is on third. The scorer rules the play a hit. I have no idea why. The sun must have been in the scorer’s eyes.

Desmond fouls off a sinker. Curveball, down and in. Fastball, up and in. Sinker, low and away. With a 3-1 count, Desmond gets a fastball but pops it up to first. Custard makes the catch and throws to the plate, forcing Rivera to hold at third. I breathe a sigh of relief. Desmond doesn’t usually choke in clutch situations.

Martinez takes a fastball high as Wayne steals second to put two runners in scoring position. Jud didn’t bother to throw to second. Wayne’s jump off me was too big. Had Jud thrown to second, Wayne might have gotten into a rundown that would have allowed Rivera to score.

Anyway, a single will now give Cleveland the lead. Now that first base is open, I think about intentionally walking Martinez. The bases would then be loaded with one out with Ludlow coming to bat. If I thought I could get Ludlow to hit into a double play, walking Martinez would make sense. However, I’m having trouble throwing strikes. The last thing I want to do is walk someone, intentionally or not.

I decide to pitch around Martinez. I’ll throw him some tough pitches. If he walks, OK. If he hits, he’ll hit something I want him to hit. I will not give in to him and throw a ball down the middle.

Curveball, high and outside. Fastball, low. Sinker, on the inside corner taken for a strike. I next throw a letter-high fastball. Martinez lofts a much deeper fly ball than Desmond did a minute ago. I’m lucky the ball stayed in the park but Martinez just missed getting it all. Herbert easily makes the catch but Rivera has no problem tagging up and scoring on the play to tie the score at one. Wayne stays at second.

Ludlow is up with the go-ahead run in scoring position. Fastball, fouled down the third-base. Curveball, fouled into the bleachers off first base. Sinker, swung at and missed. On three pitches, Ludlow strikes out again to end the inning but I’ve wasted my chance to win the game.

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Chapter 14 Excerpt

Discretion is advised.

2:37 p.m.

I don’t like socialites. You know what I think about birth lottery winners. Socialites are the epitome of birth lottery winners. I try to avoid them. It’s not hard; I don’t drink, use drugs or go to clubs. Therefore, I’m not likely to be in their circles.

I did meet a socialite named Logan Parisi once at some mid-level awards show three years ago. After the Oscars and maybe the Emmys and Grammys, do you really give a shit who wins what award? Anyway, I ran into her backstage.

“Hello,” I said as politely as I could.

I was expecting silence but I could hear the wheels turned in Parisi’s head. I decided to press forward.

“I’m Paul Spangler. How are you?”

“That’s hot, Phil.” I’ll admit backstage was a bit loud and hectic. I wouldn’t yet call her a bitch; anyone could have had trouble hearing me.

“It’s Paul.”

“Yeah, so are you up for an award?”

“Yeah, favorite male athlete. What about you?”

“I hope you win, Phil.” Jennifer wasn’t there but I could feel her hand on my shoulder begging me to stay calm.

“It’s Paul.”

“Yeah, so that’s hot.”

“Logan, are you presenting an award?”

“Yeah, favorite male athlete.”

“No way! Maybe you just should give me the award right now and save time.”

“Why? You’re not an athlete.”

“Actually, I’m nominated for favorite male athlete. I said that a minute ago.”

“Yeah, I hope you win, Phil.” Come on, strike three. You’d be pissed too by now.

“Nice to meet you, Logan. I think it’s almost your turn to present.”

“Yeah, so that’s hot. See you later, Phil.”

It really was her turn; the producer backstage had just announced the category would be presented right after the commercial break. I thought including commercial breaks was stupid since the whole show was being taped for broadcast the following week. Just edit in the commercials, I thought. Jennifer told me the production team would rather include the ads during the taping and local affiliates could insert their commercials as needed.

The nominees for Favorite Male Athlete were:

David Beckham, Los Angeles Galaxy

Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

Me, and

Shaun White, Olympic snowboarding gold medalist

Everyone in the room was shocked when I was announced as the winner. Realistically, I’d probably be the fifth-best known guy in that group. If I was lucky, I’d be third-best in front of the English soccer star and the redheaded X Games legend. However, I wasn’t surprised. Jennifer explained the situation to me the previous night in Mazatlan.

“The producers want to actually give the award to someone. They don’t want the presenters accepting on anyone’s behalf because the viewers hate that.”

I nodded and she continued. “It’s a Wednesday night in mid-January. Brady is going to be in a playoff game this weekend so he’s not coming. Kobe is playing in Orlando tonight and in Miami tomorrow night. He’s not coming to L.A. for some award.”

“That makes sense,” I said, “I wouldn’t go if I thought I’d lose. What’s the point of acting happy for someone else and wasting my night. But what about Beckham?”

“He hurt his leg last season. He’s in London rehabbing. The doctors told him not to take the flight.”

“Then what about White? You know all the kids love him.”

“White is training in Aspen for the Winter X Games and a snowstorm closed the airport.”

“Aspen has satellite, right? Just mail him the award later and have him say a few words on TV.”

“He won last year so the producers want someone else to win this year. Makes a more interesting show.”

“And I’m the only one left?”

“Yep, but no one’s going to care once you have the award.”

“So all we have to do is take the red-eye to L.A.?”

“Well, I can’t go. I have to negotiate some contracts. But your ticket is set and ready. Your flight leaves in an hour.”

“Fuck commercial! If they want me that badly, they’ll charter a plane for me.”

“Come on!”

“Tell me I’m wrong. You just described the situation. If I tell them I can’t get there on such short notice, who’s going to argue? They don’t have any other options.”

“Do you know how much that’ll cost them?”

“Don’t know, don’t care. Don’t worry though. I promise to make it worth their while.”

“What does that mean?”

“Means everyone will be looking forward to seeing me accept my award.”

Jennifer sighed. “I’ll call them.”

“Oh, and tell them I need three nights in the Beverly Hills Hotel.”

“I stayed there once. Very overrated.”

“OK, how about the Chateau Marmont?”

“That’s better.”

“Penthouse suite!”

“OK, OK! Just go!”

The charter left at midnight and I arrived at the Chateau Marmont’s penthouse suite at 4 a.m. I wanted three free nights because I wouldn’t pitch again for the Deer until the fourth day. I figured I might as well fully use my last-minute vacation.

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Chapter 13 Excerpt

Discretion is advised.

2:24 p.m.

During my first year in Mexico, I met a beautiful young woman named Paola. I dated her for 10 years. Whenever I was in Mexico, she and I were inseparable. I loved Paola and it’s too bad things didn’t go the way I planned. I wanted to eventually bring Paola to the U.S. She had said she wanted to emigrate to America. She hinted that marriage was the fastest way for her to gain citizenship. I think she got the point when I didn’t call for a week.

Paola’s parents hated me. They still hate me. I’ve never admitted this but they had me pegged from the start. They knew I’d never marry their daughter even though Paola was sure I’d eventually change my mind.

Trying to convince Paola’s parents to believe the story I wanted to tell rather than what they knew to be true was difficult. They didn’t want their only child to be treated like a whore. They weren’t happy that I came to town to fuck Paola when I pleased then left her to fuck whoever else I wanted. They didn’t like hearing lies from me. I wouldn’t either. Neither would you. So I don’t blame them for not liking me.

Anyway, at age 33, I loved Paola more than I had ever loved a woman. I visited Mexico as often as I could during the Major League season to see her. That’s why I was horrified during the conversation we had a few years ago.

“Promise me you won’t get mad,” she began.

“Sure, come on. Tell me what’s wrong,” I answered. I knew this was trouble.

“No, you need to promise me,” she asserted.

“What if I don’t?” I asked. “You won’t tell me?”

“That’s right,” she said defiantly.

“Good,” I replied. “If I have to promise to respond a certain way before hearing what you have to say, I know I don’t want to hear it anyway.”

She tried again. “Just promise me.”

“You’ll be the first to complain that I’m a liar,” I responded. “I couldn’t blame you for being upset if I lie.”

“Huh?”

“If you want a meaningless promise that I’ll control a reaction that I admittedly have no way of controlling, then fine. You’ll get those useless words. You and I both know you’ll be mad when I break my promise and get mad. And I will get mad because that’s the only reason you’ll asking for such a promise in the first place.”

“Come on, you don’t know what I’m going to say.”

“Not exactly but I know what you won’t say.”

“What won’t I say?”

“That you won the lottery. That you got a promotion. That your parents suddenly like me. That you want a puppy for your birthday. That something good happened to you.”

“You think you know me so well.”

“No, I know people well enough to know they protect against reactions they don’t want when they fear them coming. If something good happened—or even something mundane—you wouldn’t be worried about me getting mad.”

“I just want to have a calm discussion.”

“Since I don’t know the subject, I can’t promise that. However, you know I hate surprises so I’m already fearing the worst. Hell, I’m already mad because you put me in this position.”

Give Paola credit. She was determined to get what she wanted. “Will you promise not to get mad?” she asked one last time.

I tried to explain my position. She didn’t care. I really was mad at that point. I was tired of doing a stupid song-and-dance to get Paola to talk. She was usually so much more mature. I knew it was serious. I wasn’t bullshitting; I don’t know how to explain my thinking any better than I did. I honestly thought at that moment that she just learned she had breast cancer. I promise you I would not have been mad at her for it.

Anyway, it was time to play ball. Give her what she wanted so I could get what I wanted: closure. I replied, “Yes, I promise.”

“OK,” she said. “I’m three months pregnant.”

“Fuck!” I screamed.

“You promised not to get mad!”

“I lied! You knew I lied to get you to fucking tell me what’s going on! I was tired of waiting. Be glad I didn’t get bored and leave five minutes ago.”

“What are we going to do?” Paola asked quietly.

“You need to get an abortion,” I said.

“I won’t hear of it,” she replied in her sexy accent. “You know I’m a Catholic and I’m against abortion.”

“Let me get this straight,” I responded. “You aren’t enough of a staunch Catholic to abstain from kinky premarital sex. All of a sudden, you now want to be a good girl?”

“You are mocking me,” she whined.

“No,” I said defensively. “I’m just not sure how you got yourself pregnant.”

“You were there. Don’t you know?”

“You promised you were on the pill.”

“I was.”

“There’s supposed to be a 99 percent contraception rate with the pill.”

“What are you trying to say?”

“Well, you knew I loved bareback sex.”

“Yeah…?”

“As long as we both were disease-free, I wanted to climax inside you as often as I could.”

“I wanted that too.”

“The sensation is much better that way.”

“I agree. I enjoy feeling you unload in me.”

Sometimes, I unloaded on her also. Paola’s skin and hair looked hot after I gave her a facial. However, once she told me she was three months pregnant, I unloaded on her in a different way.

“I want to marry you,” she said.

“I won’t consider it if you have the baby,” I responded.

“Don’t you want to be a family?” she asked.

“I don’t want to be a dad,” I snapped. “I told you that at the beginning. My worst nightmare is to be stuck paying child support.”

“You don’t have to worry,” Paola sighed. “I love you enough to spare you that fate.”

“Great,” I replied. “Then you know what you need to do.”

“Yes, I do,” she yelled as she went in our bedroom.

“Just so you know,” she exclaimed from the doorway. “I didn’t try to trap you. Like you said, the pill is 99 percent effective. Surely you know you’ve fucked me more than 100 times.” With that, she slammed the door shut.

After our fight, we slept in different rooms that night. I stayed on the couch in the living room. I assumed she knew I meant for her to get an abortion. I was wrong.

The next morning, I was calmer. She was right in that I had banged her hundreds of times during our relationship. There’d been weeks when I came in her pussy close to 100 times. Hey, I like pitching in Mazatlan but Mexico can be a dangerous place. Better to stay indoors and fuck my sexy girlfriend rather than take chances at nightclubs. I’m not really a nightclub kind of guy anyway. I’m more of a homebody.

As far as I knew, Paola hadn’t cheated on me. I had Bob Land follow her once in a while and he never saw her do anything with anyone else.

Anyway, I wanted to see if there was some way some compromise could be reached. I didn’t really know how the gap between pregnant and not pregnant could be split but I knew I loved Paola so there had to be a way.

I like the story about a old man who tells a boy about a man in the desert who tries to escape a hungry lion. I’m sure you’ve heard it. Just before he is to be devoured by the lion, the man finds a tree and climbs it. He avoids the lion’s paws and remains safe until the lion gives up and leaves the scene. The boy asks how there can be a tree in the desert. The old man smiles and says because there had to be one.

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