The B List is an ugly place.
You serve them well, the corporation, the team, the unit, the club, the gang, but you aren’t the star, you aren’t the favorite.
You may hit the big home run, or save a kid from drowning, or find the big error in the presentation that saves the big deal-BUT YOU WILL NEVER BE LOVED FOR IT.
THEY STILL HATE YOU! THEY WILL NEVER ALLOW YOU TO BE THE HERO! IT AIN’T THE MOVIES!
It’s back in the 70s. There is a player on the High School baseball team. He hits about .265 not very good for High School. He hits about 3-4 Home Runs a year-OK but not exceptional. He is a great fielder at first base, maybe the best in the league. That is what keeps him on the team and keeps him on the field.
State Championship, the final game. Tied 2-2 with two outs and two on in the bottom of the seventh. The final inning.
All the parents are out there, all the students from the school who made the trip, some teachers, some scouts, they are all there. But there is nobody there for him. It’s not that nobody cares, but he didn’t make a big deal out of it. His family isn’t interested in sports and they all have their own activities, that he never goes to either, so why be a hypocrite?
He often says: what if a tree falls in the forest and there’s no-one there to hear it? Does it make a sound?
Yes, he answers, it makes a sound-but there is no-one there to hear it.
He knows he plays just because he wants to play. He knows they let him play because he does one thing that no-one else can he saves a couple of runs every single game at first base with his fielding. But no-one cares about that. He doesn’t have the look, he doesn’t talk the talk. His hair is too long and unkempt, he rarely shaves. He is big and hulking, yet very athletic, a good runner for his size, Able to run ten miles but not fast. Able to run a hundred yards disturbingly fast.
He will never be the star. He can’t be the star. He couldn’t play that role in the movies. He isn’t even the best friend. He’s the extra in the background. HE’S NOT SUPPOSED TO WIN. HE’S SUPPOSED TO STAY IN THE SHADOWS WHERE HE BELONGS.
The pitcher, the A-Lister, from a big school across the state is the main character. He is good-looking athletic, lean, smart, popular, friendly, follows the golden rule. Everyone likes him. And everybody should. He really is the good guy. AND HE ALWAYS WINS.
The A-Lister’s father and mother and brothers and sisters and friends are all there. The scouts are there to see him. The B-Lister even likes him, admires him knows his stats, respects him. And even know he always tries to throw a fastball inside on 3 and 2. He puts all of his 6′ 2” 265 pounds into the swing.
LONG, HIGH DRIVE HIT DEEP DOWN THE LEFT FIELD LINE.
The Left fielder doesn’t chase it, obvious foul ball. The ball is drifting, drifting, drifting, but not quite far enough. It bangs off the tin door in left field, right square in the middle of the crow’s nest atop the foul pole. Right square in the middle of the big yellow line. The crowd is stunned. “Oh my god we lost.” says the pitcher’s mom. “Holy crap we won!” yells one of the students. “Who in the hell is that big, fat, nasty sonofabitch who just hit that freakin’ ball?” wonders the scout.
THE FIRST TWO RUNNERS CROSS THE PLATE AND ARE MOBBED BY THE CROWD
They are A-listers. They are lean and mean and good-looking and smart and sociable. And hell, they got on base. The B-lister comes around the bases. Now only the ump is left out on the field and he says to the B-Lister: “nice timing kid.” The maintenance crew comes onto the field while the B-Lister is alone in the dugout picking up his glove and hat. “C’mon, kid we gotta clean up! Move your fat ass!” The rest of the team is already in the clubhouse celebrating with his A-Lister teammates.
THE PITCHER IS LYING FLAT ON HIS BACK ON THE MOUND STARING UP AT THE SKY
The B-Lister comes out to him and offers him a hand to help him to his feet.
A: “How in the heck did you do that?” He asks.
B: “You always throw inside on 3 and 2.”
A: “What are you training to be a manager?”
B: “That would be cool.”
MOST OF THE CROWD HAS FILED OUT
The good looking, popular girls are gone to congratulate the winners. One girl comes down from the stands, she is a little sleazy, a little dirty, a little nasty. “You know there’s a party tonight when we get back. You’re invited fatboy.” “Why you got to get on da fat?” He asks. He goes into the dugout.
THERE IS A REPORTER IN THE CLUBHOUSE
The town newspaper is interviewing the guy who scored the winning run. “So when you got hit by the pitch did you ever imagine you would score the winning run in the state championship?” “Well, we’ve got a great team here. Everyone battled all season.” “Who was the guy who hit the home run?” “Oh that’s uh, uh Jim? uh, Bale, Balin, Bailim?” “Where is he anyway?”
The B-Lister shows up. As usual, he is the only white guy at the party. There is the usual crowd of people too old to be partying with high school kids. The older dudes are sharing a bottle of Henessey. One of them is big. He is bigger than the B-Lister, older, meaner and stronger. “Who you here with, big boy?” “Cheryl invited me.” he says shyly, looking down. “Diggit-you the mo&^f&*^%$r who hit the home run?” “Yessir” “Now I’m a man and you a man so we can talk. You whipped that ass, blay, you whipped that izz-ass! That was my school. We ain’t won for like, thirty years.
Slap me five-
on the side-
in the hole-
HE HANDS THE B-LISTER THE HENESSEY BOTTLE
The B-Lister takes a huge swig.
Cheryl comes up to him and gives him a hug.
“Yeah bigboy, you whipped that m^%$^#ing ass!” Says the big, mean dude. “Yeah!”