LOGLINE: Once the nation’s best and most respected baseball GM, Sandy Alderson has been reduced to trying to revive a moribund franchise is the depths of deepest, darkest Queens. Along with his sharp-witted and adoring protégés, he fights off the seemingly endless series of controversies and crises that beset him while trying to run a sports team in the country’s most bustling metropolis, and still look fantastic while doing it. Can the pressures of such an important job crush this singularly talented and gifted individual genius?
Trainer’s room. GRANT LINWOOD is laying on an examination table, holding his knee and grimacing in pain while receiving treatment from a TRAINER. SANDY ALDERSON and DAVID EINHORN look on in the background.
LINWOOD: So how’s it look, doc? Will I ever play the piano again?
TRAINER: Grave 7 strain of your MCL, a Langerhans pull in your ACL, and partial tear of your interior QCL. You would’ve done less damage to your knee with a shotgun.
EINHORN: But he can play tomorrow, right?
TRAINER: Are you kidding? He’ll be lucky to walk tomorrow. I’m gonna stabilize this knee. He’ll have to stay off of it for a month.
EINHORN: A month?! This is my biggest star you’re talking about, my number one box office attraction! If he’s out a month, ticket sales will plummet! This man can not go on the disabled list.
TRAINER: Why don’t you take it up with his knee? Oh wait, you can’t because it’s a joint and it probably has terrible hearing because it’s shot to hell.
EINHORN: Goddammit! You just had to be a showoff and bat on one leg, didn’t you?! You were just daring that pitcher to drill you!
LINWOOD: I had to do it! I promised a sick kid at the hospital I would! Or some broad I met at the bar last night. It’s kinda hazy to me now.
Cut to: Einhorn’s office. He paces the room while ALDERSON stands quietly in a corner, hands thrust in pockets.
EINHORN: This is worse than the time our shortstop got leprosy. What the hell do we do now?
ALDERSON: Not much else to do but put Linwood on the DL and make a call up from the minors.
EINHORN: Oh no, I can’t have Linwood’s place taken by some 20 year old nobody. New Yorkers will not accept a team that doesn’t have superstars at every position. Linwood is not going on the DL and that is final.
ALDERSON: So you want to see if we can make the playoffs with a 24-man roster?
EINHORN: No, I’m going to make a few calls. I know some guys who can get us a few remedies, if you know what I mean. HGH, andro, horse tranquilizer, fish aphrodisiacs, dodo’s blood, you name it.
ALDERSON: How do you know people like that?
EINHORN: I work in hedge funds. How do you think we make money, by figuring out market trends and exploiting overvalued commodities? No, we blow our minds on every controlled substance there is and see where the trails take us, man!
ALDERSON: I think I could go to jail simply for hearing you talk about this.
EINHORN: Don’t play high and mighty with me, Sandy. Everyone knows what your boys used to do in Oakland. Was that outfielder of yours just eating Wheaties when he hit 16 home runs in one game?
ALDERSON: I’m not thinking about morality as much as I am about Linwood’s health. We shouldn’t rush back the man who is not only our best player, but who also makes $95 million a year. Instead of a month on the DL, he could be looking at a year of rehab, possibly the end of his career.
EINHORN: That’s why we should rush him back! I need to get my money’s worth! Is there any harm in waiting until tomorrow, seeing how Grant feels in the morning?
ALDERSON: But the trainer said the CAT scan of his knee looked like downtown Detroit.
EINHORN: One night, that’s all I want. If he’s still a mess tomorrow, we’ll put him on the DL. Deal?
ALDERSON: You’re the boss. Technically.
ALDERSON leaves. EINHORN eyes his office door carefully, then picks up his desk phone and dials.
ALDERSON walks down the tunnel to the team clubhouse, trailed by J.P. RICCIARDI, PAUL DEPODESTA, and MACKENZIE CARLIN.
ALDERSON: Anything come over the waiver wire last night?
RICCIARDI: Nothing to write home about.
ALDERSON: At this point, I’ll take something worth texting about.
DEPODESTA: It’s slim pickings, Sandy. You’re not gonna find much of value on the wires this time of year. Certainly not anything that can replace Linwood.
ALDERSON: We’re gonna have to give it the ol’ college try, because when I left here last night, Linwood was on death’s door.
ALDERSON and his assistants enter the clubhouse to find LINWOOD hopping from one leg to the other with ease while juggling three baseballs, a first baseman’s glove, and a Louisville slugger. He looks sweaty and a tad manic.
RICCIARDI: Did they change what “death” means last night?
ALDERSON: Good lord, Grant! Last night you could barely think straight you were in so much pain, and now you’re trying out for the circus!
LINWOOD: Clean livin’, fellas. I am hungry as hell–hungry for taters, that is! Chicks dig the longball! Remember that commercial? I sure do! Lemme hear a ‘hell yeah’!
ALDERSON: The doctor said you’d be outta commission for a month.
LINWOOD: The doctor don’t know about my mutant healing factor! I feel so good I wanna eat a telephone pole and poop out wooden spoons!
ALDERSON: Are you okay? What kind of painkillers are you on?
LINWOOD: The best painkiller of them all–being alive, my man!
ALDERSON: What is “being alive”, slang for generic percocet? I don’t care how you feel right now. The doctor said you should rest for a month and I really think you should at least sit out a game or two.
LINWOOD: I’m a world-class athlete in the prime of my career, brother! I am on deeply intimate terms with my own body, and when it whispers to me across the pillow at night it says it’s go time! Whatsa matter? You afraid I’m gonna turn out just like The Kid? I ain’t weak like him! I’m made of tabasco-covered diamonds! WOOHOO!
LINWOOD exits the clubhouse on a pogo stick, trailed nervously by DEPODESTA.
DEPODESTA: Careful, Grant! Your contract has no coverage for pogo insurance!
CARLIN: “The Kid”? Who’s The Kid?
ALDERSON stares off into the distance, a faraway look in his eyes.
Flashback: Another trainer’s room. A much younger ALDERSON stands over THE KID, laying on an examination table, struggling to breathe.
ALDERSON: Listen, Kid. I know you’re hurting, but we’re in the middle of a pennant race. If you can’t go, you can’t go. But if you can go, even a little bit, we need you. Even 10 percent of you can help. So what do you say?
KID: Sure, Mr. Alderson, I can do this. Just tape me up and point me to the batter’s box.
ALDERSON: I knew we could count on you, Kid.
Cut to: The Kid in the dugout. A roaring crowd cheers as he is announced as the pinch hitter. The Kid grabs a bat and gingerly climbs the dugout steps. The cheers grow even louder. As he waves to the crowd, a giant grizzly bear runs into shot and mauls him.
Cut back to the present-day clubhouse.
RICCIARDI: Sandy, you can’t still blame yourself for that. How were you supposed to know a bear had just escaped from the zoo?
ALDERSON: A good GM is supposed to know these things.
CARLIN: So that’s the deeply buried trauma that still haunts you and everyone else can only allude to?
ALDERSON: Of course not. What do you think, I’m gonna reveal that in the fifth episode?
DEPODESTA runs into the room, looking nervous.
DEPODESTA: Sandy, it’s Grant.
ALDERSON: Oh god, he wasn’t mauled was he?
DEPODESTA: No, but he bent down to tie his shoes and his knee fell off.
ALDERSON: That would have been my second guess.
A hospital room. LINWOOD, his knee heavily taped, lays in a bed, attended to by a DOCTOR. ALDERSON and EINHORN stand nearby.
DOCTOR: The good news is, we were able to reattach Mr. Linwood’s knee pretty easily. He should be up and around before long. The bad news is, he tested positive for a number of illegal substances, such as whale baleen, Krazy Glue, jaguar semen, adamantium, tar, and PCP.
ALDERSON: Jesus, Einhorn, you gave him PCP?!
LINWOOD: No, that was all me. Kind of a wild night.
DOCTOR: You’re lucky this quick fix didn’t damage his knee any further. Instead of a month on the DL, we could have been looking at a year of rehab, possibly the end of his career. Well, I’ll leave the three of you alone to angrily hash this out among yourselves.
ALDERSON: How do you feel, Grant?
LINWOOD: Like my knee fell off.
EINHORN: Look, Grant is a grown man. He took those drugs of his own volition.
ALDERSON: But you’re the one who procured them. Where else would Grant get dodo’s blood?
EINHORN: I don’t know! This guy gets around! Maybe he hangs out with a bad crowd at the Museum of Natural History!
LINWOOD: It’s not a big deal, Sandy. Trying jaguar semen’s like backpacking across Europe, everyone’s gotta do it once when they’re young and dumb.
ALDERSON: We’re lucky we do so much business with this hospital. Otherwise, they’d have blabbed to the press already about his multiple failed drug tests. Guess I can expect a 50 percent markup on our next six Tommy John surgeries.
ALDERSON begins to stalk out of the room, stops with his hand on the doorknob as EINHORN begins to speak.
EINHORN: So I guess you got what you wanted. Not only do you get to call up some wet-behind-the-ears rookie from Palookaville, but you also get to be more correct and righteous than everyone else in the room. There he goes, folks, the man who’s never been wrong!
ALDERSON opens his mouth to speak, stops himself, and leaves. Sweeping cello music swells. We pan back into the room, where EINHORN and LINWOOD remain, and past them toward YO-YO MA, playing his cellow in a corner of the room, still chained to a filing cabinet.
YO-YO MA: If someone could just run to Home Depot and get me a hacksaw, I’ll cut the lock myself.
ALDERSON stalks through the lobby of the hospital, about to leave. He stops, pauses, and makes a turn toward the gift shop.
Cut to: ALDERSON walking through a hospital hallway, clutching flowers. He walks through a set of doors marked BEAR MAULING UNIT.
A hospital room. ALDERSON enters.
ALDERSON: Hey Kid, how you holdin’ up?
THE KID is laying in a hospital bed. He is nothing but a head in a jar.
KID: Oh, you know, good days and bad days.
ALDERSON: How’s Sam and the kids?
KID: Never better! Joey’s graduating high school next week.
ALDERSON: Little Joey? I remember when he was a bat boy. Gosh, time flies, huh?
KID: You’re telling me.
ALDERSON: Kid, I need to know something, and you can be brutally honest. Can you ever forgive me?
KID: I can’t, Sandy–as long as you can’t forgive yourself.
Cello music swells, as YO-YO MA struggles past the hospital room, dragging a filing cabinet behind him.