Kyle carried a bucket of balls to the mound, setting them down next to the pitching machine. The cool Arizona night contrasted with the harsh field lights of the Peoria complex and he stood there for a second, taking in the stillness, the quietness of being the only two people in the stadium. A voice broke him out of his reverie:
“Uh, any day now?” Dustin asked. He stood at the plate, bat in hand, waiting impatiently.
“Alright, alright. Gimme a sec.” Kyle turned on the machine and it came to life with a loud whirr. Dustin had asked him after practice, back at the hotel, to give him some extra BP and Kyle was happy to oblige.
As Kyle grabbed a handful of baseballs from the bucket, Dustin stepped up to the plate. His stance was quiet, stealth-like – almost like a cheetah waiting to pounce. Kyle had seen his swing in practice as well – its smoothness was almost unmatched.
But as Kyle fed balls to the machine, he could tell that Dustin’s swings were off. Something was wrong. Dustin was hitting fly balls and pop ups, not line drives. With each swing, he was getting more and more frustrated.
Thwack! The ball came off his bat for the twentieth time rather loudly but settled under short right field. Dustin swore under his breath. Over and over his swing was producing the same results – every hard hit line drive was met with five grounders to shortstop or pop flies to center field.
After what seemed like ages, Kyle stopped.
“Hey! Come on, I can’t stop now.” Dustin complained when Kyle dropped the remaining baseballs back in the bucket.
“Just…take a break, alright?” Kyle said. He knew Dustin was trying to prove something to himself. That he wasn’t a fluke. That he wasn’t a .200 hitter, a lone flash in the pan. His frustration went deeper than this batting session alone – it went all the way back to 2012 when his performance drastically declined.
Kyle sighed. It was time to have a talk.
“Let’s sit in the bleachers for a bit, alright?” This was going to be uncomfortable.
“Yeah, okay.” They went and sat behind the right field dugout, staring at the brightly lit field for what seemed like ages while Kyle thought of what to say.
“Okay look. You know I’m not the type of guy who blabs about his feelings, touchy-feely and all that. But maybe you’d feel better if you got some stuff off your chest.”Kyle began. Dustin was his best friend, but still, this was hard. Kyle was the type of guy to shove feelings deep, deep down until they eventually disappeared, unheard. But desperate times called for desperate measures. If a talk session would get his friend out of a funk, then he was all for it.
“What are you talking about?”
“Come on, man. You know what I’m talking about.” Kyle knew this was hard for Dustin too.
They were silent for a few heavy seconds.
“You mean my slump? I’m fine. Never been better.” Dustin said tersely. Kyle took a deep breath. Evidently, this wasn’t going to be easy.
“I’ve seen it. We’ve all seen it. Brad, Justin, Mike, we’ve all noticed you’ve been different. And you have reason to be! Every reason in the world! Just let us know what we can do. Let us help. I’ve got no idea what kind of mind games you’ve been going through lately and if you want me to back off I will, no problem. Just let me know what I can do to help.” Kyle had stood up without realizing it and he sat back down awkwardly. It was quiet for a minute or so, and he didn’t know what kind of effect his little speech had had on Dustin. Then, finally:
“It’s not…it hasn’t been easy. I won’t lie to you, Kyle.” Dustin took a deep breath before continuing.
“The truth is…I don’t know how to do this.” He dropped his face in his hands.
“Do what?” Kyle was surprised that he’d gotten this much out of him, and he didn’t want to push him too far.
“I don’t know how to…I’ve never played so bad for such a long time. I don’t know…I mean what if…” He trailed off.
Kyle thought long and hard for a second. He had to approach this carefully. His friend was teetering on the edge and had been for some time, and any wrong word or move would push him off. After a long pause, he spoke:
“Do you remember freshman year of college?” Kyle asked. Dustin looked up from his hands, surprised.
“Yeah, of course.”
“We were roommates that year, right? Or was it sophomore year?”
“Freshman. It was freshman year.” Dustin said.
“That’s right. Well, do you remember tryouts? Those two long, hot days?”
“Sure. Coach Brown yelled at us the whole time we were taking infield. Yeah, I remember.”
“Well, do you remember how I played? I had a pretty crappy tryout. Dropping ground balls, fouling off soft toss, the whole thing. I was pretty down after those two days. And do you remember what you said to me?” Kyle asked him.
“Of course not, that was years ago.” Dustin said.
“You took me aside towards the end of the second day and you told me: ‘You can do this. This is only making you stronger.’ And I listened. I listened to that real hard. I’m still listening.”
Dustin smiled a little bit, just a little upturn in the corner of his mouth. And with that, Kyle knew he had got to him.
“This.” Kyle gestured to the pitching machine down on the field. “This is making you stronger. And you’re gonna get through this. When you do, you’re gonna prove every goddamn critic wrong.”
Dustin smiled, a real smile this time, one that reached his eyes.
“No problem. Now let’s get back to hitting.” Kyle said. They stood up and walked back down to the field and took their positions. Ready with a fresh baseball from the basket, Kyle fed it to the machine and thought to himself:
Please, please tell me this worked.
Crack! The ball left the bat as quick as it had reached it. Kyle whipped around, finding the projection of the ball, and together, the two men watched it sail up, up until it almost grazed the moon and eventually cleared the fence, lost forever in the hot Arizona night.
Nick and Brad meet up during the offseason at a restaurant in Florida, only to end up talking about the one topic they want to avoid: competing for the same spot in Spring Training.
Nick walked into the restaurant, taking in the delicious smell of bacon and pancakes. He glanced at the tables—where was he? Nick was early, but not that early. Suddenly he heard a voice to his right:
“Franklin! Over here!” Brad yelled. He beckoned with his hand and Nick sauntered over, unable to keep the smile from his face.
“How’s it going, man?” Brad said enthusiastically, pulling him into an all-consuming, can’t-even-breathe hug. He already had a steaming, heaping pile of pancakes in front of him.
“Not bad, not bad. It’s been what, two and a half months?” Nick asked as he sat down.
“Yeah, about two and a half. Man, it seems like it’s been ages!” He was already digging into his pancakes, consuming with the gusto only an athlete could have.
“It does. It really does. And so much has happened…” Nick trailed off, thinking of the deal, the blockbuster deal, the one he couldn’t stop thinking about, how could he think about anything else?
Brad looked like he was about to say something, as if he knew what was on Nick’s mind, but just as he began to speak the waiter came over to take Nick’s order. Nick was glad, because he wasn’t ready to talk about it. Not yet. They’d just sat down what, two minutes ago? It would take him longer to be able to broach the subject of the elephant in the room. He gave his order to the waiter and that was it. They could small talk for a while. God knows Brad could hold a conversation forever.
“So Game of Thrones, huh?” Nick asked hopefully. If Brad could talk about normal subjects for hours, then he could talk about Game of Thrones for days. Nick had never really gotten into it—he was more of a video game guy than TV, but if it got Brad talking about anything other than baseball, he was all for it.
“Crazy, man. Just crazy. Did you see the finale?”
“Totally. What a finish.” No, of course he hadn’t.
Brad looked up from his pancakes and gave Nick a knowing smile. With a sinking feeling, he realized that he had told Brad a few months ago that he didn’t watch the show.
“If you don’t want to talk baseball, just say so, man.” Brad said in a low voice. The waiter brought over Nick’s pancakes and he dug in, eager for something to do.
“It’s not…it’s not that I don’t want to talk about it. I just…” He trailed off, unsure of what he was even saying. His thoughts and words were a jumble in his brain, scrambled around like the eggs in front of him.
“Franklin. Just talk honestly.”
Nick took a deep breath. How was he supposed to convey all these thoughts, all these emotions into sentences?
“It’s just…how are we supposed to compete, man?” He blurted. Competing for one spot with his best friend wasn’t high on his bucket list. More like his nightmares. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be—they were supposed to be battery mates. Patrol the middle infield together for seasons, even years. Be the Jeter and Cano combo that was known throughout the majors. Except now it was Cano out at second base, while he watched as Brad played alongside him. Or Brad watched as he played. Either way, it was bad.
“I know, I know. But what choice do we have?”
Nick sighed. There was nothing he wanted more than that starting position. To see his name in the lineup every day. But at the cost of his best friend?
“Just promise me something.” Brad said seriously. “Promise that no matter what, whatever happens in Spring Training, we’ll still be bros.”
Nick smiled. That was all he had wanted. He punched Brad playfully in the shoulder. “You got it.”
Brad punched him back, and they both laughed. Spring Training would come sooner or later, and they would fight it out. But for now, in this moment, they would enjoy their pancakes.
Any suggestions for fanfiction guys??
blackpolos asked: I'm a pretty diehard Mariners fan and finding this page has been the highlight of my week. This is enormously funny.
Haha glad you liked it!
Brad rushed into the locker room. It was all he had been thinking about since the eighth inning. Nick sliding into home. Falling onto the ground. Wincing in pain. Seeing his knee carved up like a pumpkin had made Brad’s stomach drop, and only now, after his post game interview, was he able to look for Nick.
He sighed in relief. Nick was propped up in a chair near his locker, and Brad hurried over to him. Nick greeted him with a smile, but Brad could tell by his clenched fists and large stitches that he was hurting more than he let on.
“How’s it feeling?” He asked.
“Pretty crappy, man. Just as I was getting into my groove too…” Nick trailed off, staring into the distance.
“Well, hey, we got the big W because of you. Don’t forget that.” Brad tried to reassure him, but he could tell Nick wasn’t listening. He was off somewhere else, thinking of a million different scenarios, a thousand different plays in which he hadn’t gotten hurt and was still the hero. It’s what he always did. There was nothing Brad admired more in Nick than his ability to believe in himself, to have confidence, but even the strongest have their breaking points.
“Well shoot, dude, you gotta tweet about it now! Can’t leave all your followers hanging!” Brad tried to keep the conversation light, as he could tell that Nick was hurting. But Nick smiled a little, his eye black still smeared on as he grinned at Brad.
“You gotta help me, bro! I still don’t know how to work this twitter thing. Shoulda stuck with insta.” He laughed.
Brad smiled. “Alright. Just this once, I’m gonna do you a favor. Only because you’re like a freaking ER patient over here. Where’s your phone?” Nick handed it to him, and Brad started typing. Half a minute later, he showed him the brightly lit screen.
@NickFrank20: Thanks for the prayers and wishes! Thankfully it was nothing to serious besides a few stitches. Hope to get back out there soon.
Nick read the tweet and smiled, hitting send.
“Thanks, bro. I owe you one.”
They fist bumped. “Anytime.”
Aaron coughed nervously. The locker room was empty, save for a lone individual sitting in the corner, headphones in, oblivious to his presence. Kyle’s back was turned to him, but as Aaron timidly approached the bench, he seemed to sense someone behind him. Turning around, Kyle smiled at Aaron – a quick, genuine grin that made his insides turn to butter and his heart pound like a rapid drum.
“Just talk to him” Aaron thought, as he struggled to take deep breaths while staring into Kyle’s sky blue eyes.
“Hey, man, just wanted to congratulate you on the game. And thanks for the interview.” Aaron cringed at his words, which seemed bland and unoriginal. But Kyle kept smiling.
“No problem. I’m happy to do it.” Kyle suddenly stood up so that he was at eye level with Aaron. The air seemed to become warmer between them, and Aaron took an unsteady breath.
“Listen, I’ve been meaning to ask you something for awhile.” Kyle said quietly. He crossed his arms, causing Aaron to glance at his arm muscles, noting that they were still damp from his shower.
“Yes. Anything. Ask away.”
“Wanna come over for dinner sometime? An off day maybe?” Kyle smiled hopefully, once again causing Aaron’s heart to flutter. As his brain registered Kyle’s words, his heart started working overtime.
“Yes! I’d love to! Let me know when!” Aaron quickly said. Kyle laughed at his eager response, but his smile remained genuine.
“Julie’s been dying for me to ask you, ever since you guys talked in Oakland. Maybe during the All Star Break?”
Damn it. He had forgotten about Julie.
“Of course there’s Julie, you idiot. He’s married. Stop getting carried away.” Aaron mentally kicked himself for thinking – even for a second – that Kyle would want to have dinner with him. Alone.
But he forced a smile onto his face. No point in sulking; he was still going to have dinner with Kyle. The only downside was that his wife would be there as well.
You are pathetic. He thought. But his insides still felt warm as he looked at Kyle standing there, freshly showered, eyes glowing.
“I’ll let you know the details, man. I gotta go.” Kyle said, giving Aaron a slap on the arm. He sauntered off, leaving Aaron alone in the locker room. His confused feelings and desperate thoughts consumed him as he sat down on the bench. His arm tingled from where Kyle touched him.
Maybe Kyle was married, but there was definitely something there.
Author’s Note: this is another kyle seager one shot! (He plays professional baseball). This one was requested, hope you like it :)
“I’m taking a shower, you have to get out,” I tell Kyle as I start the water for the shower.
“We’re married, I don’t have to go anywhere.”
“Kyle!” I reprimand him. He just laughs but stays where he is, right in front of the sink. “Fine,” I say curtly. If he wants to stay, he’ll get a show.
I shimmy out of my shorts and kick them across the room before slipping my shirt over my head. I can see Kyle eyeing me in the mirror, but I act like I don’t notice and continue getting ready for my shower. I pull my hair out of its ponytail and let it fall around my shoulders, and then I turn around and carefully stick my fingers under the stream of water to check the temperature.
“Ow!” I shriek when the hot water touches my skin. I quickly pull them out and adjust the temperature, and then I wait for it to change. I hear Kyle laughing, so I throw him a glance over my shoulder. “What are you laughing at?”
“You,” he smiles and turns around. “You’re cute.”
I feel his hands slip around my waist and he tries to turn me around, but I resist.
“Oh, come on, baby, don’t be like that,” he sighs.
Finally I give in and I turn around to face him. I wrap my arms around his neck and pull him close, and he leans in for a kiss but I pull away.
“No,” I shake my head. “I’m taking a shower.”
He ignores my comment and kisses me hard on the lips—so hard that it practically sucks the breath out of me. His hands wander up my sides and he slips them underneath the sides of my bra before pulling away and gently pressing his lips to my neck.
“Yea, well I think your shower can wait til later.”
"Are you sure we’re allowed to do this?" I asked uncertainly. The field lights were off, but the freshly mowed grass of Safeco Field was lit by the glow of the moon.
"Don’t worry, you’re with me." Michael said, smiling as he gave my hand a gentle squeeze. It gave me a sense of reassurance, staring into his deep blue eyes, a calm sea of consolation.
Taking a deep breath, I walked onto the field timidly, Michael led the way confidently, until he stopped in the middle of center field. I looked around, marveling at the beauty of the field itself - the green grass, the empty bleachers, the watered infield.
It was perfect.
"You know, if you take a picture, it’ll last longer." Michael joked, breaking me out of my reverie.
"i just can’t believe you get to play here every day." I breathed, still in awe. Michael laughed and shook his head, pulling me down so that we were both lying down, looking at the stars.
We lay like that, silently, for a few minutes, neither of us saying anything, as nothing needed to be said.
"Thank you." I said, finally breaking the comfortable silence.
"Thank you for what?" he asked, rolling over on his side so that we were face to face.
"For bringing me here. It’s so…peaceful. And serene." I cringed internally at my cheesy words. But Michael simply took my face in his hands, looked me in the eyes, and said:
"For you, anything."
Author’s Note: another kyle seager one shot! (He’s a baseball player) :)
“I don’t want to leave,” Kyle says as he wraps me up in his embrace.
I wrap my arms tightly around him, though it’s hard because I’m six months pregnant with twins. He’s got several road games coming up, and he’ll be gone for close to two weeks.
“I don’t want you to go, either,” I say quietly. “But it’ll be fine. We’ll be okay.”
“You promise you’ll tell me if anything happens to these two while I’m gone?” Kyle points to my stomach.
“Promise. But you’ll only be gone for two weeks, I don’t think anything will go wrong, Kyle.”
“You never know,” he says, and he pulls me back into a hug. “I just wish I didn’t have to go in the first place.”
He nuzzles his face into my neck and I tangle my fingers in his hair at the nape of his neck. We don’t say anything else, because there’s nothing to say—we just hold each other and prolong the inevitable.
Finally, he pulls away. “I should be going, the flight leaves soon,” he says.
He doesn’t let me respond before he presses his lips to mine. I feel him place one hand on my baby bump, and the other on my neck to pull me in. He kisses me repeatedly, because he doesn’t want to say goodbye.
“Kyle,” I say, when he pauses for a second. “You need to go. I don’t want you to be late.”
He sighs and pulls himself away from me, but he reaches for my hand and gives it a squeeze. “I’ll be back,” he says, “I’ll be back before you know it.”
Author’s Note: this one’s a bit different because it’s a Kyle Seager one shot (and I guarantee that 99% of y’all have never heard of him) but here you go! I hope you like it, let me know what you think :)
“I think it’s time for bed, big girl,” Kyle picks up our newborn baby, Sarah, and cradles her to his chest.
“Do you need help?” I ask him.
“Psh, no,” Kyle turns around to face me, “I know what I’m doing.”
“Mm hm, sure,” I stand up and follow him down the hallway. “I’ll come just in case.”
After he changes Sarah’s diaper—which he does end up needing my help—he gently lays her down in the crib, and we stand over and watch her fall asleep.
“Now,” Kyle turns to me, “are you ready for bed?”
“No, it’s not even 9 o’clock yet,” I turn around and walk out of Sarah’s room, and I can hear Kyle closely behind me.
“Oh, I don’t mean we have to sleep,” he says, and he puts his hands on my waist to stop me from walking.
“Oh,” I smile as our foreheads touch. I’m about to make another witty remark, but Kyle crashes his lips to mine before I can say anything.
He backs me up against the wall and puts his hands on my waist to bring us as close as possible. I tangle my fingers in his hair and deepen the kiss, and he moans into my mouth.
“Come on,” Kyle says, and he pulls on my hand to lead me into our bedroom.
I lay down on the bed and Kyle immediately hops on top so that he’s straddling me. He leans down and leaves a trail of kisses down my neck, leading to my collar bone, while I work on pulling his shirt up. He leans away for just a second to pull his shirt the rest of the way off his body, and then presses his lips back to mine.
I feel him slip his hands underneath my shirt, and he moves them up until they’re just underneath my bra. I pull away and sit up a bit to take my shirt off, and I feel Kyle’s eyes watching me.
I lean back down and lay my arms across my body to hide my stomach, because I just had a baby and I’m a bit self conscious about my body. But Kyle moves my arms away and leans back down to whisper in my ear.
“You’re beautiful,” he says, “and don’t you forget it.”