The free agent had a $150 million contract and five homers in July.
He lounged back on the bench, smoldering inside.
Sure, he wasn’t tearing it up preternaturally or anything,
But he didn’t sign on for this.
He wasn’t a base coach, a bat boy, whatever.
This was purgatory, unending tedium.
Even the best can go cold for a week, a month, a few months.
All it takes is a few hits to rebuild your confidence.
Riding the pine might be fuel for the kindling,
But it also could mire him in a depth from which few emerge.
He watched a slider slip just outside the strike zone,
Then another errant pitch.
The ball slapped in the catcher’s mitt rhythmically, hypnotically.
He didn’t know whether he would emerge from his funk.
You can’t predict failure, but you can respond.
The free agent didn’t yet know if this indignity would build him up
or break him down.