Are you in or out ?

By
Updated: July 15, 2015

November 19th, 2021

 

Having breakfasted to my heart’s content I headed down to the front of the hotel. It wasn’t hard to spot the Black Limo as it really was all black including all the windows. And when I slipped into it I discovered it was black inside as well as out, the heavily tinted windows weren’t one way they were no way as you could barely see anything out. The driver nodded in recognition to me and closed the connecting window. My eye caught the note on the drinks cabinet “Help yourself, HM”. Don’t mind if I do I thought as I settled back into the deep seats.

We’d been travelling for around a couple of hours when the driver pulled up and opened the door for me. I got out and was looking on a large Southern style house with a wide veranda frontage. It would have looked at home in any of the deep south states with a confederate flag flying high but I reckoned we were still in Massachusetts  as we had left the interstate some time ago and had been driving round a tight twisting road. The woman who I’d met in the hotel stood at the door to greet me, we shook hands warmly and she guided me through the house to the study. Knocking on the door she smiled and left. A pleasant commanding voice shouted come and I entered the room.

The centrepiece of the room was a huge oak desk which reminded me of the sort of thing you might find in a command post. A large wingbacked chair was facing away from me on the opposite side of the desk and the almost invisible occupant said “good morning Mr Laverick, have a seat … Marie will be bringing drinks soon.” Do I take it you’re the ‘HM’ of all the notes or are you just another of his minions” I said “because you sound very young to me?” There was a pause and then the mystery man replied “I think all of that will be on a need to know basis. There are certain things I can’t reveal until I know that you’ll be working for the team. My competitors can’t know anything about this until it’s all a done deal.” I told him I wasn’t aware I was in a job interview, that I’m not sure I even want a job so soon after such a shocking exit from London. My host continued “I’ve been watching you for some time, you’ve been a solid GM everywhere you’ve been. You might only have one PEC ring but you’re worth more than that to a franchise. You bring stability and a hint of guile to the table, you can work in pressure situations and know how to develop the farm. All of that is important to me at the moment, we need stability here.” Where exactly was ‘here’ I asked him. That’s another need to know question was his only reply. Once more he apologised for all the cloak and dagger goings-on but it was the only way he could protect the franchise, it had to be all wrapped up with a bow before anyone gets wind of my plans.

“And what exactly are your plans?” I asked. “I’m sure you can read the significance of the documents I sent you, my franchise is struggling and needs the sort of make-over that you can supply.”

“I’m not sure that’s my reading of it? Your figures seem to suggest you make a tidy average of $20 million most years, your crowd has taken a hit at the moment but win a few and they’ll come back. You just need more faith in your staff”

“That’s part of my problem, I can’t get the staff I trust to stay around, they leave as soon as they arrive and that’s having it’s toll on the field. Different people, different ideas all the time. Each year a different style and all the gains are lost. A five year slump now and the fans are so fickle, never above 3.5 million and almost a sixth of them just vanish into the either last year. The latest ESPN poll puts the fans interest at just 61%. It just isn’t good enough, the only reason I make a profit is because my GM’s keep on hiring cheap, below standard , workers that lose us more games. With our fans lack of interest and our shite players we will be dead in the water very soon.”

“Well If all you’re looking for is a solid GM I’m sure there’s a few of them on the market without all this need for cloak & dagger activities?”

“I have a bigger plan than that, our fans deserve nothing and that’s what they’re going to get. Remember the Baltimore Colts all those years ago? Packed up and skipped town overnight ! And that’s what I’m going to do, I’ve had my agents talking to backers all round the world and the two précis you’ve read are the best offers I’m assured. Both New Bedford and Marseille are very enthusiastic about hosting an established PEBA franchise. Both will offer a brand new, state of the art, Stadium to play in instead of our run down ancient one and what’s more will provide the fans who want to fill it and won’t slope off every time we have a slight dip in form. That’s what I’d like you to do, oversee and execute our decamping from town and maybe even from the country. You have experience at running a franchise around the world – put it to good use”

“Well that’s all well and good but who are you representing? Who are we talking about?

 

With that he swung the seat round to face me and asked

 “Are you in or out?”

Be all in or get all out there is no halfway