Put Me In, Coach!
Chapter 1

Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Romantic, Heterosexual, Interracial, Safe Sex, Oral Sex, Petting, Slow,

Desc: Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Story Number 7 in the Series. Zeke (The Streak) Taylor had it all -- power, speed on the bases and a.300-plus career average..And he played centerfield like the reincarnation of Tris Speaker. Then he met a woman unlike any of the legion of bimbo-blonde groupies with whom he had wasted the past decade. But she was so different from any woman he'd ever known that Zeke couldn't be certain they could make a relationship work. He knew he was going to try.

I wonder if the guy who wrote that song, "Centerfield," ever really got close to a ballpark in his life? I mean, at least after you leave high school or college, ballplayers don't ever find themselves saying "put me in, coach."

First of all, in baseball, it's not the coach, it's the manager. 'Course, you wouldn't say, "Put me in, Manager!" either. Maybe you'd call him by his name. A few dudes actually do call the manager "Skip," although that one -- pretty much like "Coach" -- seems way off-kilter to me.

Anyway, who ever heard of anybody, anywhere, whatever the bosses' name might be, urging him or her to "Put me in?" Where I come from, you show the manager you're ready, and, more importantly, able to play the game. And then, he'll put you in, all right.

Now, the phrase, "put it in," that one has a certain resonance. But I digress.

But, y'know, I still kinda like that song, "Centerfield," even if it's a little off on the terminology. Its tune is exuberant, its lyric reflects the kind of zesty enthusiasm for playing ball that the best players don't have to fake, and, hey -- like the song says -- "I'm ready to play -- Today!..."

... Centerfield.

My name is Zeke (the Streak) Taylor, and I've played centerfield, majors and minors, for the Houston Astros organization for the past eight years -- most of the last six with their big club. I'm not a fringe guy. In five and a half major league seasons, I've averaged .314, 37 homers, 133 ribbies, and 43 stolen bases. I've been on four all-star teams, the last three of them as a starter, and I've got three Gold Gloves for my work, as the more cliché-ridden sportswriters like to say, "patrolling" centerfield.

I didn't get that "Zeke the Streak" nickname for running around naked. I steal bases. I may not be in the Maury Wills/Ricky Henderson class, but I steal bases a lot -- especially for a big power-guy. My friend and teammate, Forrest Whitcomb, says I'm the "fastest white man in baseball."

That's Whitcomb's idea of a joke. See, I ain't a white man -- at least, not by the standards of the U.S. of A. I imagine if you could do DNA tests or some such and determine a person's racial pedigree with any certainty, I actually would be considered a (mostly) white man. Certainly my black ancestors were violated -- more than once -- by the white folks (or maybe my black ancestors were violating the white ones -- who the hell knows?).

But I'm officially "Black" by virtue of being identifiably black in some respects. Kinda like Halle Berry, I guess, only she's a helluva lot cuter than I am.

Anyway, whatever color I am, I can sure as hell outrun Forrest Whitcomb, and he's way blacker than I!

You hear a lot these days about how there aren't that many black men playing in the majors anymore. That's mostly bullshit, because a lot of the Latino players are black (or, like me, partially black), and there's no shortage of Latinos in the Show.

But it's true that the number of born-in-the-USA black men playing the game is down quite a bit. The Brothers tend, these days, to prefer football and basketball. Reportedly, that is because it's a little easier to move from college (or even high school!) to the pros in those sports, if you've got the native ability.

In baseball, progress to the Big Leagues is a lot chancier. No matter who you are, almost, you gotta expect to spend a few years making small bucks and riding beat-up buses in the minor leagues.

No glamour. No big money.

So, OK, maybe it's true that baseball's no longer number one in the hearts and minds of Black youth. That's too bad, but baseball has always been my game. So what if I was the only black starter on my college team? I got a scholarship just as good as the one my basketball-playing brothers got -- and I had a lot less pressure on the field, and a better shot at picking up an actual education (which, by the way, I did).

I also took a chance, in choosing a small college to play ball in. It's in a Division One conference -- but not a well-known one. We didn't show up on ESPN very often, or even on regional sports TV. We only played the big-name colleges a few games a year, and we mostly lost those games.

But I got a better education at that small college than I would have at a baseball factory somewhere. And although I didn't get a big signing bonus, I got drafted, all right -- in the third round.

And whatdaya know? This year, I'm a free agent. The Astros had been really fair. They never shortchanged me at contract time, and they told me, early-on, that they'd like for me to stay -- to re-sign with Houston. I'd kind of liked to have stayed around, myself. It's not like I really had to get the biggest contract available.

But my agent -- a human vulture named Reed Cunningham -- told me that I needed to "test the market." I owed it to the other players, Cunningham said, to make sure I got "full value."

Cunningham may be full of shit and a greedy bastard, but he's my greedy bastard, and I told him to go for it. But I set out some conditions. These were not public conditions, you understand. Not hardly! These conditions were strictly between Reed Cunningham and me, because we didn't want them to have a negative influence on the bidding for my services.

But Cunningham knew I was not kidding. He may be the big-time sports agent, and I may be the presumed-ignorant professional ballplayer, but he had already learned, several times over, that when I tell him something, I mean it.

I told him I wouldn't sign with the Yankees or the Mets because I didn't want to play in New York. And I wouldn't sign with Kansas City or Colorado or Oakland or Florida or Tampa Bay -- or several other clubs, for reasons ranging from not liking the playing conditions in those club's ballparks to just not liking what I'd heard about their management.

What I really wanted, I told Cunningham, was a lucrative, long-term contract with a club that could afford me. Preferably, it would be a club that might, with my help, work its way into the post-season sometime before I died of old age. I will be 29 years old shortly after the new season gets underway. A fat five or six-year contract, with guaranteed money, would be right up my alley.

"You know I could get you maybe eighteen a year for three years with the Yankees?"

"No Yankees. Talk to them, spread rumors about what they're offering, but no Yankees."

"Red Sox have offered three years, $39 million."

"That's not half bad. And I like that club. I'd prefer a longer=term contract, though."

"Angels have made the best long-term offer so far. Four years, $50 mil., and a fifth-year mutual option with a nice buyout if they opt out of Year Five."

"Another good club. Who else you talking to?"

"You're in high demand, son. Even the small-market GMs are sniffing around. If you want a one-year contract, and aren't quite so choosy about where, I could get you twenty."

"From whom?"

"Would you believe the Twins?"

"No shit?"

"I shit you not. The fucking Twins! They never put out that kind of money!"

"Yeah, but -- one year. And they'd choke on it, and not want to re-sign me. They might even trade me, mid-year, if they fell out of contention."

"You could specify no-trade to designated clubs."

"Naw. Anyway, I don't want to play every day on turf. Twins are a good club, Minneapolis is a great town. But 81 games on that turf -- uh-uhh!"

"Well, they weren't on your 'no-way' list."

"Well, consider them on it, for a one-year contract. Who else?"

"Maybe Baltimore."

"Baltimore? They've got that kid -- what's his name? The Polish kid."

"He got hurt. Just two days ago. He got hurt bad. He may be through, even."

"Jesus. Kid is a real player, I hear."

"They are really fucked, Zeke. This was going to be their year. Their old stars -- Mora, Tejada -- are still productive, but they're getting pretty close to the end. They were counting on this kid, Khmelnysky, to anchor their offense. He was runner-up for Rookie of the Year, last year."

"Tough for the kid. I saw him play. He looked solid."

"Yeah. But, you, if you want Baltimore, you would be right up their alley. And that club, it's still got some cash. Even with the Nats down the road, since the Orioles have started winning some games again, they've been drawing pretty good."

"I like their manager."

"Paul Warren? Yeah. He's an OK guy. They've been working their way back up, since they brought him in."

"You think they got enough pitching, take them anywhere?"

"Maybe. They've got three real solid starters. Young guys, strong and smart. And they picked up Manuel Ramirez at the Winter Meetings, from the Giants."

"See if they'll go for five years, with a sixth-year option. See if you can get me seventy, for the five, with a really hard-nosed no-trade clause. If you can get that, I think I'd like the situation there."

"How about four?"

"Four years, and an out-year option? For sixty, I'd sign for four, yeah."

"You're worth it. Don't forget, I could..."

"Yeah, yeah, I know. You could get $54 mil for only three years, with the Yankees. Fuck it. I don't want to play in New York."

"I'll talk to the Orioles. I'll get back to you."

"No short-term stuff, Reed. If Boston would go for four, or five years, I'd take the same deal from them. Or the Padres, or the Angels."


Cunningham called me back two days later. "I got you five years, $75 mil, with a club option for a sixth year at a lower salary -- down from 15 to 11 in the option year. No-trade without your say-so, for the whole length of the contract."

"That's from the Orioles?"


"That's more than we talked about."

"Well, I thought you were giving me your minimum. They are really hurting for a centerfielder, Streak. They're afraid their fan base will be demoralized, losing that kid. They want a big headline, sell some tickets."

"One thing."


"Tell them -- the no-trade clause. It's gotta specify that I get to have a chance to veto a trade, before the trade possibility shows up in the national press. If they want to trade me, they come and tell me what the deal is, and I say up or down. Any trade, if it leaks to the press before I get to say yes or no, and if, then, I turn it down, they gotta pay me a $2 mil penalty."

"Christ, Zeke, I never heard of such a clause. That's going to take some drafting."

"Well, you're an alleged member of the Bar, are you not?"

"Yes, Zeke. But that's a hokey provision. I mean, what does it mean, "leaks to the press?" Everything leaks to the press."

"So, draft away. Define what it means. But define it so that, if I get embarrassed by a published trade rumor, and then I get made out to be the bad guy who invoked my no-trade clause and queered the deal, the club's gotta compensate me."

"Shit, they'll do it. They really want this. I mean, they tried to act all nonchalant, but they're dying to sign you, Zeke! I could even squeeze them for more, maybe."

"No. You got enough. Don't get greedy. Leave them a few bucks to find some middle relievers, help get us to our closer."

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