A tall, Athletic man gazes out of his outdated "luxury box" down onto the field.
The Overstock is decidedly understocked with fans tonight, as it has been for the last 40 years, and once again the home team is stinking up the joint. Three measly singles in seven innings is the extent of the damage against the 22 year old Seattle rookie, who comes in with a record of 1-6 and an ERA of 7.39.
Fuentes is already warming again in the 'pen, preparing for another meltdown. The ringtone of the man's cell phone momentarily dispels the crushing boredom that is 2011 Oakland A's baseball, and he quickly flips it open.
"Hey, Lew, what's going on?"
The man's voice feigns preoccupation with the riveting action down on the diamond. "Billy, we need to talk about where this team is going. I have reputable and objective sources advising me to make a managerial change. They say the players have tuned Bob out, and that his strategic mishaps have cost the team several games this year. Where do you stand on all this?"
"Gosh, Lew, I don't know...Bob is a great baseball guy. Most of his decisions can be justified from a baseball standpoint."
"Billy, do you really get the feeling everyone is on the same page down there on the field? Is the coaching staff a functional unit? How well are they communicating with the players? If everyone is doing their jobs, why is the product on the field so piss-poor?"
"Lew, Bob has assured me that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The bats will warm up with the weather, all the injured players will miraculously heal, Grant Desme will give up the priesthood to come rescue us, and Brian Fuentes will win the Cy Young. I've known Bob a long time, Lew, and I've learned to give him the benefit of the doubt."
"What if there were no doubt, Billy? Do you have it in you fire Bob if it were in the best interests of the team?"
"I'm not sure the team's interests would be served by making a move right now, Lew. Can't we just let his contract expire at the end of the year and chalk it up to experience? We're basically doing the same thing with Ellis and Kouzmanoff."
"The difference being that Ellis doesn't stand up in front of a mic every night and babble about how our guys are trying their best, but that Phil Coke was really "dealing" tonight...blah blah blah. He's lost credibility with the players, the media, and the 934 fans that still bother to come out to this infernal albatross of a ballpark."
"Gosh, Lew, I dunno." There followed an extended and tangible silence, punctuated only by the A's 8th backwards K of the evening, this time Dale Barton getting rung up looking at an 86 mph meatball right down Peachtree.
"Well, Billy, I had hoped it would never come to this, because our working relationship has been so solid, but the same trusted sources that are advising an on-the-field shake-up seem to feel that an organizational change is due as well. It seems that your personal loyalties are interfering with your ability to run the team. Regretfully, I'm gonna have to let you go."
Billy Beane couldn't mouth a reply. He slumped back in his chair, stunned. No one is above the law, and no one is untouchable. This always comes as a surprise to those who make the laws and do all the touching.