“You know,” said Mike, shifting the weight of a bat in his hands as he headed for the elevator, “sometimes I'm glad you joined this team.”
“Well, thank you,” said Ginny, following along. “Captain.”
“No, I'm serious. You're making history here, you know?”
“Yeah.” Ginny rolled her eyes. “I think some people might have mentioned it once or twice.”
“I mean you're making history here, and we don't exactly have a lot of history. Couple pennants, and that's it. At least all the other teams manage a no-hitter or something here and there.”
“I seem to recall a lot of baseball cards with your ever-accumulating statistics.”
“Careful who you call old, rookie. Anyway, your arrival might just have been another day out here—well, not another day, but—more history for a team that already has some—what I mean is—thanks for showing up so I look like I have some culture.”
“Yeah, yeah, I get it, you don't want to show up with the chicken as your plus one.”
“I resemble that remark.”
“You could just ask Blip if you could kidnap his kids, you know? They're cute and someday they'll appreciate being part of history.”
Mike nodded. “That's not a bad idea. Maybe next time.”
“Careful with your next times, captain.”
Oscar, with Daniella close behind, joined them on the elevator and grinned. “Mike, you know Daniella. Ginny, this is my daughter.”
“Hi!” Daniella grinned.
“Nice to meet you,” Ginny smiled.
“You all right?” Oscar asked.
Ginny shook her head. “I shouldn't—I don't know what to do.”
“That's all right. Means that agent of yours hasn't sucked all the life out of you.”
“She's not a vampire, Oscar.”
“What?” Daniella giggled.
“See!” said Mike. “Now you're giving her ideas.”
“You'll be fine,” said Oscar, pressing another jersey into Ginny's hands. She'd already signed it.
“That's what you said last time.”
“And I'll say it next time, because there will be next times. Just be yourself.”
“Easy to do with all of—” Ginny jerked her head back at the crowd of cameras beginning to form across the hallway, as they exited the elevator “—them around.”
“They're not here for you, you know that, right?” Mike asked.
“Right back at you,” said Ginny.
Oscar stared for a moment at the not-quite-verdant view visible through the glass, while Daniella rolled her eyes. “It's just trees,” she said.
He laughed. “You have a point.”
“The last time your dad was here was probably in the rainy season, huh?” Ginny teased. “C'mon.”
And they walked inside the Dodger Stadium press box, its eponymous guest of honor already installed.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Scully!” Oscar waved. “We brought you some tokens of our appreciation...”
“Oh, shucks,” the old announcer turned, “you didn't have to...”
“Did you hear that?” Ginny nudged Mike and whispered. “You didn't have to climb all this way, you could have saved your knees for the game.”
“Somehow I'll manage,” he mouthed back.
Seeing that Oscar was eying him to continue, he went on. “Er, although the Padres' history is probably not much to talk about by your standards—”
“Nonsense!” Scully interrupted.
“—anyway—we—thought we could give you this.” He handed the bat over. “It was Tony Gwynn's, and while we all wish he could be here to wish you the best, we're happy for you too.”
“My goodness!” He laughed. “This is small enough even for an oldster like me to carry around, if only I had some place to put it.”
“Well,” Ginny awkwardly added, “we hope this is your size, anyway. Even if I haven't done much of anything yet.”
She handed over the Baker jersey, which Scully unfolded with an admiring grin. “I think, if I may be qualified to make that judgment, you have accomplished something historic.”
“Historic, maybe. Successful, no.”
“You have many fans looking forward to each new endeavor. And it will not be a breach of partiality to admit that I count myself blessed to have lived long enough to commentate even this epochal season.”
Ginny blushed. “I just want to reach the point where it's just another game.”
“I'm afraid I cannot give you any good news on that front. I thought I'd reached that point a long time ago. And yet here I am, with people continuing to—make pilgrimage to give these absurd gifts to me! Win or lose, at some point we must try to keep our heads down and get through the attention as best we can.”
“Did you hear that, Lawson?” Ginny grinned. “If you stick around long enough, people will make your retirement party this big a deal. Like Ortiz! Is there anything you want from the stadium? Maybe a seat you fouled a bunch of balls off?”
“You can cut down the entire foul pole for me,” Mike smirked, “like basketball.”
“There you go,” Scully smiled, “that's plenty of resolve to be around whenever Lawson decides to retire.”
“Daniella,” Oscar said, “do you have anything that you'd like to say?”
“Hmm,” said Daniella, sizing up the room, the microphoned booth beyond, the pile of gifts, the equipment, the gathered visitors. “Do you get to play the organ?”
“Come again?” Scully asked.
“That's an organ in the corner, yeah?” Daniella asked. “My teacher has one. Do you get to play it?”
“It is! And no, I do not, but that's probably for the best. I'm busy enough as it is.”
“Well, maybe you should ask if you can sometime. Everyone likes you so you can do whatever you want.”
Oscar stifled a laugh. “I'm not sure that's quite how it works.”
“Sounds like it,” Daniella shrugged.
“And are you going to be a pitcher like Ginny, here?” Scully asked.
“Course not,” Daniella said quickly.
“Oh. Well, never say never.”
“I throw left-handed,” she explained.
Oscar shrugged. “Her piano teacher claims it helps her bring out the harmonies. I have no idea where she gets it from.”
“Well, Daniella,” said Scully, “it was very nice to meet you, and I wish you all the best. Ginny, Mike, Oscar—the same to you.”
“You only wish us some of the best,” Mike said, “Padres are still in this thing.”
“If we come back in October he's for sure taking the elevator instead of the stairs,” Ginny said.
“If you come back in October, I may be watching from the comforts of home,” Scully laughed, “to avoid having anything else pressed upon me.”
“Daniella, if you come back in October, your dad better let you watch every game,” Ginny declared, “even if it is a school night.”
“Of course,” Oscar said. “If only all my deals could be this easy.”
The Padres headed to the elevator, the cameras scattered, and Scully retreated back to his microphone, ready for just another game among many.