Hardball Theatre: Tex Slide Story
A Musical in One Act by Keith Good
(Lights up on the Ballpark in Arlington. The outfield wall spans the back of the stage, graffiti dripping from the green in phrases like “Jays for life,” “Rangers stink!” “Down with Jays,” “Ranger Turf.” The whole thing looks very High School Musical, a bit crudely built and over saturated with color.
(Rougned ODOR stands center stage at second base, snapping his fingers in steady, ominous, 4/4 time. His fellow RANGERS stand behind him, up and down stage right, snapping along.
(JOSE Bautista struts in from stage left. His is the slow, masculine swagger of a toreador, stepping on the downbeat of the Rangers’ snapping. He slaps both hands to his thighs with every step, creating a counterpoint to the Rangers’ snaps.
(His fellow JAYS strut in behind him, each step on the downbeat, also slapping their thighs. It’s very choreographed, straight out of the Jerome Robbins school.
(On the downbeat, Jose jumps, a perfect jeté.)
(Odor, never one to let a Jay strut on his turf, performs his own jeté on beat)
(Jose smiles, looks back to his teammates. On their downbeat, in unison, they pirouette to jeté.)
(Odor shakes his head, snaps back at the Rangers. On the next beat, they likewise pirouette to jeté.)
(Cue music. It swells in, a jumping, symphonic overture, full of life and tension. The music is action and drama, Leonard Bernstein at his best.
(Still battling, snaps and slaps, staring daggers at one another across the stage, Odor and Jose circle around one another. The Rangers and Jays dance as their respective leaders sing.)
Odor: When you’re a Tex you’re a Tex all the way
From your first Big League hit
To your last double play.
When you’re a Tex,You got scrappers around
Like Nolan Ryan beating Ventura down.
When you’re a Tex, you stay a Tex!
Jose: This is how we play in Canada,
No need for replay in Canada.
Not a dirty play in Canada
Spike to the knee play in Canada.
Jays: Eh! Eh!
(Epic dance break. The Jays and the Rangers engage one another with menacing jazz hands. The action and music rises to crescendo, louder and louder, hearts clenched tight, and cuts to silence.
(Jose slides into second, spikes up.
(The Rangers and Jays gasp, lean away. Odor flowers and feints toward Jose, but one of his Rangers holds him back.
(The Rangers again begins snapping. The music swells back to life. Snap. Snap.)
Ranger: Just play it cool, boy
(Rangers snap-dance, slow and angular.)
Odor: okay. Let’s go.
(Rangers snap-walk back to their positions.)
Odor: A fight, a fight!
There’s going to be a fight!
A benches clearing, catchers leering fight!
Jose: A fight, a fight!
A silly baseball fight
Hulked-up millionaires scream, kick and bite!
Odor: Today, all day, I simply had a feeling,
That I’d send Bautista reeling,
And now maybe I might.
Odor & Jose: And here we are, a player slid too hard…
(Odor reels back and punches Jose across the face. The Jays and Rangers shout, and pair off to do battle with dance.
(Odor and Jose dance a violent and powerful pas de deux at center stage. The Jays and Rangers pair off and dance-battle around them with great acrobatic lifts and tumbles.
(A shrill whistle cuts through the chaos, stopping the rumble. The music cuts out.)
Jays and Rangers: Commissioner Krupke!
(Jays and Rangers plié to jeté and spin off stage, leaving only Odor and Jose at center stage, locked in battle. Commissioner KRUPKE, a.k.a. Rob Manfred, saunters on stage, twirling a billy club.)
Krupke: (spoken) Hey you two! No rumbles here! This is Baseball, not the Sharks and the Jets! Suspensions for both of you!
(Odor and Jose fall to the ground as Krupke, er, Rob Manfred, approaches, handcuffs jangling from his fingers. The music swells back in for the final, bittersweet notes.)
Odor and Jose: Suspensions in place for us.
Slide and a punch in the face for us.
Hold my hand and we’re halfway there.
Hold my hand and I’ll take you there
(They finish their duet on a soaring note. The music cuts out. A long beat.)
Krupke: Geeze, it’s not like anyone got knifed to death or anything.