Life is More Than 9 Innings



Book Excerpts Small Hotel Rooms Small Hotel Rooms

The Red Sox were in Baltimore and the team, as usual, was staying at the Lord Baltimore Hotel downtown. Sammy White and I had just entered our assigned room when Sam said, “I can’t believe I got the key into the lock without breaking the window!” He was right, we had been assigned a very small room. In fact, Sam had been complaining about getting marginal rooms in other cities, too. “We have got to get better accommodations Sullivan! Even the @#%$^+& writers get better rooms than these closets we get. I can’t sleep with my head against the wall another night and you can’t be happy about your feet in that drawer.”

Knowing Sam, I knew it was a challenge that he would not ignore. After breakfast the next morning and before going to the park, he said to me, “OK, grab the other end of this dresser.” I said, “What?” “Just pick up the other end of this dresser, Frank, and help me carry it out into the hallway.” Then, for good measure, we carried everything else out into the hall except our beds.

I could hardly wait to get back to the hotel and see what would happen. We didn’t even go to dinner after the ball game before going back to check our mailbox. Sure enough there was a message that the management was sorry for any inconvenience and the furniture was back in place.

Well, that was not the message that Sam was looking for and it’s too bad as I spent the next four road trips helping Sam carry all the furniture out of all the rooms we were assigned. “Jesus Christ, Sam, can’t we hire Bekins Van & Storage? This is what they do and they don’t have to pitch a goddamn ball game after moving furniture all morning.”

Slowly the hotels got the message. First there was the polite “please don’t continue to do this” and then the mild threats of telling the ball club and then the letter to the traveling secretary. To each message Sam would simply reply, “please assign us better rooms.” Frank, I’ll get the lamp you get the mirror.” I had to admit to a personal satisfaction about the quest. It wasn’t as if we weren’t working for it! The gamble was, of course, would the hotels kick a whole team out with the revenue from rooms and food for 40 people three or four times a year?

The next road trip, as Sam and I boarded the bus going to the ballpark for the game against the White Sox, we overheard Mike Higgins, the rookie manager of our team, complaining about not getting the nice rooms he was getting before. We piled into the back of the bus and almost threw up trying to stifle our laughing. We had just been assigned a suite in the Del Prado Hotel on the south side of Chicago.

Not only that but there was a fruit basket and a nice note from the manager.

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