The Boston Red Sox have three psychologists on their staff. Boston Herald.
Dr. Donald Kalkstein rubbed his eyes and looked up at the ceiling as John Lackey lay on the couch and rambled on about his mother. The frequently "injured" pitcher's fifty minutes was almost up when he said something that caused the Director of Performance Enhancement for the Boston Red Sox to snap to attention.
"I think my momma liked my brothers more than me," he said in a pained tone of voice.
"Why was that?" Kalkstein asked. We're finally getting somewhere, he thought.
"I don't know-I liked to play in the mud, which is good, because I have to rub on baseballs now that I am a man."
Hm--thought Kalkstein. "How old were they when they were potty-trained?" the Red Sox shrink asked.
"Oh, they picked it up right away," Lackey replied.
"And you?" The Red Sock on the couch couldn't see the doctor above him, but the psychoanalyst's eyebrow arched upward as he asked this question.
"Uh-not so good. I had an accident one time in kindergarten."
"I see. Well, that will be all for today. We shall begin again at the same place next week."
"Thanks doc," Lackey said. "I think I'm on the verge of a breakthrough."
"Wonderful," Kalkstein said.
"Which way's the restroom?"
"Out by the elevators on your left."
"Okay-see you next week."
The two men shook hands and after the ballplayer left, Kalkstein looked out his window at the people below, scurrying this way and that, ever striving, impelled by their baser animal instincts to hit away when told to bunt. He heard a knock on his door.
"Come in," he said. It was Bob Tewksbury, the team's Sports Psychology Coach.
"What's up, doc?" Tewksbury said with a smile.
"You wascally Wilhelm Reich acolyte you-sit down."
Tewksbury headed for the couch. "Not there, you dingbat," Kalkstein snapped. "That's expensive equipment for a Freudian analyst."
"Jeez-sorry. What's eating you?"
Kalkstein realized he had sublimated suppressed Oedipal rage against his father towards Tewksbury, who at 6' 4" towered over him.
"C'mon-'nothing' means something."
"It's that damned T.J. Norris."
"What's he up to now?"
"He's messing with Big Papi's swing."
Just then T.J. Norris entered the room brusquely and without knocking, as he was wont to do. The noted behaviorist used a system of tangible rewards and punishments to cure people of anxieties that the other two psychologists diddled with for years while they paid the rent with "talking cures" and orgone-energy accessories.
"Either of you two mesmerists want to grab lunch and watch the game with me?" Norris asked.
"Why must you always be so damned insolent, Norris?" Kalkstein asked.
"I like to pick on intellectual cripples," Norris replied.
It was Tewksbury's turn to ask a question. "If you think so little of us, why do you seek our company?"
"Why do people throw peanuts at elephants?" Norris replied. "Listening to you phrenologists babble on is more fun than watching a lab rat beg while I eat a grilled cheese sandwich."
The three men headed down the hall to the lounge, where a wide-screen TV was flanked by tomes with the names of psychology's immortals on their spines--Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget, Dr. Ruth.
"I've solved Big Papi's problem," Norris said arrogantly.
"Most hitters would gladly take his problems if they could have his homers," Kalkstein said.
"That's the problem with you Freudians. You're willing to settle for 'ordinary unhappiness.' 'Civilization and its Discontents', yadda, yadda," Norris said with disdain. "If B.F. Skinner could teach pigeons how to play ping-pong, I can get Ortiz to hit to the opposite field when the shift's on."
"I think the problem's sexual," Tewksbury said.
"You think everything's sexual," Norris said as he grabbed the remote and turned the television to the Red Sox game.
Dustin Pedroia walked to load the bases and David Ortiz--"Big Papi"--stepped to the plate. The infielders moved to the right side of the infield in a mass migration like a captive people fleeing from bondage. As the pitcher looked in for the sign, Papi settled into his stance. The hurler went into the stretch, looked to first, and threw.
Ortiz cocked his bat and swung, driving the ball to left, where it hit high off of Fenway Park's "Green Monster" near a gold circle.
"That's new," said Kalkstein, as three runs scored and Ortiz made it to second on the throw to the plate.
"Yes," Norris said smugly. "Take a closer look on the replay."
As the film rolled in slow motion, Tewksbury saw some text next to the new symbol.
"What does it say?" he asked.
"Hit the ring--win some bling," Norris said with satisfaction. "With the right system of rewards, you can teach anybody anything."
Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection "Red Sox and Yankees: Why Can't We Be Enemies?"