Josh Holtzmeyer was sitting in the locker at Triple A after going two scoreless innings and giving up a hit in relief. He replayed the location of the pitch for the hit in his mind and cursed with his teammate, Ben Gutierrez, in the locker next to him and laughing about Josh’s desire for perfection. Dan Kalb, the manager, came walking out and went directly to Josh.
“Holtzie, in my office,” Dan said still in uniform.
Josh stood with his shirt off showing his nice chest, ripped abs and small waist with his dark brown hair matted to his head. Josh followed his coach to his office with Dan locking the door.
“Another solid performance out there tonight,” Dan said leaning against his desk.
“Thanks. I’m pissed about the hit. The two seamer just drifted on me.”
“Worry about that with San Diego,” Dan said and gave him a smile.
Josh leaned over in his chair and covered his face with his hands for he knew what that meant. After being drafted out of his school and five years in the minors, his childhood dream of pitching in the Major Leagues was coming true.
“This is the best part of my job, Holtzie. No one deserves it more than you do. I know that you’ll handle things with dignity like you have here,” Dan said with a big smile across his tan face.
“Sir, I’m speechless but ready for the challenge. I hope they are ready for the first gay player in the bigs,” Josh said lifting his face and still in disbelief of what he’d heard.
“Once you’re on the hill, you’re a challenge to the hitter just like every other pitcher. I do suspect the press will hound you especially since you’ll be joining the team on Friday in New York,” Dan said.
“Great,” Josh lamented. “Any advice for me, coach?”
“Just do what you’ve been doing here for the last three months and you’ll do fine. Do your best to focus on your job and let Garman deal with the press. The Padres think you’re the one who can handle this.”
“Thanks Coach. I have a feeling that they didn’t make the decision alone.”
“No Holtzie, it took a long talk last night. I know you’re the one that is ready for the show more than the other options.”
Dan handed him an envelope with a plane ticket and instructions. He walked out and told Gutierrez the big news. Gutierrez was proud and announced to the locker room what was about to happen. Teammate after teammate came over to pat Josh on the back and gave him encouragement.
Josh called his parents and woke them up. They were very happy for their son. Josh could hear his Dad crying on the phone and knew it meant as much to his Dad as it did him. His dad was paralyzed and in a wheel chair after an accident when Josh was 12. His parents said they’d see him in New York. The next call was privately to his boyfriend Kyle. Both cried about the news with Kyle saying he’d be there as well. The two had been together since high school and lived together during the off season with Kyle now graduated from college and working in finance.
Thursday, Josh got off the plane and began walking the corridor of the airport with a bag over his shoulder containing his gloves and cleats. He saw a copy of `Daily News’ with the mention of this historic call-up in the upper left hand corner. He flipped it over and read the brief article about the six foot three left handed reliever being called up to the majors. He read the positive quotes from members of the team and hoped that they weren’t just saying that for good press.
Josh caught a taxi to the hotel with the team flying in after a day game. He checked in and headed up to his room. He lay on his bed and could see the Empire State Building out his window. He sent a text to Kyle and his family giving them the room number. He knew that Kyle was flying in and would be there that night with him. Next he called the traveling secretary for the team to report that he was in New York and waiting. He asked what the policy was for his boyfriend staying with him. Since this was a first, Mr. Carpenter didn’t know and would get back to him. Josh did make sure his family including his brother and boyfriend had tickets with a request for handicapped seating for his father. That was an easy request and one that would be made with ease for all three games.
Josh hung up and waited for a return call. Mr. Carpenter called back and would allow Kyle to stay in his room since there were wives and girlfriends on the trip. Josh was able to get some sleep since he hardly slept a wink the night before.
At six, his phone rang while he was sitting and staring out the hotel window at the skyline. He didn’t recognize the number and answered it. It was the manager of the team wanting to speak with him. Josh gave out his room number and cracked the door.
Ten minutes later, Pat Garman, the manager of the team, came in the door. Josh stood to greet him.
“The first question is are you ready for this, son?” Pat asked.
“I hope that I am. I know that I’m ready to show the team what I have just like I did in spring training…”
“You did well. I told you when we sent you down that you’d be here at some point. This probably isn’t the ideal place for your debut with all the press. I’ll do what I can to shield you from it. You do expect to be swarmed tomorrow night whether you get in the game or not.”
“Yes sir, I do and hope that I’m ready for that. You never know until it happens,” Josh said.
“Like I told you in camp, you’re a brave young man. I’m pulling for you and hope that you do well. Like all rookies making their debut, I won’t put in a tough spot. I’ll find a soft spot in their lineup so you can get the nerves out of the way and hopefully you’ll succeed. I just don’t know when that will be. I have heard nothing but great things about you since you’ve gone to the bullpen this year. How have you liked it?”
“I’ve actually enjoyed it. It’s different than starting for sure and you have to be mentally prepared every game,” Josh replied.
“Holtzie, I have faith in you and try your best to enjoy this. I can’t promise you how long you’ll be here. Sometimes, it gets to be a number’s game…”
“Like it was in spring training. I know the game now and what to expect. I’m just honored to be here and hope people will forget that I am gay,” Josh said.
“They will never forget it. You’re a pioneer and an inspiration to all those gay young men who think they can’t play sports,” Pat said.
“Thank you sir,” Josh said with tears coming to eyes. “I want to be Josh Holtzmeyer a pitcher first and the first gay player second. Coach, I’m sorry for the hell you’ll go through this weekend.”
“I can handle it but thanks for your concern. The press here can be tough but we’ll make it,” Pat said. “I did hear some special people are coming to witness history.”
“Yes sir, my family and boyfriend will be here,” Josh said.
“Josh, do get some sleep tonight,” Pat laughed.
“I’ll try,” Josh said.
Pat gave him the schedule but said he could take a taxi to the park early if he wanted to. Pat left and said he’d see him tomorrow.
Just after Pat left, Josh had another knock on the door. It was James Paulson, the ace of the staff and a friend.
“You made it, Holtzie,” James said.
“I did. I wasn’t sure if I would or not.”
“I called my brother and told him. He was so excited to hear that you got the call. I wish I could say that for the rest of the team. Not that they don’t know you or respect but the fact it’s happening in New York of all places,” James said.
“I know, James. It’s nothing that I can control. You’d think that the team would have better sense than that,” Josh said.
“Hell, we need another lefty out of the pen with Baez going down Tuesday night. You’re the first person that I thought of as his replacement but I thought that many times earlier in the year.”
“They’ve passed over me before but I kept going…”
“Your numbers are fucking insane. 1.25 ERA in that league!”
Josh smiled, “My stuff was working.”
“I’ll say. I’ll show you around if you want me to and wish Ben and his boyfriend could be here with us,” Josh stated.
“My family and Kyle are coming…”
“I bet you’re excited,” James laughed.
“I am. I haven’t seen Kyle since April,” Josh laughed and heard another knock at his door. He walked over and opened it to see Kyle standing there with his luggage. Kyle was about 6 foot tall with short blond hair with tattoos on his arm. Kyle dropped his luggage and grabbed Josh for a kiss.
“I guess I’m out of here. See ya tomorrow,” James said.
Kyle broke the kiss. “Good to see ya again, James.”
“Good to see you Kyle. I can tell how proud you are just like my wife was the first time that I got the call,” James said.
“Very proud of him,” Kyle said.
“Thanks man,” Josh said and waved to James going out the door.
“Is this a dream or what?” Kyle asked with his arms around Josh’s neck.
“I wonder. None of this would have been possible without your support. You basically pushed me to sign and then were there when the press found out that I was gay in Class A. I wanted to say fuck it but you kept pushing me and telling me how great I was. I’m so happy that you are here to enjoy the moment with me. I love you so much.”
“I love you too,” Kyle said and felt Josh’s lips on his. They kissed for a long time until Josh heard his phone ringing.
Josh saw that it was his agent, Bill Chase, and answered it. His agent called to congratulate him as well as saying that they had already received an offer for a signing with a major sports memorabilia company based in New York. Josh said that he was honored but asked that it wait until after the season. His agent said the price and demand would never be higher. Josh agreed but said he wanted to enjoy the weekend without having to sit and sign for two hours.
“Fucking agent doesn’t understand,” Josh grumbled after hanging up.
“How much were they offering you?” Kyle asked.
“Twenty dollars a signature for a thousand pieces,” Josh said.
“That’s twenty grand,” Kyle said.
“I know that but I’m not spending my time away from you and my family. It can wait. If I do get in a game, I’ll still be the first,” Josh stated. “Besides, I’d rather be in bed with your hot ass the entire time. You know how much I miss being with you.”
“I miss being with you too,” Kyle said.
They made out on the bed with clothes beginning to fly off. It was just how Josh imagined and wanted it to be. He pulled off Kyle’s underwear and began licking Kyle’s cock. He looked up at him and saw the smile on Kyle’s face. He opened his mouth and let Kyle’s 6 inch cock slide between his lips. He began sucking and licking while hearing the familiar moans of his boyfriend. Kyle pulled him up and was anxious to have Josh’s big hard 8 inch cock in his mouth. He kissed all over Josh’s body until reaching Josh’s cock. He licked all over the veiny cut cock until sticking it in his mouth. He did the same until Josh pulled him up.
Kyle raced to his suitcase and grabbed the lube while Josh grabbed a plush hotel towel. Josh lubed up his cock and saw what was waiting on him. He pushed in and felt Kyle’s tight ass open up. During the off season, it wasn’t so tight but they hadn’t been together in three months.
“Fuck my ass is getting fucked by a big leaguer,” Kyle said.
“No babe, I’m making love to my boyfriend who I love dearly,” Josh said.
“I’m getting fucked by a guy who I love dearly,” Kyle said and felt Josh’s cock go deeper in him.
Josh felt his cock deep inside of Kyle and leaned over for a kiss. He wasn’t sure which he enjoyed more but loved both kissing and fucking. He started slowly and felt his cock scraping the walls of Kyle’s ass. After a long kiss, Josh leaned up and felt Kyle’s legs wrap around his body. The two made love slowly and enjoying each push. Josh smiled and leaned back over to nibble on Kyle’s neck. Kyle’s hand found Josh’s hot ass while feeling the ultimate pleasure of his boyfriend making hot steamy love to him.
“Oh my God, I love you so much,” Josh said and was breathing hard.
“Keep fucking me!”
“I wish I could fuck you all night,” Josh said.
The two rolled to their sides with Josh adding more lube to his hard dripping cock. He wrapped his arms around Kyle and ran his hands down Kyle’s chest and abs to find his hard cock. He knew that Kyle enjoyed cumming while getting fucked. Josh slammed his cock in hard while stroking Kyle’s hard cock. Kyle screamed and let his load flow out of his cock. Josh felt the orgasm and began shooting his load inside of his boyfriend.
After having sex, the two showered together and kissed a lot. They dressed nicely and headed out to find something to eat. They did so and shared a drink together. After the meal, the two walked around like tourists and took pictures of the city since it was their first time in New York.
Josh was up early on Friday and felt the butterflies already in his stomach. He read various things on the internet until Kyle came walking over.
“Josh, stop reading that,” Kyle said.
“I’m just reading the good stuff but there is some nasty shit on here,” Josh said.
“That’s what I mean. Forget that. You should worry about your performance on the mound now.”
“My performance last night was stellar, huh?” Josh smiled.
“You’d win the Cy Young Award if it was up to me,” Kyle said.
Josh turned and kissed him. They showered and dressed before going down in the nice ritzy hotel for breakfast. Josh saw a teammate eating with his wife and said hello before taking a seat. Josh and Kyle ordered breakfast and went walking around to shop just a little in the big city. Josh now was aware that his parents and brother would be at the hotel around noon if there were no delays.
They returned and went to their room with Josh getting his clothes ready to travel to the park. The bus was leaving at 2:00 so he couldn’t be late. While they were sitting, Josh heard his phone and saw that it was his Mom calling. They had just got in their room with his brother Hayden next door. They left and headed up to see Josh’s parents and brother.
Josh’s Mom opened the door when he knocked. She gave him a big hug and told him how proud she was of him. She hugged Kyle too. Josh saw his dad sitting in his wheelchair wearing a Padre hat with his 21 year old brother sitting on the bed.
Josh leaned over and hugged his Dad. “Josh, you made it. I’ve never been so proud of you in all my life.”
“No Dad, we made it. I couldn’t have done it without each person in this room. Without your support and kicking me in the ass, I couldn’t have made it,” Josh said.
“What a place to begin your career, huh?” Hayden said.
“Son, are you nervous?” his Mom asked.
“Of course I’m nervous. For one I don’t know when or even if I get in a game. Coach said he’d put me in a good situation so I could succeed,” Josh said.
“If I hear one person, yell faggot or queer when you get in the game, they may have a shoe up their ass,” his Dad said.
“No, my fist will be across their damn face,” Hayden said.
“I’ll be right behind you,” Kyle said.
“You’ll have tickets waiting for you at the will-call or at least I hope,” Josh said and pulled out his phone to make sure. He called and found out there would be. “I can’t tell you how much I miss y’all.”
“We miss you too. Carson watches every game,” his Mom said about his dad.
“Dad, I know you do and tell me where I mess up,” Josh said.
“I hear about it too,” Hayden said.
“Hey, I’m with him every pitch,” his Dad said. “Susan can’t bear to watch.”
“Me either,” Kyle said. “If and when he gets in the game, I don’t know if I can watch.”
“Kyle, we can just leave. I might throw up,” Susan said.
“It wouldn’t be the first time,” Josh said. “I remember seeing you at State that year.”
Josh and Kyle sat around until Josh needed to leave to get dressed. They wished him well with hugs. Kyle went back to the room with him but was going to return to see the sights with Josh’s family. Josh now felt more nervous than ever and it was only to catch the bus. He gave Kyle a long kiss and said he’d see him after the game.
Josh found the bus and was early with a bag filled with his glove and cleats. He took a seat near the rear and saw James climbing aboard. James took the seat across from him.
“Someone is scared shitless,” James commented.
“Weren’t you for your first game?” Josh asked.
James laughed, “Worse since I was starting.”
About 2/3rds of the team was on the bus when it pulled away with the others taking a cab or worse the subway. Josh stared out the windows at the city while most had on their headphones. They arrived at the park and were let off deep inside the stadium. Josh sat in the bus and saw twenty people from the press. Garman made things easier by telling them that Holtzie took a cab to the park and was already there. Josh smiled and saw the press scatter.
“Thanks, man,” an outfielder said to Josh.
“Look Howard. It’s not Holtzie’s fault,” James said.
“I know but I’m not in the mood to answer questions about playing with a gay dude. We did it in spring training and it shouldn’t be a big deal,” Howard said.
“I’m sorry, Howard,” Josh said.
“Just pitch well when your number is called. That’s all I ask, rookie,” Howard said.
They walked into the locker with Josh’s locker ready and waiting for him. He stared for a moment seeing his name across the back and his number, 55 on the back. A few players stopped by and welcomed him to the show. He undressed and headed out to get his work in out on the field.
Coming out of the dugout, Josh took it all in despite the stadium being empty. He’d been to a few major league stadiums as a kid but now was wearing a warmup shirt to be on the field. He jogged into the outfield with James close to him. When he reached the outfield, he did his stretching and talked to a veteran reliever, Warmack, doing the same. He finished up and shagged fly balls until leaving the field. He was stopped by the pitching coach, Ruiz, and followed him into a room with the two catchers. They went over his stuff and what he liked to throw before getting briefed on tonight’s lineup. It was a lot to digest but something Josh was accustomed to doing.
Leaving, Pat Garman stopped him and filled him in on the press conference that he just had. For a team in third place, he said he’d never answered so many questions and from so many different people.
Josh went to his locker and sat down to get his mind in the right spot. He went over the hitters in his head with his head down. He lifted up his head and began dressing with a few veterans walking by to welcome him to the show. It was really happening with him buttoning up his crisp uniform and putting on his spikes. He grabbed his glove with a few more players welcoming him and pulled on his new hat. He walked out with the stadium filling up on this July day. He looked around and spotted his family with all sporting Padre hats. He gave them the thumbs up before Ruiz came from behind and knocked off his hat. He leaned over and picked up his hat to hear the screaming kids along the rails wanting his autograph. He walked over and saw a rainbow flag being waved. He began signing as many autographs as he could before the bullpen coach, Tim Reynolds, pulled him away. He jogged out to the bullpen area and heard a loud cheer with many rainbow flags being waved.
“Rookie, they don’t do that shit for me,” Warmack said. “You’re special.”
“Hombre is special,” another reliever said.
“Thanks guys,” Josh said almost embarrassed by the attention and took his seat with the crowd still yelling and applauding.
“Josh, tip your hat so they will be seated,” Coach Reynolds said.
Josh tipped his hat towards them and said thanks for their support. He waited and stood for the National Anthem with the Mets on the field. Josh took his seat after the Anthem.
“Hey faggot Padre, meet me after the game and you can suck my big dick!” a guy yelled from the stands in a distinct accent. Josh turned his head and saw a big fat guy standing by the bullpen with a beer in his hand.
Warmack, Reynolds and two other relievers stood up and began pointing at the guy. Security guards came racing down the aisle and handcuffed the guy to take him away to a round of applause.
“Someone wanted their ass kicked,” Warmack said.
Josh shook his head and felt his coach’s hand. “Forget that shit. You’re here to do a job. We’ve got your back,” Coach Reynolds said.
Warmack pulled out his can of tobacco and stuck it out towards Josh. Josh took the can and stuffed his front lip. It was something he did in Double A ball to be one of the guys. Josh sat and watched the game with the team scoring two runs in the first. Reynolds sat close to him as the starter, Nick Fullmer, started working. Josh listened to his coach and took mental notes despite the starter being a right hander.
By the end of the fourth inning, the team was up four to nothing and scored three more in the fifth inning.
“Gonna be a quiet night for us,” Warmack said with his hands behind his head and leaning back in his bullpen chair. “Fully is cruising out there.”
“We hope,” Reynolds said with Josh getting up to get some water.
Going into the bottom of the seventh, it was still seven to zip. Reynolds took a call from the dugout and told Josh and another reliever to limber up just in case Fullmer tired. Josh did his thing while watching the game. The first guy walked on four straight pitches. The next one hit a sharp single to right. The bullpen phone rang.
“Holtzie get ready,” Reynolds announced.
Josh grabbed a ball and softly tossed to the catcher for a few pitches. He stepped on the mound and began firing the ball. He was noted for his rubber arm and ability to get ready in a hurry despite just converting to the bullpen. The crowd roared or what was left of them with a run scoring. Josh was joined by the other reliever and moved over. Another hit followed to score another run. The pitching coach walked to the mound to allow the righty next to Josh more time. The next batter struck out with the manager walking out to the mound with Josh warmed up and ready. Now Josh was standing and watching on the mound. He watched Garman tap his left arm.
“Holtzie, it’s you!” Reynolds said.
“Go get em, Holtzie,” Warmack said.
Josh saw the gate open and started jogging out to the mound. All the hard work and dedication in his life had led to this moment. He kept his head down and tried breathing yet still was very nervous. He got to the mound with Pat slamming the ball in his left hand. “Holtzie, there’s a lefty free swinger due up. Get us out of this inning,” Pat said and patted Josh on the rear before leaving.
The catcher told Josh the situation and the hitter’s strength before jogging back to catch Josh’s warm up tosses. Josh heard the PA announcement, “Now pitching for the Padres, Number 55, Josh Holtzmeyer.” Josh heard the roar with some boos mixed in.
Josh did his warm up tosses with the catcher bringing out the ball. “Throw to first but not your best move. We’ll go from there.”
Josh stepped behind the mound and back up on the rubber. He focused on the catcher with runners at first and third. He took a deep breath and began his stretch. He made a soft toss to first and got the ball back. The catcher wanted a fastball inside. Josh came home and fired a perfect strike over the inside corner at 94 miles per hour. It was a relief for him not to have the ball end up on the back screen. He got his sign and delivered another fastball high and outside with the left handed hitter barely able to check his swing. The next pitch was perfect again and on the inside corner to be called a ball. Josh was disappointed with the call but knew it was part of the game. He fired over to first and almost ended the inning with the runner barely getting back. The next pitch was another fastball that was fouled straight back to the screen. Josh got a new ball and rubbed it up. He saw the catcher call for a curve ball and was happy inside to see it called. He stretched and delivered it home. The batter froze and watched the pitch hit the catcher’s mitt.
“Sttttrike threeee!” the home plate umpire called.
Josh walked off the mound and saw fans clapping and waving small rainbow flags. The catcher handed him the ball and patted his rear. Josh sat in the dugout and exhaled with a guy taking the ball for safe keeping.
“Great job,” James said and patted him on the leg.
Fullmer came over and patted his leg. “Thanks for getting us out of that.”
Josh sat on the bench with the pitching coach coming over to tell him that he would pitch another inning unless they batted around. Josh sat soaking it all in and was trying his hardest not to smile. The catcher sat next to him and went over the next few hitters. It was a quick inning with Josh trotting back out to the mound but did sneak a peek at his family. He did his warm up tosses and took the ball. He gave up a weak single to right and struck out two more. Pat greeted him on the top step and said his night was over as well as congratulating him on his debut. Josh was able to smile and was disappointed giving up the hit.
The next inning was quick and the game was over. Josh lined up to congratulate his teammates before going down the tunnel into the locker room. Josh began undoing his uniform and soon saw the press making their way towards his locker. He saw TV cameras and close to thirty reporters gathered around his locker. They began asking questions such as did he feel like Jackie Robinson and what were his feelings about being the first openly gay major leaguer. Josh answered each one with honesty and respect without saying too much.
It took close to thirty minutes before Pat asked that they leave so Josh could be with his family. Josh showered, dressed and walked out with the ball from his first strike out. He began looking around until a security guard pointed him in the direction of his family. He saw his Dad and walked over to him to hand him the ball and kissed his mom on the cheek. He wasn’t able to stay long and said that they’d meet them back at the hotel.
Back at the hotel, Josh signed a few autographs before going inside and up to his room. Kyle was there and greeted him with a kiss.
“So was it everything you thought it’d be?” Kyle asked.
“I guess so. I’m glad that it is over and done with. The fucking press was amazing,” Josh replied. “Did Mom and Dad enjoy it?”
“Josh, we were all besides ourselves when we saw you jogging in from the bullpen. Your Dad said that you throw that guy a curveball and strike him out.”
“Let me call and see if they are still up. Then we’ll go out with Hayden to celebrate,” Josh said. Josh called his parents and heard that they were still awake and waiting on him plus saw about 20 text messages that he had.
Josh and Kyle went to their room. Josh now could clearly see how excited they were with his Dad still holding the ball in his right hand.
“Son, this means more to me than you’ll ever know,” his Dad said. “I’ve always been proud of you for being who you are but tonight took to a whole new level. They will remember your name forever just like they do for Jackie Robinson.”
“I appreciate that but Jackie Robinson was special and in a totally different era. I heard one ignorant ass guy but other than that I heard cheers and saw the flags,” Josh said. “Other than dealing with the press, my teammates had nothing bad to say to me.”
“Josh, you do need to realize that you are special. No openly gay player has ever taken the field before tonight. I’m so proud of you,” his Mom said. “Now, I’ve got to figure out how to get that ball out of your Dad’s hand.”
“Susan, we may end up fighting,” his Dad said and held up the ball.
Hayden came in the room. “My brother’s a superstar now. Josh, you’re trending on Twitter.”
“Are you serious?” Josh asked.
“Yeah, there’s nearly 20K tweets about you,” Hayden replied.
“See I told you how special tonight was,” his Mom said.
“Unreal,” Josh said.
They talked to Josh’s parents for a few minutes before leaving. The three saw James in the lobby and said hi to him. James asked where they were going. All they knew was out to celebrate. James said he’d tag along since he had nothing better to do.
They went out to celebrate Josh’s debut at a local restaurant and didn’t get back to the hotel until after two to end the day and night.
With the next two games being day games, it meant Josh would leave early while Kyle and Josh’s family explored the city. Josh arrived at the park and worked out before shagging fly balls in the outfield and just being one of the guys. The game started and was opposite of the night before with the Mets scoring early. Josh sat in the bullpen and watched while assuming that he wouldn’t get in the game. He didn’t but still had to deal with the press afterwards.
Back at the hotel, Josh was able to eat with his family and boyfriend. It was an early night with Josh and Kyle in bed early to be real lovers. Josh topped his boyfriend and again enjoyed being with Kyle sexually.
Sunday, Josh spent as much time as he could with his family and Kyle since Josh knew right after the game they’d be flying out. He boarded the bus just before it left and sat across from Warmack since James was starting and took a taxi early to the park.
Josh trotted out the bullpen and saw many flags and people holding up signs. He signed a few autographs before standing for the anthem. In the first inning with the Padres batting, a ball came heading in their direction. The other relievers sat while Josh chased the ball down. He grabbed it and saw a young boy asking for it. He tossed the home run to the kid.
The Padres were up six to two heading into the ninth inning with Josh just sitting and knowing that he wouldn’t get in the game since their closer was warming up and entering the game to close out the victory plus needed some work. Before the inning began, Reynolds handed Josh a ball and told him to be ready just in case plus there were no other real options for a left hander left. Josh leisurely loosened up and watched. Before they knew it, the game was at six to four with runners on second and third with just one out. The closer, Jacobs, had thrown over thirty pitches when Garman walked slowly to the mound with the knowledge Josh was ready. He took the ball and pointed to the bullpen.
Josh jogged out and took the ball from the manager.
“Show me what you’re made of Holtzie,” Garman said.
“I will,” Josh said with the ball being slammed in his hand. Josh knew now this was real and his team needed him to do his job. He finished his warm up tosses and waited for a right handed pinch hitter to come up. The hitter worked the count to 2 and 1 before fouling off three straight pitches. Josh’s dad was sitting and leaning forward in his wheelchair while Kyle and Susan were pacing behind. Josh got the sign on the 2 ball 2 strike pitch and delivered a changeup. The hitter was completely fooled by the pitch since it was Josh’s first in the big leagues. The catcher threw ball back and was pounding his fist in his glove for encouragement. The next hitter was a left hander and his first strikeout victim from Friday. Josh got the sign and threw another changeup. It resulted in a weak ground ball to second to end the game. Josh put his head down and took the ball from the first baseman to record his first save.
Josh took the congratulations from his teammates with James giving him a big hug for securing his win. Josh was one of the last to leave the field and saw his family and Kyle by the dugout. With the ball in hand, Josh walked over to his dad and handed it to him with cameras sounding off as he did so.
“My boy,” his dad said with tears in his eyes, taking the ball securely in his right hand.
“I had a job to do and did it, Dad. I’ll miss y’all. I wish you were coming to San Diego with me,” Josh said.
“Us too but you know your Dad will be glued to the TV no matter how late your games run,” his mom said. Josh kissed his mom and dad and shook Hayden and Kyle’s hand before heading back to the locker room.
Josh headed to the trainer’s room to escape the press and to shower. He wrapped his arm even though there was nothing wrong. He gave a few quick statements and answered a few questions before packing to leave.
On the charter plane, Josh took his seat and pulled out his phone to text his brother and Kyle. Shortly after take-off with some of the players already sleeping, Josh saw Pat Garman, the manager, walking back. He sat next to Josh.
“Holtzie, I knew that you could do out it there today. I’m sorry to put in such a tight spot but I didn’t have many options left. I’m proud of you for saving the team’s ass out there today,” Pat said.
“Thanks for having faith in me, Coach. About the tight spot, if you can’t rely on me, then my ass should be in Triple A again.”
“Great attitude, Holtzie. All weekend you showed why we did what we did. You handled the press with such grace. I don’t know too many other rookies that could have done it in that situation.”
“Thanks again. I was prepared mentally for it and just did it,” Josh said.
They discussed things coming up with Josh having a room in a hotel near the park. Josh liked that idea so he could be at the park early and work out plus study the hitters for the next series. After Pat left and eating something, Josh kicked back and was able to get a little sleep. He knew that it was much better than the jammed Triple A plane trips or worse, the long bus rides in the lower minors.
Nearing the end, James came to sit with Josh. James offered to let him stay with him but refused since he knew about James’s family with two young boys. After landing, Josh took a taxi to his hotel near the park in downtown San Diego.
With the time difference, Josh was up early on Monday with a three game series scheduled against the Pirates, Brewers and Braves. The Pirates were four games up on them for the last wild card so the series was important plus the trade deadline was a week away. Josh headed down for breakfast and grabbed a national paper. He read the sports and saw an article about how two of his teammates anonymously were quoted as disliking Josh’s media circus and presence on the team. Josh was very disappointed to read such and thought things were okay between him and his teammates.
Leaving breakfast, Josh got a call from his dad. His dad was very angry with the comments that he’d read. Josh agreed with him to a point. Josh was glad to hear that his family had made it safely and were now celebrities back home in Texas.
At one, Josh headed to the park to work out and get acquainted with the stadium. Josh worked hard along with another rookie and a veteran. He left to shower and was approached by the media relationships director of the team. He was flooded with requests for interviews and sat down with Josh. Josh saw the list of requests which included all the major sports media outlets. Josh thought it over and said he’d be more than happy to do a couple each day with a big sit down with ESPN and SI on his off day at his hotel.
Josh readied for batting practice with his teammates in the locker room. James walked over and slammed down the paper on Josh’s stool. “You saw this shit, right?”
“I did,” Josh replied.
“I’m calling a meeting before the game. This makes me fucking sick to my stomach,” James stated.
“Okay,” Josh said and jogged out onto the field for his first home game. He stretched and did some long toss with Warmack before doing his duty to shag flyballs.
Thirty minutes before the game and after the press was gone, James slammed the door shut. “Alright, we all now have seen the press. I’ll agree that it was a circus in New York but this shit about Josh’s presence on the team is uncalled for. I’m disappointed in my teammates for saying such shit and being fucking cowards in the process. We saw the job that he did and is helping us stay in this race. If you’ve got a problem with him let’s hear now or better yet find your agent and request a trade if you can’t handle his so called presence in the locker room,” James stated in a tirade.
“Whoever said that shit should be ashamed,” Warmack said.
“Fuck it, I was one who said that shit,” Howard said and stood. “I said I wasn’t happy with all the attention due to his presence. They worded that shit to make it sound like I didn’t like the dude.”
The third baseman, Ross Adams, stood, “I was the other one. I said that I wasn’t happy that we had a gay player in our locker room now. I know it’s not politically correct but I don’t.”
“Ross, we know you hold bible studies for the group and I’ve attended several times,” James said. “That will be my last time. You talked about love for your fellow man but I don’t see it from you. I believe there’s not a one of us in this group that is perfect. Imagine if we told about the girlfriend on the trip when the wife was home with the kids.”
“At least, he’s straight,” Ross said.
Josh stood, “Ross, I respect your position even though I don’t agree with it. All I or anyone else on team ask is your respect as a player.”
“You’ve got that, Holtzie. We all don’t have to be friends and like each other. We just have to go out there and do our best for a win. I’ll promise you that I give it my all every night just like everyone else does,” Ross stated.
“So are we all clear now? If nothing else, just say no comment when approached by the press,” James said.
“Guys, I want to apologize again for the media and all that you have to deal with now. I hate it for you but you’re more than welcome to fill for me anytime you’d like. I wanna do my job, walk in here, get dressed and leave but I know that’s not possible. I hate it more than you do,” Josh said.
“You’re a brave dude,” Jacobs said. “I respect the hell out of you. I hope you don’t have to ever come bail my ass out again.”
“We don’t either, Jacobs,” Warmack said. “Holtzie is a good guy. I hate to be in his shoes and deal with what he has to deal with just because he’s gay and out.”
The meeting was finished with the manager and coaches walking in. The manager expressed his disappointment and didn’t want to know who the culprits were. He spoke about the importance of the series and for the guys to give their all.
Josh put on his uniform and was very proud to be wearing the team white ones. He walked out and jogged to the bullpen with fans cheering him on. He stood for the anthem and sat next to Warmack.
“Adams had a lot of business saying that shit. You can’t say that when you’re hitting .225 and making tons of errors too,” Warmack said.
“He has his beliefs and it won’t be the first time I’ve dealt with that. The last guy who said something ended up being my buddy by the end of the year but I doubt that will happen,” Josh said and put some tobacco in his lip.
Josh never got up during the game, which was a loss. He walked in the locker room and did two quick interviews with the local press. The media director found Josh after he’d showered and said someone was outside wanting to speak to him in private.
Josh went out of the locker room into the dark halls. He saw a veteran umpire, who was out, standing and waiting on him.
“First, I wanted to congratulate you and say how proud I am of you for the way that you’ve handled things,” the umpire said.
“I appreciate that. I did see you were in our series,” Josh said.
“I am but I won’t make it behind the plate for this one. From one gay man to another, I wanted to offer words of encouragement to you. Keep doing what you’re doing.”
“I just wanted to stop by and do congratulate you. Maybe down the road I’ll be behind the plate for one of your games. Don’t expect any favoritism…”
“Never, sir. This has made me day,” Josh said.
The umpire left with Josh returning to the locker room. Josh told James about the meeting and dressed. Josh headed to the hotel and up to his room. He got on his phone and Twitter for the first time to see all the good and bad tweets. He sent one short one out thanking everyone for their support.
The next day, Josh did a few phone interviews and hoped soon the media attention would die down. That night in the seventh with the Padres leading four to two, Josh entered the game to start the seventh. He stood on the mound to hear the cheers and now missed having his family there but knew his Dad was glued to the TV. Josh rubbed his right arm as his personal and private signal to his Dad and Kyle if they were watching. Josh walked the first batter on five pitches before getting a perfect double play grounder before striking out the next batter. His night was finished after one inning of work with the team coming away with the victory.
The next night, he came in the eighth inning to retire a left handed hitter in a one run game to help the team to another victory.
On his off day, Thursday, he did his two interviews in the hotel with ESPN and SI. Once finished, he was told that the team had traded for a veteran power hitting third baseman and had released Adams in the move. He didn’t know if the team was aware of Adams’ dislike for him. James called shortly after seeing the news and said how karma was a bitch that just bit Adams in the ass.
Josh spent most of the rest of the day on the phone with Kyle. They did Facetime to see each other. Kyle wanted to fly out in August to spend time with Josh but since Josh’s situation wasn’t stable, he suggested that Kyle wait until September. Josh grabbed his fan mail, which was about 25 letters and shared some of the nice letters with Kyle while they were on the phone. Three were hate mail which Josh discarded. One was very touching from a mother whose son was gay yet committed suicide. There wasn’t a return envelope but Josh took the time to her a nice note. He did get a few from fans that were gay and wanted an autograph. Josh signed each item with Kyle watching via FaceTime.
The long home stand continued while seeing action on Saturday night and allowing his first two runs on a single and home run. He was upset even though the team won the game. He stayed late with the pitching coach going over the events that led up to and including the long home run. The coach liked what he saw and the fact that Josh was willing to learn from his mistakes.
With the Braves in town, Josh got in two games and didn’t allow a baserunner in the two innings that he pitched. After Wednesday’s game, Pat Garman approached Josh’s locker and requested that he have a word. Josh feared the worst entering the coach’s office.
“Holtzie, you said something about a number’s game…”
“Damn,” Josh uttered.
“I said the same thing but we need a spot for a veteran reliever out of options. Son, I hate it that we’re sending you down.”
“It’s part of the game that I’m afraid that I’m beginning to know far too well,” Josh said. “However, thank you for allowing me the opportunity of a lifetime. I hope that I’ll see you soon.”
“No doubt that you will. The best part for you will be the fact that you meet the team in Round Rock,” Pat stated.
Josh smiled since it was close to his hometown and he could see his family and Kyle. “It could be worse.”
“You’ll miss going to Chicago and Milwaukee. I’ll deal with the press there. Josh, don’t get too down though. You did one hell of a job here but we needed a roster spot. You’ll be here in September or sooner.”
Josh stood, spoke with James and headed to meet with the traveling secretary. He called home and gave them the mixed news. All were disappointed yet excited to see him again.
Josh arrived in Round Rock the next day. He was happy to get a small break from the press and be with his family as well as sleep in his own bed. His old teammates welcomed him back with open arms. Josh was on the field early so that he could speak with his family. His Dad was upset that the team had sent him back down after he had done so well. Josh explained the situation and assured him that he’d be returning soon.
Josh didn’t get in the game and rode to his apartment with his parents and Kyle. Josh was over his disappointment the second the two got naked to have sex. The two swapped head before Kyle was on his back and ready to feel his boyfriend inside of him. Josh smiled with his hard throbbing 8 inches entering Kyle.
“Kyle, I don’t know which is better… you know fuck it. This is about us and not my fucking job! My job right now is to make love to a guy who I loved since the eleventh grade,” Josh said.
The two made love and got noisy with the passion for each other coming forth. Josh wished that he could last longer and did last ten minutes inside of Kyle before they began cumming.
After sex, the two lay next to each other.
“Josh, I am proud of you no matter what happens from this point forward. You did something that I don’t know that I could have done.”
“You could have done it, Kyle. Remember how scared we were the night we came out to our parents after spring break our senior year,” Josh said. “That was ten times worse than what I just endured for two weeks.”
“I guess. That was pretty frightening. The ace pitcher with scouts at every fucking game and his shortstop basically saying what the entire school knew,” Kyle said.
“Tell me about it,” Josh said.
“Do you think you’d been drafted if they’d known then?” Kyle asked.
“You’ve asked that before and again I’ll say I doubt it,” Josh said and tickled him. They rolled around the bed until agreeing Kyle needed his rest for work the next day.
Saturday night after hot steamy sex, Josh knew the next day that he was leaving. He clung to Kyle. “Next year, if things go as planned, I want you to move to San Diego with me…”
“Josh, as much as I’d like to, we’ve talked about this…”
“I know but you realize the salary that I’ll be making. I’m only talking six months,” Josh said.
“You’ll only be home half the time then. Then say you get sent down, then what?” Kyle asked.
“As usual, you’re the one with the degree and the smart one. I just miss you so much.”
“I miss you too. We knew this when you started Rookie ball,” Kyle said.
“As glamorous as it sounds, playing baseball actually sucks ass when it comes to having a serious relationship.”
“It does but I rather it be this way than us being apart. Being alone often, I do question whether it is the right decision or not until we’re together again. There will never be another one for me…”
“Me either. Maybe this winter, we should tie the knot,” Josh said. “Kyle if I had a ring, I’d propose to you right now.”
“And I’d say yes in a heartbeat,” Kyle said and felt Josh’s lips on his.
“Will you marry me?”
“Every day and night of the week,” Kyle replied. “Will you marry me?”
“I’d do it tomorrow,” Josh replied.
“I’m not sure but I think we’re now engaged.”
“I think we are,” Josh said.
Kyle rolled over to begin kissing him. With the two kissing with great passion, Kyle felt Josh’s cock getting hard again. He reached and found Josh’s cock. He applied a little lube and stuck it inside his ass. He moaned while starting to ride Josh’s hard cock. He felt Josh’s big hands on his ass and then Josh’s lips on his nice body. The two made slow love until late in the night.
They woke the next morning and made love again. They did so since they weren’t sure when they would together next. Josh left for the park and did get in the game with just his Dad and Kyle in attendance. Being in the minors, Josh was able to spend extra time with them after the game.
Josh boarded the bus since it wasn’t that far to his home park. He arrived late and went to his apartment. Every day he was at the park early to work out while keeping up with the big club that was now slumping on their road trip.
After Wednesday’s game at back at his apartment, he got a late night call. The Padres wanted him back and told him to meet the team at home for a series that started on Thursday night. Josh sent Kyle a text that he was recalled but waited until he was at the airport the next morning to call his family.
Josh was back at the park Thursday night and meet with Pat. Pat basically assured him that he was with the club for the rest of the year based entirely on his ability and nothing else. The players welcomed him back and told him that he was needed since they’d slipped back to being three games out of the last Wild Card spot. Josh saw the massive amount of fan mail too.
On Saturday night, Josh entered the game in the ninth with the game tied with the Marlins. He gave up a hit but went back to the dugout without giving up a run. The Padres didn’t score so Josh trotted back to the mound and worked his second inning. He walked a batter but didn’t allow a run. The recently acquired third baseman led off the inning and sent on deep into the left field stands to end the game with a victory. Josh joined his teammates to celebrate the victory around home plate.
Pat walked up to Josh who was walking away from the excited group of players. “Congrats on your first major league victory.”
“Wow I didn’t realize it until you said that,” Josh said and broke out a nice smile. Josh entered with James and a host of others congratulating him on the victory despite not having a ball to commemorate the milestone. The press did show up at his locker but it was only a few. Josh was happy to give them what they wanted.
Josh showered and dressed to walk back to the hotel. He pulled out his phone to see a text from his brother and Kyle. Despite the late hour, he called his Dad. His Dad picked up the phone and was very excited for his son on his first win of the year.
Now the publicity and coverage of Josh was down to a bare minimum. Josh didn’t mind since he was there for one purpose, help the team win games. He didn’t care for living out of a hotel but knew there was no other choice.
In the next series, Josh suffered his first loss. He came with the team up a run in the seventh and gave up a walk and a hit before leaving. Warmack came jogging in with two outs to get the team out of a jam. Instead, he grooved a two ball no strike pitch and watched it sail into the left field stands with both of Josh’s runners scoring. The team didn’t come back so he was tagged with the loss. Warmack felt bad for Josh but Josh knew it was part of the game. He was upset with the fact that he’d let his team down and didn’t deliver.
The season continued with Josh staying on the roster for the rest of the year. They trailed by two going into the last series of the year. They won both of them with the Pirates losing both of their games. However, the Pirates had clinched the last wild card spot with a victory just as the Padres took the field.
Josh’s year was excellent by giving up just six runs in twenty three innings. He had twenty strikeouts and ten walks with his record being one win and one loss.
Josh left San Diego to fly to get his things and vehicle. It was a nine hour drive home and gave him plenty of time to assess the season and the events. More than anything, he proved by the end that he could pitch in the big leagues and pitch effectively. He was now driven more than ever to make pitching his career.