Curious Buck

Illustration for article titled Curious Buck

Pat Jordan's latest for Sports on Earthis a fun one:

Buck Showalter called the night before I flew to Dallas a few months ago. He told me to bring a warm jacket, because it was cold in Dallas, and he offered to pick me up at the airport and drive me to my hotel. I told him thanks, but I had rented a car. "Who was that?" my wife Susan asked, after I had hung up the phone. I told her. "Oh, the control freak," she said. "Perfect. You two should get along famously."

The following afternoon, I was hopelessly lost on 635 East, hunched over, studying the big map of Dallas spread across the steering wheel. The road was under construction, one narrow lane, traffic backed up for miles, the exit signs unmarked. My cell phone rang. I picked up and said, "Not now, Susan, I'm lost in traffic." Showalter's voice answered, "I knew I should have picked you up. I've lived here for years, and I still can't find my way around Dallas. Use your GPS." I don't know how to use a GPS, I told him, and besides, I don't take directions from the disembodied voice of a strange woman who isn't actually in the car with me. "I don't know who this woman is!"

Showalter said, "I use my GPS all the time. I just turn when the woman's voice tells me to." Suddenly disillusioned, I blurted out, "Buck! How could you? You're supposed to be a control freak!" He moaned, cut to the quick.

Showalter hates to be called a control freak. He hates it because he doesn't consider himself a control freak, but mostly, he hates it because he can't control people calling him a control freak. To assuage his hurt feelings, I offered to call him one of the many other names people associate with him: passive-aggressive, taciturn, sarcastic, caustic, suspicious, paranoid, Machiavellian. He did not laugh.


[Photo Credit: Getty Images]