A train is barreling down at the crazy hand of Dayton Moore while down the middle aisle walks the coach-hand examining each patron with the beguiling eye of a man who’s seen too much. Beside the conductor’s chair Will Smith and the rest of his top-prospect buddies get jiggy with it while bellows of black smoke rush by overhead. Behind them in the first passenger car Desmond Jennings sits among a group of nerdy looking 30-something ex-investment bankers sipping a martini while they calculate derivatives of their route to the promise land.
Halfway back the line between virtuoso and charlatan begins to blur like the stinging retnas in the cigar-smoke filled #6 car. Here the big city fat-cats celebrate an excess of riches while the midwest small marketeers modestly follow with the confidence of David adorning a blue collar. Chicagoans mingle between Southern Californians like a thick angus burger between two lettuce wrap halves.
And finally, beneath the open canopy of the final car’s exposed posterior, a statuesque young pitcher valiantly stands. Ed Wade and Drayton McLane cluelessly grip his right arm for dear life and flap in the breeze like the 2005, but seemingly more distant, pennant gracing Minute Maid Park. Houston’s farm system, although much improved over the past year, remains a caboose to the MiLB train. Hobo prospects like Lastings Milledge and Max Ramirez jump from car to car while Houston mans the rear hoping to catch whatever might pass the open doors and outstretched arms of 29 preceding cars. The coach-hand requests their tickets while the steam from the engine clouds his countenance. As the train screams toward the dusk ridden horizon Houston can only hope greener pastures lie ahead.
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