Disclaimer: I do not own Criminal Minds.
Author's Note: Here is the second in my series of stories, starring Reid and each character in turn. The full list is on my profile page. Please R & R!
Game 1, American League Championship Series
New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
C. Sabathia vs. J. Lester
October 15, 2010
Derek Morgan was in the best of moods. He couldn't believe his luck. Here he was, on a warm October night at Fenway Park, chomping down upon a Fenway Frank while watching his favorite team continue their championship run in his favorite sport.
"Hey Morgan?" Reid slurred through a mouthful of his own Fenway Frank. "Why are you a Red Sox fan? You grew up in Chicago, didn't you? Shouldn't you be rooting for the Chicago team?"
Morgan buried his face in his hands at Reid's ignorance. The Birthday Boy blinked expectantly, oblivious to the smear of ketchup on his cheek as he waited to hear the tale of Morgan's unusual baseball affiliations.
"There are two teams in Chicago, Reid," Morgan explained. "The Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox. I happen to be a fan of neither."
"Oh," Reid considered, "You couldn't decide which Chicago team to root for, so you settled on the Red Sox instead?"
"No, not exactly," Morgan told his story. "My mom happens to be a rabid Red Sox fan. She went to college at Wellesley, and that's where she picked up the disease. The disease is terminal."
"Oh, I get it!" Reid answered. "Your mom brain-washed you into rooting for the Red Sox, probably from the time that you were an infant. Mothers can be very persuasive."
"You're telling me!" Morgan replied. "Before I was born, while I was still a fetus in my mother's womb, she used to play me taped radio broadcasts of Red Sox games from the 1967 World Series. Her favorite player was Carl Yazstremski."
"Yes, yes!" Reid answered excitedly. "I just finished reading about the 1967 World Series," he held up a 1000-page book entitled "The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract". At the sight of the book, Morgan realized that it had been a horrible mistake to bring Reid to a baseball game. Everyone, including Morgan, knew that baseball = statistics.
"According to my research prior to the game," Reid began expounding while Morgan stuffed the remainder of his Fenway Frank into his mouth so that his hands could be free to cover both of his ears. "Sabermetrics designates Wins Above Replacement, or WAR, as the most all-inclusive measure of a player's value to his team. Tonight's starting pitchers, C.C. Sabathia and Jon Lester, are both among the Top 10 pitchers in WAR in the American League. Their WAR values range from 4.5 to 5.5, which are substantially higher than a WAR value of 2 for a league-average player."
"For pitchers, WAR is calculated from FIP, or Fielding Independent Pitching, which measures a pitcher's responsibility for his runs allowed based on his numbers of walks, strikeouts, and home runs," Reid continued expounding while Morgan ripped his paper napkin in half, wadded up the halves, and plugged the halves into both of his ears.
"For position players, WAR is calculated from wRAA, Weighted Runs Above Average, and UZR, Ultimate Zone Rating, which measure a player's offensive and defensive contributions, respectively," Reid expounded further while Morgan removed his jacket, wrapped it around his head, and tied the arms under his chin until the thick fabric covered both of his ears.
"Mumble, mumble...Blather, blather..." was all that Morgan could hear beneath his impenetrable shield of auditory protection.
"Hey Morgan?" Reid tugged at Morgan's shield. "I'm going to use the restroom. Save my seat for me, OK?" he mouthed slowly so that Morgan could have time to lip-read his words.
"Yeah, OK, you got it," Morgan replied, his own voice sounding distant through his shield. He shook his head in his baseball cap as Reid walked down the stairs towards the concourse. Reid didn't understand that seats at a baseball game were reserved, but he could spout endless statistics about WAR, FIP, wRAA, and UZR. Reid didn't know that Chicago had two baseball teams, but he could recite the complete 2010 statistics of each player on the 25-man roster of each team in the playoffs.
"Did I miss anything?" Reid asked, handing Morgan a giant stick of pink cotton candy that he had acquired after his rendezvous with the restroom. "Has the game started yet?"
"Reid!" Morgan shed his protective shield in disbelief. "Where have you been? It's the 3rd inning! The game has been going on for an hour!"
"Oh," Reid realized, "I thought the players were still warming up. The batters keep hitting everything into the stands on either side of the field."
"Those are foul balls, Reid," Morgan explained very very slowly. "This is the nature of a Red Sox-Yankees game, that the batters work the count to 3-2, then hit 6-12 foul balls before finally striking out. They're trying to make the pitchers work as hard as they can."
"Is that why the guy standing behind the catcher has been rolling his eyes and muttering to himself all this time?" Reid asked, focusing his tiny old-fashioned spyglass upon the figure behind the plate.
"What? What guy?" Morgan asked back.
"The guy wearing the mask," Reid replied. "I wonder if they'd let me onto the field if I wore a mask..."
"Reid!" Morgan stared at Reid in further disbelief. "That's the home plate umpire! He's supposed to be on the field, standing behind the catcher, calling balls and strikes!"
"Oooooooh," Reid realized again, "No wonder he keeps putting up fingers and pumping his arms back and forth. I thought that he was mad about how long the game was taking."
"Well, he probably is mad about the game," Morgan explained. "Tonight's umpire is Joe West. He has a reputation for complaining when the game takes too long, which happens every time the Red Sox and Yankees play each other. He'd rather have it all over in an hour. Me personally? I'd rather they play two!"
Morgan stretched out his arms and took a swig of his $9 beer. He leaned forward in his seat and crossed his arms over the wall in front of him, peering down upon the emerald outfield from his coveted position atop the Green Monster. Back in August, he had won the bench-press contest at his gym, and the grand prize had been a pair of tickets to Game 1 of the ALCS. At the time, he had not expected that the game would include his favorite team. The Red Sox had been 7 games back in the Wild Card and 9 games back in the Division. Then, they had won 13 in a row in September to vault themselves to the top of the division standings. It was an unbelievable comeback, almost as unbelievable as their unprecedented one-of-a-kind comeback in the 2004 ALCS.
Of all the people he could have taken to the game with him, Morgan was glad that he had chosen Reid. Statistics or no statistics, the kid had just turned 29, and the only sporting event that he had ever attended had been a "top secret" Redskins game with JJ five years ago. Everyone, including Morgan, knew that the Redskins sucked, then and now.
Reid slurped up the last of his cotton candy and snuck a peek at his scorecard in his jacket pocket. He had been deliberately torturing Morgan for the past hour, pretending that he didn't understand anything about baseball while spouting all manner of unnecessary statistics from the various publications of Bill James. On his napkin, he began graphing the course of the game, plotting the win probabilities of the archrivals. Right now, the win probability curve hovered near the 50% line, with neither team having scored any runs and neither pitcher showing any signs of yielding. Reid surmised that the game would be a battle of the bullpens, to be decided in the late innings, when one of the relief pitchers would hang a curveball and send the win probability rocketing up to 100% for one team. He didn't have any particular preference himself, but he rooted for the Red Sox, because Morgan rooted for the Red Sox. Sometimes, Reid's mental processes were very simple. A win for the Red Sox would mean a happy Morgan, and Morgan, of all people on Earth, deserved to be happy.
Thunder boomed after the first lightning flash and before the second lightning flash. The rain spattered against Reid's head in huge drops that then rolled down his neck. Morgan banged his head, protected in a Red Sox baseball cap, against the top of the Green Monster.
"Why? Why? Whyyyyyyy?" he repeated over and over to himself.
"Morgan, what's wrong? Are you OK?" Reid asked. "Are you sick? Was it the hot dog? Was it the cotton candy? Was it the beer? Was it the pumpkin ale I snuck into the ballpark?"
"No, Reid, no," Morgan replied, still banging his head against the wall. "It's the game. Can't you see that we're headed for a rain delay? This is not good news!"
"What do you mean it's not good news?" Reid asked. "It's the top of the 6th, and we're leading, albeit by 1 run. Big Papi hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 5th, remember? I heard some of the other fans saying that it was a miracle, because Big Papi never hits well against lefties like Sabathia."
"Yeah, I remember, and that's when the game should have ended," Morgan sighed. "If we get into a long rain delay, Lester won't be able to come back out afterwards. He'll have to turn the game over to the bullpen, and our bullpen is..." he shook his head in resignation.
"Oh come on, Morgan," Reid admonished his wavering friend. "The Red Sox won the AL East. The bullpen can't be that bad!"
"No, you don't understand!" Morgan argued, "It can be that bad! That miracle comeback in September was spurred by the starting pitching and the offense, not the bullpen. Even during that 13-game run, the bullpen tried to blow several games in the late innings, but the offense wouldn't let them."
"Well, I still have faith in the Red Sox," Reid declared.
"You just found out that there was a team called the Red Sox three days ago, when I gave you the tickets for your birthday!" Morgan declared back.
"What does that have to do with anything?" Reid asked. "So I'm a new fan. I'm a new fan who still has faith in my team," he yanked a brand new Red Sox cap out of his messenger bag and smoothed it over his thick hair. Morgan laughed and shook his head again, smoothing his old faded Red Sox cap over his non-existent hair. The rain came down steadily now, and the two fans, the old and the new, decided to visit the concession stands while the groundscrew covered the diamond with the much-hated tarp.
On his way back from the concession stands, Reid spotted three college-aged kids, bare-chested and drunk, leaping down to the grass from the first base wall. He experienced an intense urge to follow. Now that he had become a new denizen of Red Sox Nation, he didn't want to pass up on a chance to run around the bases, pretending that he had hit a home run, or to run around the outfield, pretending that he was making spectacular catches. It seemed to be a Red Sox tradition, that their fans were welcomed onto the field during rain delays, even during important playoff games like this one.
"Reid! No! Don't do that!" Morgan yelled as Reid leaped over the wall. He rushed down the stairs, nearly tipping his beers onto a group of old ladies in wheelchairs, before he reached the first base wall.
"Reid! Get back here! That's not allowed!" Morgan yelled after the skinny figure. He cursed under his breath. He should have gotten that leash that he had promised to get after the Great Anthrax Debacle of 2009. He should have gotten that leash while Reid had been immobilized for a year by his bad knee. Now, Reid's knee had healed, and Reid had returned to his habit of running off, willy-nilly, into ill-advised impromptu adventures.
Morgan leaped over the wall and chased the security guards as the security guards chased Reid. He was a lot fitter than any of the security guards and gained on the group quickly, but not before one of the security guards tackled Reid to the ground. The security guard had time to drag Reid to his feet and whip out a pair of handcuffs before Morgan arrived breathlessly on the scene.
"FBI!" Morgan whipped out his badge.
"FBI!" Reid whipped out his own badge.
The agents stood on either side of the group of security guards, gaping at each other and not knowing how to continue their abuse of law enforcement credentials.
"FBI?" asked an elderly police officer who walked over from his usual position by the bullpen door. "SSA Derek Morgan and SSA Dr. Spencer Reid?" he consulted a slip of paper in his hand.
"Yes, I'm Derek Morgan," Morgan replied in a questioning tone. He could not fathom why anyone would know his name at a baseball game.
"A call just came for Agents Morgan and Reid from the FBI offices in Quantico, Virginia," the officer explained. "It was from Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner of the Behavioral Analysis Unit," he recited from the same slip of paper.
"Hotch?" Reid asked in his little girl voice, the one that appeared whenever he was extraordinarily excited or extraordinarily nervous. "Why would Hotch call us here? Has something happened?" he checked his cell phone to discover four voicemails from JJ, three voicemails from Prentiss, and two voicemails from Hotch. Morgan checked his cell phone to discover the same. Apparently, the crowd of rabid Red Sox fans and equally rabid Yankee fans had drowned out the sound of their cell phones ringing.
"I don't know the specifics," said the officer. "All I know is I'm supposed to find the two of you and take you over to City Hall. There's some kind of situation that requires your expertise."
Reid glanced at Morgan with a worried expression. Morgan picked up his phone and called Hotch.
"Hotch? What's going on?" Morgan yelled into the phone over the crowd noise.
"Are you with Officer Dunn at Fenway Park? Is Reid there with you?" Hotch asked.
"Yeah, we just met him," Morgan replied, squinting to check the officer's name on his wet uniform. He neglected to mention exactly how they had met the officer.
"You two need to head over to City Hall right now," said Hotch. "The Governor and Mayor will both be there. We'll brief you via teleconferencing when you get there."
"What's going on, Hotch? I'm getting the feeling that this situation, whatever it is, is bad and urgent?" Morgan asked.
"You're getting the right feeling," Hotch answered. "It's too complicated to explain over the phone..."
Before he could hang up, Hotch heard Reid's voice through the phone. He recognized it as Reid's little girl voice, excited and nervous all at once.
"Hotch? How bad is it? Just give us a number? How many victims?"
"Known victims: zero," Hotch replied. "Potential victims: ten to a hundred thousand," he hung up.
Morgan and Reid did not look at each other before they allowed themselves to be handcuffed and escorted off the field by Officer Dunn of the Boston Police Department. Whatever disaster was about to occur, a calm cheerful facade had to be maintained for the public. The public would notice something out of the ordinary if the two unruly fans were not arrested and escorted off the field in shame. Each of the two fans was lost in his own worst fears, his mind oscillating between the types of situations that could engender ten to a hundred thousand casualties. Now was a good time to be lost. Later, there would be no time for any form of the word "lose".