By Mary Paoletti
SCENE: Inside the New York Yankees steam room. JORGE POSADA sits along one wall, MARIANO RIVERA sits across from him along the other. DEREK JETER sits at the back wall, between his teammates. The silence mixes in heavily with the humidity.
RIVERA: The Yankees I think they want me to change my number.
JETER: Opens one eye What are you talking about, Mo?
RIVERA: I keep hearing they don't like 42. That there's no real future in 42. That 42 is maybe past its prime and its time for the Yankees to move on. See? They want me to change my number.
POSADA and JETER look at each other. They look away.
POSADA: Here we go.
JETER: Gently Mo, I think they're talking about you. Your age. You're turning 42 this year, aren't you?
RIVERA: So what? A 1-0 record and 1.80 ERA is not so bad. I am Mr. Clutch. A living legend! I am the Sandman; I put batters to bed. Get it? That's why they picked that one Metallica song for me...
POSADA: Yeah, Metallica. We get it. I'm guessing Cashman isn't thrilled about the three blown saves.
RIVERA: At least I'm not throwing temper tantrums like you. 'Oh, wah-wah, I got dropped in the order. Time to stomp off to my room and pout.' Maybe you miss your afternoon nap that day, ah, Jorge?
POSADA: Speak for yourself, grandpa.
JETER: Raises arms Guys! Guys! Same team! Same team! You need to be more supportive. You're both going through the same thing. It's tough for any athlete to get older and feel like his time in pro sports is running out. I mean, I can only imagine how hard it is for you. Leans back and shuts his eyes
POSADA and RIVERA stare at JETER.
POSADA: What kind of denial are you snorting right now?
RIVERA: Ya, man. You kidding?
JETER: What? I'm not getting old! What did you do the day I had four hits and two home runs against Texas, Jorge?
POSADA: Oh, I'm sorry. That was what, two weeks ago? Must've forgotten. Shields dressing you down with three strikeouts is a little fresher in my memory, el Capitan.
JETER: Yelling Who's been there for you? I have! Who stuck up for you when you freaked out about being dropped to 9th? I did!
RIVERA: Aside Big baby.
POSADA: Shoots RIVERA a look. Turns back to JETER You stuck up for me because you were scared, didn't you? You're scared that they're going to take you behind the barn, too.
All three men fall silent. JETER starts to cry.
JETER: Minka tells me after I strike out that a man is only as old as he feels.
POSADA: How long you think she's gonna want to feel your old man
JETER: Cuts POSADA off BITE YOUR TONGUE, RATFACE.
RIVERA: I feel like my joints hurt. And I have no control over my bowels.
The room is again silent.
JETER: Tilts his head back and stares at the ceiling So what do we do?
The three teammates are momentarily lost in thought.
RIVERA: Let's do something fun. I'll call Bernie.
RIVERA: Ya! I don' think he's busy today. We can all go out to dinner.
JETER: Checks his watch It's 5 o'clock.
RIVERA: Smiles, claps JETER on the back Yes, my friend! But I gotta get to bed soon.
JETER wipes his tears with the back of his hand and laughs.
POSADA: Rolls eyes Oh, come on now.
JETER and RIVERA laugh harder. They stand and walk toward the door.
POSADA: Looks confused Derek, did you seriously think that was funny? Derek?
The door shuts. POSADA sits alone. After a few minutes he stands and walks to the door, hand on his aching shoulder.
POSADA: To no one It wasn't funny.