A Call to the Bullpen

Written by:
Jim Hamilton

Estimated Run Time:



"It looks like the manager is going to make a telephone call to the bullpen."

There is a buzz around the newsroom as people stand and watch the baseball game on the monitors.

"Two outs. Damon is on third and Mueller, representing the winning run, is on first. Rivera peers for a sign from his catcher... Working from the stretch... the delivery... outside... ball one."

Dan is seated on the edge of Jeremy´s desk. Dan intensely watches the game, while Jeremy sits and logically thinks out his assignment.

Dan: Come on, Jeremy. Watch this.

Jeremy: I can´t.

Dan: It will only be for a minute.

Jeremy: I´m already working behind.

"2-and-0 to Ortiz."

The buzz increases.

Dan: The winning run is on first, Jeremy. Rivera is either going to get him out, or Ortiz is going to win the game.

Jeremy: Or the tying run on third will be the only run to cross the plate, thus forcing extra innings.

Dan: So you´ve been listening.

Jeremy: You´ve been giving me play-by-play.

"Fastball... inside... called strike one."

Dan shakes his head at the sight of the wicked pitch.

Dan: Great pitch.

Jeremy shakes his head at the continued distractions from the game. He stands and collects everything he´ll need to finish his assignment.

Dan: What´s wrong?

Jeremy: I need to finish this, and I can´t do it with that on the monitors.

Dan: Even Henry Hackett would have taken a minute to watch this.

Jeremy: (sarcastic) Gosh, Dan. Somehow, some way, I´m going to help us sell more papers.

"Fouled off. Two-and-two."

Jeremy storms off in search of a secluded place to finish his assignment.

Dan: Suit yourself.

Dan continues to rest on the edge of Jeremy´s desk. Completely immersing himself in the game, he doesn´t react to the tap on his right shoulder.

"Rivera throws back to first... trying to keep Mueller from getting a good jump."

Dan: (to the monitor) Come on. Just worry about Ortiz.

Dan ignores the second tap on his shoulder.

"Breaking ball... fouled off. Still 2-and-2."

Dan´s attention is finally grabbed when his shoulder is "whapped" with some rolled papers. He turns to see Natalie staring at him with the same intensity as the pitcher trying to hold onto the lead.

Dan: What?

Natalie: I need to have a word with you.

Dan: Okay.

Dan turns toward to the monitor.

"Fouled off again. What a way for Ortiz to stay alive at the plate."

Natalie: Right now.

Dan: (still looking at the monitor) Okay.

Natalie: No. Right now.

Natalie "whaps" Dan again.

Dan turns and lunges for Natalie´s weapon of choice, but she´s quick to pull it out of his reach. Dan´s now focused on Natalie´s "game."

Dan: In a minute, Natalie.

Natalie: They do play 162 games, Danny.

Dan: This one´s different. If you look along the stands, there´s bunting.

Natalie: So?

Dan: They only break out the bunting on two occasions: the World Series and opening day.

Natalie: And the Fourth of July.

Dan: Three occasions.

Natalie: Don´t forget Memorial Day.

Dan: Natalie.

"Strike three, swinging! The game´s over!"

The room erupts with emotion. Dan throws his arms in the air, realizing he just missed the game-ending pitch. Natalie takes some small pleasure knowing Dan missed witnessing it firsthand.

Dan: Did you see that?! Did you see that?!

Natalie: (calmly) Yeah. Rivera got him with a nasty splitter. We can talk about it later.

Dan: Come on, Natalie! Why did you-

Natalie: Since the game is over, I suppose you´re available to have a word.

Dan: Right here?

Natalie: In private.

Dan flares his nostrils at Natalie´s timing. If anything, he´s going to decide where they will have "a word." Dan quickly decides it´s going to be in his office.

As the two enter Dan´s office, Dan attempts to start an offensive attack. But before he can begin, Natalie "whaps" him on the shoulder.

Natalie: What´s wrong with you?

Dan: Wh... what´s wrong with me? I´m the one being physically assaulted here.

Natalie: What are you trying to do? What are your intentions?

Dan: Your ambiguity allows me to offer this response: huh?

Natalie physically threatens to "whap" him once more.

Natalie: I can´t even fathom the thought of you going out with her.

Dan: Let me repeat myself: huh?

Natalie: You know darn well what you are doing... and don´t play ignorant with me. You´ve been spotted out with... Lorie.

Dan: Okay.

Natalie: Danny! You´re practically married to another woman!

Dan: JoAnne and I aren´t even practically engaged.

Natalie: And you´re willing to inflict Jeremy on top of that!

Dan: I don´t think I´m inflicting anybody with anything. Just let it go for the time being, Natalie.

Natalie: Let it go? Do you know what I think?

Dan: That you should stop hitting me.

Natalie: What is wrong with you?

Natalie rears her arm back, preparing to hit Dan with the rolled up papers. The action is interrupted when Dana, who is unaware of the fight, appears in the doorway.

Dana: Danny, that nasty splitter cost you twenty bucks.

Dan: I heard.

Dana takes notice of Dan´s defensive posture and Natalie´s intimidating pose.

Dana: And I suppose you also owe Natalie some money.

Natalie: He owes me ten bucks - but this involves something else.

Dana: Does it have anything to do with Casey?

Dan: (sarcastic) Yeah. Natalie trying to swat me like a fly has something to do with Casey.

Dana´s look tells Dan his statement was the wrong answer.

Dana: (to Natalie) Carry on.

Dana leaves the office, making Dan fend for himself.


Casey is sitting in a chair in front of Isaac´s desk. An annoyed Isaac attempts ignore Casey and do some paperwork. He fails at both as Casey continues to twaddle.

Isaac: (interrupting) Casey?

Casey: Yeah?

Isaac: You don´t work here.

Casey: Not yet.

Isaac: I´m talking about right now.

Casey: I thought we were talking about baseball.

Isaac: You were the one doing the talking.

Casey: That´s not really a conversation.

Isaac: Right.

Casey: Because it takes a minimum of two people conversing in order to have a conversation.

Isaac: Please don´t tell me we are having a conversation right now.

Casey: (shrugs his shoulders) We are conversing.

Isaac: I´ve got work to do.

Casey: You said you were almost done.

Isaac: Back then, I said I was almost done. Right now, I´m still almost done.

Casey: I´ll wait.

Isaac: Either quietly or wait outside.

Dana knocks on the open door.

Dana: There you are.

Isaac: Oh thank god.

Dana: I´m happy to see you too, Isaac.

Isaac: Take him away.

Dana: Is he bothering you?

Casey: We were having a conversation regarding baseball. Actually, it was more of an oration.

Dana: Did you get in on any of tonight´s action?

Casey: Did you take the Yankees?

Dana: You bet.

Casey: Good call.

Isaac: Get out. The both of you.

Dana: I thought you said you were almost done.

Isaac: I was. But now I´m thinking I have to review some applications for a new anchor and a new executive producer.

Casey, finally, and Dana take the not-so-subtle hint that it is time to leave. Casey quickly gets up.

Casey: We´ll converse later, Isaac.

Isaac: Uh-yeah. How about at three A.M. this morning?

Casey: You´ll be up that late?

Isaac: You probably won´t, which is why I´ll give you a call.

Casey: (unsure) Okay.

Casey and Dana leave Isaac alone.


In the studio, Dan notices the time clock ticking down to commercial.

Dan: (on-air) And in other National Lacrosse games: Rochester nipped Toronto 14 to 12, and Arizona stung Philadelphia by a score of 15 to 7.

We´ll be back to wrap things up and give you the answer to tonight´s trivia question. You´re watching "Sports Night" on CSC.

The red light above the camera goes dark.

Throughout the studio intercom, Dave can be heard calling, "We´re out."

Elliott carries a clipboard as he walks by the anchor desk.

Elliott: Two minutes back.

As Dan grabs his bottle of water, the corner of his eye catches someone approaching the desk. He simultaneously turns his chair and twists the bottle cap. He´s surprised to see Lorie approaching the desk.

Lorie: Hi.

Dan: This is a nice surprise.

Inside the control room, Natalie is the only one to notice what is occurring in the studio.

Natalie: Jeremy, I need you to go research the answer to tonight´s trivia question.

Jeremy´s head is buried into his laptop.

Jeremy: We have the answer. You typed it into the TelePrompTer.

Natalie: It´s wrong. I´ve just been told my online source is incorrect. I need for you to grab the baseball encyclopedia.

Dana: (confused) Natalie, who told-

Natalie: Hurry, Jeremy! We´ve got less than two minutes!

Jeremy: Why couldn´t somebody else-

Natalie: I´m counting on you, Jeremy!

Jeremy accepts Natalie´s orders and begins to leave the control room in the direction of the newsroom.

Dana: Jeremy?

Natalie: Run!

Jeremy quickly runs into the newsroom.

Dana: Natalie, why are you-

Natalie: I´m handling this.

Natalie jumps up, sprints into the studio, and leaves the crew in utter confusion to what is happening.

Dan takes a sip of water.

Lorie: There´s this brand new club that just opened up. It´s hot.

Dan: Sounds fun.

Lorie: We should go there tonight. It´s only a ten-dollar cover charge.

Dan: Unfortunately, I´m a little short due to baseball outcomes unforeseen.

Lorie: I´ll pay.

Dan: I suppose I´ll have to thank you later for your generosity.

The two are distracted by the thud caused by Natalie coming to a stop on the desk.

Natalie: Yeah, I need to talk with you.

Dan: Again?

Natalie: It´s about the trivia answer. It´s wrong.

Dan: You could have told me from the control room.

Natalie snatches Dan´s remaining script from the desk.

Dan: I can make the correction on my script.

Dan reaches for his copy. Natalie rips it in half.

Dan: Natalie!

Natalie: We´ll give you the correct answer.

Natalie bolts with the torn script.

Elliott can be heard over the intercom, "Thirty seconds back."

Lorie: I´ll meet you outside.

Dan hears Lorie, but looks in the direction of the control room.

Dan: Yeah. Okay.

Lorie walks off the set.

Natalie takes her seat inside the control room.

Dana: (to Natalie) Would you mind explaining to me-

Natalie: It´s not good for Danny to be presumptuous. And let that be a warning to everybody else.

Dana: That still doesn´t explain-

Natalie: There´s not going to be a problem, Dana.

Jeremy reenters the control room.

Jeremy: The answer is correct.

Natalie: My bad. I´m sorry about that, but I knew I could count on you, Jeremy.

Jeremy: Thanks, I guess.

Natalie: The good news is that with Dan´s losses from tonight´s games, technically, he´s buying a round of drinks for us.

The crew cheers.

Dave: Back in 5, 4, 3, 2...

Dan: (on-air) We´re back...

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