Episode 50 — Chapter 56
“Brad, I guess you’ve heard about our Mr. Cobb by now?”
“Yep, sure have.”
“So, what do we do now that we’ve found him?”
“That’s a good question. If you try to commit him now, you’ll have the whole state calling for your head. I think we need to bide our time and see what happens. I’m no baseball expert, but I can’t imagine some guy off the street succeeding very long in the major leagues.”
“It’s absurd,” Dr. Cantril agreed. “Although, it only makes sense that he’s played some baseball before… what else would have triggered his delusion about being a ball player?”
“It’s gotta be some kind of a publicity stunt. God knows the Braves have become irrelevant in recent years.”
“So, what’s the next step, counselor?”
“I suggest we wait and see what happens. Wait for Cobb to fall on his face. It’s inconceivable that he’ll last on the Braves squad for any length of time. I mean, you said it yourself, he’s obviously suffering from delusions of grandeur with paranoia, right?”
“So, when he’s released and he becomes yesterday’s news, that will be the time to act.”
Dr. Cantril took a deep breath and reflected for a moment. He had waited this long, he could wait a bit longer. The celebrity angle with his patient might also spark more publicity about the case, and at least Cobb had been found.
Cobb met Savannah in the hotel lobby just after noon. They embraced briefly and Cobb thanked her for the lovely flowers.
“You deserved far more for your incredible performance,” Savannah said with a wink in her eye. If there was a subtle message intended by the remark, it was lost on Cobb. The receptionist led the couple to their table.
“Have you read the newspapers yet?” Savannah asked.
Cobb shook his head.
“You’ve become an overnight celebrity! Everyone is speculating about your true identity. You can’t believe some of the stories out there. One writer claims that Bolt was grooming you in one of the Asian leagues under a different name and disguise. Another writer claims that you are some guy named Chase Ripley, a baseball prodigy who played for the University of Georgia. He apparently disappeared off the face of the earth last fall. Apparently the same size and build as you.”
“Lucky fellow,” Cobb added with a wink.
“And a very gifted left-handed hitter, too. But the piece that really got my attention is a story from the New York Times suggesting that the troubled spirit of the Detroit great had been wandering the world for years, waiting to possess a talented player, because he couldn’t bear the way the national pastime had become perverted.”
Cobb suddenly closed his eyes and appeared comatose, as if he was trying to summon a spirit from beyond.
“Stop it!” Savannah playfully hit Cobb. “You can’t be the real Ty Cobb; he’s not supposed to have a humorous bone in his body.”
Cobb’s eyes remained closed, but his palms raised up, sending a message to Savannah not to interrupt him; he was almost there.
Twenty seconds passed as Savannah tried to contain her laughter.
“Mr. Cobb’s gone, sorry,” he finally said in a weak disguised voice, shaking his head. “He said he’s through with me; he’s got some other players to haunt.”
“Aha! You finally admit it. So, you really are Chase Ripley?” Savannah’s eyes opened wide, daring Cobb to reveal himself.
Cobb leaned over and whispered, “I knew my secret couldn’t last.”
“Mystery solved. Well, you are much too young for me. Chase is barely twenty-one years old.”
“Wait, wait. I feel Mr. Cobb coming back…” Cobb began to tremble.
Savannah couldn’t restrain her laughter this time, but then tilted her head and gave her date a suspicious look. “Wait a minute! The real Ty Cobb wouldn’t know anything about mediums or psychics… would he?”
“You don’t think we had any of them where I come from?” Cobb gave a questioning look.
“I wouldn’t know,” Savannah confessed. “So what shenanigans are you going to pull tonight, Mister Cobb?”
Cobb put a finger to his lips, “You’ll just have to watch to find out.”
Cobb finished his braised short ribs in a rich broth of potatoes, carrots, onions and mushrooms, while Savannah dabbed at her salad of sliced pears, fried walnuts and onion rings, mixed with black truffle cheese and apple cider dressing.
“Ty, I’m flying back to St. Louis this evening. So bummed out I’ll miss your game tonight. But duty calls…”
“You’re abandoning me after just one game?” Cobb feigned a look of betrayal.
“Don’t worry. I’ll be back soon. I am so very proud of you,” Savannah placed her hand on Cobb’s. “And, I have a feeling you’re going to be very busy too, now that you have a job to do.”
“And what job is that?”
“Get the Braves into first place, of course.”