© Player Season Inc.

All rights reserved.

This book was a best-seller on Amazon, before I decided to let everyone read it for free.

Here are some of the real characters in this true story.


Brad Stephenson
BJ Upton
David Wright
Justin Upton
Liz
Jenn Sterger
Kat Lynx
Paulina
Evan Longoria
David Price
Scott Kazmir
Ryan Howard
Jennifer Lynn
Reva
Cailin Greene
Brittany
Paul Wall
Charles Barkley
Derek Jeter
Ryan Zimmerman
Rachel
Nancy
Jenna
Fawn
Joe Kelly
Gary Sheffield
T.I.
Busta Rhymes
Jessica Ferguson
Christina
Annie
Bibi Jones


Table of Contents

Introduction

Chapter 1 - Igniter

Chapter 2 - Busted

Chapter 3 - Shots Fired

Chapter 4 - Mailbox Baseball

Chapter 5 - East Carolina

Chapter 6 - Cape Cod Part I

Chapter 7 - VCU

Chapter 8 - Year Off

Chapter 9 - Cape Cod Part II

Chapter 10 - Arizona & Las Vegas

Chapter 11 - World Series 2008

Chapter 12 - 'Lacey'

Chapter 13 - D.C. and Spring Training

Chapter 14 - Miami

Chapter 15 - Job with Scott Kazmir

Chapter 16 - Arizona & New York

Chapter 17 - New Years Disaster

Chapter 18 - Meeting "Natalia"

Chapter 19 - Mandalay Bay & Charles Barkley

Chapter 20 - Paul Wall & The Threesome

Chapter 21 - A New Path

Chapter 22 - Private Jet to Tampa

Chapter 23 - Tricking Longoria and Harper

Chapter 24 - Brett Favre & Jenn Sterger

Chapter 25 - Hacking Nike

Chapter 26 - Jamaica and Willie Jigba

Chapter 27 - Player Season Leaks

Chapter 28 - Raided By the Secret Service

Chapter 29 - Hit The Lights



To be a good guy, the names of a few individuals have been changed.

If anyone in the book wants something removed, all you have to do is ask.



Intro

"Brad! We know you're in there!"

The Secret Service knocked on my door, and I knew why they were there. In fact, their arrival was long overdue; they should have come for me five months ago.

I quietly scrounged around my desk for the only proof linking me to the crime – my external hard drive.

"Brad! Open the door!"

Their requests were ignored; I tiptoed past the front door and into the spare bedroom of my recently acquired penthouse condo. Crime paid well, but it was coming to an end. Panic was setting in as I struggled to find an adequate hiding spot to conceal this vital piece of evidence.

"Brad! Open the door or we're coming in!"

My adrenaline spiked, my heart rapidly pulsated, sending shockwaves through my body, echoing in both arms.

Time was running out. I frantically sprinted towards my balcony, slung the door wide open, gained two steps of momentum and launched the hard drive into the Arizona sun – watching as it splashed in the lake below.

An earsplitting bash and a stampede of Secret Services agents immediately followed. They rushed into my room, wearing bulletproof vests on top of plain clothes and surrounded me with their guns drawn. I dropped to my knees and placed my hands behind my head.

"Get on the fucking ground!"

Two agents dragged me to the living room, each pressing a knee into my back as they bounded me in handcuffs.

The last three years of my life were spent picking up girls for professional athletes. I couldn't help but wonder how it all came to this...



Igniter

I suppose it all began in the third grade when I was suspended for lighting toilet paper on fire – on the very first day of school.

My alarm clock let out a loud and tumultuous shriek, forcing me to roll out of bed in the morning. I rubbed my eyes to escape the confusion, slipped on a pair of corduroy pants, donned my favorite black t-shirt and grabbed a tarnished green backpack from the chair; reluctantly en route to my first class.

While peddling down the street on my BMX bike, I decided to make a pit stop in the woods next to the school. The path of trails lying within were well known as a place the older kids went to smoke cigarettes and look at stashed Playboy magazines ... and this is exactly what I planned on doing.

Once I arrived at the secret location, I quickly rested my bike against the dirt and clutched a pack of Marlboro red's from my backpack. After scanning the surroundings to make sure the coast was clear, I pulled the white lighter out of my pocket, ignited the cusp and took a deep drag until I coughed uncontrollably ... the telltale sign of a novice.

Buried underneath a stack of leaves and pinecones sat the holy cache of pornography, waiting to be unearthed. I reached for the most recent edition of Playboy, sat down on a moss-covered rock and puffed my cigarette – passing judgment as each page turned.

The fragrance of smoke strongly exuded from my clothes as I gallantly walked through the front door, an aroma most students this age only smelled on their grandmother.

Sitting slouched in a wooden desk, I began to conjure a rebellious way to overcome my boredom. Knowing I was likely the only kid in school with a lighter, I decided my day would be more entertaining if I escaped to the bathroom and set something ablaze.

The first spark was ignited just below the bathroom light switch, melting the plastic down until it resembled hot wax dripping off a candle.

Every roll of toilet paper was then stacked up, engulfed in flames and ultimately burnt to a crisp.

My teacher stood outside the door just moments later. I quickly hid the lighter in my sock.

"Brad, where is the lighter?" she asked.

"What lighter?" I responded, while maintaining direct eye contact.

I wasn't aware the stench of burned toilet paper quickly spread through my classroom and out into the hallway. Because of this, I disavowed any knowledge of her allegations.

After shaking her head in disgust, the teacher grabbed my shirt and escorted me to the principal's office for further interrogation.

I glanced back at the classroom of terrified students, spectators of my plight, and shrugged my shoulders as if I were the product of false accusations.

The principal was an old, pudgy man with weathered skin and glasses far too small for his immeasurable face.

"Brad, we know what you did," he said.

"I seriously have no idea what you're talking about," I replied.

"The whole hallway smells like smoke, and it was coming from the bathroom YOU were in," stated the suspicious principal.

"I don't know what to tell you, but this comes as a surprise to me. I didn't smell anything," I countered.

After making a long series of denials, I finally pulled the lighter out of my sock and slapped it firmly on the desk.

I was probably the only third grader to ever receive ten days out of school suspension, but this was only the beginning of my troubles. Let's just say the next time was more embarrassing.



Busted

Then there was the time I got busted getting a handjob in the school stairwell. Unfortunately, this didn't take place in third grade.

It happened during the 10th grade. I strolled into school with my head settled high, wearing a black mesh varsity baseball uniform with teal numbers imprinted firmly on the back. The swagger I carried possessed an air of confidence which falsely suggested I was better than everyone else, simply because I played baseball. As they say; pride comes before the fall.

During the last class of the day, I cruised the halls looking for anything to occupy my time in place of listening to the teacher lecture us about marine biology. I was a straight A student; I only studied the night before a test.

At the tail end of my venture, I noticed a short and petite curly redheaded girl walking in front of me. She wore a blue denim dress with white sneakers, and during this juncture, she was presentable.

Emboldened by the jersey on my back, I approached her and sparked a simple conversation. After whispering a few sweet-nothings in her ear, my hormones took over and lead us to an empty stairwell separating the first and second floor. We then settled on a platform halfway between each floor, leaned up against the wall and instantly began making out.

The truth is I enjoyed breaking the rules and so far I felt accomplished in that respect; I never knew it was so easy to skip class and lock lips with a girl – but she wanted to take it a step further.

Unexpectedly, the situation was escalated when she reached for my zipper and let the hog out of its cage. This brought on a simultaneous emotional response; I was both stunned and honored.

Messing around with girls was already common practice and I considered myself a master of persuasion for my age (Chapter 21 discusses female persuasion in detail), but I still felt uneasy about doing this on school grounds.

However, I couldn't just tell her to stop.

She carried on for the next five minutes, churning away as her cheekbones clinched and her eyes leered towards me with sheer determination.

One part of me wanted to laugh over her resolute demeanor, but the better part of me wanted to continue enjoying the free labor she was providing. Still, I was weary of being caught in the act, and was too busy surveying each entrance for unwanted intruders.

In the end, the paranoia outperformed the pleasure and I politely suggested we split ways while we still had the chance. She nodded in approval and then vanished through the first floor exit without saying a word. I ascended to the second floor exit and then it dawned on me; I didn't even know her name.

Like most people, I slept in until the very last second so I was still partly asleep when I arrived at school the next day. Then the overhead intercom speakers turned on with a personaLaceyed announcement; I was about to get an effective wake up call.

"We need to see Brad Stephenson in the principals' office."

Typically it's bad news when you're called down to the principals' office, but at the time I had no idea what it was about. I should have been more aware because I wasn't prepared for the questions to come.

I sat down in a leather seat in front of Mrs. Turner, a strict disciplinarian who rarely gave leniency to anyone. She wore a red turtleneck sweater, low hanging reading glasses and shiny new perm. After taking a deep breath, she set her eyes upon me and smirked.

"What were you doing in the stairwell yesterday?" she asked.

"I wasn't in the stairwell yesterday," I replied, knowing I was screwed.

"That's funny. You want to know why that's funny? Because we have a video tape showing you in the stairwell," she said, smirking once again.

"That's impossible. Show me this video so I can prove it wasn't me." I said, buying myself time until the bitter end.

I'm not sure if I was more embarrassed having two people watch me being jerked off or if it was the first few seconds of the video when I realized I was wearing my baseball uniform. How could I mount a defense when I had a unique identifier on the back of my jersey? In spite of this, my assistant coach still tried to help me out.

I stood behind them and remained hopeful...but I knew she wasn't convinced. The tape continued as both their eyes were pierced on the screen, I don't know why but I just couldn't watch.

Once they finished viewing the hard part (pun intended), more footage from the other cameras was brought into play to track my ensuing movements. This eventually revealed the class I came from and my alibi had effectively run dry.

I was taken back to the principals' office, where I was told my redheaded partner in crime had already answered their questions, confessed and identified me in the yearbook. In conclusion, the girl and I were both given ten days out of school suspension.

The worst part–by far–was the day I returned to school after serving my punishment.

Normally a walk of shame involves the act of leaving or exiting a given situation, but for me, it happened when I entered the front door. Everyone I knew was openly snickering and by chance, or bad luck, I saw the girl a few seconds later.

Only this time, she wasn't wearing a nice dress or anything even remotely presentable. In fact, it was quite the opposite. She had the audacity to wear an oversized and ragged Jeff Gordon t-shirt, patched jeans and muddy shoes. She was a walking pigpen.

For the next few months, my teammates referred to the girl as 'Jeff Gordon' and I was given two distinct monikers: 'Stairwell' and 'Stair Master'. However, this story took a backseat when my friends and I were shot at.



Shots Fired

Speaking of teammates, three of them were my closest friends: "Hawk", Kyle and Justin. One day, someone tried to shoot us.

Hawk was very competitive, always rocked a buzz-cut with a widow's peak and was seldom seen wearing anything besides athletic clothes. In stature, he was of an average height paired with a slender frame and a chiseled face. He was the wild card of the group, an intimidation specialist. We never knew if he was going to quietly and sympathetically talk to a girl or if he would lash out and punch some guy in the face for looking at him the wrong way.

Kyle was the opposite of Hawk, believing in peace, not war. He towered above the rest of us at 6'5" with curly brown hair and the face of a newborn child. He wore surfing clothes with dark sunglasses and was more interested in going to the beach than he was hitting baseballs in a cage. A social being; almost never had a problem with anyone and prided himself on being liked by everyone.

Justin was the most talented of the groupby a long shot. He was taller than Hawk and me but fell a few inches short of Kyle, his hair was closely trimmed with freshly cut sideburns and the body of a full-grown man. Justin's brother, BJ Upton, was already selected #2 overall in the Major League Baseball draft and Justin almost certainly faced a similar fate. He was the guy you wanted to compete with but in reality–you couldn't. All you could do is try to keep up with him. Justin liked to have fun but he was cautious because unlike the rest of us, his career was lined up and waiting for him.

The four of us spent most of our days lounging around Kyle's house, playing video games. Kyle's parents were always willing to lend a helping hand and their most recent gesture of goodwill was allowing another teammate of ours, JD, to live with them once he became homeless.

On a Friday afternoon, JD's phone began ringing while we all sat on the couch watching SportsCenter. The call was from his girlfriend, and she delivered news no guy ever wants to hear – she was cheating on him.

"What is his fucking name?" JD screamed.

His name was Adrian, and naturally, JD wanted to fight him.

Hawk knew Adrian so he quickly gave his number to JD, whose face was now glowing red with anger. No, Hawk didn't do this out of the kindness of his heart; he simply wanted to instigate and then be entertained by a fight. Either way, JD called Adrian and challenged him to a duel.

"He wants us to meet in an open field," JD announced, after making the call in solitude.

"You're not doing that, tell them the fight is going to be here," Kyle's dad quickly responded, likely with the same intentions as Hawk.

Kyle's house was positioned in the center of a court, or a cul-de-sac, in a suburban neighborhood. The fight was scheduled to go down at 8PM, so we had a few hours to spare to gather the troops for war.

While JD called his friend for backup, Hawk approached me slowly nodding his head, and asked to have a word on the back deck. I assumed his plan, whatever it may be, was designed to make the fight more interesting.

"We should go pick up Ted," suggested Hawk, confirming my suspicion.

"Yeah, that's probably a good idea," I told him.

Hawk aligned himself with large, African American people and Ted was a large, African American person. Although he was only 15 years old, he stood at a staggering 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighed around 250 pounds – a good asset to have at any fight. His reputation was that of a loose cannon, and his dreadlocks served as corroboration.

So Hawk and I drove to Ted's house, picked him up and explained the situation on our way back to Kyle's.

"Oh, this shits about to get cracking huh?" said an excited Ted, even though the fight had absolutely nothing to do with him.

Once we arrived, we noticed 30 people were gathered outside the house, all of them allied forces. No matter what army the other side showed up with; Hawk and I brought Ted, The Incredible Hulk.

"Brad, can I grab this baseball bat out yo' trunk?" Ted asked.

"Have at it man," I told him.

Everyone was lined up in the driveway of Kyle's house, waiting for the other side to arrive. I was strategically positioned beside Hawk and Ted in the front yard; the street at the end of the cul-de-sac was approximately 200 feet away. Suddenly, six cars pulled up and parked in the middle of the road – it was the calm before the storm.

The first person to appear began walking directly towards us. He was Hispanic, short and heavyset with a shaved head; much older than the rest of us and he wore a black t-shirt with blue jeans sagging a few inches below his waistline.

I didn't know who he was but I did know there was something in his hand. Once he got close enough – I realized it was a gun. For me, this was the first time seeing a gun in real life, so I was apprehensive, to say the least.

The Hispanic stopped ten yards from the driveway, and pointed the gun at us sideways.

"Who's talking shit?" he called out.

At this point I began slowly backing up because I knew I wasn't going to say anything. I'm a fan of rap music, but I wasn't willing to be shot over such a foolish pretense.

The brazened Hispanic didn't expect a rebuttal, nor did I think anyone on our side possessed the balls to confront him; after all, he did have a gun – but then Ted spoke up.

"I'M TALKING SHIT!" Ted challenged, his dreadlocks now looking more like a lion's mane.

Ted took a few steps forward, tapping the baseball bat against his other hand.

No one in his or her right mind would say this to a person with a gun; I was shocked. His courage was impressive but a bat doesn't exactly match up too well; I just couldn't fathom his thought process.

Ted slowly lifted the bat to shoulder height and pointed it directly at the now bewildered Hispanic.

"Why do you have that gun baby?" Ted bellowed.

"Why do you have that bat?" replied the less-confident Hispanic.

Ted's eyes descended on his own remarkably ill-fitted baggy white t-shirt and continued a downward trajectory until he was staring at his own shoes pressed against the grassy null of Kyle's front yard.

Everyone was quiet, anticipating Ted's response, which would inevitably be forged into our memory for life. His eyes raised and his body flickered – then he snapped.

"MAN, FUCK THIS BAT!" as he slammed it against the lawn, leaving an imprint only surpassed by Thor's hammer.

"Oh, you want to go?" the Hispanic replied, while placing the gun in his waistband, acknowledging consent for hand-to-hand combat.

Just before the juggernauts clashed, JD squared up against Adrian, who was also Hispanic, but well built and nearly a foot taller.

"So you're Adrian?" JD calmly asked.

"That's right," Adrian casually confirmed.

JD rushed in for the tackle and they both wrestled around on the ground, neither of them noticeably gaining the upper hand. Their fight was supposed to be the main event, but no one cared; everyone had their eyes on Ted and the imminent heavyweight bout.

Like two wild grizzlies fighting over the right to mate, they converged. Ted swiftly grappled the Hispanic around the neck with both arms as they slammed into a parked car. His python grip left the Hispanic utterly defenseless as he pounded on the back of his head with a series of punishing blows.

Ted pushed him away, leaving the Hispanic in a noticeable daze. His plan was to finish him – by landing a haymaker.

Like a predator stalking its prey, Ted walked up behind him, lifted the Hispanic into the air and slammed him on the driveway face down. While his adversary laid motionless with one cheek pressed against the pavement, Ted took two steps and walloped him in the side of his face.

A girl intervened, crying and begging Ted not to punch him anymore. Her interference unwittingly gave the Hispanic a chance to stand up.

This is when he reached for the gun constricted in his waistline and "POW! " ... one shot into the air.

I didn't hesitate for a second; I immediately turned around, sprinted and literally hurdled the fence to Kyle's back yard. This was fight or flight in its purest sense, an inherent trait, indigenous to us all.

Without breaking stride, I turned the corner and discovered Justin and Kyle were already wisely positioned on the back porch. None of us even said a word to each other; we simply sat there in disbelief.

Five minutes went by and no more gunshots were heard. I wanted to know what was going on so I ventured back towards the front of the house and quietly walked through the side gate, crouching down behind a car in the driveway.

When I peeked around the corner, I noticed JD and Adrian were still rumbling around on the ground.

Then I saw Ted, wearing his unmistakable white t-shirt drooping a few inches above the knees, running around the cul-de-sac waving his arms vehemently. He was flaunting his triumphant victory – the threat of bullets didn't seem to bother him.

I looked over to Adrian and JD as they both stood up and backed away from one another, acknowledging their fight was over.

At this point, the Hispanic and everyone with him were in mid-retreat to the fleet of vehicles at the end of the court – I will never forget what I saw next.

I made sure to keep my eye on the Hispanic during his entire departure and he remained my focal point as he wedged himself into the backseat of a four-door sedan. The door slammed shut, the window gradually slid lower and then his face pivoted towards us.

"BANG! BANG! BANG! " three shots were fired.

I remember it so vividly; each shot transmitted a luminous spark with six separate and distinct reddish-orange flashes encompassing the barrel. It was slow motion to me, but their cars vanished with–what seemed like–comparable speed to the bullets, which had unknowingly whizzed right by us.

For all I knew, the gun could have been fake ... it could have been a cap gun. I wanted to see if everyone was safe so I scurried through the garage and into the house.

As I opened the door, I saw Kyle's mom distraught in tears. This was the point when I realized we weren't dealing with a cap gun.

"What happened?" I calmly asked her.

"There are three bullet holes in my house!" she said, followed by a flood of tears.

I meandered across the tiled kitchen floor, where I noticed one bullet hole in a wooden cabinet; apparently the second mark in its path after penetrating the window next to the front door.

Then I darted through the dining room to inspect the window and discovered it was still intact, leaving just a slight crevice. I always assumed a gunshot caused glass to shatter, at least that's how it's been portrayed in movies.

Two more bullet holes came directly through the front door, which was disturbing because it was supposedly enforced by steel-plates. The reality of the situation was overwhelming so we all went upstairs to calm down and get a grip on what happened.

Most of us sat down, but not Justin; he was so shaken up he began dry heaving in the middle of the room. It may have been bad timing, but I couldn't stop myself from laughing at his expense. Some things are just funny, regardless of circumstance (Chapter 9 details another one of Justin's weird mannerisms, when he pissed on my sleeping teammate in Cape Cod).

The police eventually showed up and sealed off the entire block, effectively marking it off as a crime scene. They placed numbered tags on every shell case scattered in front of the house.

Unfortunately, this wouldn't be the last time Ted found himself in a similar scenario. He died two years later from a gunshot wound to the head and was left bleeding in the middle of the street. It was a sad ending for him but I will never forget the bravery he showed that night – he very likely saved our lives.



Mailbox Baseball

Several months later, "Hawk", Kyle, Justin and my friend Goose came over for a night of drinking.

"Do you care if I take your car to give Upton a ride home?" asked the 6'4" Goose at the end of the night.

"Sure," I told him.

The following morning, Goose and I jumped inside my black Jeep Grand Cherokee to go hit baseballs at the local batting cage – Goose was quiet.

It wasn't until AFTER we finished hitting when I noticed a HUGE dent on the passenger side. The paint was demolished and the panel above my front right tire was completely caved in. It was clear something happened when Goose and Justin took my car, and it most likely involved hitting an immovable metal object.

"Do you see this??" I asked Goose.

"Dude! What the hell happened??" replied a straight-faced Goose.

"Obviously someone wrecked my car," I told him.

"That's crazy, we didn't even see it this morning," said Goose.

I knew Goose and Justin were the ones responsible, but I began driving without saying another word – I wanted the guilt to weigh down on Goose's conscience.

"Goose, what happened?" I questioned him, ten minutes later.

"Man, Upton wanted to play mailbox baseball. We ran into one of the mailboxes when he was swinging. He made me swear not to tell you," Goose confessed.

Mailbox baseball is when one person drives while the other person hangs out the passenger side window and swings a baseball bat – crushing every mailbox that passes by.

A phone call to Justin was placed ... on speakerphone.

"Hey man, there's a huge crater on the right side of my car, do you know what happened?" I asked him.

"Nah man. Didn't see it last night, did you ask Goose?" Justin replied.

"Yeah, he said he has no clue. I didn't even see it this morning, just wondering if you knew anything about it," I said, baiting him.

"Nope, nothing happened before Goose dropped me off," he said, committing to the lie.

I looked over at Goose and smiled.

"That's funny, because I lied! Goose told me you were playing mailbox baseball!" I explained.

"Sorry Upton," chimed Goose.

"Damnit Goose! Whatever man, I'll send BJ to your house to pay for the damages, it was worth it," Justin announced, before hanging up.

Hours later, BJ came rolling up my gravel driveway in a brand new white Escalade on 24 inch rims. The window rolled down, exposing BJ's face, a beanie resting just above his eyes.

"He's stupid man, how much is it gonna be?" BJ asked.

"Probably $400," I said, at which point BJ unrolled and began counting an enormous stack of 20-dollar bills.

"You know this isn't the first time he's done that. He wrecked my car awhile back, and instead of telling me about it, he wrote 'ASSHOLE' in marker on the windows to make it look like my ex-girlfriend did it. He's trifling," said BJ, laughing as he drove away.

The summer before my senior year was the most crucial time to perform at baseball if I wanted to successfully move on to the next level; whether it be college or professional.

Countless hours sweating and chugging protein shakes finally proved to be worthwhile because when it came time for the East Coast Professional Showcase, I was one of the lucky few selected.

Our team was comprised of the top players in Virginia and North Carolina; one of eight teams in attendance for a weeklong exhibition designed to uncover our talents in front of prospective college coaches and professional scouts.

Truthfully, I didn't feel like I belonged, my selection to this team should have provided me with a nuance of self-assurance, but it didn't. Although I was personally accomplished, I could never feel that way beside Justin and it didn't help that he was on this team with me.

We carried our gear to the stadium, located on the campus at UNC-Wilmington, and became acclimated with our surroundings on the field. The stadium seats spanned from first base to third base, furnished by a large overhang providing shade for spectators.

Each team was outfitted with uniforms from a particular Major League Baseball team; ours were the Chicago Cubs. After filling out a player questionnaire and suiting up, it was time to hit the field.

Our first evaluating task was the dreaded 60-yard dash. Running speed wasn't exactly my biggest asset as a catcher; actually, it was my biggest liability. Sitting in the stands were 500 college and professional scouts, bundled together with stopwatches in hand.

Our coach approached us on the field and made a group announcement.

"OK, we're going to be running in pairs, in alphabetical order," he said.

This revelation was somewhat of a relief for me, having a last name beginning with 'S' meant there was more time to get ready. Well, I thought it was relief, until I realized who I was paired to run with.

"Stephenson and Upton, you're next!" the coach yelled.

Justin slyly turned to me with a shit-eating grin on his face.

It couldn't have been any worse; Justin was the fastest high school baseball player in the country. My fate was sealed; I was about to be embarrassed.

Once I adjusted the jersey over my pudgy stomach and tucked it into my loosely fit pants, I glanced over at Justin and wondered if I was preparing to race a human or some type of mix-breed between a human and a horse.

Justin decided to give me a few words of wisdom before the race.

"Just try to catch me," he advised, still sporting the same shit-eating grin.

"Yeah, like that's going to work," I replied.

The starting point was just beyond third base and the finish line was marked ten feet behind home plate, all in a stretch of foul territory grass. We both placed our lead foot parallel to an orange cone and anticipated our coach dropping his hat, which was the signal to go.

I needed any advantage I could get so I read the coaches body language and jumped the gun a split second early.

BOOM! I was off like a cannon! Two steps in and I was actually ahead of Justin. The steps to follow, however, were quite different from the first two.

The best way to accurately describe the remainder of the race would be to picture a jacked cheetah against a tranquiLaceyed polar bear, which had just awoken from hibernation.

When I finally crossed the finish line, I was hunched over, huffing and puffing. Justin, on the other hand, walked up to me without a single trace of exhaustion.

"What the fuck man?" I asked him, with the scarce breath I had available.

"I told you to chase me!" He said, smiling as the scouts salivated.

His finish time was 6.19 seconds and mine was 7.23 seconds. He beat me by a full second, which is basically unheard of when it comes to 60-yard dash times.

Although I was slow, I made up for it on defense with a strong throwing arm and all it takes is one game or even one performance for someone to see potential in your abilities.

I accepted an athletic scholarship to East Carolina University. At the time, I didn't envision having dead birds placed in my shoe and firecrackers thrown at my head during freshman year.



East Carolina

My senior year ended with two notable events.

I broke up with my high school girlfriend who, possibly in retaliation, went on to become a professional softball player. She was the skinny and swift type of softball player, not the...umm...other kind.

Secondly, I was suspended from school for going to a strip club while our baseball team was in Cocoa Beach, FL.

Nonetheless, I was on my way to East Carolina University; a place well known for wild parties and curvaceous country girls.

When I got there, I realized I would have very little time to enjoy those amenities and this became abundantly clear during our first workout session...

Draped in purple shorts and a grey t-shirt, I stepped in knowing how rigorous their workouts were rumored to be, and the rumors were spot on. After lifting weights for an hour, the strength coach delivered devastating news.

"OK guys, meet me outside for a five mile run!"

Running was my archenemy (for the time being).

I stayed in the back of the pack, careening through the pasture, ultimately finishing in 57 minutes (a little over 11 minutes per mile).

When I stumbled back to my dorm room, my teammate was doing schoolwork on his laptop. His workout wasn't until later in the day.

"How was it?" he asked, as I limped towards my bed.

Before I could answer him, a waterfall of fluids came rushing out of my mouth and splattered in the center of our carpeted floor. I gave him a quick look, gasped, wiped the excess drool from my mouth and collapsed onto the mattress – I think his question was answered.

These workouts persisted, week after week, only having Sunday to rest and recharge. College was supposed to be the most enjoyable time of my life, filled with drunken nights and promiscuous girls, but it was beginning to feel like I joined the military.

The following week, I failed to wake up the following morning in time for our workout and when I showed up 15 minutes late, our coach told everyone to meet on the track at 7am – he had his own way of dealing with late arrivals.

It was early, the air was cold, the wind was brisk and I was surrounded by disgruntled teammates. Their irritation was justified; after all, I was the sole reason they were there. The annoyance soon transformed into anger when our coach revealed what the punishment would be.

"As you all know, Brad was late. As a result, you will all be running around this track for the next hour. That is, everyone except for Brad, he's going to stand here and watch you do it," he said, capping off his edict with a distasteful glance.

Part of me was secretly happy I didn't have to run, but hiding it was a must. Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, sharply turned their attention towards me, followed by a flood of insults.

"Asshole."

"Cocksucker."

"Piece of shit."

"Dickhead."

I stood and watched as they all took off in a pack. I assumed they were talking shit about me the entire time, but I was certain they were talking shit about me each time they passed.

Half way through their trek, one of them decided to douse me in the face with a bottle of Gatorade; it was a direct hit. I couldn't react, I deserved it and I had to become acquainted with a new reality – I was severely disliked.

When it was over, I walked ahead of them by myself, a lone wolf. Moments later, an upperclassman tossed a rock at me, lightly striking my back. Gatorade to the face was one thing, but they took it too far, so I reached down, grabbed the biggest rock I could find and aimlessly threw it back at them as hard as I could.

"Hey man, chill out," one of them said, as I marched on.

I was chilled out, I just couldn't let them think I was the guy you could throw rocks at. If I was an outcast, I was certainly going to be the crazy outcast you didn't want to mess with.

However, it soon became clear that my reaction only made them want to mess with me even more.

The following week, I bent down to put my right shoe on and felt a mushy object hit my toe. Upon further inspection, I realized there was a dead bird inside my shoe; the whole locker-room erupted in laughter.

It still wasn't over; they were planning to strike again.

This time, it was at a house party. I typically get too drunk for my own good and this night wasn't any different. Eventually, I found myself in the bed of a pickup truck parked in the front yard, slipping in and out of consciousness. Seconds later, a teammate tapped me on the shoulder.

"Hey man, you better go upstairs, they're about to come out here and do something to you," he said, as though he was worried.

Only I didn't know this was the beginning stage of a coup, and his monologue laced with concern was simply an act to lure me upstairs; where they were going to do something to me.

Once my teammate closed the door to the upstairs bedroom; the trap was set. The next thing I remember was waking up to a loud hissing noise next to my ear.

"Ssssssssssssssssssshhhh... "

I bolted up like I was shocked with a defibrillator, moving out harms way just in time.

"CRACK POP CRACK POP CRACK !"

This noise came from an entire pack of firecrackers tossed directly at my head. Unfortunately, I was too inebriated to strike back and I awoke the next morning in a different bedroom – my body completely covered in flour.

Springtime came and my career as a college baseball player was officially under way.

Our team was ranked top 25 in the nation and I was second string, but the starting catcher began struggling in the middle of the season and I took advantage of my opportunity – until a pregame celebration got in the way.

Yes, a PREGAME celebration. At the start of each game, our coach met with the umpires at home plate and sprinted towards our awaiting huddle immediately after. Once he arrived, we pushed and shoved him around to get the energy flowing; it was basically a royal rumble.

I did this numerous times without any complications but for some reason I decided to be 'Tommy Tough-nuts' and was the first to make impact with our coach, which turned out to be a season-ending mistake.

As he neared, I built up centripetal force and lunged in, but I was shoved from behind just before making my leap. This uncalculated push jammed my hand against his chest, causing it to roll back in a very unorthodox way. I fell to the ground and proceeded to be trampled on from above. My window of opportunity to play, which only recently opened up, was now closed.

My wrist was severely sprained; I couldn't practice and I couldn't play. Instead of being smart about my recovery, I lost interest and began spending time with a girl I met earlier in the year; we'll call her ECU Brittany.

She was the first girl I laid eyes on after boldly entering the sorority house alone. Her long dirty blonde hair and big brown eyes complemented a warm welcoming smile. She wore a baby blue silk halter-top with black pants and strapless heels – an outfit failing to hide immaculate curves.

I quickly advanced in her direction and began engaging the target.

"So where are you from?" I asked, with marginal game.

"NOVA," she said, with an unusual accent.

"What in the hell is NOVA?  Do you mean Northern Virginia?" I teased.

"Uhh, yeah!" Brittany replied, predictably responding to criticism.

"Well I'm from Southern Virginia, where we have common sense and don't call it SOVA," I pestered.

"Sothern Virginia is lame," she claimed, with her indistinct dialect.

"You know what's lame? Your accent, did you make it up yourself?" I continued badgering.

"Noooooooooooo," Brittany said, with a lengthy southern draw mixed with valley girl.

Finding a girl I actually enjoyed being around was rare for me, so I kept her close.

After the injury, she started replacing baseball as my top priority, but I couldn't see it at the time – I was blinded by infatuation (but mostly her tits).

Three home games were coming up the following weekend and my task was simple; all I needed to do was show up.

Brittany invited me to spend the night at her sorority house after Friday's game. We didn't drink; we just sat on the couch watching movies together until we fell asleep. I had to be at the field at 9:30am the following day – so I set the alarm for 9am.

The sun hit my eyes; I rolled over, looked at the alarm clock and my heart sank.

I don't know what, why, or how it happened, but I never heard the alarm go off. The time was 10:05am; I was already 35 minutes late.

I raced down the stairs and hit the street on foot. The only thought on my mind was how strict my coach was about being late; my strides grew longer. I needed to devise a scheme to make my tardiness permissible; otherwise I was a dead man walking (or in this case, running).

My only way out was by going in the training room and telling my coach I was getting medical treatment; there was a glimmer of hope, I thought.

When I finally arrived, drenched in sweat, my hope was crushed – the training room was closed.

Now it was official, DEAD MAN WALKING. I put my head down and shuffled down the dirt path towards the baseball stadium. I thought of every stopgap measure I could use on my way but nothing was feasible.

My head coach was waiting for me the second I stepped foot inside the locker room. He was dressed in full uniform with a stone cold look on his face. He swallowed, causing his Adam's apple to jump out of his neck, and pointed towards his office.

I sat down on the other side of his desk, like a movie director with the script in hand – I already knew his next line.

"Brad, you know how I feel about my players being late. I'm sorry, but you are no longer a member of the ECU baseball team."



Cape Cod Part I

A few weeks later, Justin was drafted #1 overall in the MLB draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was 17 years old with a multi-million dollar check waiting in the wings. I was still in North Carolina, so I called to congratulate him.

"What's up player?" he said, clearly in a good mood.

"Congrats!" I yelled.

"Thanks man. Hey, I have to do an interview, let me hit you back."

This was something I would get used to; his life was in the midst of a drastic change.

What he didn't know is that this day changed my life as well; his success inspired and motivated me to not give up on baseball. Sure, I recently endured a self-inflicted setback, but I was going to get up and keep swinging.

A few minutes after getting off the phone with him, I called my coach at ECU. I signed a contract earlier in the year to play summer ball in Wilmington, NC and I planned on asking him to honor it.

"Coach, I know I messed up, but I don't want this to be the end for me. Will you allow me to play in Wilmington?" I asked, determinedly.

"Brad, you're lucky I like you. I will call the coach and tell him you're on your way."

He ended the call and I was beaming from ear to ear. I packed my bags and set out for a second chance on–what was to me–life.

Wilmington was very much akin to ECU; pretty girls in every direction and parties' in every place. This time, I was cognizant of these distractions and decided to avoid them at all costs. I didn't want history to repeat itself but it was going to be tough because we were right on the beach.

Three weeks into the season and so far, I was squeaky clean. Then I spotted a tall athletic brunette girl scaling the stairs to the front office a few hours before the game. She was dressed in skimpy shorts, a tightly fitted team t-shirt and bright white sneakers. Her legs were long, lean, fit and each step she took brandished the firm definition in her thighs. I was in a trance, briefly induced back to my alter ego, the female assassin, and I was going in for the kill.

I walked into the office and isolated the target.

"You're very pretty, what's your name?" I delivered, with a side of charm.

"Nicole," she receptively replied with a smile.

"Well, Nicole, I think we should hangout. I have to get back to the field but I don't think it would be proper to leave without your number."

I didn't. She came over that very night, and each subsequent night.

A few months in, I got called up.

I took a 15-hour drive north to the Cape Cod League so I could play for the Falmouth Commodores.

This was the best summer league in the country, a place where only the most elite college players came to compete and I was there as a freshman. Luckily their catcher was injured and the team needed a quick replacement to finish the last month of the season.

My cleats clinked against the warning track gravel as I approached my new teammates, all of them wondering who I was. I already knew who they were future pro athletes. I doubt they knew me, I was the unknown guy who was kicked off two consecutive teams. I didn't feel like I belonged, and watching the opposing pitcher didn't make it any better.

The pitcher's name was Brad Lincoln, and the team he played for was the Bourne Braves. A digital radar screen was attached to the maroon press box behind home plate, and he was lighting it up at 98-100MPH.

I watched in awe as he methodically vanquished every batter on our team, strikeout after strikeout. Through seven innings, he held us scoreless.

In the bottom of the seventh, there were runners on first and third base with two outs and then our coach made an inconceivable decision.

"Brad, you're pinch hitting," he told me.

I dug my cleats deep in the batters box and pointed my bat at the pitcher. The first pitch blew by me and slammed into the catchers' mitt for a strike. I questioned my own visual acuity because I failed to actually see the baseball pass by.

He released the next pitch and it appeared to be destined for my head, so I frantically ducked out of the way. It was a curveball and it too was a strike.

So far, the pitcher succeeded in making me look, well, silly. So I told myself: 'No matter what he throws, just swing.'

He wound up and hurled the next pitch, a fastball, and again I failed to accurately spot its location, but I blindly swung.

Amazingly, I made just enough contact to lightly float the ball over the first baseman's head for a hit. Not only a hit, but the runner on third also scored and I effectively ended the shutout.

The following morning, I was on the front page of the paper with the headline 'Stephenson Ends Lincoln's Shutout'.

A high school teammate of mine, Scott Sizemore, was also in the Cape Cod League, and he too was in the paper that day. He called me an hour later.

"What the hell are you doing up here?" said a befuddled Scott.

"Taking care of business," I told him.

It's fascinating how one hit and a little recognition can change your outlook and overall confidence. I no longer felt out of place and whether it was true or not, I tricked myself into believing I belonged.

This conviction carried itself into our next game, against the Chatham A's. I was in the starting lineup and I came up to bat in the last inning, looking for another hit.

The pitcher threw me a slider; I saw it out of his handlike a beach balland ripped it down the third base line. In my mind, there was no doubt this was another hit, but I was led astray. The third baseman leaped to his right with a full-extension dive and securely snow coned the ball in the tip of his glove. He then propped himself up on his left knee and fired a strike to the first baseman, just before my sluggish speed had climaxed, resulting in an out.

This third baseman's name was Evan Longoria and he robbed me, but I would return the favor years later.

I returned to my host family's house after the game and got dressed for a night of fun. Before venturing out, I fetched a bag of weed from my suitcase and rolled it into a blunt.

My two housemates were riding with me, so I put the blunt in a bag of chips underneath the drivers' seat and planned on surprising them with it at the party.

Scrub oak trees filled the surroundings while I bent and swerved through the back roads of Cape Cod. This was the last place on earth you expect to see a cop, so I pressed on the gas and what do you know a cop passes us in the opposite direction. My teammate in the passengers seat turned around and delivered grim news.

"That cop is turning around!" he desperately shouted.

I glanced in my rear-view mirror and didn't see him. In a flash, I stomped on the petal and took my sole opportunity to escape.

After turning right at the next street–in an attempt to complete the elusion–I discovered it was a dead end. Now it was a waiting game.

There was a cul-de-sac at the end of the road with an island of bushes in the center of the court. The bushes stretched high enough to provide cover, so I parked.

"Why are you doing this?" my teammates wondered.

"Hold on, do you see something?" I asked, a diversionary tactic.

A few minutes passed and my confidence grew stronger that I out-foxed the police at least that's what I thought.

The blue and white crown victoria slowly crept up behind us with it's lights off. It took the cop a few seconds, but once he concluded I was the car that evaded him, his lights flashed and I was sweating bullets.

The officer tapped my driver's side window with his flashlight and I reluctantly rolled it down.

"Sir, can you step out of the car please?" the officer said.

"Sure," I replied.

My heart was beating like a jungle drum with each step while he led me to the front of his cruiser.

"I'm not sure why you tried to run from me, is there something illegal in your car?" the officer queried.

"No sir," I nervously responded.

"What are you doing in Massachusetts with Virginia plates?" he said, continuing his probe.

"Playing baseball," I told him, hoping for leniency.

"Ok, well I'm going to conduct a search on your vehicle and if there's nothing in there, you'll be on your way."

I was pretty certain my grand opportunity in Cape Cod was about to reach a less-than-desirable ending. My teammates joined me while the officer scoured through my floorboard, they were still unaware of my imminent doom, or the doom I assumed to be imminent.

He dislodged himself and strolled towards me. I expected handcuffs but he issued me a speeding ticket instead and went on his way.

As soon as I climbed back in, I saw the bag of chips spread out on the driver's side floor. I didn't have time, or the balls, to look for my blunt; but I was curious.

We eventually arrived at the party and my teammates began spreading word about our encounter. I wasn't interested in story telling, I was seeking a flashlight so I could find my blunt.

I rummaged high and low for a solid 30 minutes the blunt was nowhere to be found. I was thoroughly convinced the cop took off with my weed! I was emotionally confused; I didn't know if I should be pissed off or relieved. Given my past, probably the latter.

For the first time in a year, I successfully avoided trouble and finished a season.

My phone rang on the drive home and I answered. It was the head baseball coach of Virginia Commonwealth University and he offered me a 50% scholarship – I accepted.



VCU

Richmond, Virginia: city streets topped with colonial cracked pavement and sidewalks littered with bums – on crack.

It was the antithesis of East Carolina's rural scenery or any other environment I previously dwelled in, nonetheless, it was a fresh start.

Instructions were sent out via email to every member on the team.

"Be on the turf at 3pm for our first workout," it read.

I got dressed in our standard issued workout attire:  a black t-shirt adorned with a ram lifting weights, gray mesh shorts and metallic Mizuno sneakers. Parking spots were scarce, so I asked my roommate to drop me off at 2:35pm. I wanted to be early.

When I arrived, there was no one in sight. I entered the gates, advanced on the turf and plunked down on a bench.

"This is good, I'm the first one here," I said to myself.

Ten minutes passed and I was still in a state of solitary confinement. Inkling with the idea that something was askew, I picked up the phone and gave my former high school teammate, and now college teammate, Scott Sizemore a call.

"Where is everyone?" I questioned.

"Dude, we're at the turf, where are you?" Scott said.

"I'm at the turf on campus, I don't see you man!  In fact, I don't see anyone," I explained.

"We're on the turf next to the baseball field. I'll tell coach but you better get your ass here," Scott advised.

My very first workout and I was already late, so much for a fresh start. The worst part; the baseball field was off campus, three miles from where I currently sat. This was no time for rhyme or reason; my only choice was to run like the wind.

Yet another unpunctual and potentially fateful marathon began. I passed bright-eyed and backpack bound students and the more of them I saw, the more my admiration to be them accumulated how nice it seemed to be free of extra responsibilities.

At last, I surfaced at the uncharted land that I now, and would in the future know as 'the turf'. Drenched in sweat and gasping for breath, I approached my coach and gave him my reasoning.

"Coach, I was at the turf on campus, I didn't even know about this place," I construed.

"Brad, you're a jackass," he said, adding a chuckle.

This was bizarre to me, a coach who was apathetic towards tardiness. I left that day with a sense of relief, I was no longer required to live in fear; but most of all, optimistic about my chances of survival.

However, there are two aspects to ensure one's continuance in college sports:  keeping in line on the field and staying out of trouble off the field. Even though I felt adequate with my circumstances in the former, matters off the field would always test me.

It was a breezy night; six teammates and I migrated to a local pub so we could meet up with a gaggle of girls from the field hockey team. As soon as we drop anchor, one of the girls informs us of their impending relocation to a party at the men's soccer team house; they invite us along.

This was an ominous proposition because historically, baseball players and soccer players are not in harmony amongst one another. Ordinarily, I would have declined their offer. I'm not sure how field hockey players look at other schools, but these girls were fit so the temptation overrode intuition and we went along.

The moment we stepped foot inside, our presence was not welcomed. The body language in their scrawny frames was riddled with contempt, as if the girls we ushered in were somehow their property.

I shrugged off the negativity and isolated my target, a blonde with a high-bridged nose but flawless physique. Steady dosages of charm, tactful compliments and unparalleled mojo were administered. Then I excused myself to the kitchen so I could retrieve more beverages when another female patron approached me.

"Your teammates are in an argument outside," she said.

I wasn't surprised, I already prophesized this inevitable occurrence. It was my duty to investigate so I walked to the back porch and there they were: my teammate and a soccer player face to face, with rival factions huddled behind each. Being no stranger to controversy, I placed myself right in between the two.

"What's the problem here?" I asked.

"It's none of your business what the problem is!" a teammate of the opposition said, without hesitation.

"Fuck you!  Do something then!" I barked, marking my unwillingness to take shit from a soccer player.

A massive uproar ensued, both sides on the verge of an all out brawl. Before the flame ignited, a small flock of females separated us and asked us to go back inside. Our enemies remained on the back porch.

I briefly updated the blonde on what happened and then noticed my teammates filing out the front door. The last of which was Trai: the biggest, and blackest of them all. Following Hawk's logic, I assumed it was best to leave with Trai nearby incase the clash continued.

The house sat on a hill with the front yard elevated about 4 feet above the sidewalk. We had to descend down a few stairs to reach the sidewalk and once we touched down, my instinctual decision to leave with Trai proved to be quite astute. The side gate flew open and a tribe of soccer players came swarming towards us.

The leader of the pack happened to be the one I was feuding with, and his intentions were clear; he was coming for me.

He leapt from the heightened grass in an errant attempt to tackle me but I caught his beanstalk body mid-air, spun him around and slammed his back on the brick walkway.

I've always heard people say they know how they'd respond in a fight, but this situation taught me that any pre-planned action is a fallacy; it strictly comes down to your natural, uninhibited reaction. I'm not sure how one can practice this, unless you pay somebody to attack you at random intervals.

Fortunately, my reaction was on point that night, and he was about to pay the price for choosing the wrong target. When you mess with the bull, you get the horns.

The first step I took in dismantling him was securing his arms against his chest, so he was incapable of striking back, which also rendered him utterly defenseless. When I did this, two people fell on top of us and I realized we were, in fact, in the midst of an all out brawl.

I pressed both of his wrists against his stomach with my left hand and began hammering his face with my right fist. Blow after devastating blow, seven in all, and there was absolutely nothing he could do.

"Ok man, OK!" he cried.

"Are you done or should I keep hitting you?" I roared.

"I'm done man, I'm done," he quietly begged.

With the victory under my belt, I stood up and joined Trai just as his fight came to a finish. Trai wore jeans, a gray t-shirt and a long gold chain. We were side-by-side, not just as teammates, but as gladiators. Then Trai decided to rub it in.

"Yeah! That's right! You boyz just got yo' ass whooped!" Trai said, mostly in Ebonics.

Like lions who just lost a battle over food, the soccer players retreated into their den. Trai and I began leaving down the sidewalk, our stomachs full.

We may have walked one block when the cops suddenly arrived. Trai bolted away into the darkness but I stayed.

"What's going on here?" the officer asked.

"Nothing," I responded, as the officer looked at my bloodied hands.

"It doesn't look like nothing," he suggested, right before a two-door civic pulled up.

"He's with me, I'm taking him home," the blonde from the party said, after exiting her vehicle.

The officer nodded in approval, and I went home safely with my blonde savior.

I awoke the following morning and my hands were ravaged. The impact against the bricks left deep cuts below each of my knuckles on both hands. It wouldn't have been much to worry about, but there was baseball practice in 30 minutes.

After wrapping with gauze and tape, I showed up and tried to stay under the radar from my coaches. Sadly, I wasn't overlooked for long.

"What happened to your hands?" my coach asked.

"Oh, I was wrestling with my neighbor and I fell on the sidewalk," I told him, concocting my story on the spot.

"Yeah fucking right! Haha," he said, calling my bullshit.

When I went home for winter break, I met up with Justin and his brother BJ, who was a skinny, comical and very theatrical person if you knew him. If you didn't, he came off as cocky, but that was just his defense mechanism, a proverbial shield.

BJ signed a $4.6 million dollar contract when he was 17 but Justin was still waiting to finalize his own.

He received a phone call; it was his agent and he wanted to share good news. He just finaLaceyed Justin's signing bonus for $6.1 Million; the highest deal ever for a high school draftee.

Justin kicked back in the laz-e-boy in my living room and smiled. I knew he wanted to stand up and scream "Hahaha! I'm rich!" but he probably didn't think I wanted to hear it. Truthfully, if he had, I would have jumped up, screamed and danced with him; he was rich.

However, I had my own season to focus on at VCU.

My sophomore season was under way and I was back on the field. Once again, I was competing for the starting catcher's position and getting three hits during my first game seemed like a promising inception.

One month into the season and I felt as though I was outperforming my competition, so far my only gaffe was showing up to a game wearing the wrong colored pants. Yet the coach was still splitting time between us.

Going to the field knowing you're going to play is exciting, but the thing was, I never knew. Playing 50% of the time left me disinterested and unmotivated, I was beginning to enjoy my time off the field, hanging out with Malone, more than I did my time on the field. Due to my past, this wasn't a good sign.

So far I learned that when life is going your way, get ready for a curve; even though my experiences were mostly derived from self-destructive curves.

The next week wasn't much different. Our team had a road trip on Friday, and I was up on Thursday night until 4am smoking weed and playing a NCAA baseball video game. I suppose it was more enticing to play 100% of the time in a virtual world as opposed to 50% of the time in real life. I'm not sure if I considered this a lack of preparation or a loss of interest but either way, I was supposed to be on the bus at 9am the following morning.

Having already dealt with an alarm clock debacle at ECU, I made sure to set the alarm plugged into my wall as well as the one on my phone for 8:15am – then I went to sleep...

I awoke to a ringing sound, but it was muzzled and I couldn't figure out its point of origin. Ironic as it may sound, I was dazed and confused.

Soon enough, I located the source; it was my phone and it was lodged underneath my back. I realized it wasn't my alarm; it was a phone call from my teammate Scott Sizemore.

"Hello Scott," I greeted, not knowing the situation.

"Where the hell are you man?" Scott imploringly asked.

"Oh shit, what time is it?" I nervously asked back.

"It's 9:05am man, are you close?" Scott interrogated.

"Not exactly," I vaguely replied.

"You're still at your apartment, aren't you?" Scott properly guessed.

"Yeah, but I was literally walking out the door, tell Coach to wait 5 minutes," I pleaded.

(Inaudible background noise of Scott talking to Coach)

"Nah man, we're leaving without you, he said to call him," Scott regrettably told me.

I hopped in my car, went to Hardees, ordered two bacon, egg and cheese biscuits (I was still hungry) and then called my coach.

"Coach, I'm going to drive up there myself, I'm leaving now," I slyly tried to demand, as if it were my call to make.

"You can't, you're not allowed to drive up on your own, I'll call you back," he said, and then hung up.

I stayed in Richmond that night while my team was off playing. I honestly felt bad for not being there, so I called my coach again, after they lost the game.

"Coach, I want to be there with the team, just let me drive up," I, again, assertively requested.

"Forget about it, meet me in my office on Monday," he said, clearly in a pissed off mood.

Calling him again was a fatal mistake, at least it seemed that way from his tone. I wondered if I dug my own grave ... again.

Monday came and I was on yet another 'dead man walking' mission. Only this time, I got a phone call from my assistant coach advising me of a change in venue. Instead of meeting in the head coach's office, around other people, he wanted to meet in our locker room, where no one else would be. It was like the opposite of a girl breaking up with you in the middle of a crowded restaurant.

When I walked in, my assistant coach was sitting on the bench. He was a cool guy; an old man really, with gray hair and he wore a green collared shirt with khaki pants.

"Brad, I tried to talk to him, you know I did, but there's just nothing I could do... we have to let you go," he said, with a discerned guise.

"OK, but he could at least have the balls to do it himself," I told him, as I stood up and walked out of the building.

I deserved it but I didn't get down on myself. Failure was nothing new to me; I knew I was going to bounce back.



Year Off

I wasn't playing baseball for the first time since I was 6 years old and it felt unnatural, yet refreshing. There's more to life than baseball, right? At least that's what I've heard; it certainly didn't seem that way.

Instead of immediately turning the page I was, for once, given a chance to reflect on the mistakes I made. My reflection was strictly based on the dynamics and corrections needed to last on a baseball team there was a bigger issue, and it was my trouble dealing with authority.

I went back to VCU in the fall and it would be quite studious of me to say 'Because a proper education is important' but in reality, I only returned so I could stay enrolled, which was a requirement if I ever dreamed of playing baseball again.

Malone was still upbeat, working on his paintings and I was becoming accustomed to my status as a regular student, a reality I yearned for when running late to practice. I was bored, empty and possessed entirely too much free time. So I did what any college student would do; I started picking up girls.

One day I received a text message from a girl I was going to see later in the evening. I hunkered down in the drivers seat, blasted my new Paul Wall CD and began brewing a clever response – then a cop tapped on my window.

"License and registration," the baby faced, overweight officer said.

I noticed he wasn't wearing a conventional police officer's uniform and upon further inspection, I realized he was just campus police. His respect, in my eyes, was depleted and I was looking for a way to escape.

"I don't have them," I said, after scarcely cracking the window.

My eyes glanced in the rear-view mirror to see if any upcoming traffic was due in the lane next to the curbside parking space I occupied. All clear.

"What? You don't hav..." the campus cop attempted to say, but was left hanging as I hit the gas and peeled off.

Pure adrenaline rushed through my veins as I took a sharp left turn one block away. This wasn't my first fleeing attempt, but it was my first face-to-face getaway, and I would soon learn vanishing in the city was more difficult compared to the country roads of Cape Cod.

Four cars were in front of me at the next stop sign and my hasty retreat came to a standstill. I scanned the rearview mirror once again and was astounded the portly campus cop was turning the corner a football field behind me, pursuing on foot while reporting my location on his two-way radio.

Waiting for the cars to turn was like a real-life game of Tetris. The whale-like creature chasing me represented the Z-shaped piece that was going to fuck my game up.

Thanks to his snaillike speed, I was able to break away. I turned right at the intersection and I thought I was off scot-free. Ten seconds later, two oncoming Richmond police cars passed me in opposite direction. This would be the third time I looked in my rearview mirror, and the most disappointing of them all.

Both police cruisers took an abrupt U-turn, circling back as their overhead lights turned blue. Absurdly optimistic, I took a left at the next street just to make sure they were after me and clearly, they were.

So I came to a stop and they jumped out with guns drawn, forcibly pinning me against the hood of the lead cruiser and I was then bounded in handcuffs.

"Why in the hell are you running?" one officer asked.

"I didn't think the campus cop had the right to stop me," I told them.

Well, he did. I was taken into custody and sent to jail. Instead of getting off scot-free, I had to call Scott (Sizemore) to free me.

He wouldn't be the only professional baseball player to bail me out this year more trouble was ahead.

Justin was fresh off his first minor league season when he charged through the front door of my house in Chesapeake. He wore pressed blue jeans, a crisp white jacket and a pair of black Chuck Taylor's. Not only was his confidence noticeably elevated, but there was also a new Porsche Cayenne Turbo sitting outside. He was eager to test his new status, so we ventured out to Old Dominion University to try our luck with college girls.

As usual, it was my job to approach, engage and lure in a group of prospective females and I did well. In fact, well enough for the girls to invite us back to their house when the bar closed.

Justin always played the nice guy role, and I was the asshole who made necessary progress. With his role in mind, he called to order a pizza for delivery as soon as we stepped in their 2-story vinyl sided home.

Although he was trying to be nice and charitable, waiting for the delivery put time constraints on our momentum and I was growing impatient. My forte was to seal the deal as quickly as possible, and with this hindrance, I was officially out of my element.

There was a small glass window alongside the front door, and my anxiousness forced me into conducting continual checks for the pizza delivery guy.

The last recon mission I went on changed the course for the night; in the worst way imaginable.

Instead of seeing a driver, I saw a police car, and he stopped directly in front of the house. I stood there to make sure he was coming to the door, and once I confirmed he was, I locked it. The officer and I caught each other's eyes for a brief moment.

I warned the others to hide the beer and sit on the couch in an organic fashion. Thinking I was smart, I applied some recently acquired knowledge to the situation.

It came from a law class I was in the previous semester, and the teacher said 'When a police officer comes to your door, you do not have to open it unless they have a warrant'. What my teacher failed to mention, however, is that you must be the owner of the house for this rule to apply.

Nonetheless, when the cop knocked on the door, I gave the girl clear instructions.

"Do not answer the door," I ordered.

"What? I have to," the girl replied.

"No you don't, trust me, don't open the door," I insisted.

She didn't listen to me, and she opened the door. Surprisingly, the cop didn't even say a word to her. Instead, without hesitation, he pointed his finger straight at me.

"You! Come outside!" the officer demanded.

"Me? What did I do?" I objected.

"Come outside now!" he instructed.

I was reluctant, but my past decisions always seemed to lead me astray. Justin always managed to keep himself out of trouble, so I turned to him for wisdom.

"Should I go out there?" I asked.

"Yeah," Justin said, but I didn't know his words were selfish in nature.

So I tucked my tail between my legs, cowered over and met face to face on the front porch. The cop hovered over me, looking down with his poorly trimmed mustache and sideburns far too long for his age.

"Why did you lock the door?" the cop questioned.

"I didn't," I lied.

"Ok, why did you tell the girl not to let me in?" the cop asked.

I was already on board the train of denial, so I needed to put some extra effort into selling my next response. I threw both of my arms up in the air, in an attempt to exaggerate the answer 'I didn't!' but I didn't even have time to mutter 'I'.

He tackled me; actually, he speared me – Goldberg style.

Apparently he took my non-verbal gesture as a threat, and figured that laying me out was the best course of action.

Justin used this diversion as his moment to break free and stormed out the back door, running several blocks away.

In the meantime, I was being handcuffed and taken to jail.

To my logic, if the cop refused to tell me why I was going to jail, then I wasn't going to get out of the car when he asked me to. This resulted in two officers grabbing each leg and dragging me out once we reached the police station; they were not happy, but neither was I.

As they guided me down a hallway, en route to processing, I made a comment with the intention of getting under their skin and boy did it work, too well actually.

"I'm 20 years old and I make more money than you do!" I yelled, even though I didn't actually have a job at the time.

Instantly, both officers threw me up against the wall while I was still confined in handcuffs. Just as they took their hands off of me, I turned over my right shoulder and what I saw next still astonishes me.

The other cop, who looked identical to Michael Clarke Duncan from 'The Green Mile', had his right arm cocked back to hit me...and that's exactly what he did!

He didn't just hit me; he absolutely nailed me underneath my right eye. Still, I couldn't let him know he got the best of me.

"You hit like a fucking girl!" I informed him.

I learned a valuable lesson; cops can do whatever they want because the law is on their side. There was another lesson to learn, don't piss off the cops, because they were about to set me up for an extended stay.

They whisked me away to a videoconference room, where a magistrate judge appears on screen to set bail. While waiting for the judge, the other cop grabbed the collar of my shirt and began choking me. A few moments later, the judge came into view.

"Did you see that? He was just choking me!" I desperately wailed.

"Defendant is too incoherent, bail will be set on Monday," the judge said, acting as if he failed to see them choking me.

It was Friday night, which meant I wouldn't be released for at least three days.

Initially, I was taken to my own cell with no other occupants. Five minutes later, however, I was transferred a few cells down. There were two beds, and each was taken.

An old skinny black crack head resided on the top bed and a middle-aged fat black autistic crack head took refuge in the bottom bed. Me, well, I was given a cot to sleep on the floor, next to the toilet.

Before the cops left, they handed me a piece of paper and a pencil sharpened on both sides. I knew what they were giving me, the pencil was a weapon incase my cellmates decided to attack.

I chose to take the diplomatic path.

"You don't mess with me and I won't mess with you," I told my cellmates, and then snapped the pencil in half.

In jail, 15 minutes feels like two hours. It didn't help that the autistic crack head stayed awake through the night, yelling "WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" at random intervals. It startled me at first, but I eventually grew accustomed to it.

My other cellmate would entertain me during the day with stories from his past.

"Man, one time I was working in a buffet and I had known where the safe was, you feel me? So I hid underneath the salad bar one night and waited for the manager to leave, you feel me? Man, I spent all night robbing that place blind! I walked straight out the door and triggered the alarm ten minutes before I was supposed to show up. You know what I did? I walked over to 7-11, got a coffee and came back up asking the cops why they were there! You feel me?"

The only other chatter came from other cells, which was either a freestyle rap or someone talking about killing themselves; it was hell.

All I could think about was how nice it would be to go home and play video games. It's amazing how we take the little things in life for granted, and it's unfortunate it took going to jail to make me reaLaceye this.

When I got out, I discovered Justin was supporting me by wearing a 'Free B-rad' t-shirt.

So marked the end of an era, I reached rock bottom. It was time to climb back up, and my first step in doing this was to start playing baseball again.

I spent the following summer in Petersburg, Virginia getting my baseball mind back in shape. Some people play 'for the love of the game' but I was simply playing to get my life back on track.

When the season ended, Justin was called up to the major leagues. I knew it would help motivate me, so I drove all the way to Atlanta to watch him play. It was a surreal moment seeing him in the outfield grass at Turner Field.

I managed to sneak up in the front row behind the right field wall, just before Mark Teixiera hit his second home run of the game. The ball hit a seat to the left of me and then bounced back onto the field. Justin picked it up, gleamingly smiled back and tossed it directly at my chest; it wasn't a bad first game experience.

When his season ended, he came home bearing good news.

"BJ got us tickets to a boxing match in Tampa, do you wanna go?" Justin asked.

"You're damn right I do," I affirmed.

We took a flight the next day, landed in sunny Florida and I was able to get my first peek at BJ's lavish lifestyle. Two Mercedes sat in the driveway of his three-story condo overlooking the water and he waited at the front door with his enormous Rhodesian Ridgeback to greet us.

"You boys ready to do this?" BJ said with a smirk.

He gave us the tickets and told us we were meeting at Scott Kazmir's condo on our way there. I acted like it wasn't a big deal, but I thought it was pretty cool to meet Kazmir, who was an all-star that just led the American League in strikeouts.

"Hey man, I'm Brad, nice to meet you," I said, when Kazmir opened the door.

"Welcome to my castle," he replied in a debonair manner.

Kazmir took out his credit card and placed it inside a baseball hat.

"We're gonna order some food. Justin and BJ put your cards in this hat. Whichever one Brad picks is paying for the meal," he announced.

I pulled one out and it was Justin's, much to his displeasure. Kazmir was a fun guy to be around and this was a life I could get used to.

The four of us walked across the bridge from Harbour Island and made our way to the St. Pete Times Forum in downtown Tampa.

After a night on the town, which was full of the best looking women I ever laid eyes on, we retired back to BJ's place. I fell in love with Tampa, in just one day, so I sat down on the back deck and had a talk with BJ.

"I want to live down here," I told him.

"You should," BJ replied.

"I'm telling you, if I come, I would have a girlfriend within a month," I predicted.

You know what they say – be careful what you wish for.



Cape Cod Part II

I transferred to Norfolk State University in the spring; it was the third division-1 school I attended and it was also, historically, an all-black school.

Fitting in isn't a problem when you're a social chameleon. All you have to do is adopt their mannerisms, speak their slang (of which I am fluent) and you're good to go.

The biggest perk of being there was this: I didn't have to worry about playing time. Every day I went to the field I knew I was starting catcher and I was batting third in the lineup. This was the comfortable feeling I wished for in previous years, and having it paid off big time.

I finished the season batting .364 and was second-team all state in Virginia (not to mention being named the 'Black College Baseball Player of the Week').

Being able to successfully overcome years of adversity made me feel proud at the end of the season, because it was the first one I finished. My inner dignity expanded when the Washington Nationals called and invited me to a pre-draft workout at their major league stadium.

Instead of using the remaining week until the workout to train, I regrettably flew out to Arizona and watched Justin play. It seemed as though anytime I was close to obtaining a goal my heart truly desired, my self-destructive nature would take over; I was afraid of my own success.

Seated behind home plate, under the bright lights of Chase Field, I watched Manny Ramirez hit home run after home run when but I should have been in Virginia preparing so I could step on that very field one day as a player...not a fan.

However, my trip wasn't entirely unbeneficial. Watching the games motivated me but most of all, I was able to sit down with Justin, in his plush Arizona condo, and get professional advice before going to D.C.

"You need to go all out," Justin said.

"Ok," I attentively listened.

"There are people out there really getting after it, you can't hold back. Don't go out there trying to make contact when you hit, swing for the fences. Everyone can hit a ball; you have to show them you can do more than that. Go all out and walk away either having the best workout of your life or the worst. Don't be average," Justin sternly advised, before picking up his Xbox controller and starting our next game of Halo.

He was right, and I was going to keep those words in mind. It was amazing to me how grown up he was for only 20 years of age, baring more responsibilities and pressure than most of us have in a lifetime.

Justin dropped me off at the Phoenix airport the following day – I was on my way to Washington, D.C.

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I awoke at 4am in a cheap hotel just a few blocks from the Nationals stadium. I couldn't sleep and I could see the field from the window in my room so I just sat there staring at it. Ever since I was a little kid, I fantasized about being a professional baseball player, and the opportunity was now at my fingertips.

A few hours passed and then I parked, grabbed my dusty equipment bag and made my way in to the locker room. This was my first glance of a major league clubhouse and I was thoroughly impressed. Flat screen TV's mounted the pillars in the center of the room, soft carpet covered the floors and each locker was made of rich mahogany.

The Nationals scouting director entered the room and made an announcement: we were going on a tour to get an inside look of the stadium.

We visited the training room first, which was filled with high-tech machines many of us never knew existed. Then we visited the press box, which was remarkably elevated from the stadium seats to give a birds eye view. He led us back to the locker room and then told us to get dressed – our workout was about to begin.

The field was unbelievably well manicured but the most glaring feature was the enormous scoreboards and video screens beyond the outfield fence. It was breath taking, but I didn't have time to take it all in our first task was the 60 yard dash.

In short, I didn't do so well. It was a combination of naturally lack luster speed and being ill prepared. Nonetheless, I looked forward to the next task hitting.

I kept Justin's wise words in mind while I placed a Nationals helmet atop my head, which was cool because it was adorned with one earflap, a feature only available in professional baseball.

The first pitch came in and I swung with all my might, launching the ball to the left-center gap and watched as it one-hopped over the outfield fence. The next 9 balls were crushed, and one of them hit the lofty fence in right-center. I guess you could say I almost went all-out.

Last on the list, was throwing times, my greatest strength. I shot out like a cannon and rocketed 5 balls to second base and 5 to third base. I knew I did well, so I approached the scouting director on my way out.

"What'd you think?" I asked, confidently.

"We'll be in touch," he responded, before shaking my hand.

Draft day came a week later and I was anticipating good news. I wouldn't call it wishful thinking because I did well enough at the workout. I did have one big liability in the form of my blemished past.

So I sat in my room at home, door closed, watching round after round slip by without my name being called. After 25 rounds, I came up empty. Still, there were 25 more rounds the following day and I thought that's where I would land if I were selected at all.

Day two arrived and I locked myself in my room once again. Both elbows pressed firmly against the desk, my face just mere inches from the screen. I was close enough to see each tiny pixel fill up with a new name, but none of them were mine.

The Nationals selected their last catcher in the 46th round and they chose a 17-year-old Dominican kid. Without question, I was bitter.

I went to sleep without leaving my room and woke up the next morning internally afflicted. I wanted to know why I wasn't picked and I needed answers so I did what most people wouldn't do; I called the head scout from the Nationals.

"So why didn't you pick me?" I asked.

"Your name was on our list, and I recommended you but ultimately it's not my decision. There's nothing more I could do," he explained, when he probably didn't have to.

"Oh ok," I irritably uttered.

"I'll tell you what. There's a tryout in the Cape Cod League for a temporary position with the Bourne Braves. I can call the coach and get you a spot if you'd like but there's no guarantee how long you'll be on the team," the scout offered.

"Absolutely, I'll leave tomorrow, thank you," I eagerly replied, before hanging up.

It was three very long years since my first stint in Cape Cod, a figurative rollercoaster of ups and downs mostly downs. Somehow, I managed to build myself back up, and one courageous phone call enabled my foot to slide back in Cape Cod's gateway to success.

After crossing the Bourne Bridge and settling into my new host family's house, it was time to prove I belonged. I descended down a steep hill into the valley our field rested on, more focused than ever.

First impressions are everything, especially when you're trying to make a team. So I jutted my shoulders out and gave each person I met a death-gripped handshake. I knew there was another catcher in this pool of sharks competing for the same temporary position, my position, and I didn't know who he was yet. I couldn't allow him to shake my hand without one of his knuckles popping out.

Contrary to popular opinion; baseball is actually an individual sport. You can enter a team with the mindset to be nice, and you might make some new friends. However, if you want to claim your position, you have to outwit those competing against you.

So, in essence, I was looking for my competition on the first day in Cape Cod and it was mandatory to be an alpha to his beta.

After a few unnecessarily rough handshakes, I found him. He was from a big name school, Wake Forest, and I was the underdog from a school most, if not all of them, had never heard of. So I used it against him.

"Hey, you're from Wake Forest eh?" I asked.

"Yeah," he replied.

"Did you even play?" I questioned his pride.

"Yeah, I started all year," he said, trying to qualify himself to me.

"Oh, I've never heard of you," I replied, before briskly walking away.

The 'tryout' was extended into the first game. The Wake Forest guy and myself each played one inning apiece. When the game was over, we both finished 0-1 at the plate and made no mistakes on defense.

Our coach, a gray-haired man with short stubble on his wrinkled cheeks, called the two of us into the outfield for a talk. I assumed one of us was being let go and the other would stay on the team.

"I appreciate both of you coming up here, but unfortunately we don't have an extra spot on the roster. I need each of you to turn in your uniform tomorrow before you leave," the coach said, to both of our dismay.

We weren't even given a chance to respond, the coach hobbled off as if there were nothing left to discuss. Apparently he didn't know me.

I strategically waited until the other catcher drove away; still surprised he cowardly accepted such a bleak outcome. Just before the coach opened his car door, I asked to speak with him – I wasn't going to let this opportunity slip away so easily.

"Coach, I respect your decision but I can't leave. Do you care if I stay on the team as a bullpen catcher until another team picks me up?" I asked, boldly.

"I have no problem with that, but you won't have a uniform and you'll have to stay in the bullpen during the entire game." The elderly coach said, after smiling to signify his appreciation for my audacious request.

"That's fine with me," I told him.

"Also, we can't allow you to stay with your host family since you're not officially on the team. Is that going to be a problem?" the coach asked.

"Not at all, I know a girl up here who will let me stay with her," I fictitiously stated.

I didn't know any girls up there. Sometimes it's ok to lie to get what you want, and this was definitely one of those times.

Once he drove away, I turned around and stared at my new home; a black four-door Acura RL sedan.

After retrieving my belongings from my old host family's house, I filled up on gas and found a scenic parking lot overlooking the banks of the Cape Cod Canal.

I laughed to myself the first night as I rested down in the backseat with the engine still running, using excess t-shirts as covers and pillows; I genuinely found my own situation amusing.

I woke up to a golden sunset each morning, drove to the nearest gas station, charged my phone and called every team in the league asking if they were in the market for an extra catcher. No one at the field ever bothered to ask why I smelled like an old catchers mitt after failing to take a shower day after day.

This repetitious routine carried on for two weeks until one day the phone rang.

"Hey Brad, I'm with the Y-D Red Sox, are you still looking for a team?" the man asked.

"Yes, I am," I adamantly told him.

"Ok, I talked to your coach at Bourne, you come to our field early today so we can get a uniform for you," the man summoned.

"I will be there," I casually responded.

Inside, I was jumping with joy. I could have left, just like the Wake Forest kid had done two weeks ago, but now I was on my way to being rewarded with an official roster spot – persistence is key.

My new competitive environment with Y-D was different. For the first time, I was playing with another catcher who I admitted was better than me. His name was Tony Sanchez, from Boston College, and the Pittsburgh Pirates would later confirm his prowess when they selected him 4th overall in the draft. For the time being, I needed to craft a new plan if I wanted to get playing time, so I did what previously proved to be effective...I lied.

"Hey coach, I can pitch if you ever need someone to burn a few innings for you," I said with a straight face.

"Oh yeah? When was the last time you pitched?" coach asked.

"I threw bullpens this season, but they always needed me to catch so I never pitched in a game," I told him.

"Ok, go to the bullpen, let's see what you've got," the coach directed.

The last time I pitched was when I was 12 years old. Regardless of this fact, I threw 20 pitches and amazingly, he seemed impressed.

I was put in to pinch hit in the top of the ninth inning during our next game. After hitting a single, I wound up on third base a few batters later. The coach approached me, with his hat pulled low and his stirrups stretched up to his knees, and asked a simple question.

"Brad, how many warm up pitches will it take for you to go in the game?" he inquired.

"None," I stubbornly told him.

Most pitchers in this league threw at least 95MPH; I walked up to the mound possessing the ability to throw 90MPH at best. However, I did have a secret weapon; a nasty change-up.

I threw three of these change-ups to the first batter I faced and struck him out. Not a bad start after 10 years off.

Pitching is all about throwing what the batter least expects. So after throwing the first batter three change-ups, I threw the second batter three fastballs and struck him out as well. My teammates looked on from the dugout in disbelief.

The third batter swung at the first change-up I tossed him and beat a ground ball to third base for the third out. Just like that, the inning was over and I opportunely created a new niche to get myself on the field more often.

A few weeks and another scoreless inning of pitching later, I got a text from Justin.

"What's up man? I'm coming to Boston this weekend, you still in the cape?" he asked.

"Yes sir, leave me some tickets," I told him.

The Diamondbacks were playing the Red Sox in an interleague game, so three teammates of mine hopped in my car and we drove to Fenway Park in Boston. Four tickets awaited our arrival.

You can decipher the fans that have played baseball from the fans who haven't just by observing how they watch the game. If they are loud, drunk or talkative; they probably haven't played. The four of us sat in complete silence, taking mental notes of what each player in our position was doing on every play. The reality of reaching the major leagues was well within our reach (In fact, one of the teammates there that day, Joe Kelly, is already on the St. Louis Cardinals).

The game ended and Justin texted me on my way out of the stadium, advising me to stop by his hotel.

I parked on the sidewalk in front of the Ritz Carlton, a towering building embellished with glass pane windows. My teammates stayed in the car while I walked through an enormous crowd of baseball fans eagerly waiting outside the front door of the hotel, roped off in their own sphere of lunacy. These fans actually travelled miles from the field for the slim chance of obtaining the opposing teams autographs. It's easy to see how some players can lose their grip on reality.

After a few knocks, the door swung open and Justin greeted me wearing a dark gray suit, white dress shirt and shiny black dress shoes; standard apparel for all players when leaving the field. His teammate, Chris Young, was also in the room and he briefly nodded at me while he was busy ordering room service.

"Yeah, can I get a side salad with that? Ok, can you send it to Mike Lowery's room," Chris said, giving his hotel alias.

Every player has a hotel alias to avoid being accosted by a crazed fan, like the ones sitting out front. Mike Lowery was the character Will Smith played in the movie 'Bad Boys', Justin's alias was Jimmy Fly.

"You gotta come out to the club with us tonight," Justin said, emphatically.

"I can't, two of my teammates are underage," I told him.

"Man! Why did you bring them? Tell them to go back!" He insisted.

"I drove, why don't you come to Cape Cod with us though?" I said.

"Chris, you want to go party with them in Cape Cod?" Justin asked.

"Nah I'm good, I'm gonna go eat my food," said Chris, before exiting.

"Screw it! I'll go! Let me put on my monkey suit," Justin enthusiastically declared.

A monkey suit is an outfit you put on before you go out and act wild like a monkey. Justin's monkey suit was dark blue jeans, white Chuck Taylor's and a drab yellow shirt with the word 'Hooker' written in orange across the chest with a small picture of Jazz legend John Lee Hooker underneath.

The two of us exited the front lobby and Justin politely stopped to sign an autograph or two. I could see my teammates faces as we approached; they weren't even expecting to meet him, let alone have him join us back to Cape Cod.

"Get in the backseat!" Justin said to my teammate who was sitting shotgun, without an introduction.

He wasn't being an asshole; he was simply adhering to a hierarchy based code known as 'big leaguing'. When someone is below you in the baseball food chain, it's ok to treat him like shit because it's motivational. Not to mention Justin spent his entire rookie season being big leagued everyday. He was ready to take it out on others, even if they were lowly college players.

We spent the next hour driving south, listening to rap music while my teammates stayed busy texting everyone to find out where the party was.

My car eventually came to a stop in a graveled driveway outside of a one-story cottage, just steps from the beach.

As soon as we walked in, it was like a scene from the movie Almost Famous. Justin wasn't a global icon by any means, but in the baseball world, being the #1 draft pick made him a god. I quickly scanned the room and every single person had their eyes focused on him; they were genuinely star-struck. Another future big leaguer, Josh Rutteledge, was also in attendance.

We went straight to the table in the center of the room, sat down and began playing a drinking game with 3 girls. Like a swarm of bees, everyone there rapidly huddled around Justin. As a student of human nature, I found it quite interesting. As his friend, I wondered how it affected him mentally. Most would view it as a positive, but what if it happened everywhere you went...everyday?

Nonetheless, I could tell he was used to this type of treatment. He spoke diplomatically to everyone who introduced themselves and actively paid attention to what they were saying – more so the girls than the guys.

The female attention – now that's an undeniable positive.

They liked him. In fact, so much that they asked us to escort them to the beach and of course we obliged.

We all settled on a spot in the sand and looked out into the ocean. This kept us busy for a minute or two, then Justin looked at me and we inherently knew each other's thoughts the mood wasn't right. Someone needed to set the tone.

"I'm gonna get this party started!" Justin said aloud.

He violently jumped to his feet, unfastened his belt and took his pants off exposing his bright blue boxer briefs. I was shocked and horrified but the girls...they loved it! Here's proof.

We were in one-on-one with our girls' just minutes later. I was sequestering a blonde and Justin engaged a tan brunette on the lifeguard tower.

"I'm gonna fly you out to Arizona!" said Justin, from a distance.

Twenty minutes went by and we decided to head back in. I was carrying a 12-pack of beer and Justin's arm was around the brunette as we reached the main road, our clothes completely covered in sand.

Suddenly, headlights appeared behind us.

"Is that a cop?" I blurted out.

Without a moments delay, Justin sprinted and dove head first into a row of bushes in someone's front yard. His actions didn't surprise me.

I was right too, it was a cop, and he stopped to ask what we were doing. I approached himwith 12-pack in handand quickly defused his investigation.

Justin reappeared once the coast was clear, wiping leaves from his monkey suit. I didn't blame him, the headline 'Diamondbacks Player Arrested in Cape Cod' probably flashed in front of his eyes before he dashed and made a gallant hop, skip and a jump.

We drove back to my host family's house and Justin hopped into one of my teammates beds in the basement without asking. Once again, he was 'big leaguing' him.

"Brad, he's in my bed," my teammate perplexingly stated.

"What are you going to do?" I frankly asked him.

"Haha, nothing I guess," he said.

"Probably a wise move. Another thing, don't mess with him if he gets up in the middle of the night, that's all I'll say," I mysteriously advised.

Justin has a history of being, well, a weird sleeper. If you woke him up, he would absolutely flip out on you. If he woke up on his own, he was unpredictable and he STILL might flip out on you. I can't really explain it I just know the condition exists.

The next morning I sat down at the dining table while my host mom cooked us breakfast Justin was still sleeping. I knew he must have done something weird when my teammate looked at me in a befuddled state.

"Brad, I have to tell you what Justin did last night," he said, quietly.

"Oh man, what was it this time?" I asked.

"He woke up, walked right next to my bed and started pissing in my clothes hamper," he said, still shaken from the experience.

"Haa! Did you say anything to him?" I wondered.

"No!  You told me not to!  I just sat there and watched him piss on my clothes!"

Classic Justin. Speaking of which, it was time for him to wake up he was facing Tim Wakefield that day.

I drove him all the way back to Boston, both of us slightly hung over. Then I turned the music off in the middle of our trip.

"You know you pissed in my teammates clothes hamper right?" I said.

"So..." he replied, before turning the music back on.

I dropped him off outside of Fenway stadium. He told me to come visit him when my season was over and I agreed. I checked the stats later that night and he didn't do so well against the knuckleball; he was 0-4.

My coach called asking to speak with me alone when I returned.

"Brad, I have some bad news. Your roster spot was available because a catcher from Oregon State, who was originally supposed to play with us, joined Team USA instead. Well, their games are over and he's joining us tomorrow to finish the season," he said.

"Oh," I disappointedly responded.

"However, I talked to your old coach at Bourne. Apparently their catcher has been complaining about his playing time and they are sending him home. I recommended he take you back and he said he would love to have you," the coach pronounced.

"That's awesome," I told him.

"But there's one problem. Your spot over there won't be available for another week, and we can't let you stay with your host family. Is there anywhere you can go?" the coach asked.

"Yeah, I know a girl who will let me stay with her."

I wasn't lying this time. I made friends with a group of female interns for the team and they all happened to stay in a timeshare on the beach together. Five girls to be precise and every one of them were amply attractive. For the first time, my dedication to the opposite sex was going to pay off.

I pulled my bags out of the trunk and walked through the front door of my new blissful bungalow. Two girls were on the couch in their bathing suits, another was preparing drinks, the fourth was in the shower and the fifth was on the phone – wearing nothing but a towel.

At that time, I couldn't question God's existence. Someone was looking out for me from above.

The week to follow, to this day, was probably the most enjoyable time of my entire life. I will put it into baseball terms without getting into descriptive details; I batted .600 during the week (3 for 5).

Best of all: they were all aware of each other's actions and they didn't care! I put a new meaning to the word "Timeshare".

All good things must come to an end and believe me I was heartbroken walking out the door. It was like losing a puppy or walking away from a loved one before going to war. I gave them hugs, shed a few tears (not really) and drove back to Bourne.

Walking back onto the field with my old team was a bittersweet moment. Two months prior to this day, they tried to send me packing and told me to go home. Now, they were asking me to come back. I went from being a disposable liability to a worthy asset – believing in yourself is key.

I printed out a list of pitchers with the lowest ERA in the entire league before our first game. Although I hadn't pitched enough innings to be on the list, I edited myself in at the #1 spot and taped it to the dugout. All the pitchers on the team were pissed off about it, but my coach thought it was funny so he let me pitch again, against my old team Y-D.

After catching 8 innings, I was on the mound for the 9th . The first batter I faced was Tony Sanchez, the only guy to catch for me in the last 10 years and he walked to the plate with a huge smirk, flashing the hand signal for change-up mid stride. Remember, pitching is all about throwing what they least expect so I threw Tony three straight fastballs and he popped the third up to the left fielder. The next two batters also popped up and this was my last time on the mound. I finished the season with three scoreless innings.

"You know, if we can't get you signed professionally as a catcher, we might be able to do it as a pitcher," my coach told me after the game.

"Oh yeah?" I said, with a smile.

"I think so. By the way, tomorrow is scout day but we're going to let the other guy catch," my coach informed me.

Scout day is when over 100 professional scouts come to watch the game. I wasn't upset about not playing; besides, my coach was talking to them about signing me as a pitcher. I thought I was set up for success; nothing could go wrong now, could it?

After spending the night with one of the timeshare girls in Y-D, I awoke the next morning and went to the field.

When I walked in the dugout, eyes blurred, I looked at the lineup card and I was not catching but I was the designated hitter, batting 5th .

I was about to hit in front of scouts from every major league team.

Somehow, I went 3-4 with a ground rule double, it was my best game of the summer.

Although I finished the summer hitting just under .300 with three scoreless innings on the mound – my baseball career was most likely over.



Arizona & Las Vegas

I wasn't even bothered, it was just weed. People are entitled to their own opinions but it doesn't mean I have to agree with them.

Anyways, I took Justin up on his offer and flew out to Arizona. Scorching hot weather, beautiful women and complete freedom awaited. I couldn't have been much happier.

Now that baseball was no longer in the running to be my career, it was time to focus my attention elsewhere. With Justin being at the field most of the day, there was plenty of time to roam the complex at his condo and seek out successful people to network with.

I figured the pool was a good place to start, so I laced up a pair of swimming trunks, grabbed a towel, threw on a pair of Oakley sunglasses and ventured downstairs.

The pool was located in the center of the complex, surrounded by multiple levels of tinted windows and gardens of greenery, which somehow survived the agonizing heat.

There was only one other person brave enough to withstand the extreme weather that day. Sitting underneath a shaded table was an elegant woman with short black hair, platinum looped earrings and dark framed reading glasses. In one hand rested a book in the other, a glass of red wine.

I wasn't sure if I would interrupt her by approaching but I never liked being alone and I wanted to say hello, so I went in.

"Hey, I'm Brad, how are you doing?" I opened.

"Hey Brad, I've never seen you before, what brings you here?" she said, welcomingly, without giving her name.

"I'm just in town from Virginia visiting my friend, he's at work right now so I wanted to walk around and meet some people," I explained.

"Virginia? Is your friend the baseball player?" the woman asked.

"Yeah, that's him," I responded.

"That's nice. I think there are some NFL players who live here too," she said, and then finished her glass of wine.

"Oh, well you're the first person I've met," I told her.

"What an honor. I'm going back in to get another glass of wine, you can join me if you'd like," the woman offered.

"Sure." I said, and we both stood up.

We entered her place and it was extravagant; much nicer than Justin's. Marble floors stretched through the kitchen and into the living room, which was outfitted in expensive leather furniture. I knew one fact thus far; she was wealthy. I wanted to pick her brain and find out how she made this life for herself.

"What do you do for a living? What made you so successful?" I asked.

She paused for a moment, her eyes grew wider, and then she took a sip of red wine out of a crystal clear glass.

"Real estate," she eventually replied.

"You're a real estate agent?" I stupidly asked.

"Ha, no. I'm retired now but I used to buy and sell land," she explained, without going into too much detail.

"How does that work?" I pressed on.

"I used to find land in a desirable location where I knew others would eventually want to buy, and then I sold it to them," she divulged.

I can take a hint, and I could tell she wasn't too interested in talking about herself. I guess most truly successful people aren't. Nonetheless, I learned that real estate is a formidable path to wealth so I moved on to another area of expertise.

"What advice can you give me about women?" I asked, and she immediately smiled.

"They don't want to go out with you more than three times without figuring out if you're good in bed or not. You know, I could introduce you to some girls," she rapidly responded.

"Interesting," I said.

"Indeed. So what do you want to do in life?" she asked.

"I was thinking about getting into computers and starting an online business but I don't know too much about it, I would probably need some help," I explained.

"What kind of help do you need?" she curiously wondered.

"Um, computer and PR advice I suppose."

At that very moment, she got on her computer and began typing away. I didn't know what she was doing or whom she was typing to, but she was doing it with a huge smile on her face.

"Just keep networking with people like you just did with me and it'll all work out for you," were her last words.

I guess she was right, you never know who you're really talking to.

Five hours later, I picked up Justin from the stadium. He was enchanted and ultimately caught off guard after walking into his condo.

"Wow, there's a naked girl on my couch," said Justin.

"Yeah," I responded, nonchalantly.

"That's cool," he said, followed by his typical high-pitched laughter.

Then we played Halo for an hour, while the naked girl continued resting on the couch.

"By the way, when the season ends, we're going to Vegas!" Justin later announced.

The season ended, and we went to Vegas along with Chris Young.

Justin's agent arranged for the three of us to stay in a top-floor suite at the Bellagio so we hopped in the car and drove west.

A dazzling display of waterworks complimented our arrival outside the front entrance while we made our way upstairs to a luxurious two-bedroom suite; my bed was the couch.

Chris and Justin ordered pizza while I went downstairs to become acquainted with the blackjack table. A few minutes later, two young ladies joined my table.

"Are you here alone?" they asked.

"No, my friends are upstairs, they're professional baseball players," I responded with bait.

"Who are they?" one asked, as her attention noticeably grew.

"Justin Upton and Chris Young," I told them.

"I want to meet them!" she excitably responded.

"Ok, come up to our room," I told them.

"Let me get my other friends," she said.

I went upstairs to tell Justin the good news. Chris was already out visiting a girl, so we waited for what we thought would be a group of girls.

When they arrived, it was a group of four girls plus one gay dude.

One of the girls was, how should I put it, more excited than the rest. She immediately grabbed Justin's arm and the two of them disappeared into his room for a tour of the bathroom...I suppose.

I was busy entertaining the guests with nonsense to keep their mind off what I assumed was going on in the background. My curiosity eventually built up so I knocked on the bathroom door.

"Are you alright in there buddy?" I asked Justin.

"Yeah, one second," Justin said, before walking out while fastening his belt.

No questions were asked, but the girl remained in the bathroom and just looked at me it appeared to be an invitation. So I entered.

Apparently Justin's entertainment abilities and/or defensive skills weren't as potent as mine...her friends were banging on the door seconds later.

The girls left and we went to a strip club. Not just any strip club, it was the world renowned Spearmint Rhino.

I wondered what made this place so special, and I got my answer as soon as I walked in – the dancers were famous pornstars.

One of them I recognized in particular and her name was Devon Michaels. I was a fan of her work, which I had to research for a school project, or maybe it was just from watching porn online, I can't recall.

"You look familiar," I said to her, while handing her money for a lap dance.

"Oh yeah? You're cute!" the big-breasted brunette vixen said.

"Have you ever thought about making a profile on SugarDaddy.com?" she asked, while gyrating her hips.

"No, I'm not a girl and I'm not a sugar daddy," I responded.

"Hah, no. You make a profile and old women pay you to hangout with them," she said, as she smiled with her cute dimples.

"I'll think about it," I told her, as the dance came to an end.

Meanwhile, Justin was spending a large majority of his signing bonus in the private dance room. Fighting temptation along the way, I walked up to him and told him we should go.

"Man, shut up! I'll be done when I'm done!" Justin angrily barked at me.

Finally, he emerged and the three of us went to a normal club down the street. This is where my night took a turn for the worst.

After drinking entirely too much champagne, I lost track of Justin and Chris the last thing I remembered was walking out the front door alone.

I awoke shivering in a cold, pitch-dark room. My bare legs were numb from sleeping on concrete – I knew something went terribly wrong.

My pants were nowhere to be found, my socks were missing and my shoes were nowhere in sight. On top of this, I wasn't wearing underwear; a striped dress shirt was the last remnant of my monkey suit, literally the only remaining article of clothing.

The panic set in. Was I drugged? Did someone lead me here? Where in the fuck was I?

I sprung to my feet and tried adapting to my surroundings. It appeared as if I was in some type of stairwell, there was an exit door nearby. So I pushed, hoping to find the lightany lightbut it was locked.

Then the panic really set in. I pictured being stuck here forever, I knew crazy things happen in Vegas but this was too extreme it was like the beginning scene of a horror film.

I slowly descended down two flights of stairs and tried to open the exit door on each floor to no avail. Alas, I saw a phone against the wall.

As soon as I picked it up, it rang.

"Hello?" a woman said.

"Where in the fuck am I?" I frantically asked.

"You're at the Bellagio, and you're calling from the emergency staircase," she said, with a laugh.

"How in the hell do I get out?" I begged.

"You can only get in, the doors don't open from the inside. I will send someone up to get you," the woman said, heavily amused.

"Thank you!" I told her.

The door opened and two men in cream-colored suits yelled out for me it felt like I was being rescued from sea.

I walked up the stairs covering my private area because, well, I was free balling. Both of them immediately erupted in laughter.

"What happened to you?" they asked.

"I have no fucking clue, please take me to my room," I told them, still puzzled.

Once we entered the hallway, I realized it was the same floor we were staying on. My bare feet paced along the carpet floor and my hands continued covering my mid-section with my ass fully exposed.

I knocked on the door.

"What the fuck?" Justin said, confused.

"I don't know, I just don't know," I told him.

To this day I still have no idea what happened or why it happened.

After sobering up and sleeping, we drove back to Arizona. Our next destination was Florida, the Tampa Bay Rays just reached the World Series, and we were going to stay with BJ.



World Series 2008

It was the Philadelphia Phillies against the Tampa Bay Rays and BJ was killing it during the postseason with 8 home runs entering the World Series.

Justin and I jumped in a $200,000 Mercedes coupe loaned to BJ by the dealership (specifically for the World Series) and parked outside of Tropicana Field.

There was one cool aspect of going to the game with Justin, and that was getting the celebrity treatment without actually being a celebrity. We were ushered in and alongside us were crowds of people, each of them screaming at Justin for an autograph, and eventually we were led upstairs to an area called the Home Plate Club.

The Home Plate Club was an exclusive area in between the lower and upper deck, behind glass windows reserved for family members and affluent fans who paid for a membership (which included free drinks and food). Justin and I took advantage of the free beer right away while watching the first inning on TV – this was the first time I laid eyes on Lacey.

The double doors swung open and in walked this radiant beauty. Her brunette hair was down to her shoulders, flowing with primped curls decorated with shiny little pins. She wore designer blue jeans, black heels and a white t-shirt with the word 'BELIEVE' across her voluptuous chest in navy and baby blue sparkling rhinestones. Only a blind man would fail to notice her.

I was mesmerized and sort of intimidated by her presence but it wasn't going to stop me from approaching–nothing could–she was heaven sent.

"Hey, I'm Brad, BJ's friend," I said, qualifying myself while she came to a stop.

"Hey, I'm Lacey," she said, her big blue eyes gleaming upon me.

My window of opportunity was limited and I desperately needed to keep the conversation going. She was walking alongside a young blond-haired girl, probably 4 or 5 years old, and I figured this was the best line of questioning to continue with.

"Who's your little friend?" I asked, hoping and praying it wasn't her child.

"This is my cousin, Lauren, isn't she cute?" Lacey replied, broadcasting a smile that could light up any room.

"Hey Lauren, are you enjoying the game?" I asked, milking the topic as she clung tightly to Lacey's leg and shook her head.

"She's shy," Lacey said, letting out a laugh.

Time to shift to Phase 2; getting her number. Some people go with scripted lines but I prefer to specifically tailor each request. I got an educated read on who she was and I noticed she wore expensive jewelry and clothing, signaling she came from a wealthy family, so I went with an unorthodox approach.

"If you're looking for a guy with money, then look elsewhere because I'm broke!" I admittedly stated.

Without question, my approach was going to be hit or miss; I was gambling. It just so happened her father is a very wealthy surgeon, and she devoured my line like it was the last supper. Direct hit...battleship sunk.

"Hah, I don't care about that," said Lacey, as she positioned herself closer to me.

"That's a relief. I'm going to be in town for a little while, maybe I can get your number and we can hangout sometime?" I asked, going nuclear.

"Sure," Lacey complied, writing her number in my phone.

The operation was a complete success. I knew I would see her again, but I wasn't prepared for how serious our relationship would become.

Once the game was over, which was a loss for the Rays, Justin and I retreated back to BJ's house and awaited his arrival.

"We're going out tonight boys!" BJ said, storming through the door.

We put on our monkey suits and headed out to a two-story club in downtown St. Petersburg – the atmosphere was absolutely electric.

Previously, going to a club with famous athletes was always a unique experience and it would attract a higher level of attention from girls than one would normally expect to get. However, going to a club with them during the World Series was in a league of it's own – it wasn't fair.

BJ walked directly to the beer pong table in the back room and jumped in a game midway through, and a mob followed us. The whole room attentively watched him play, like he was up to bat in a key situation. Justin and I shrugged our shoulders and stood to the side, bearing witnessing to the growing number of girls flocking in like a herd of sheep.

This is when I realized BJ wasn't just a baseball player; he was an entertainer. Each toss he made came with a different facial expression and an assortment of emotional reactions, all of which kept the crowd glued in.

Then Evan Longoria walked in. He wore blue jeans, a white V-neck t-shirt and a black leather jacket with the collar popped; he was really doing his best to look like Rick Vaughn from the movie Major League.

"You know you robbed me in Cape Cod," I told him.

"That's cool," Evan responded, big-leaguing me.

First impressions are everything, and I didn't like him. He didn't know I was a friend of BJ's at the time, but this lone brush off response made me instantly label him as an enemy combatant. This was the last time we spoke that night, but our rivalry was just beginning.

We eventually went upstairs to a table the club reserved for BJ, with champagne on the house. I made it my duty to ensure girls grossly outnumbered us, and I delivered, but the mood wasn't properly set, so I jumped on top of the table and began B-walking.

"That's right B-rad! Get it going!" BJ yelled while simultaneously nodding his head.

A girl reached out her hand in the middle of my routine, as if she wanted to join me. Instead of complying with her request, I chose to do something memorable, which turned out to be a truly barbaric act.

I gripped my glass of champagne and unloaded it on her chest, dousing her white t-shirt. BJ erupted in laughter; Justin was literally rolling on the floor and even though we were expressing amusement at her expense – the girl wasn't upset. In fact, she enjoyed it.

"We gotta get outta here! This is getting too reckless!" BJ declared.

It's going to be difficult to picture how this happened, but BJ somehow managed to fall inside of a dumpster while we exited out the back door. There was a down ramp to the road, with a dumpster at road level beside the ramp, and in a drunken stupor – he fell in.

The Rays traveled to Philadelphia after game 2. BJ was gone and Justin went up there as well leaving the house all to myself. So I did what most people would do when left in an expensive place that they don't own; I invited a girl over, Lacey to be exact.

She walked in, once again draped with expensive clothing and dripped in ritzy accessories. Her hair was thick with bouncy curls and she wore a silk teal blouse with tight black dress pants; it worked for me.

We sat down on BJ's brown leather couch and talked for quite awhile. She told me all about how she was the valedictorian of her high school, how she was active in church and how she was on academic scholarship at the University of Florida; as if I weren't already impressed.

I told her how active I was at picking up girls and how I was kicked off three baseball teams in college.

We were on opposite ends of the spectrum. She tried her best to give off the appearance of being a perfect little angel and I made no attempt to conceal my adverse past. They say opposites attract, and we certainly lived up to the saying.

For the previous year, my encounters with girls were always fast paced but this situation called for a much slower seduction.

I carried her up to BJ's bedroom and we began softly kissing. Then, she dropped a bomb on me – a line I hadn't heard since I was 15.

"I'm a virgin," Lacey calmly confided, staring at me with blinking eyes.

"Oh," I responded, without having the slightest clue what else to say.

I gave her the benefit of the doubt and didn't question the authenticity of her statement. I'm pretty good at deciphering bullshit, but it came off as genuine – I 'believed' her.

Needless to say, our encounter that night came to a screeching halt after her unexpected and unforeseen testimony. It was a challenging revelation and I'm sure she realized how enticing it was to me. By the end of the night, I was hooked.

While leaving, she told me she was going to Philadelphia for games 4 and 5 with her dad. Unbeknownst to me, she was in the midst of an ongoing affair with Evan Longoria, and she would spend both nights visiting his hotel room.

I watched the Rays lose Game 5 and the World Series was over. Shortly after, I got a text from BJ.

"Take a cab to the field, I'll pay for it," BJ's text read.

The guy graciously let me stay in his house while he was out of town, I wasn't going to question his request, but I was curious why he wanted me there.

Then I arrived and it all made sense. There were approximately 200 photographers waiting outside of the players' parking lot, taking pictures as each player drove past. BJ wanted a driver, and I was his Turtle.

Although I certainly wasn't the focal point, I slowly steamrolled through the exit, you know, to milk the moment. The photographers closed in like a pack of wolves and fired off an insurmountable heap of luminous flashes deep inside our eyeballs.

I was forced to constantly blink so I could regain an accurate illustration of the road while we drove away. I looked over at BJ and he seemed, or acted, bothered by what took place, a reaction only possible to someone who was accustomed to the attention; because I thought it was cool.

It was time to go back to Chesapeake, but Justin and BJ wanted to do it in style so they arranged a private jet to take us there. Every high point in this trip was followed by another escalated event, which seemed to heighten a never-ending bar.

bj justin upton

I was euphoric after we touched down in Virginia; the past two months had been unimaginable. Taking a private jet home was a perfect way for my journey to come to an end...at least I thought it had come to an end.

We went out to Virginia Beach and met up with another MLB baseball player, David Wright, a person I knew long before meeting the Upton's.

David played AAU and high school baseball with my brother, and I did the same with his brother since we were ten years old. Most of my weekends from ages 10-13 were spent sleeping over the Wright's house, where David would regularly wake me up in the morning by sticking his big toe in my mouth.

He is probably the most competitive person I've ever met; regardless if it was on the baseball field, dueling in ping pong or playing full court basketball. It was rare for a day to go by during my freshman year in high school when David didn't call me 'fatboy', and not because he was mean, it was just his way of motivating me to lose weight.

Things were different now though; I wasn't fat and he was famous.

From the moment I stepped foot inside Catch 31 in Virginia Beach, I could tell he carried a star power greater than anyone in Tampa. David was already a household name from his time with the New York Mets and he didn't have to try; women surrounded him.

"Hello David," I greeted him.

"What's up B?" he greeted me back.

"I'm coming to New York to live with you this summer," I jokingly told him.

"You can come anytime you want," he replied with a smile.

Being under the spotlight will naturally change someone, and I noticed David was very talkative and diplomatic to everyone around him. Some may see it as fake, but everything you do is artificial when you have a reputation to protect. He did make sure to not come off as the guy who was better than you though, and he also made sure not to openly hit on any girls in front of prying eyes.

When it was time to leave, David and I were the only two people who walked outside with an extra girl trailing our footsteps. We all hopped in the back of a black SUV, one girl on my lap and one girl on his lap. Although I certainly couldn't keep up with him on the baseball field; my macking skills were definitely on par.

Once we arrived at Kyle's house, I took my girl upstairs and he vanished without a trace; something I imagine he practiced while in New York.

Just when I thought my streak of fun was coming to an end, BJ came over to Kyle's the next day and had a talk with me upstairs.

"You ready to go back to Tampa?" BJ feverishly asked.

"You're damn right!" I responded, without the slightest hesitation.

What was I going to do say...no? There is no telling what path my life would have gone down if I stayed home, I didn't have any alternate plans. Still, I wondered why BJ wanted me in Tampa, what was he getting out of it? My question was ultimately answered the week after we arrived.

No matter where we went, be it the mall, the club or even in the middle of traffic – BJ's rhetoric was always the same.

"Get her number! What about her? Get that one's number!" he would demand, and I would deliver.

Don't get me wrong, there was no hardship on my part, this was a pleasing task and I was good at it. My phone was LOADED with girls' numbers by the end of the week and each new contact was forthright about their willingness to hangout. BJ decided I needed a separate phone to handle the workload and promptly provided one – it was really getting out of control.

Even though my new 'job' kept me busy, I still found time to keep in touch with Lacey. The way I looked at it, all of the other girls I talked to were work related and Lacey was the personal object of my desire. BJ planned on going to a Tampa Bay Lightning game, so I asked Lacey to meet us there.

It was Justin, BJ, Cliff Floyd and myself walking through the corridors en route to a reserved skybox. While they stopped to sign autographs, Cliff chose to include me in the action.

"Hey, you know that's Scott Kazmir right there, you should get his autograph too," Cliff told a little kid, who then asked me for an autograph.

I signed it. Cliff was so amused he started stopping people who weren't even in search of autographs, asking if they wanted 'mine'.

Lacey joined us in the skybox during the first period, and brought her dad along with her. I never enjoyed meeting parents and I honestly don't know anyone who does.

He shadowed behind her as they entered, a short man wearing a light gray suit with a yellow tie and black dress shoes. After cavalierly introducing himself, he shook my hand, but I knew what he was thinking. You can call it telepathy or you can call it instinct–either way–I knew.

He wanted his daughter, an only child, to marry someone distinguished: a doctor or a lawyer – anything but a glorified pickup artist.

After her dad was called into work, we all sat down in a sectioned off row of seats in front of the skybox. Suddenly, we all appeared on the jumbotron.

"Give it up for your Tampa Bay Rays!!!" the stadium announcer instructed to thousands of screaming hockey fans.

BJ stood up, Cliff stood up and as a joke I stood up and waved to the crowd. I figured Cliff was already telling people I was Scott Kazmir so why not get some recognition?

Ironically, we ran into Kazmir the very next day while BJ was getting treatment on his shoulder in the Rays training room. This was the first time I saw him since the boxing match a year prior to this and I will never forget the first words out of his mouth.

"Let's go in the dugout and steal the World Series signs off the wall. We can probably make some money selling them," said Kazmir, and he was not joking at all.

I thought 'Why in the hell does someone with a $30 million contract want to sell World Series memorabilia?'... but I didn't say that.

"Yeah, let's do it," is what I said.

So the two of us exited the training room, walked down the tunnel into the dugout and went to work peeling off World Series signs that were glued to the wall behind the bench.

"Do you think they'll care if this stuff is gone?" I asked, worried about being caught.

"Who gives a shit," Kazmir emphatically replied.

This guy was right up my alley. He wasn't just stealing them for me to sell; he was actually going to sell them for himself. He was the first and only millionaire athlete I met who also sold memorabilia. I saw this as a potential avenue to earn some viable income; naturally, I decided to align myself with him.

"I just rented out a place on Treasure Island that P Diddy stayed in, yall should come out there tonight," he added.

So we did.

The main condo amenities were a movie theater and a hot tub, which was more like a mini-swimming pool, built into the back deck overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. If there were ever a place to bring girls – this was it.

We spent a week there and I was tirelessly at work contacting girls to come over. For the most part, I wasn't even reaping the benefits, but I couldn't complain. Actually, I was glad I wasn't, especially on Kazmir's last night in town; he called me with a surprise the following morning.

"Hey, so I hooked up with that girl you brought back last night and you will never believe what happened," he said, in a normal manner.

"What's that?" I asked.

"Well, I woke up and SHE PISSED ALL OVER MY FUCKING BED!" Scott screamed.

"Ahahaha," I replied.

"Oh, that's funny? I'm starting to question your abilities, just so you know," Kazmir informed me.

He went back to Texas and we returned to BJ's nest in Tampa which ended up giving us more success than we could have ever imagined. At least that's what success meant to me at the time.

Not one night passed where there weren't a slew of girls eagerly–and sometimes desperately–wanting to come over. This is no exaggeration whatsoever; it went on EVERY night for two weeks straight; my phone was in need of a bigger data plan.

We didn't even call them by their real names; they were given nicknames such as 'Olive Oil' and 'Chuck Liddell' (we watched her fight another girl).

Some mornings I walked downstairs and would see two or three girls sleeping on BJ's brown leather sofas, and this was on top of the three who occupied each room. If you walked in the front door, you would have thought we were running a brothel; it was a dream come true.

We even invented new phrases to mark common occurrences. For example, whenever a girl overstayed her welcome, it was referred to as a 'shot clock violation' and we all made a buzzer sound when she left – once she was out of audible range that is.

Then there was the other–not so vague–expression known as the 'We'll SEE YA!'. This took place when the girls exited, just before the front door closed (or car door in the rare occasion we dropped them off). It wasn't too complex we simply yelled 'WEEEEEEEEE'LL SEE YA!' extremely loud with a rumbling buildup in the beginning of the phrase (the rumbling buildup was vitally important).

After two weeks of mayhem, Justin told us we were too crazy for him (as if he didn't participate) and went back to Chesapeake.

"Kazmir is back in town, we're all going to the USF game," BJ declared.

It was the University of South Florida football game and it was being played on the Rays turf.

"There's going to be a lot of girls there, I need you on your 'A' game," BJ told me.

I wondered why we were even going, a USF football game is hardly entertaining but now I knew. So we met Kazmir and Andy Sonnanstine in the locker room, got our sideline passes and went into the dugout.

Then members of the press asked them for an on-camera interview. I liked my 'job' and I knew I had to be socially aware to keep it so I decided to hang back in the dugout for the interview, but BJ insisted I come onto the field with them.

I stood in the background while the interview was taking place and then I received a text message, which was welcomed, this way I could at least act like I was busy doing something.

"You know you stick your butt out when you walk," Lacey transmitted.

She was there–the super fan–watching with her keen and judging eye. It was going to be difficult to perform my duties under surveillance.

Once the interview was over, we all walked down the sideline while fans screamed "BJ!" and "Scott!" and rarely "Andy!" but there was never a "Brad!"

In fact, I could see them looking at me like 'Who the hell is this guy?'. It was a valid question and I guess the best answer was 'The guy who is good at picking up girls'. They would soon witness my skill first hand.

We strategically positioned ourselves in-between the dance team and the cheerleading team. Just as I began to survey the talent, a photographer approached and asked us to follow him for a picture. Fortuitously, we were required to walk through the line of dancers and cheerleaders to get there.

I was last in line, and just before we cleared them, a cheerleader was thrown in the air. Except she didn't land in her teammates hands as planned, she landed directly on top of my shoulder.

The fans laughed, and I laughed along with them; even though I was in excruciating pain. This picture was taken moments after; it would end up being featured in the newspaper with the caption "BJ Upton, Scott Kazmir and Andy Sonnanstine."

When there is chaos, there is opportunity, so I walked a straight path to the cheerleader who landed on my shoulder.

"Are you okay?" I asked.

"Yeah, sorry about that," she said, her glitter infested cheeks cracking a smile.

"I'm not going to lie, it hurt. But I know how you can make it up to me," I told her.

"Oh yeah? How's that?" she asked.

"You can give me your phone numbers and bring your teammates to hang out with us tonight," I boldly stated.

She gave me her phone number, her friends joined us that night and the rest is history. After this, I knew my 'job' was still secure, I just wondered if Lacey saw this transaction take place.



Lacey

In the meantime, I could get a head start on doing something on my own, and that something was courting Lacey.

She invited me over to her house for the first time. I put on a collared shirt, nice slacks and brand new shoes to make the best impression possible. BJ made sure to clown on me before I walked out the door.

"Look at you! She's got you dressing up now, you're tripping," BJ echoed from atop the stairs.

It's easy to get girls wearing Adidas sweatpants and moccasin loafers' everyday when you're worth millions of dollars I actually needed to put some effort into it. To be honest, it was a reverse scenario; Lacey could have got me wearing sweatpants and loafers.

So I drove to St. Petersburg and parked in front of Lacey's parents million-dollar home located on the coastal waterway. I checked myself in the rear-view mirror and said 'OK Brad, be someone you're not' my last personal pep talk before heading inside.

Lacey opened the door wearing a bright orange dress with blue thong sandals and a matching blue headband. Straight behind her, across a long stretch of hardwood floors and beyond huge paneled windows was a clear view of the water.

"Give him a tour of the house," said Lacey's mom, sternly.

Lacey giddily and gleefully skipped in front of me, guiding us to the first destination her dad's memorabilia room. All it took was an initial glimpse and I was shell-shocked; it was the size of a customary bedroom but it was STOCKED from wall to wall with every type of sports memorabilia you could imagine.

Sammy Sosa autographed jersey here, Wayne Gretzsky autographed jersey there and about 100 more to boot. There were signed bats, footballs, and boxing gloves – there was even an Olympic torch. I must have spent 30 minutes looking at everything; I really wasn't interested in the rest of the tour.

Nonetheless, she grabbed my arm and escorted me to the 'wildlife room', which was filled with all of the animals her dad killed during his trips to Africa over the years. I'm an animal lover, so killing them isn't kosher to me, but I still acted as if I were interested.  The Grizzly bear on the wall was pretty sweet though.

Then we were off to the backyard to see her pool with gator statue spitting water into the shallow end and her two boats docked in the ocean.

It was definitely an extravagant estate, but I sensed they wanted me to be more enthralled than I actually was. Some people may differ on this subject, but I wasn't the type to like a girl because she was rich – I'd much rather build that life for myself than seek someone who has it. Maybe my opinion was skewed from the norm by having rich friends, but I didn't want to be there because of her wealth – I was there because Lacey was a classy and attractive girl (this is a point I will later prove).

So we sat down at the kitchen counter and her mom made dinner for the three of us. While eating, I looked over and noticed her mom was staring at my hands for some reason. I stopped momentarily and gave her a non-verbal 'what the fuck are you doing' cue...and then she came out with it.

"You have workers hands," her mom blurted out.

"What?" I replied.

"Your hands, they're rough and callus like a worker," her mom reiterated.

"Oh," I replied, again reminding myself to be someone else.

I assumed she was trying to tell me I was of a lower class because of the texture of my hands. Yes, my hands were rough; the last 15 years of my life were spent playing baseball.

Her mom was just like her dad; I could tell she didn't approve, but she was definitely more open about it with her subtle jabs. Truthfully, I didn't approve of her lifestyle either.

The next two grueling hours were spent looking at scrapbooks, desperately wanting to escape. Just as our 'family' time expired, Lacey asked me to spend the night. I agreed, thinking this was my reward for enduring battle with her mother; but it was short lived.

Apparently there was a house rule where all guests were required to sleep alone in a separate bedroom. She was a sophomore in college for Christ's sake, but I was already in too deep to leave.

When I woke up the following morning, I discovered the rule really was for 'Christ's sake' because I was forced to go to church with them and then eat lunch with her entire extended family afterward. Once it was finally over, I walked into BJ's house speechless, shaking my head.

"You've been caking all weekend huh? Hahaaaaaa," BJ prodded.

I walked past him without uttering a word, went upstairs and put on my own sweatpants and loafers. All wasn't lost; Lacey invited me to stay with her the following weekend in Gainesville...and this time we wouldn't have to sleep in separate bedrooms.

BJ went out of town on Thursday before I left, but I needed to ask him a question before he walked out the door.

"BJ, did you leave the G Wagon keys?" I asked.

"Yeah, why do you wanna know?" BJ said, staring me down.

"I was going to get it cleaned for you," I told him.

He left the keys, but he was being duped. I wasn't planning on getting it cleaned, I was planning on riding clean in Gainesville – and I did.

I pulled into the University of Florida campus in BJ's $100,000+ Mercedes truck and every girl I drove by was openly gawking at me; it's funny how people treat you like you're someone special simply based on the car you're driving. I suppose they were being duped as well.

Lacey waited for me outside her condo wearing lime green pajama pants, a crisp white tank top and a brimmed Tampa Bay Rays hat with her hair scrunched behind in a ponytail.

I sat down on her gray suede couch and began getting acquainted with her two roommates, but then I noticed two peculiar pictures on the shelf. One was an autographed picture of Lacey with Tim Tebow and the other–more disturbing–autographed picture of her with Evan Longoria.

Just what every guy wants, a commemorative mantle of the guy your girlfriend used to hook up with. I smiled and pretended to be interested in the ongoing conversation with her tenants, but deep down I wanted to get up and smash that picture – Stone Cold Steve Austin style.

Instead of unleashing my inner-terrorist, I let it slide and we went to bed early; we were getting up to watch the guy in the other picture, Tim Tebow, play football on Saturday.

Hundreds of thousands of UF students and fans swarmed the stadium gates; football was a religion to them. One of the best perks of having Lacey as a girlfriend was the preferred seat placement at sporting events. We sat 3rd row behind the Gators bench on the 50-yard line, arguably some of the best seats in the house.

Lacey went on to explain how her dad donated a few hundred thousand dollars a year to aquire them. She always felt obligated to make comments about her families wealth – I should have asked her why he couldn't get first row seats.

I observantly watched Tebow and company manhandle South Carolina for the next few hours. What amazed me the most was the overall size of every player on each team. They really don't appear to be that big on TV, but let me tell you they are absolutely monstrous up close, even the backup players.

Once the game was over, we walked through the torrential downpour and placed our muddy shoes outside the front door to her condo. We were finally alone, no monitoring parents and no guest bedrooms.

We spent all night in her bed kissing, disrobing, touching and when it was all said and done with I did the unthinkable – I took her virginity.

I woke up the following morning with a stark reaLaceyation of what I actually did. Sex was commonplace for me, but for her, this was a life-altering moment. Don't get me wrong, I truly cared and it was more than just sex in my mind, but I couldn't stop thinking about what this meant to her.

She waited her entire life for this; I wondered if I was prepared to handle the consequences. When you take a girls virginity, especially after she's waited that long, you can't simply walk away. Not that I wanted to, I just knew it was no longer an option. Well, you can if you like crushing a girls soul but I knew I was in it for the long haul.

Just as my brain was analyzing my newfoundand unspoken responsibilities, BJ called me...and he was pissed off.

"Where are you?" he sternly asked, as if he knew something was up.

"Just hanging out," I told him, trying to dodge the oncoming bullet.

"No, I said WHERE are you. I'm at the house, WHERE is my truck?" BJ said, scrutinizing my previous response.

"Man, I'm in Gainesville!" I told him, knowing there was no way out of this one.

"Mother fucker! I knew it! You better get your ass back here with my truck!" BJ demanded, as the phone call ended.

Lacey understood the conditions I was living under, so I gave her a passionate kiss and drove back to Tampa. Halloween was just a few days away and I knew exactly how to make it up to BJ.

Two days of nonstop texts were fired out from my 'B' phone with an invitation to join us for a night out on Halloween.

"We might need a bigger car," I told BJ.

"I'll call and get us a limo right now if you're that serious," BJ declared.

"I am," I insisted.

Justin and BJ found out just how serious I was when 12 girls walked into the house; each of them decked out in scandalous costumes.

"You boys are stuntin' now!" TJ the limo driver said while he pulled into BJ's driveway.

We ushered these girls to every place in town we possibly could. First it was dinner; people laughed at the site of us sitting at a table of 15 – 12 of them being attractive girls. Then we carted them off to numerous clubs, mostly because we enjoyed the scene while exiting the limo, but also because we wanted the maximum amount of people to see this miraculous power play we were pulling off.

I looked over at Justin and BJ from a distance, they were roped off in a section in the club boasting a 6:1 ratio, and I can't even begin to describe how happy they looked. They were kids in an adult candy shop.

"Do you see how Donish we look?" Justin asked, unknowingly coining a phrase we would continue to use relentlessly.

I knew one thing for sure – BJ wouldn't be complaining about me taking his G Wagon anymore.

We felt so compelled to tell other people about our 'Donish' evening that we went out the following night just to talk about it. This is when we ran into David Price, and alongside him was Evan Longoria.

This was the first time I was around Longoria since I became serious with Lacey and there was an awkward tension between us. It wasn't a spiteful tension; it was more of a 'I wonder what he's thinking' tension. However, the air would soon clear when it was closing time.

"B-rad, get in my car, I'll give you a ride back," Evan insisted.

I hopped in his pearl white Mercedes S550 and we took off down the road. Neither of us said a word for the first minute or two, so I decided to bring up the elephant in the room.

"So I guess we're aware we've both messed around with Lacey," I said.

"Yeah, she's a good girl, she will take care of you," Evan replied.

It was refreshing to at least address the issue and hear his endorsement – only time would tell if he was being sincere.

The majority of November was occupied by spending more quality time with Lacey. We went to Disney World, we went to church, we played childish games with her little cousins and we even went to dinner with her parents.

She made me feel like I was a better person and it grew each time we were together. For the first time in my life – I was actually falling in love.



D.C. and Spring Training

Ryan Zimmerman, the third baseman for the Washington Nationals, was having a New Year's party in Washington, D.C. so we all decided to go...and Lacey came with me.

It was a brisk and breezy afternoon in the nations capital while Lacey and I visited every monument and museum D.C. had to offer. We held hands as we gazed at ancient rocks and prehistoric dinosaur bones, like we were a noble elderly couple. I was finding life in a relationship to be much more rewarding than philandering with girls in a club.

At night, we set out for the party, which was located at a bar in the middle of downtown Washington. Once we got in, we said hello to Zimmerman and then Lacey and I shared a steamy New Year's kiss when the ball dropped.

The highlight of the night, however, was when Justin's then girlfriend slapped him in the face. I don't know why she did it, but she gave us all a gift; the ride home was awkwardly entertaining.

I introduced Lacey to my family once we arrived in Chesapeake, a feat no girl accomplished since high school. At nightfall, Lacey and I sat in my bed and we began talking about what my next move would be.

"Are you moving to Tampa permanently?" Lacey asked, with an obvious desire that she wanted me to do so.

"I don't know, it's not really up to me," I told her.

"Well, why don't you call BJ and ask him," Lacey said.

"I will call him right now."

I picked up the phone and called BJ, who was already in Tampa after deciding not to join us in the bitter climate of D.C.

"Bossman, you care if I stay down there with you?" I asked.

"What... you wanna live here?" BJ responded.

"Yeah, put yourself in my shoes," I told him.

"Ha, yeah that's cool with me," BJ said.

I was officially moving to Tampa, I guess I did well enough as a pick-up artist to stick around. I'm sure BJ also knew I wanted to be around Lacey...she was noticeably perky upon hearing the good news.

Once I was settled in BJ's house, I took Lacey out to celebrate the continuation of our relationship, most notably how this move enabled us to be close to one another. It was her choice, so we went to see the movie 'Twilight'.

Like most guys, I thought it was boring. I looked over at Lacey and I could tell she was emotionally attached to the plot. She wanted her love life to be a storybook fantasy filled with adventure and excitement.

While she was being sucked in, I was taking note of the character 'Edward' so I could mimic his antics once it was over. If I pulled it off correctly, she would subconsciously connect the same feelings from the movie towards me. Devious... probably. Could it work? Maybe.

I didn't wait long to put my plan into action. There was a scene in the movie where the character Edward ran through the trees with the girl latched around his back. My objective was clear; I needed to get Lacey on my back.

"Let me piggyback you to the car," I said, setting her up for the move as we entered the parking lot.

She secured her arms around my chest and her legs around my waist – oblivious to my intentions. I took two ordinary steps forward and then–without warning–dashed into a full on sprint like Usain Bolt. At least that's who I was in my mind; in hers, I was this Edward guy.

Once we reached the car, she climbed off my back and I'll never forget the look in her eyes. She was overwhelmed and intoxicated by this melodramatic display. Whether she was aware or not; I just stimulated every subtext emotion implanted in her head by the movie 'Twilight'.

Not only was it me who was shot by cupid's arrow; BJ found a new girl as well.

The two of us went to a diner in Tampa named Daily Eats. It was a small, friendly restaurant we often visited due to their unbelievable breakfast food, but on this day BJ exited with more than just a full stomach.

Her name was Stephanie, and she was a waitress with black shoulder-length hair and a firm physique. For BJ, her most striking feature was how shy and quiet she was; this gave him free range to do what he loved most – be the one talking.

Normally, I was the one to collect numbers. It was out of character for him, but BJ took the reins and asked for her digits on his own accord and received them. This unknowingly proved to be a vital moment in BJ's life.

Stephanie came over to the house the very next day and joined us for Gasparillaa pirate festival...held annually on the streets of Tampa.

The whole charade was a giant excuse for everyone to openly drink on the streets ... I mean really, who celebrates pirates?

So we plowed through a maze of rowdy eye-patched drunks and went up to Andy Sonnanstine's apartment, which was conveniently positioned right above Bayshore Boulevard, the main street for the parade.

Within an hour, BJ and Stephanie passed out on the couch together. They were spooning and they weren't even drunk, I guess it was the right mix of combined laziness. This is when Kazmir entered the room with his own commentary.

"Oh my god! Look at Melvin, what a clown. Brad, let's go on the street and pick up some girls," Kaz announced, using BJ's real first name.

Kazmir and I caroused the streets approaching every single girl with beads on their neck or a beer in their hand. He was somewhat of a celebrity in Tampa so it was remarkably easy to walk up to a girl and be successful. In fact, it was so easy I could tell he really didn't enjoy it anymore. We, as people, want what we can't have or want what challenges us. Kazmir was able to get girls without challenge or resistance, plus he also needed to worry about them being after his money – which was a very real and existing paranoia.

"I got us tickets to the UFC fight, but we're too smashed to drive. I guess we can call a cab," Kazmir said, and then reached for his phone.

"Hold on a second, I might be able to get us a ride," I told him in an effort to prove I can do more than just pick up girls.

I wanted to show value. Having already displayed the basic skills to hang around, it was time for me to expand and get paid by someone. At the time, my 'job' only came with free rent and free meals – I wanted more.

Lacey just so happened to be in Tampa with all of her sorority sisters from college and I remembered her telling me she rented a limo for the night.

"Can you come pick us up and take us to the UFC fight?" I asked Lacey.

"We're eating but we'll be here for awhile so I can have the driver come get you," Lacey offered, to which I gladly accepted.

I told Kazmir I had it covered and he nodded his head, trying not to seem impressed. This was probably the first limo ride he didn't have to pay for in 7 years and I knew he appreciated it. On the other end, I really appreciated the first row seats outside of the octagon.

We watched these savage barbarians beat the living shit out of each other for hours. Everyone thinks UFC fighters are so tough–and they may be–but they are definitely stupid. It's really not worth it to lose brain cells at such an alarming pace, unless you're making a million dollars per fight. Once it was over, Kazmir raised the bar on impressiveness.

"Do you want to go meet Dana White?" Scott asked.

"You're damn right I do," I told him.

Dana White is the president of the UFC and Kazmir somehow knew him. I'm pretty sure rich people have secret meetings with one another or something and us poor folks are not invited.

So we walked under the rope separating the first row of seats from the stage and there was Dana White. He was a bald man; thick built, energetic and he wore a costly pitch-black suit with no tie. He and Kazmir talked for a while and then I got to shake his hand. Having learned my lesson from Stormin Norman, I decided to give Dana a death-gripped handshake – because that's how you shake a man's hand.

I suppose I proved myself to be worthy of a 'raise' because when spring training rolled around – I was given a paying job.

At the time, I wasn't working for BJ and I wasn't working for Kazmir; I was working for BJ and Kazmir. My job was simple; I drove them to Port Charlotte (where spring training took place) and back to Tampa as they pleased. Although my life's ambition wasn't to be a chauffeur, I really couldn't complain. I was paid well and I had a pretty nice truck to drive to work.

Although I was mainly on the road everyday, I didn't forget the skill that got me to this point. Every now and then I would invite a group of girls to come on the trips with me. It was a welcomed surprise for all their teammates; Port Charlotte hardly offered anything in the way of girls. The demand was high, and I was the only supply – therefore I was an asset.

From time to time, BJ and Kazmir would get into spats over whose tasks were more important for me to carry out. They were so used to being in control over every aspect of their life, and now they were competing for my services. The business side of me looked at it as a future bidding war...that would hopefully transition into the season.

When spring training ended, we all returned to Tampa...and Stephanie opportunely moved all of her belongings into the house with us. So now I was the third wheel who was no longer being paid. In essence, I was playing the role of Owen Wilson from 'You, Me and Dupree'. I was Dupree.

Lacey and I were still seeing one another on a regular basis but dating her wasn't putting money in my pocket. It was actually doing the opposite – I needed to figure something out.



Miami

One month into the season and I was still without a steady paying job ... or any job for that matter.

I would do random tasks for BJ and odd jobs for Kazmir but nothing was coming together like I wanted it to. I wanted a guaranteed contract, just like baseball had given them.

An escape from my environment seemed appropriate to come up with a plan, so I picked up the phone and told Lacey I was coming to Gainesville to see her. Before I could hit the dial, I got a text message from Justin.

"I'm coming to Miami, meet me down there and I'll get you a hotel room," Justin's text read.

"Ok, but Lacey wants to come too," I responded.

"Fine, I guess I'll invite my girl," Justin said.

So it was set; Lacey and I were going to Miami for three days to watch the Diamondbacks play the Marlins. On top of this, the Rays were coming to Miami for the very next series against the Marlins.

We packed up Lacey's two-door Infiniti G35 and hit the road. The next four hours were used to brainstorm my best plan of action to land a contractual job with BJ or Kazmir; there's nothing like two gifted minds working in sync.

Pros and cons were bounced back and forth. I said I've heard bad stories about working for a friend, Lacey said BJ might be offended if I worked for Kazmir. I said how I've known BJ for longer and I could trust him, Lacey said Kazmir might be better served with a former catcher at his disposal.

The one point I didn't bring up is how BJ lived at home with a girlfriend and Kazmir was single living alone; I knew Lacey didn't want to hear how this being a deciding factor.

No matter what decision I made, there would be consequences. When our brainstorming session was over, I chose to pursue a job with Kazmir, mostly because I didn't want to harm the genuine friendship I had with BJ.

The final course of action was to plant the seed, and I used Lacey to do this. Pretty women have consistently persuaded powerful men since the beginning of time, so why deviate from what history has taught us? In light of this, I asked Lacey to send Kazmir the following scripted text.

"When are you going to hire Brad so he can buy me nice things?" it read.

It's a call to action mixed with a line conceding power, and it's from a pretty girl (even though I wrote it). I was banking on Kazmir being induced with the following feelings: wanting to impress Lacey, feeling powerful that he can enable someone to buy nice things and being pressured into offering me the job. Where I come from, we call this a tri-fecta.

Although he didn't respond ... I was fairly certain it was going to do the trick.

We arrived at the Trump International Hotel in Sunny Isles Beach, Miami and settled into our room. It was a beautiful place with the view from our balcony showcasing the vast ocean expanding in each direction.

The first day, we sat poolside with Justin's girlfriend drinking margaritas and even went jet skiing in the ocean (which resulted in a horrendous crash, which slung Lacey off the back after I hit a wave going full speed, it's much different than a lake).

The three of us sat in the right field bleachers, yelling at Justin every opportunity we saw fit. I suppose our heckling motivated him, because he hit a monster home run into the upper deck during his last at bat.

When nighttime came, we opened up the door separating our rooms and the four of us enjoyed spending quality time together. Justin was rarely able to relax with friends due to his hectic schedule and it was nice to have respectful girls at our side, as opposed to the stragglers we previously escorted from various clubs during the offseason.

After Justin packed his bags the following day, he parted with the following words.

"Hey, I know the Rays are coming in town so I went ahead and paid for you and Lacey's room for the next four days," Justin said, adding a wink.

He always was a class act.

I woke up the next morning from the sound of my phone ringing; the screen read 'Scott Kazmir'.

"Hello," I said.

"Where am I?" An extremely confused Kazmir mumbled.

"Um, you're in Miami," I told him.

"Oh," Scott replied, and then immediately hung up.

Later that day, BJ told me Kazmir showed up to the field wearing a bathing suit and a t-shirt, instead of the customary suit and tie players are supposed to wear.

The Rays to sent him home before the game even started. After laughing at the thought of him walking into the locker room in a bathing suit, I saw his troubles as a gateway for me to work for him. I'm sure he was now aware he needed to change his ways; I just needed to convince him I was the guy who could do it.

After going to the game, BJ invited us to a club in downtown Miami. The lighting was unusually dark and everyone was wearing white, including all of BJ's teammates.

As Lacey and I strutted up to meet BJ, the first person we saw was Longoria, a familiar face. Both sides paused like a deer in the headlights – the awkwardness officially began.

This reminded me of the old adage ... don't bring your girl to the club. It's never fun to bring your significant other to a place filled with hunter-gatherers, but it's especially worse when she used to have a fling with a guy in the same setting.

As if my current situation weren't bad enough, BJ walked up to remind me.

"I bet you wish Lacey wasn't here, don't you?" BJ said, which was more of a declaration than a question.

The night eventually ended and I was overcome with relief, but this feeling wouldn't last for long.

"I feel sick," Lacey claimed, upon returning to our hotel room the next day after the game.

"You didn't even drink last night," I reminded her.

"I know, it's weird, what if I'm pregnant?" Lacey suggested, with a more somber demeanor than I hoped for.

"Yeah, that'd be something," I put forth, while my mind became stricken with anxiety.

"Maybe you should go get a pregnancy test, just incase," Lacey conveyed, still maintaining a much-dreaded sober assertiveness.

Even though I never usually wore a condom (actually, I never wore a condom), I thought it was typical female emotional jargon; a ploy to get a rise out of me. It wasn't out of character for her to enact a cunning gambit to keep me attached; she was smart and this alleged ruse correlated with her playbook.

I didn't want to argue and the notion actually made me curious, so I walked down to the local pharmacy and bought not one, but two pregnancy tests.

My mind was moving a mile a minute while I strolled down the main strip and back to the Trump. Certainly, I was stressing myself out for no reason, but I couldn't stop thinking about the possibility. Due to her religious background, I knew Lacey was pursuing marriage at a young age, but did she want a kid?

Her face was void of any expression when I returned to the room and unwrapped the packaging on the first test. I glanced back at her with a mirrored pose; we weren't Lacey and Brad at the moment, we were mimes.

She exited the bathroom a few minutes later and showed me the test ... it was positive.

I was in shock and rendered speechless – in a cold state of disbelief. She looked at me, equally clueless, with a straight face and puppy dog eyes.

Without hesitation, I reached for the second test and suggestively sanctioned it's use. After going in the bathroom, she reappeared with an identical guise – the test was positive again.

We both sat down on the bed beside one another as we–almost simultaneously–collapsed onto our backs and stared at the ceiling. There was no correspondence; if the next ten minutes were made into a movie, it would undoubtedly be characterized as a silent film.

When something you assume to be life altering occurs, you simply can't predict how you're going to react. I say this as a preface because even though I should have stayed in the room, flight took over.

"I'm going to leave for a little bit and get my thoughts together," I told Lacey, breaking the silence while I walked towards the door.

"Nooooooooooooooooo!" Lacey shrieked with a waterfall of tears to follow.

I turned around and faced her, hoping she could see how distraught and overwhelmed I was – but she didn't, or she didn't care.

"You better not leave me!" Lacey yelled from the corner of the bed, perched up on her knees with her hands placed on each side of her head.

My instinctual nature was telling me to get away and assess the situation calmly. I needed time to think and I needed to do this alone, completely by myself.

I pivoted, taking one step towards the door and she immediately pounced off the bed to stop me. It was a stunningly athletic move; she gained enough ground to grasp onto my right leg – with no intention of letting go.

There she was, sprawled out on the floor, bear-hugging my ankle with her face down. My flight syndrome escalated, I knew matters would only get worse if I stayed; at least that's what I thought. So I started inching myself closer to the door, as she latched on and was seemingly unfazed after migrating across the carpet like a slug.

Finally, I was able to release myself from capture and swiftly moved through the hallway, en route to the elevator.

"Noooooooooooooooooo!" Lacey bellowed, while chasing me down the hallway.

As the elevator door closed, I caught a final glimpse of Lacey's reddened face and smeared makeup while she broke down to the floor in tears. I felt bad, I truly did.

When I exited the lobby, I tried reassuring myself that I was doing the right thing by calmly coming to terms with our circumstance. It was hard to justify and–whether I was right or wrong–I found it best to do this alone.

I asked the cabbie to take me to the one place where a man can be in his own element, my sanctuary; the casino. My phone was being lit up by non-stop phone calls from Lacey, coming from our hotel room (sorry for the phone bill Justin). She called me over 50 times and not one of them were answered.

The last call came from an unknown number, and whoever it was left a voicemail.

"Brad, I don't know what's going on but I think you need to get back to the hotel. Ok, bye," Lacey's mom recited.

There was no need to call her back and I didn't call Lacey back either. I sat on the blackjack table and attempted to get my mind off the issue, hoping to gain a rational perspective.

After inevitably losing a decent amount of money, it was time to relocate, so I called BJ he said to meet him at the club.

I unconsciously made my way through droves of girls up to a platform above the dance floor, a setting I would have otherwise been excited to be in.

"Where's Lacey?" BJ asked, with Longoria just inches behind him.

"She's not feeling well," I told him, dodging the issue.

Normally I could discuss anything with anyone, but this matter was different. Although it was somewhat relieving, I spent most of the night staring out into the sea of people – questioning life itself.

A few hours and another 100 missed phone calls later (really sorry about that phone bill Justin), it was time to return to the hotel.

The room was dark; the only transmittable light was reflected from the moon off the ocean. Lacey sat upright in the bed with her hair in a ponytail and her face disconcerted. She sat as if she were reading a book, but she wasn't; she was reading my face.

My time away didn't give me any answers, but it enabled me to at least talk to her, breaking me from my speechless spell.

"I'm sorry for leaving but it was good for me to get away and think about it. It's late and we're both exhausted, can we talk about this tomorrow?" I asked.

Her nose wrinkled up like the Grinch, clearly displeased with my avoidance, and then she quietly sneered at me before rolling over to go to sleep.

We packed our luggage the next morning and loaded the car for our trip home. We still hadn't discussed our dilemma – suitcases weren't the only baggage we took back to Tampa.



Job with Scott Kazmir

It was a long–and awkward–drive home from Miami. Although one would reasonably assume for the matter to be discussed ... it wasn't. It was a sensitive subject for both of us, but even more so for her – so I chose to wait until she was ready to voice her opinion.

In a relationship, most of us know our words often come back to haunt us. Silence for me, at the time, was golden.

However, my inner thoughts were in full swing.

Piggybacking off a rich girl isn't exactly an admirable path to take to achieve your own success. I may have rich friends but I didn't have a job, my own place, nor did I even have my own car. How could I have a kid?

After self-analyzing and coming to that very conclusion, it was time to get the ball rolling on step one; a job.

Kazmir invited me over to look at his new 2 million dollar top-floor penthouse condo on Harbour Island, which overlooked downtown Tampa.

He walked me through each room, which I labeled the 'tour on marble floor' while he tried to avoid coming off as boastful or excited about his new domain.

"You don't have to hold back your smile, this place is fucking sick," I told him, which triggered a release of enthusiasm and put him at ease.

There were two bedrooms; the living room and kitchen in between each, occupying the vast majority of square footage.

Eight-oversized glass paneled windows stretched throughout the living room perimeter, leading to a colossal balcony with views reaching as far as Raymond James Stadium (which is not close by any means).

One wall was adorned with painted-red alligator skin, and another–beside the pool table and arcade–was custom made with $30,000 worth of bamboo.

Each closet in each bedroom was stuffed with Nike gear, mink covers on the bed, alpaca carpets, a sink with neon blue or red lights (depending on the temperature of the water) and showers sprinkling down from the ceiling.

I was delighted enough just to be there, but my day was about to get better. Scott asked me to join him on the balcony for a sit-down, a meeting of sorts, 21 floors above the city.

"Do you want to work for me?" Scott asked.

"Yeah, only because I think I can help you," I told him, which he seemed to appreciate.

"Ok, I'm going to pay you $2,500 in cash per month, but you have a lot of responsibilities," Scott advised.

"Which are?" I responded.

"You have to be my personal trainer, manager, assistant, driver and anything else I ask of you ... you also have to be on call 24-7," Scott asserted.

"That's fine with me," I replied.

"I have two more perks, I'm going to give you the keys to the Escalade and let you stay in my other apartment," Scott revealed, wrapping up our firstbut not lastbusiness meeting.

I guess the text message Lacey relayed to him did the trick, no longer was I working 'scott-free'.

This would be my last night going back to BJ's house and although it was fun, my days as Dupree came to an end. The condo where I initially met Scott two years earlier ... was now mine. I also drove a brand new Escalade on 22-inch rims, but Scott wouldn't miss it; his all-black 2005 Ferrari 430 was there when he needed to drive.

From an outsider's perspective, I went from bum to businessman in about 5 minutes. I knew he was doing this for a reason, and it was because he wanted a return on his investment. Deep down, Scott cared about his performance and he really did need someone to hold him accountable ... so I went to work right away.

The first step was ordering workout gear. After he made the all-star team, Nike upped his contract and gave him an account on NikeElite.com, a website where he could order up to $25,000 in gear per year, free of charge. Oddly enough, out of everything Scott had, this was the aspect I envied the most.

He placed a MacBook air on his granite countertop, logged in his account and let me have at it. I ordered shoes, shirts, shorts, socks, medicine balls, weighted vests, water bottles, stretching cords, stopwatches, gym bags and headbands. I was locked in, this was the first time (but not the last) I had an adrenaline rush from being on the computer. I'm sure it would have been different if he were required to pay for it, but he didn't, it was free of charge!

"Anything else you want to add?" I asked, after showing him the online shopping cart.

"Add some soccer goalie gloves, I've always wanted a pair," Scott said, followed by my own evil rich-guy laughter.

A few short days later, everything we ordered arrived in boxes in front of the door it was too good to be true, much like the job I currently held.

Not only did we look sharp and professional with all this new gear, but it also gave Scott a reason to workout; which rarely happened. He grew somewhat lazy after receiving his contract and although I couldn't put myself in his figurative shoes, I could berate him into putting on his literal shoes ... to run.

I packed up the gym bag with all of our accessories and we took the elevator down to the weight room – it officially began.

The first hour consisted of lightweight shoulder exercises, stretching, leg presses and an abs routine. During the second hour, we hit the streets running, crossing over one bridge to mainland Tampa and returning on the other. Not only was this good for his conditioning, it was also great for his PR appeal. On the flip side, after lagging behind his consistent and personally unobtainable pace; my PR was taking a hit.

We continued doing this methodically, to the point where I no longer needed to chide him into doing it because he could feel the results, but not yet see if they transferred over to his performance on the field.

He remained on the DL for the time being, nonetheless, I still drove him to the field for each game. This is a time when I realized the college baseball mindset is much different from the MLB mindset; a fact highlighted when Lebron James came around to play the Orlando Magic.

"Come pick me up," Scott texted, during the fifth inning.

"For what? I thought you had to stay," I fired back.

"Never mind that, I got us first row tickets to the Cavs-Magic playoff game ... come pick me up," he explained.

He exited the stadium with his head held low, attempting to avoid being detected during his early escape (although I'm sure his teammates noticed he was no longer in the dugout). After an hour or so on the road, we arrived in Orlando just in time for the start of the game.

We took our seats directly behind the scorer's table. I immediately looked up in amazement at the daunting display of blue lights and the cluster of white towels being waved around by rambunctious fans.

BJ showed up with Stephanie just before halftime, shaking his head in disgust over Scott's dugout disappearance as they sat down. Once the second quarter finished, the four of us went to a VIP lounge where we rubbed elbows with the rapper Plies (who is smaller than T.I.) and were introduced to Tim Tebow (who most athletes despise, due to his unmatchable reputation).

Then, in the third quarter, Lebron began to flop. My anger grew each time he went down the court and passed the ball to his subpar teammates. I couldn't fathom why he wasn't taking control of the game and I got a chance to let him know when he leaned against the scorer's table.

"Shoot the damn ball Lebron!" I yelled, after standing up and leaning in.

He instantly began laughing with his teammate and then quickly turned around, looking me right in the eyes. I guess he wanted to put a face on his heckler – I really just wanted him to shoot the damn ball.

"Hey, I see you on TV!" Lacey texted.

"Really?" I asked, previously unaware of this possibility.

"Yeah, why didn't you invite me?" she asked.

"I didn't know we were going, sorry," I told her.

The truth is my job with Kazmir gave me very little time to be around her. It's not like we were growing apart, because we never stopped texting (and I mean never ), but we still hadn't discussed the situation that arose in Miami; which I found to be extremely odd, almost troublesome.

I mean who gets pregnant and then doesn't talk it over with their partner?  My silence strategy was still in effect but it was beginning to feel like a game of risk; with neither side making a move. To be honest, she waited so long I started to question the validity of the tests, but I couldn't or wouldn't dare say it.

Before the game was over, I told Lacey I would call her when I got back, but then my phone was stolen at the blackjack table after we stopped at the casino. I told her the next day but I'm not sure if she even believed me. There was mutual distrust and our bubble was about to burst, I just never imagined it would have happened ... the way it happened.

The Rays were traveling to New York for a series against the Yankees the following weekend and interestingly enough, Lacey informed me that she and her cousin were taking the trip as well.

The ominous red flag, which should have presented itself when she first announced her itinerary, didn't appear until Kazmir was gone and I was sitting in the penthouse all by myself.

"Just saw Lacey in the lobby," BJ texted me, which was cryptic, although I didn't pick up on it at the time.

"Yeah, she's up there with her cousin," I replied, to which he didn't respond, another indicator I failed to notice.

She returned three days later and invited me to sit third row behind home plate at the next home game, her parents coveted seats. Call it a sixth sense or–if you picked up on the clues unlike me–call it blatantly fucking obvious ... but I knew something was up.

I grew up playing video games with my brothers religiously, and it was always a competition of who could outwit the other; often by cheating. Whenever one of them was bending the rules, I could always sense it on their face, it was an indicator they were attempting to pull the wool over my eyes. As I sat beside Lacey, I saw the very same look on her cheeky dolled up face.

Now it was all a question of how to handle it. I chose to ask her subtle questions before revealing my suspicions, this way I could reference her answers once my cover was blown. It would also require some acting of my own.

"So did you have fun in New York?" I asked, with a genuine glaze.

"Yeah!  We went shopping everyday," Lacey answered.

"That's cool. Did you stop by the team hotel?" I questioned, even though I knew the answer.

"Yeah, I think we only stopped by once for a few minutes," Lacey countered, as I pounced on her usage of the words 'I think'.

"You think?  Do you 'think' you stopped by anyone's room while you were there?" I interrogated, bluffing with the appearance that I already knew something.

"No. Why?" she responded abruptly, adjusting her posture to an upright position.

"Come on Lacey, you think I don't know?" I continued, now in full-on bluff mode.

"Know what?" she retorted, abnormally short-spoken.

"Lacey ... I know," I bluntly told her, steadfast in my act.

"What?  That we went to Evan's room for a few minutes?" she caved.

"Oh, only a few minutes?" I pressed, still coming to grips with this previously unknown discovery.

"Yeah, my cousin and I were in there for ... like ... five minutes. You can ask her!" Lacey maintained, and I still didn't believe her.

Without allowing Lacey the opportunity to relay this–what I assumed to be–frivolous backstory, I instantly dialed her cousin's number from my phone. After it rang once, I bolted out of my seat and marched into the corridors, each step transforming me into a tyrant – I was Muammar Gaddafi.

Although I wasn't proud of what I did next, anyone who has been through a similar scenario can relate to this; all is fair in love and war.

"Hello?" the cousin answers.

"Hey, it's Brad. So you and Lacey went into Longoria's room in New York?" I queried.

"Uh, yeah," the cousin hesitatingly replied.

"Are you sure? You don't sound so sure," I pried.

"What is this about? I don't want to be involved," the cousin told me, further hinting that something was awry.

"You're already involved. I'll put it to you this way if you don't tell me exactly what happened, I am going to tell your husband about every text you sent to Lacey about wanting to sleep with Kazmir," I said, blackmailing for the truth.

"Don't you dare tell him! I was joking!" the cousin demanded, fumbling with which way she wanted to respond.

"Then tell me the fucking truth!" I pressed.

"I walked Lacey to his room and she went in there alone," she softly reported.

"And for how long?" I asked.

"Thirty minutes."

I hung up; I didn't need or want to know anymore. All of the anger built up inside of me rapidly faded – I was devastated.

Instead of returning to my seat with Lacey, I sat down at a wooden desk outside of the locker room and watched the rest of the game on a small portable TV with one of the security guards.

I was fooled and I didn't know what aspect was worse: being paraded to the game after the fact or how she cheated on me while she was supposedly pregnant. One thing was certain; I was done with Lacey.

Sure, I could have continued arguing and dragged it out, but it wouldn't have changed what happened and it couldn't take away the everlasting feeling of animosity I would have towards her. She needed to sit in her seat alone, waiting for me to come back and hopefully reaLaceye I broke up with her once I failed to return. In my mind, she didn't even deserve a proper dismissal.

I channeled every painful emotion arising from this experience to my new goal; staying completely focused on my job and getting Scott Kazmir in the best shape possible.

This didn't come as a surprise in the least bit, but I was still receiving non-stop text messages from her, however, I ignored every last one. Within a few days, Scott already heard what went down and so did another teammate of his who lived in the same building as us – David Price.

Price was the #1 overall draft-pick in 2007, two years after Justin was selected first. His tall, fearsome demeanor on the pitchers mound was the complete opposite from his kind and friendly personality off the field.

Although I didn't request it, Kazmir and Price made a concerted effort to cheer me up without addressing the issue. They both knew me long enough to pinpoint what made me happy ... playing blackjack.

Instead of going to the casino, we brought the casino to us.

"Brad, get online and order a full-sized blackjack table, chips in every color they have, 6 decks of the best cards they have and one of those card dispensers ... the shoe," Kazmir beckoned, whilst playing Price on Xbox.

"Yeah, get one of those see-through green hats the dealers wear too!" Price added, as all three of us erupted in laughter.

Three little boxes and another gigantic box, which was more like a crate, arrived two days later; let me tell you, this professional blackjack table was no joke. The three of us diligently worked together to construct our new sanctuary; we were like three brothers on Christmas morning.

"Wait, how are all of us going to play? This isn't poker," I told them.

"I'm going to represent the house, you and Price are playing against me," Kazmir declared, while Price and I glanced at one another.

"We're going to take all of your money, you know that right?" Price told him.

"We'll see about that," Kazmir replied.

We did see about that. For the next four hours, we repeatedly crushed Scott's hopes of making money off us. His initial confident demeanor changed to one that was overly consumed with worry after he was down $4,000 – which made his see-through green visor even more humorous to us.

He didn't give up. Everyday was the same routine; I would take Scott to the game, drive him back, we'd run in the gym for an hour and then Price would come over to resume our blackjack operation.

Their efforts to take my mind off Lacey worked. In the process of it all, the three of us bonded and became close friends. Even though they were both multi-millionaires; I never asked them for anything. Because of this, I think, they would perform random acts of kindness.

"I heard you wanted to sell memorabilia, here's an autographed jersey of mine if you want it," David said, knowing damn well I did.

Being so close to them, and seeing how everyone around them acted, gave me insight into how I, myself, should act. Most people asked for money, autographs and appearances; I asked for none of these, yet got all of them in return. The truth is I wasn't 'gaming' them, I genuinely put myself in their shoes and realized they just wanted to be treated like normal people – because they weren't used to it.

Well, maybe I gamed Scott a few times, only when we bet on video games. We played an NBA game every day, and Scott let me wager part of my salary. I had no problem betting $400 per game, especially when I was editing the rosters and inflating my players stats before he sat down to play.

He never knew why I won every time, he'd just get mad and then blurt out another off-the-wall request.

"I want you to get online and find the BEST pizza available in the entire country. Talk to the manager and see if they will deliver a bunch of them here. Get on it!" Scott strongly commanded.

So I did. Supposedly the best pizza in the country is a deep dish made in Chicago, and the place ultimately agreed to send us ten of their finest.

After Scott bragged to Price about our new pizza hookup, he decided to come over and put his hand in the pot as well.

"Brad, get online and find the best French bulldog you can, and then have it delivered to me," Price instructed.

"You know what ... I want one too. Find two French bulldogs and have them delivered," Scott added.

A few days later, I was at the airport picking up two French bulldog puppies. Scott's was named Rico (on the left) and David's was dubbed Astro (on the right).

The moment I was waiting for finally arrived, Scott was reactivated off the disabled list and his first start was coming up in a few days. We spent months preparing for his return, now it was time to see if his hard work would carry over to the field.

I woke up early on game day and drove to Daily Eats to get us both a healthy breakfast. After picking up a new box of Smart Water, I grabbed the universal remote and activated the blinds to wake him up.

"Download a bunch of songs to pump me up before the game and put them on my iPod," were Scott's first words of the day.

Three hours later, I prepared another meal with fresh fruit and some easy-to-digest carbohydrates. Fueling an athlete is much like fueling a car; the highest quality gas/food is going to provide the best performance.

I sat in the stands with a Nike collared shirt and khaki shorts when the first pitch was thrown; this wasn't just a game to me anymore, I was working. I had a vested interest in him performing well because it reflected on my self worth and I wanted everyone to know I was a valuable asset; mostly the girl (Lacey) sitting twenty rows below me, in a more spiteful way.

Before Scott was sent home from Miami, he averaged 4 or 5 innings per start. On this day, he seemed to have a new sense of purpose, which lasted him deep into the 7th inning. It was an overall success, and I could sense his teammates looking at me in the locker room with more respect; but the goal was consistency.

His very next start lasted 8 innings and I was jubilant, in fact, I was proud. I began checking his final stats on my phone and out of the corner of my eye; I spotted two blondes getting out of their seats to leave. They were stone cold foxes, on the 10 scale, they were 13's.

"I have two girls coming over for us tonight," Scott said after the game.

For once, I was glad to have girls come over who weren't a product of my orchestration. When they showed up, my jaw dropped – it was the same two blondes from the game. This was the most prevalent example of perks deriving from being a professional baseball player, but I would soon be reminded that I wasn't a professional baseball player.

They strutted into the living room, both wearing the opposing teams jersey, Grady Sizemore's to be precise, but it's not like we gave a shit.

Scott and I started shooting pool against each other and two minutes later each girl stood behind us, grabbing our crotch from the outside of our jeans. It was a flash of complete bliss, these girls were flawless I started to wonder if it was a dream.

Then Scott disappeared into his room with one of them, leaving me alone with the other. I casually placed myself close to her and was given the letdown of a lifetime – she acted like I didn't exist.

Honestly, I was furious, but I played it cool. A few minutes later, the girl in Scott's room surfaced and the one beside switched places with her. In this case, having seconds wasn't against my moral code, but I wasn't even granted the opportunity – she too acted as if I didn't exist. I officially reached my boiling point and said 'Fuck this!' to blonde #2 and retired to my bedroom.

Up until this point, I was basically living the life of an MLB player, minus being on the field and having a million dollars in the bank, but now I had to subtract these two girls from the list – I was crushed.

"What happened last night buddy?" Scott said in the morning.

"Fuck you," I told him, apparently to his delight.

My honor was tampered with so I went off for the next few weeks, inviting over every girl with a legible name in my 'B' phone. More than twenty cattle needed to be sacrificed to replace what was taken from me that night.

Scott's place was now referred to as 'Club Kazmir' and it probably had the best looking women attending in all of Tampa. While I was preserving and reinstalling my good name among the females, Scott was constantly one-upping me, most notably when he brought over the notorious FSU cowgirl Jenn Sterger; it was hard to compete with that (more on her to come).

Believe it or not, Scott carried his off-the-field activities to the field. I discovered this, by chance, when I ran into a girl I knew at the game bragging about how she was just down there hanging out with him ... in the middle of the game.

"Are you sleeping with girls during the game?" I later asked him.

"Oh yeah, I have a nice operation running right now," Scott replied.

"You have got to be fucking kidding me! I have to know how you pull this off," I told him.

"Well, I talk to the girl and tell her to come outside the gate. One of the workers brings them to this little storage room and you know the rest," he says.

"This is fucking unreal," I declared.

"Had two of them in there today. I just ordered one of those foam pads online so I can have some support, and the clubhouse guy is talking about setting up a camera so he can watch," Scott further explained.

Unbelievable. Although I knew it wasn't the smartest idea, as a man, I couldn't rightfully advise against it.

On the field, Scott continued to put up solid performance after solid performance, each one of them going into the 7th and 8th inning. His strikeouts were higher, his walks were lower and he was winning games, most recently, against the Yankees.

As I already learned, when everything seems to be going so well; life throws you a curve. This curve came in the form of rumors about Scott being traded, likely due to his stellar outings, but it would turn out to be a less-than-stellar situation for me.

With one last start before the trade deadline, I gave him some extra motivation before hitting the field.

"This could be your last start with the Rays," I told him.

"Don't say that!" he responded, unhappily.

"It's true, use it as motivation. You should probably tip your cap to the crowd when you walk off the mound," I advised.

(Due to copyright, a picture of him tipping his cap can be found on google)

When the game was over, he pitched 8 solid innings and walked off the field tipping his cap as the crowd responded with a standing ovation. Later that night, he asked me to sign a confidentiality agreement, and I told him I would read it over and return it to him the next day.

I awoke the following morning blindsided with the news that he was being traded to the Los Angeles Angels. At this moment, I realized why he wanted me to sign it – he already knew he was being traded.

He could have told me, or he could have given me an offer to come with him, but he did neither. Instead he called me–even after his trade was announced–asking me to come sign the agreement.

I don't know where his head was on this issue, but I felt like I was being discarded and thrown away.

Scott was someone who owned everything money could buy, but he didn't have my signature and my severance wasn't going to come at his beckoning call. Sure, I was gambling, but I was also playing for the long term, so I stood my ground while he jumped on a flight to California.

I was defiant, but was I stupid? Only time would tell ... I already knew the true nature of the game; it was every man for himself. My best move, at the time, was to stay put.

However, there was no longer any reason for me to be in Tampa. I didn't have a job, I didn't have a place to live and I certainly didn't want to be around Lacey anymore. So I called Justin, packed my bags and got on my own flight – westward bound to Arizona.

It was an escape from the craziest year I could have ever imagined, but I was unaware and unprepared for what was in store for me in Arizona – life was about to get really interesting.



Arizona & New York

I was back in Arizona, at the Diamondbacks stadium, walking around, talking to girls. Lacey still texted me (with random pictures of babies?) but I still ignored her.

Besides the humidity, nothing really changed. My job–like before–was being a pickup artist, I was simply performing the task for someone else now.

After building up a solid resume over the course of a year in Tampa, I didn't need to prove myself to Justin, but I still wanted to make an impact on day one; so I went straight to work.

Two girls stood together at a promotional booth, both employees of the Diamondbacks, wearing red team logoed t-shirts with nametags and delectable tight black shorts. They were ripe for the picking.

"So what do I have to do for a free t-shirt?" I asked, pretending to show interest (in the shirt).

"Just fill out this form," the skinny brunette replied, while the dark-haired Asian friend looked on.

"I have a better proposal, for both of you. How about I fill out this form and instead of a free t-shirt, you give me your number and come join us tonight for a drink," I offered, holding direct eye contact to instill trustworthy imagery while their brains processed a yes or no response.

"Well, where are you going?" the fragile figured brunette questioned.

"To Justin Upton's house," I said, certain of eminent success after naming their teams star player.

I was right. I don't know what it is about mentioning a professional athlete to a girl that triggers an automatic yes, but it's basically cheating in the world of pick-up. I was beginning to think anyone could do my job (if you have the balls to relentlessly approach and also have no fear of rejection).

The truth is, I've been rejected more than anyone I know. I've approached so many times that the girls who do say yes amount to more successful transitions than anyone I know. It's a game of persistence.

Although not much was different for me, plenty had changed for Justin since I last visited. He was now living in a three-story townhouse and it was an upgrade to say the least.

The first floor featured a bedroom and what appeared to be a closet, but was actually a private elevator. The second floor was split between the kitchen, which boasted three flat screens on the wall (yes, three), and the living room, which featured a porch overlooking a scenic golf course just a short walk away. The third floor stretched out, providing three bedrooms and this is where, well, business was handled.

Speaking of business, the two girls from the game were on their way over when Justin informed me he had already invited one of his own. I couldn't stop them now.

So the five of us sat in the kitchen, drinking while Justin and I gave each other nods of approval over our current status of being outmatched by the opposite sex – a scenario we grew accustomed to ever since Tampa.

Then, in the mix of it all and without signaling intent, Justin took his girl by the hand and vanished upstairs, leaving me in a two-on-one formation.

For me, it was time to be brash or watch them leave.

"Do you two want to go upstairs?" I asked, knowing it would mark the beginning, or end of my night.

"Sure!" they enthusiastically responded, a direct hit.

I surgically positioned myself in the middle of the bed, giving them no choice but to lay on either side of me. The brunette saddled up to my right and the Asian girl followed suit on my left; both still wore the same clothes from work.

My spirits were high; the elusive threesome was now within reach. I peered to my right, looking the brunette dead in her glittery eyes and went in for the kiss. Upon completion, I shifted to my left, giving the Asian girl the same piercing look and locked lips with her as well.

The escalation was up to me, so I took my shirt off, unfastened my pants and removed my boxers. I was in bed completely naked, with two fully clothed girls on both sides; the definition of going nuclear.

I thought my brazened move was going to backfire, but they briefly glanced at one another, and removed their Sedona red t-shirts in unison – their black shorts came off just moments later.

So there I was, on my first night, fully nude with two Diamondback employees by my side, both fully exposed. Their far-most legs cradled onto mine with their breasts pressed firmly against my chest. I continued swapping affection between each, although I was slightly more attentive to the brunette.

Just when I was optimistic about finally capturing my phantom goal of completing a threesome, the Asian girl spoke up.

"We have to go soon because we have church tomorrow," she said, leaving a verbal stab wound.

"Don't go," I pleaded.

"This is our first night, we will hangout again," she assured.

I learned a valuable lesson; never give one girl more attention than the other while both are naked in your bed.

Justin went to the field the next day and I stayed at the house, alone with my thoughts. After my experience with Kazmir, I needed a viable new plan to produce non-dependent income, so I stepped outside, leaned over the rail for some fresh air and began brainstorming.

In a matter of mere minutes, I met a person who would change my life forever.

Strolling down the street–in the middle of the road–was an all-white American bulldog and his owner, of similar complexion, not too far behind. His hair was short and he wore a gray t-shirt, cheap blue jeans and Adidas sandals without socks.

"Hey, what's up?" he yelled up to me, in a tone several decibels above what you'd normally expect.

"Not too much man," I said back.

"Hey, are you Justin's friend?" he asked.

"Yeah, I'm Brad, I just moved here from Tampa," I told him.

"Oh, well I'm David, what did you do in Tampa?" he questioned, without deviating from his ostentatious volume.

"I picked up girls for athletes, what do you do?" I said with a straight face, and he briefly paused to make sure I was being serious.

"Um, I run a few internet businesses," David told me, while looking down the road for his dog.

"MOSES! Get back here!" He yelled, taking me by surprise, I didn't think it was possible for his voice to become any louder than it already was.

"That's cool, I've always been interested in learning more about computers," I solicited.

"Well, you can come over if you want, I live next door," informed David, and I accepted his invitation.

We walked in through the garage and entered his downstairs bedroom, which was set up as his office. A large brown oak desk with an iMac on top faced the window, looking out to a mountainous view. Behind the desk were a brown leather sofa and a flat screen TV, with an oversized map of the world globe strewn on the wall between.

He showed me his websites (some of them) and although it was embarrassing, I showed him mine. It was called ProspectMemorabilia.com; a site I started in Tampa when I began selling some of the players' game used equipment. With only a few items listed and no significant graphic design work completed, you could say it was a 'site for sore eyes'.

I asked him for advice about enhancing my website, and he asked me for advice on advancing his game with girls. Slowly but surely, our barter system was inaugurated.

For the next month, my days were spent at David's house (who I will refer to as 'Dave' from here on out) working on my website from the corner of his desk, pestering him for information. My nights, however, were devoted to giving him an education about girls at clubs.

Every night, the first objective I asked for him to do was approach every girl he laid eyes on ... and fail. Once you become accustomed to being shot down, it no longer frightens you. This wasn't his problem, it's everyone's problem, even mine.

No matter how many times you converge on a girl, there will always be a sense of tentativeness it's human nature. After you accept it as part of the process, you're a step above the other guys who see it as a personal issue.

Every day, the first objective he asked of me was to get on Google and teach myself. I'm pretty sure this was his method of letting me know my constant annoyance bothered him, but either way, I didn't listen. I wasn't interested in getting advice from people whose job it was to give advice; I wanted to pick the brain of the guy beside me, living proof that owning an online business can make you a millionaire.

In Tampa, my talents of talking to girls were used so I could get a paycheck and stick around. In the end, I was left without a job and with a high probability of STD's (I'm clean). Now, I was exchanging my services to learn a skill I could presumably use for the rest of my life.

Not only did we reciprocate tricks of our own trade, but we also gave insight and constructive criticism into each other's strong points. I would suggest he make cosmetic changes to his websites and he would give me an economically intelligent strategy for dealing with girls.

"You should never drive anywhere to hangout with a girl, it's a waste of time. Just tell them you have a place, and they can come here if they want," Dave preached.

So I did.

Wrangling girls with Dave gave me a new perspective; no longer was I name-dropping athletes to achieve my goals. It was a true test of game, and it worked out just as well, sometimes even better.

By the end of the month, I processed and absorbed all the steps of designing a website and the basics on how to add content. This is exactly what I hoped for, means to becoming financially independent. Even though Justin's season just ended and another off-season of rampant and unciviLaceyed behavior was up ahead – I knew there was much more to learn from Dave, so we stayed in touch.

"My agent got us tickets to the Angels/Yankees playoff game in LA if you want to go," Justin announced.

I did, because I'd never been to LA before, but it was somewhat odd that our first order of business was going to see Kazmir's new team. More specifically, the tickets were for Game 4, in which Kazmir was the starting pitcher.

"I'm taking a girl with me, so you either need to invite a girl or roll solo," said Justin.

It was the night before our trip and I decided to go out, solo, to a club called the PussyCat Lounge in Scottsdale. It was a normal club, famously known for being owned by porn star Jenna Jameson. She must have played a part in the design because as soon as I walked in, I noticed–through a glass window–a bedroom overlooking the dance floor ... with an insanely attractive blonde sprawled out, wearing nothing but her bra and panties.

So I stood at the bar alone, drinking a beer and rubbernecking the blonde from below. In my mind, I was obligated to pursue her...eventually. Once you go after the best looking girl you see, the others don't seem like a challenge but I couldn't get to her and for the time being, I needed to make my rounds and possibly find a girl to invite to LA.

After several failed attempts (which are successes in my book), I headed for the front exit, but was then stopped in my tracks. Against the wall, dancing alone and bent over like an offensive lineman (but not looking like one), was yet another blonde.

I walked up next to her and stood with poise, but didn't say a word. Another hit or miss tactic, either she would think I was a creep or she was going to open up and let me in.

"Dance with me!" the blonde blurted, after briefly looking me over.

Within a matter of minutes, better yet seconds, IT WAS HARD ... not to invite her to LA.

"Do you want to go to LA with me tomorrow?" I directly asked her.

"Yeah! Why not!" she responded, without even knowing my name.

She gave me her number and name, which was Stephanie, and then told me to call her a few hours before the flight so she could pack her bags in time.

I took her words as typical bullshit girls say at clubs, but I called her anyways. Besides, what did I have to lose?

"Hey, do you still want to go?" I asked the next day.

"Yeah, give me your address and I will come over," she replied.

An hour later, the tan skinned blonde pulled up in front of Justin's place driving a gray convertible S-class Mercedes; the type of car usually driven by my rich friends ... jackpot.

Her heels clicked against the pavement as she walked over to give me a hug. I internally scrutinized her up and down, looking for flaws. Parts of her were unnatural, like her full lips and perfectly white teeth (veneers). However, this was the west coast, and I hardly considered them flaws.

The only one I noticed, or moreover, sensed was the flagrant smell of self-tanning lotion, but it didn't concern me. However, I would later find out this girl was a 'dirty celeb' known as 'Soccer Mom', a moniker stemming from her slew of scandalous pictures posted on a gossip website called TheDirty.com.

Nonetheless, I was enriched with anticipation so we jumped on a plane to LA – en route to see my former boss pitch in the playoffs.

Our double date began with horrendous traffic during the cab ride to the Angels stadium; I never knew it could take so long to travel ten miles.

When the game started, I leaned forward in my seat, just like I did when I worked for Kazmir in Tampa. Part of me wanted him to fail; to ultimately prove that not having me around was a mistake, but the other part of me invested so much time into getting him into shape that I still wanted him to do well.

He didn't. Kazmir pitched four innings, giving up a run in each before he was pulled out of the game. I walked away with a devilish smile after his performance; after all, he would have lasted more than four innings if he took me to California with him.

"I just ordered a limo, we're going to Hollywood playa," Justin said, upon entering the hotel.

We were in Orange County, and Hollywood was 45 minutes away. Add a limousine and bottles of Johnny Walker to the equation and the outcome is simple – it was going to be a catastrophe.

Sure enough, we arrived on the streets of Los Angeles drunk, stumbling past the doormen who–for some reason–actually let us in.

The rest of my night was spent on the couch at our table on the second floor, making out with my blonde counterpart.

"Damn dog, get a room!" Chris Young said, surfacing out of thin air.

When the night ended, I crawled back into the limo and sent Kazmir a flagrant text message.

"We're in LA, good game douchebag!" my message to him read.

After a quality finish, Soccer Mom returned to Scottsdale early the next morning, leaving me with Justin and his girl in front of the hotel; waiting for a cab to the airport. Then, out of the blue, I received a phone call.

"Hey, do you want to stay in Cali for a few days?" Kazmir asked.

"Yeah, why not," I told him.

"Cool, I'll pick you up in a minute."

Moments later, a black Ferrari came flying around the corner and Kazmir stepped out. While he talked to Justin, I put my luggage in the hood and then we set out to Balboa Island, an upscale area on the Pacific Ocean filled with monster yachts and roaming cougars.

In typical dude fashion, not a word about his departure from Tampa was brought up while we sat on his oceanfront patio, discussing his current physical conditioning and how it noticeably declined in the past few months. He wanted it to change, and he wanted to start now.

So for the next hour, we jumped around in front of the TV in his living room, doing P-90X.

"You can sell these tomorrow if you want," said Kaz, throwing me two stacks of tickets.

Just like that, I was working for him once again. Except this time, I was scalping tickets to earn my income.

The next afternoon I made circles around the Angels stadium, asking anyone I walked by if they wanted to buy tickets. In return, I was treated like an asshole. The scalping business is not fun at all.

I decided my next course of action would be to sell them all at once, to another scalper in the area. This seemed like a logistically sound idea, until I pulled out the wrong stack and sold the guy $1,400 worth of tickets to Game 4 – on the day of Game 5.

"What the fuck should I do?" I asked Dave, the smartest guy I knew and the best call I could make for help managing this crisis.

"Sell the rest of them quick and get the hell out of there!" Dave advised.

I was paranoid the professional scalper was hunting for me, so I stopped at a gas station, sold the tickets for cheap, bolted back to Scott's condo and watched Game 5 on TV. Crisis averted.

"So, do you want to go to New York?" Kazmir asked when the game ended.

"Definitely, I just need to pick up some clothes in Arizona," I told him.

I arrived in New York, enamored with the soaring architecture and amazed by how many people–from every culture–could occupy such a small stretch of land.

The first night was spent at various nightclubs in the meatpacking district, where I consumed entirely too much alcohol. In fact, so many I woke up the following morning throwing up in the bathtub of my hotel room. It was going to be a rough day at work.

Surprisingly, puking actually helped me wake up early enough to meet Kazmir at his hotel on time.

After trekking past central park, I knocked on his door and out walked a gorgeous brunette who looked familiar – it was Jenn Sterger. The timing of it all felt unnatural, and it seemed like Kazmir purposely made her wait until I arrived, which I can't blame him for doing; I would flaunt her off too.

It was too much, so I said goodbye and went back to my hotel. There was one-day left before my flight back to Arizona.

The Empire State Building always seemed appealing to me, so I set out on an adventure to the top early the next morning. Believe it or not, I found a loophole and was able to go from the bottom to the top of the Empire State Building without paying one cent. More importantly, I did so without being detected. You would assume the Empire State building wouldn't have any security holes, especially after 9-11. When it was over, I got a free picture as proof.

I thought New York gave me enough excitement and I was looking forward to relaxing in the valley of the sun – but this adventure was only the beginning.



New Years Disaster

Justin drove down Scottsdale Road during a blistering hot day in the middle of October. We were on our way to breakfast.

The hostess showed us to our seats and I began surveying the menu; then I spotted something strange. Actually it wasn't something; it was someone. In particular, it was a person whom I least expected to see.

Sitting a few tables over, alone, wearing jeans, a navy blue t-shirt and stubble on his face was my archenemy ... Evan Longoria.

His legs were crossed and he looked away from us, seemingly on purpose. I'm sure he tracked our entry, and it was inevitable for us to see him, so I tapped Justin on the shoulder and nodded in Evan's direction.

Much to his delight, Justin nodded back with a grin, signaling his recognition of being the third party to an awkward situation. Justin was up to speed on everything that took place in Tampa and assumed I held no interest in a friendly interaction. Was he right?

While we ordered our drinks, I began silently pondering exactly why I didn't like Longoria. Obviously, the most glowing reason was the incident in New York with Lacey, but I doubt he knew she was supposedly pregnant. On the other hand, he did know she and I were together – he was far from innocent.

Then I looked at it from Lacey's point of view, and I'm sure it didn't take much convincing–if any at all–for her to go along with it. In fact, she was probably the most culpable for the entire fiasco, and causing this lasting friction would be exactly what she wanted. With this in mind, I stood up and walked over to his table.

"What are you doing in Arizona?" I asked him.

"Pat Burrell told me how nice it was out here, so I bought a house," Evan responded.

"Didn't expect to see you here, where's the house," I questioned.

"It's in North Scottsdale, it's really nice man, you guys should come over tonight," Evan requested, reaching out a proverbial olive branch.

Justin joined us at his table and we carried on talking about his house and how good-looking the girls in Arizona were, but of course, nothing about Lacey. Once we finished breakfast, oddly enough, we exchanged numbers and made plans to meet later that night.

"Well that was weird!" Justin let out, once we entered his car.

"Yeah, I'm moving on, she's caused enough problems for me, I can't let her dictate the future," I told him.

In reality, I wasn't over her and I knew precisely what I was doing. If I became friends with him and she found out (which I would make happen) it would only piss her off; making her feel insignificant.

A few hours later, I called Longoria and got directions to his house – my plan was in motion.

We pulled into his cobblestone driveway and parked underneath two pillars outside the front door. He wasn't lying; the house was massive.

He took us on a tour; first exhibiting the pool in the backyard, which featured three underwater seats built in at the edge with a bar-b-q pit on the other side. Surrounding the pool were two unusual amenities: a putting green and a basketball court. The inside was just as lavish, with a movie theater and plenty of rooms to spare for everyone to handle their business.

Then we were off to dinner, sushi to be exact, which resulted in a battle between Evan and I over who could most effectively hit on the waitress. My distaste for him never allowed me to figure out who he was, but I began to reaLaceye we were very much alike. Neither of us were afraid to be overly direct to a girl, an equal willingness to say anything and everything to get the job done. When we left, I was the one who closed on the waitress's number, a small victory in what was already a covert war.

BJ, who just got off a plane, met us at a club called American Junkie for a night filled with booze and a table chocked full of girls. It was then I noticed a gentleman beside us with a familiar face; looking in our direction. He went by the name Nik Richie, the owner of a gossip website, most specifically about celebrities and athletes. I already envisioned him writing about us, so I went into defense mode.

"Hey man, I'm Brad," I said to him, and then shook his hand.

"I'm Nik," he said back, reaLaceying what I was trying to do.

It was a goodwill mission to prevent criticism, another self-appointed duty in my unclassified job position. This wouldn't be the last time we crossed paths; believe it or not, we eventually made a positive difference in this world together (we'll get to it later).

When the night ended, we descended back to Longoria's place with a gaggle of girls. Evan and I sat down on opposite couches, with a brunette by his side and a blonde by mine; then irony struck.

"Yeah, my dad is a doctor," Evan's brunette announced.

"Oh, a doctor? You hear that Evan? Her DAD IS A DOCTOR," I said, highlighting a reference to Lacey, whose dad was also a doctor.

"Yeah, I heard her," Evan responded with a blank stare, catching my drift.

After reminding him of my hostility, I hauled the blonde to an open bedroom and took advantage of his hospitality.

I awoke hung-over the next morning, scouring the fridge for some much-needed electrolytes. Then Evan summoned for me to meet him outside in the backyard.

"I have three pairs of custom cleats I'm not going to use, didn't know if you wanted them," he said.

"Yeah, I'm probably going to sell them on eBay," I told him, and he laughed.

I don't know why he thought I was joking, because I sold them on eBay for $500 a piece. So far, my plan was moving along swimmingly.

Now it was that time of year again ... we needed to make plans for our next New Years celebration.

Justin, BJ and myself had a roundtable discussion and the final decision was for us to embark on another journey to Tampa. Each of them decided to bring a girl and although I knew plenty in Florida, I wanted to show off some of the Arizona talent. In enters "Roxy".

She (pictured on the right) was a yoga instructor who, interestingly enough, I met through Dave (a sign of his progress). Roxy walked into Justin's place wearing an ASU t-shirt, skimpy cut-off jean shorts and yellow stirrup baseball socks – her body was idyllic. The look or, better yet, drool on BJ's face said it all and my mind was made up ... she was coming to Tampa with me.

We arrived in the paradise of palm trees and it didn't take long to figure out that I didn't actually know the person I brought along with me. After a few hours of golf with the fellas, I returned back to my hotel room to an odd, but stunning scene. Roxy was sprawled out on top of the desk, just inches from the mirror, applying makeup...butt ass naked.

Most would assume a discovery of this nature would elicit arousal, but it was simply too bizarre. I was left with questions, what could possibly make someone do this? She wasn't standing in front of the mirror, like a normal person would. She was lying down horizontally on a desk, without any clothes on – who does that?

Nonetheless, I was ready to show her off...

We all met David Price at Ruths Chris for an elegant dinner. Roxy spent most of it convincing Price to take yoga lessons with her, but he didn't seem to mind.

Neither did I. My experience with Lacey irreversibly altered my relationship with the opposite sex. I became incapable of playing the overprotective and jealous boyfriend role; I find it useless. If a girl wants to do something, she's going to do it ... it's simply a matter of whether she does it in front of you or behind your back. Sure, it's a guarded approach but it also has benefits, which came into play later this night.

BJ reserved a sky booth for us at a Tampa hotspot called AJA. The headlining performer of the night was none other than a man known as 'Lil Jon'.

He walked by us before he went on stage and let me tell you...he was much smaller than T.I. I don't know what it is about entertainers being short and successful, there has to be some type of correlation, but that's a topic for another day. The real entertainment of the night was set in motion once the clock struck midnight; when I received a text from a girl in Tampa named "Kendall".

Kendall, on the right, was a regular at Club Kazmir the previous summer, and definitely one of the more scandalous visitors. Her text explained how she was fighting with her boyfriend and furthermore, how she wanted to come hangout with us. I should have ignored her solicitation because my night with Roxy was going well, but of course, I didn't.

Kendall was instantly grinding against me the moment she arrived, much to Roxy's displeasure. As I said before, if someone wants to do something, they're going to do it. Roxy, in turn, began hitting on David Price. When the club closed, I went to my hotel room with Kendall and I assumed Roxy was going home with Price.

Every article of clothing was quickly deposited on the floor; Kendall and I were on the bed going at it. The moment was pristine; until I heard a knock at the door ... it was Roxy.

She walked in; her face strained with severe anguish after seeing Kendall's naked body lounging along the bed. My mind began churning up a game plan as Roxy took a seat in front of her beloved wooden desk.

"Convince her to have a threesome with us," I whispered to Kendall.

"She's not going to do it, look at her, she's pissed!" Kendall hissed back.

"Just ask her!" I demanded.

Kendall sighs and then began her proposal. The conversation to follow was an instant classic.

"Roxy, why don't you get in bed with us?" Kendall asked.

"Because I don't think you're hot," Roxy retorted, as my eyes lit up.

"Well I don't think you're hot either but I want to fuck Brad so bad that I'm willing to fuck you too," said Kendall, which was not only verbatim, but also music to my ears.

"I'm just going to sit in the bathroom while you two finish up," Roxy affirmed, sticking a dagger into my hopes of a threesome.

We were both well aware Roxy was upset, but she added (literally soon to be) injury to insult by tossing a tray of glass drinks on the floor, causing them to shatter on contact.

Kendall and I started going back at it, but it just didn't seem right. We both agreed it was uncomfortable for Roxy to be sitting in the bathroom, so Kendall asked me to do something about it.

"Roxy, can you sit in the lobby until we're done," I cautiously asked.

"FUCK NO! I just ordered a turkey sandwich to the room, I'll leave when I finish eating," Roxy sternly informed.

One turkey sandwich later, I made my second attempt at asking Roxy to step outside.

"Roxy, can you please go outside for a little bit?" I begged.

"Fuck you Brad! Do you know how fucked up that is?" Roxy scolded.

"Sorry but we did say you could join," I countered.

"Fine! I'll go but you're an asshole for doing this!" rebuked Roxy, as she stood up in a fury of rage and then lunged to push me.

Well, that was her plan until she slipped and, ironically, it was the water on the floor–from the tray she tossed–that caused her to do so. However, what happened next was no laughing matter.

A pile of sharp broken glass was on the floor, and Roxy landed on her back – directly on top of it!

I grabbed her arm, lifting her disgruntled body back upright. It was a gruesome and dismal sight. Her back was bleeding ... and there were large fragments of glass sticking out of her skin.

Roxy let out a loud piercing scream, but she wasn't crying; it was a scream of anger... a battle cry. I knew every hotel guest on our floor had heard this shriek, but I was more concerned about the awakening of Roxy's inner monster.

It was a grim picture; me with two girls in a hotel room and one of them bleeding profusely...with shards of glass lodged in her back. No matter the truth, I could already picture myself being arrested.

As predicted, twenty minutes later, the cops showed up.

Bang, bang, bang!

"Tampa police! Can you open the door please!" the officers shouted.

At this point, Roxy already gave her story in the hallway before the two-uniformed policeman stepped in my room. Thanks to Kendall, they were given a warm welcome, because she didn't even bother to put her clothes back on the entire time; nor did she attempt to cover herself.

It didn't come as a shock, but the officers seemed more interested in getting a prolonged glimpse at the perky and above average chest of my star witness.

I'm not even sure if they listened (their senses were preoccupied) but I went on to explain the dreadful series of events. In the end, they kicked Kendall and myself out of the hotel, and gave the room to Roxy.

Although it was MY room, I wasn't in the position to press my luck so Kendall and I packed up and went to BJ's house – we were finally able to finish.

I awoke the following morning, got my computer and gave Dave a play-by-play of the previous nights encounter.

"That is the best story I have ever heard in my entire life!" claimed Dave.

Roxy texted me shortly after, telling me she was flying back to Arizona. Believe it or not – this wouldn't be our last encounter.



Meeting "Natalia"

"I'm staying in Tampa until spring training," were Justin's first words after New Years.

I called up my friend who worked at the Plaza, where Kazmir and Price stayed, and got Justin a one-bedroom poolside suite. Once again, my bed was on the couch.

We settled in and then went to a local spot called The Drynk to meet up with Ryan Howard, a former MVP with the Philadelphia Phillies.

I wore a white t-shirt with the words "Yoga Class Creep" across the chest, which Justin custom designed for Dave in Arizona...who swore yoga classes were the best place to meet girls.

Similar to my awkward moment with Longoria in Arizona, the tables turned I was spectating Justin filling a somewhat comparable role. Already seated at the table when we arrived, was a girl from Tampa who frequently 'visited' both Justin and Ryan Howard. Now they were in the same place, and the best part; she chose Ryan.

As always, it was my objective to scout the room for talent and lure them in but before I set out on my mission, Ryan stopped me.

"I want that shirt," he said, appreciating the 'Yoga Class Creep'.

"You can't have this shirt," I commanded.

After ushering the girls in, I ventured out to the patio and ran across another familiar face ... Gary Sheffield, a 9-time MLB all-star. I never miss a moment to make a new friend.

"Hey Gary, I'm Brad, BJ's friend," I said to him.

"I know, I talked to BJ while you guys were out to dinner one night. He told me all about what you do," explained Gary, with a genuine smile.

This was a fascinating discovery. Gary Sheffield, a guy who I grew up watching on TV, knew who I was. To me, this was hard to comprehend. I always tried to keep up with Justin and BJ (although it was nearly impossible) but being recognized by their peers was a big step to me. So what if he knew me as a guy who picked up girls, apparently I was making a name for myself.

Kendall sent a text asking me to come inside; I made it to our table just in time to watch her walk up to Ryan Howard and immediately grab his dick. I had to get her out of there.

The next night was more of the same, but I encountered a bigger name. It seemed as though Justin and Ryan weren't the only athletes their mutual lady friend was acquainted with.

Although she was only interested in athletes with top-grossing jersey sales, I started chatting her up anyways. In the middle of our conversation, we were interrupted.

"Pssssst. Pssssst," someone behind us beckoned, clearly for her.

I turned around and saw this mystery man dressed in black slacks, black boots and a loosely fitted gray shirt with half of his face hidden. The closer I looked, the more he tried to hide his face. Finally it hit me; I was looking at the captain himself, Derek Jeter.

Everyone knew he owned a house in Tampa and I heard he kept a low profile ... the scouting report was spot on. He spoke with our female social liaison friend for a few minutes and then slipped out the door, seemingly without being noticed by anyone – New York style. I missed my chance to meet him but it didn't appear as if he held any interest talking to some dude, or any dude that night. Very well played.

Justin and I were still recovering the next day, so we decided to pull a prank on his teammate Chris Young. Keeping in touch with Dave proved to be advantageous; the prank wasn't possible without his technical knowhow.

Dave told me about a website which allows you to call someone and have any number of your choosing show up in their caller id. If it wasn't already devious enough, you could also select to have your voice scrambled to make it sound like a female's. So we called Chris from his ex-girlfriend's number.

Unfortunately, he didn't answer. Justin left a voicemail, which ended up igniting a priceless narrative.

"Hey baby, I've been thinking about you so much. I want that big black dick in my mouth. I miss it so fucking much. I can't wait until you fuck me again. Definitely need to do that soon, I want you to dog my fucking pussy out. Fucking dig my hole out from behind baby, I can't wait. Please call me when you get a chance, it's Lindsey baby. Love you, bye,"

The website also recorded the call, which put us both in tears just listening to it. The plot thickened when Justin's phone started ringing ... it was Chris.

"So I get a call from her, and I'm like what the hell? On the voicemail, it's like some scratchy ass like distorted voice. Like they had a voice machine, but it was from her phone. And the voice message said, 'Yeah hey Chris, um, I miss you so much, I want you to fuck my pussy so bad. I need you to fill my asshole up. I miss you so bad, I want you to dig inside of me again' and I'm like 'what the fuck?'" explained Chris.

"Damn dawg! Forreal?" Justin replied, in a high-pitched voice.

"It wasn't her voice though and Lindsey don't even talk like that," said Chris.

"She don't talk dirty to you like that?" Justin asked.

"Not like that, she never told me she wanted me to fill her asshole up," Chris explained.

"Damn, hahaa. So you gonna beat?" responded Justin.

"I'm trying to make sense out of this, what could that be? It's like a distorted voice, like a voice machine, but it's from her number. Like who would go through her phone, call me and leave that voicemail?" asked Chris.

"I mean, it's gotta be her right? Maybe ... is she out of the country? If she's out of the country, it'll sound like that. Can you call your voicemail from your phone?" Justin asked, while he leans back to hold in his laughter.

This is when Chris called his own voicemail and played the message, the one we actually left, on speakerphone.

"Dawg! What the fuck? That's her!" Justin insisted once the voicemail ended.

"That is not her!" said Chris.

"You don't think so?" asked Justin.

"Does that sound like her to you?" Chris asked back.

"It sounded like the way she talks but it didn't sound like her voice. You know, like her dialect, it kinda sounded like her dialect but it didn't sound like her voice," explained Justin, poorly.

"Really?" Chris asked.

"Yeah," Justin confirmed.

"I don't know what to think of that," Chris said.

"Maybe she just woke up, I don't know," Justin told him, after I whispered in his ear telling him to do so.

"You think she's tripping like that?" asked Chris.

"I don't now what kind of meat you gave her. A? A+? Masters degree?" said Justin.

"Hhahahahaha. She said I need you to come over and dog my pussy out!" replied Chris.

"She said I want you to dig my hole out from behind! Maybe she misses your meat!" suggested Justin.

"I mean I did my thing but shit..." said Chris.

"The last time you beat it up you must have given her that A+++++ masters degree in pussy pounding," Justin said.

"I gave her the truth!" replied Chris.

Chris hung up saying he needed to call his friends and tell them about it. So Justin and I decided to call him back again, from Lindsey's number. Keep in mind; Justin's voice was scrambled during the entire call.

"Hello?" Chris answered.

"Chris, you gave me that A+ meat didn't you? You beat it up didn't you?" said Justin.

"Who is this?" Chris asked.

"You beat it up good didn't you?" Justin asked.

"Who is this?" Chris repeated.

"Hey, why don't you come over and fuck me? You in Arizona? HAHAHA. PLAYBOY!" said Justin, losing his composure.

"Who is this?" an angry Chris repeated yet again.

"PLAYBOY! Who else call you playboy?" said Justin.

"Who is this?" Chris's confusion grew.

"You got hustled! Playboy, you got hustled! Haha, he's confused as fuck B-bad!" said Justin, commenting to me at the end.

"Who is this?" Chris asked, still unaware.

"IT'S JUSTIN MAN! HAHAHAHAHA. YOU GOT HUSTLED PLAYBOY!" explained Justin.

"Hah," Chris briefly let out.

"You couldn't have got hustled any worse than you just got hustled. HAHA. You gave Lindsey that A+ meat didn't you?" asked Justin.

"Hah, what you talkin bout,'" replied an embarrassed Chris.

Justin reached his tipping point so he hung up and spent the next ten minutes rolling around on the couch; crying and repeating 'He got hustled!'

Admittedly, the story is much funnier in the audio version, which I saved and will be releasing on PlayerSeason.com.

Later that day, BJ said he wanted to go to the blackjack table, so David Price ushered us to the casino in his new Bentley Flying Spur. When we pulled up to the valet – a fortunate PR moment awaited.

"Heyyyyyy Brad!" five girls hollered from the front entrance.

After they ran up and gave me a group hug, BJ dragged me inside shaking his head.

"I don't know how you do it, you probably fucked all of them too," he explained, even though I didn't slept any of them.

It was difficult to keep up at the blackjack table when you're playing with three multi-millionaires. Their stacks were endless and mine was on loan, with each win being returned to Justin, my investor.

I took $500 and lost it all. I took another $500 and turned it into $2,000; returning the initial debt. Then, I walked away, but I wasn't done gambling just yet.

Everyone says 'do not play slots', and for the most part, they're right. Never being one to listen, I entered the high limit slots room and sat down for a terrifying game ... $25 per spin.

Benjamin Franklin slid himself in and I gave myself four chances, the first three came up dry. However, the fourth struck gold and awarded me with a $2,500 jackpot. As I waited for my payout, I walked two machines down to the same exact game and took another spin. Unbelievably and against all odds, I hit it for $2,500 again!

I texted Dave to brag about my winnings and he reminded me to save my money; a policy I should have followed. When it was time to leave the casino, I blew another $4,000 trying to keep up with them on the blackjack table. I would learn my lesson one day.

The role I played, which allowed me to seemingly live their life, also came with expected limits. One of them–I soon learned–was to not bring a girl around who is much better looking than their own. In enters "Natalia".

While I stopped to fill BJ's G-Wagon with gas, I stood petrified and utterly breathless at the sight of the girl parked in front of me. She was taller than most, with long chestnut hair and an unrivaled hourglass figure.

I laid on the charm more than eve, for what turned out to be a historic session of gas pump pimping.

"Hey, do you go to school here?" I asked, the only line that came to mind.

"Yeah," she replied, gently moving her soft lips.

"Well I think you're very pretty and I also think we should hangout," I told her.

"Ha, ok I guess," she shyly countered.

"Tonight," I insisted.

She gave me her number and I invited her over BJ's that very night. I was upbeat, and rarely did I get this way over hanging out with a girl, something which normally happened nearly every night. Only her arrival wasn't taken as well by BJ or Justin – they didn't like me having the most attractive girl.

I sat on the couch with my tanned goddess and soaked in the grimacing facial expressions emitted from Justin and BJ's face. They couldn't accept it and I knew one of them was going to pull a stunt.

"Brad, go get my phone out of the car," Justin demanded, firing off first.

"No," I responded, rejecting the power play.

A power play is a derivative of nature. It's when someone wants to assert their dominance over another, and in this case, Justin wanted her to think I abided by his commands. Normally I would have retrieved his phone, but she was different and I wasn't going to allow it. In fact, when she looked away I silently mouthed 'FUCK YOU' to Justin, letting him know I was privy to his plan.

"If you want to pull power plays on me, you better put me on salary otherwise, I'm standing my ground," I told Justin, while we were alone on the back porch.

He accepted, and probably respected my point of view on the topic; sometimes you have to put your foot down and this was that time for me.

She ended up coming back to the Plaza with us and it was my lucky night – she brought her bathing suit in the car. When she came out of the bathroom and presented her sleek and somewhat revealing apparel; I was at a loss for words. Most girls have a few above average attributes, but lack in other areas. Not her, she was flawless in every way: legs, lips, face, hips and everything in between; she was PERFECT .

The closer we were to one another, the more I wanted to pinch myself. A moment I thought I'd never reach; this was quite possibly the pinnacle of my pimping.

After a long night, I woke up on the couch, the same one we shared together just hours ago, and couldn't believe it she was gone .

Justin and I boarded a flight back to Arizona the next day. I was certain of one thing – I wanted to see her again.



Mandalay Bay & Charles Barkley

We weren't in Arizona for more than a day when the itch to gamble resurfaced. Although it's typically against the Vegas code, Justin decided to invite his female friend along, and asked me to do the same.

I knew better than to bring a girl to Vegas, so I called Kyle and asked if he wanted to meet us there instead. Not surprisingly, he agreed.

Droves of potential Spanish suitors flocked across the casino floor. They were in town for the Latin music festival that was being held at Mandalay Bay; our trip was off to a promising start.

I ventured out alone to scout the blackjack tables and stumbled across the holy mecca. A dance floor, poles included, with models dancing in the center and ten blackjack tables surrounding it. One of which was being huddled by the masses and I figured out why ... Charles Barkley was there. I didn't have the balls to approach him – at least not yet.

"My mom's in town," Justin announced upon entering our suite, which didn't come as a shock.

Mrs. Upton was an avid gambler and moreover, a comedic genius. Whether she's intentionally funny or not is still open for discussion, but either way, her interactions are greatly entertaining. A fact she'd soon prove when we met her for dinner.

"When my mom orders her food, I bet you $20 she will send it back. She does it every time," Justin predicted as the three of us awaited her arrival (Kyle's plane having not yet landed).

"I'll take that bet," I told him, marking the first wager of our trip.

Mrs. Upton walks in, draped in white gold, and says hello to everyone while simultaneously canvassing the area. She was quite intimidating to those she was unfamiliar with; the very category Justin's new lady friend Ashley fell into. I knew I was in for a treat.

After hardly recognizing the existence of the girl sitting beside her son (a form of comedy in itself), she meticulously surveyed the menu while I sat tightly in my chair, reading her every expression.

The waiter brought our meal to the table. I didn't even look at my food, I was too caught up waiting to gauge Mrs. Upton's reaction.

She looked at the plate, smirked and began prodding her food with a fork, as if it were a dead animal on the side of the road.

"Is everything OK?" the waiter asked.

"Unh-uh! I don't like this, you need to bring me something else," Mrs. Upton replied, looking away from the waiter in disgust.

"SEE! I TOLD YOU!" Justin yelped, reaching his hand in front of me to collect his winnings.

Kyle arrived soon after dinner and then came the moment I was waiting for; it was time to hit the blackjack table.

Only now I was more prepared. I read a book on counting cards during our flight and adopted my strategy from it...with a few additives. I would only sit in the first chair, closest to the deck. By doing this, I heavily increased my odds of predicting the first card to be dealt, and I also predicted the first card by reading the other cards from the previous hand. If they were low, it elevated my chances of getting a high card; thus raising my bet.

I placed $500 on the table and went to work as Kyle sat nervously beside me with the same amount. Within minutes, Kyle was down a few hundred dollars, so he retreated to the room; this is when my game took off.

The low cards were flowing like Niagara Falls, so I tripled my bets and after a few hands, my stack was looking like the Eiffel Tower. My $500 investment was now a mountain of $4,000 in chips. However, an aspect more essential than counting cards is having the discipline to walk away when you're up...so I did.

This same discipline could have saved me if it applied to more facets of my life than blackjack, but we'll get to that.

I paid off my outstanding Tampa debts to Justin, which he was more than pleased with, and put $2,000 in my suitcase; leaving me armed with $1,000 for a second run on the tables.

Once again, I placed $500 down and Kyle stood behind me. His money was now frightened, and we all know scared money doesn't make money.

When the conditions were primed, I struck again. My stack was growing exponentially and I was becoming bolder with my bets by the second. What was once a lone $100 bet was now $400 being played concurrently on two hands. This type of action will catch the casinos attention, so they sent over a man in a suit to oversee me swindling their money.

I waited for him to swoop in and accuse me of counting cards; I thought he must have known, but he had other plans in mind.

"Your style of play qualifies you as a VIP member with our hotel. I'm Travis, your new host so let me know if you ever need anything," he said.

"OK, sounds good," I told him, an offer I would undoubtedly accept.

He gave me his card and walked away. It's too bad he missed the next deck of cards – my stack flourished to $13,000 before deciding it was time to give up and celebrate.

I was curious to find out what Travis really meant about asking him if I ever needed anything, so I went to ask.

"What benefits do I get as a VIP member?" I asked my new host, who was about the same age as myself.

"We can get you a free suite, free drinks, free food, free limo rides and free concert tickets anytime you come in town," Travis said, standing in front of a golden painted wall inside a room identified only by Chinese symbols on the door.

This was a puzzling contradiction; I was basically broke with almost no money in my bank account, yet I was technically a VIP member at one of the largest casinos in Las Vegas.

I laughed about it on my way up to the room, before inviting my cohorts out for a night on the town. Justin wanted to stay in bed, so Kyle and I set out on our own.

Standing in front of the casino, resting against a shiny new Lexus was a character with slick backed hair, whom I would soon know to be "Russian Mike" – our personal driver.

"You tell me where you go ... I take you!" Russian Mike said with a strong accent and a devious smile.

Our first stop was the Bellagio, where I lost over $1,000 in the blink of an eye.

"Brad, you must stop!" Russian Mike insisted.

Then we were off to the strip club, but not your average place. It was a dark and gloomy establishment on the outskirts of town; a Russian Mike strip club. After blowing several hundred on lap dances for Kyle and myself, I wanted to kick it up a notch.

"Mike, do you know where we can get some girls?" I asked.

"Of course! Come!" he said, leaving me no reason not to believe him.

After the strip club he took us to, I wasn't at all surprised at the sketchy apartment buildings–apparently filled with "masseuses"–he parked in front of.

"Girls are inside! You follow me!" Russian Mike enthusiastically said.

I glanced at Kyle in the back seat; he had a terrifying look on his face.

"Dude, there is no way I am getting out of the car!" said Kyle.

He was wisely cautious but personally, I like to live on the edge.

After scaling a flight on stairs, Russian Mike knocked on the door and yelled something in Russian. An Asian girl answered the door and guided us in, but this wasn't a regular apartment. Other than two beds, there was no furniture at all. It was just four girls and two beds; it appeared as though I was inside the walls of a modern day brothel.

"Which one you like?" asked Russian Mike.

"Her," I said, pointing at the only one even remotely attractive.

Suddenly, I was overcome with the same uneasy feeling as Kyle, so I signaled Russian Mike to speak with me alone.

"I can't do this here, it's too weird. But I'm not against her coming back to the hotel," I told him.

"Lili, you get dressed! You come with us!" Russian Mike demanded.

I met Kyle at the car...he was eager to find out what happened.

"How was it?" he asked.

"Sketchy as hell," I explained.

"I told you man! I'm uncomfortable just sitting here," Kyle claimed.

Russian Mike walked out shortly after, with the silk dressed masseuse on his trail.

"Mike, I thought about it and I just can't do this man," I explained.

"Lili, you go back inside!" Russian Mike ordered.

Upon our return, Mandalay Bay immediately and graciously followed through on their offer for a free room and my night came to an end looking over the city lights of downtown Las Vegas.

I woke up the following morning, packed my suitcase and was, for once, happy with the decisions I made the previous night. Having no girl was better than a hooker, but my trip wasn't officially over.

At the same EXACT time I stepped out of my room, a brunette with fair skin and an unbelievably fit body stepped out of her room on the other end of the hall. We met at the elevator and I had no choice; it was game time.

"What's your name?" I asked.

"Caitlin," the dimpled goddess replied.

"Well Caitlin, I normally don't do this but I think you're extremely beautiful. Unfortunately I'm leaving town but I would love to have your number," I confidently requested.

She gave me her number and I temporarily felt a sense of accomplishment. Then I started to think about the odds (since we were in Vegas) of her walking out of her room at the same exact time as me. Was this a genuine and organic meeting, or did Mandalay Bay have a few tricks up their sleeve to get clients (those who won) to come back? If so, it's genius.

Anyways, I got on my flight to Arizona..

Our return to Scottsdale put us back on the wagon so we went out to the PussyCat Lounge again to take advantage of the few remaining nights left until spring training began.

My first move, which I guess became a routine, was to look in the bedroom display over the club to see if the lingerie-clad blonde was still in action ... she was.

I casted my pimp hand into the crowd and wrangled up a group of girls to join us at our table; yet another action that became routine.

Then I looked to my left and saw him for the second time in the past week ... it was Sir Charles Barkley. Like any kid my age, I grew up watching him on TV and I wasn't about to let this opportunity slip; I just needed to figure out an inconspicuous way to get close.

There were two young, but really tall girls standing around him. No guy–especially a famous one–wants to be seen at a club without any women around, so I drafted my plan. I was going to lure them my way, banking on the hopes he would step in before he lost them.

After whispering a few sweet nothings, my plan worked precisely as I envisioned it would. Within minutes, he joined the three of us to get involved with the conversation. Now was my time to strike.

"Charles," I said, wavering him to come closer so he could actually hear what I was going to say over the pounding music, and he did.

"Justin is young and he doesn't really have anyone to talk to who has been through it all like you have. Do you mind giving him some advice?" I asked while on the tip of my toes, my only chance of being within his earshot.

Without saying a word, Charles took a step back, smiled and tipped his glass against mine, in a way to show he appreciated what I asked of him.

He walked over to Justin, put his lofty arm around his shoulder and they talked to one another for the next twenty minutes. My job was complete, but I couldn't stop thinking about that damn blonde in the bedroom.

I walked over to the bar to grab a drink, and also get a better view of her, but then my dreams were diminished; she wasn't there anymore.

It just so happened that she was five feet away from me in civilian clothes. Now was my time to strike.

"I liked your performance," I told her.

"Thanks! I'm Jessica," she replied, looking even better up close than from afar.

"Yeah, well I have to go hangout with my friend Charles Barkley but I just wanted to let you know I think you're special," I told her, and then bluffed walking away.

"What was your name?" Jessica asked.

"Brad, feel free to give me your number, I'd like to see you again," I suavely advised, and she obliged.

I didn't expect it to go so well, but it was a good night, and I left the club with Jessica on my 'to-do' list.

When we got back to the house, Justin put his phone in front of my face and said, "Look at this!"  He was showing me a name on his contact list and it read, "Sir Charles."

"Yeah, Charles Barkley gave me his number and told me to hit him up whenever!" Justin told me, not knowing I was the puppeteer.



Paul Wall & The Threesome

One-week left until spring training...

Paul Wall and Chamillionaire were coming to Scottsdale for a concert, and not only did we have tickets, but we also had a direct connection. Strangely enough, Chris Young and Paul Wall lifted weights at the same gym in their hometown of Houston; so we weren't just going to see him perform, we were going to hangout with him.

This may not seem special to most people, but I was a fan of Paul Wall and Chamillionaire since my days at VCU; I thought it was.

I was alongside Justin, Chris and their teammate Edwin Jackson while we walked into the bar, which also happened to have a stage, for the show (it wasn't your typical setting for a concert). Wannabe thugs and hood rats fell rank and file behind the small booth where, notably, Paul Wall was selling CD's to his fans in person. The gospels rang true; he was a hustler.

We skipped through the line and were let in a side entrance to his booth, which was more like a concession stand. Chris convened with him, Justin converged and Edwin congregated; I was last in line to introduce myself.

After a quick once-over, Paul Wall then smiled, with his platinum teeth shining ever so brightly, and we assembled together for a bro hug. Once we cut apart, he gave me a deep stare and then slowly began nodding his head. The nod was a telepathic nod, and the meaning was clear. It was the 'we are the only white guys surrounded by black guys' look, which I'm assuming is similar to the look black guys give one another when they're surrounded by white people, but much less common.

So we stood in the background, like we were members of his posse, while he continued to sell his CD to the stream of faithful followers waiting in line.

"Paul man, your music is so dope, I listen to it everyday while I'm blazing up," a white kid told him.

"I appreciate that," Mr. Wall replied, and then posed for a picture.

I looked down at the floor and noticed he wore black Converse shoes with miniature AK-47's printed throughout.

"You see his shoes?" I asked Justin.

"Oh yeah, I gotta get me a pair of those!" said Justin, intently.

As I previously mentioned, I was a fan of his. However, being in the situation I was in, and who I was with, it wasn't proper for me to ask to have my picture taken with him, although I wanted to. So I went to the next best option, which was distracting my peers and then covertly taking a picture ... to capture the moment.

Like any job, I needed to continually prove my worth so I left the booth on my own, lone wolf style, to see how many girls I could convince to occupy the space I had just vacated. Several encounters later, I was standing in the back of the crowd watching a befuddled Paul Wall react to a hand-picked slew of girls enter his domain. I was admiring my work.

Then it was show time, and they invited us on stage.

If you've ever seen a rap concert on video, or in-person, and you noticed the guys in the background holding a towel around their neck and doing, well, whatever the hell it is they do ... then you would have a good sense of how I felt at the time. I was one of those guys.

Nonetheless, I was in an advantageous position and I wanted to lengthen my assignment. I spotted a fit blonde and an equally suitable brunette, so I gave them the two-finger command to come on stage.

Apparently Paul Wall's manager didn't think having girls on stage was a good PR move for him (although I silently disagreed) because he blocked them from entering the door to come on stage. I wasn't going to let them get away, so I left my post.

The blonde's name was Sarah and she immediately assumed I was a member of Paul Wall's entourage.

"I'm not going to sleep with you back here!" opened Sarah.

"The thought didn't even cross my mind, but I like the way you think," I told her.

Now the thought was consuming my mind and I wish I could go into a story about me banging her backstage, but it didn't happen. She gave me her number and disappeared into the crowd.

However, I wasn't done being promiscuous, and an encounter outside the front entrance greatly helped to further my cause.

As one would imagine, I was isolating the girl on the right, "Summer". She belonged to a rare breed of noticeably wild yet ungodly attractive girls who only come around once in a blue moon. I invited her inside for drinks.

I sent Justin a frantic text message to meet us at the rendezvous point, and he arrived nodding to signal he was impressed. There was more in store.

Without warning, Summer jumped on top of the bar, laid down horizontally and pulled her shirt all the way up to her neck.

"Brad! Justin! Take body shots!" she yelled, suggesting we take shots of liquor off her chest.

Of course we complied and mutually agreed that Summer was a winner. She was also a girl we needed to see again, so the digits were duly noted by the end of the night. They would come in handy...

Since Summer lived an hour away and couldn't come back to the house with us, we had to enact Plan B. I called Sarah, from backstage, and she agreed to come over with her brunette friend.

"I knew I was going to do this," Sarah explained, while she was stretched out naked in my bed.

Justin's night didn't go quite as smoothly.

"How'd it go?" I asked, while he sat in his bed alone.

"She spent the night with me, but nothing happened," he answered.

"That's unacceptable," I told him.

I went downstairs and had a talk with her.

"You know Justin is the nicest guy in the world, I really thought you two would hit it off," I expressed, even though I was running a con.

"Yeah, he is really nice," she remarked.

"It's weird how nice guys finish last. Look at me, I'm an asshole and you see how my night went," I said, and then glanced at Sarah.

"Nice guys don't finish last! He's not upset is he? I'm going to go talk to him," she decided, and the con was complete.

Justin exited his room an hour later with an immeasurable smile upon his face. I didn't need to ask questions, I knew what happened. I took Justin's Porsche and dropped the girls off at ASU knowing my rent-free status was secured for an extra month or two.

Another spring training came and I was given yet another job as a driver, but this time it was for Justin and Chris...instead of BJ and Kazmir.

I dropped them off at the field in Tucson and sat in the car, staring off at the panoramic mountains overcasting the area from afar. Then an old, but never forgotten dream hit me. I still wanted to play baseball.

Driving expensive cars, living in extravagant houses and picking up girls was fun, but I was willing to trade it all in for another chance to play. It's tough to explain, but baseball never stopped running through my veins.

The minor league fields were only a mile away, so I spontaneously hopped out of the car and began hiking towards the main office; in search of their coach.

"The man you're looking for is Billy Butler, but he's not in," the young receptionist told me.

Just like that, the dream faded back to reality.

My reality was to acquire women for my friends, who seemed more like clients the more I thought about it. I scrolled through my phone and picked out my recently attained ace-in-the-hole ... "Summer".

"Do you want to come down to Tucson?" I asked her.

"Sure! I can come tonight when I get off work but can you pay for my gas?" Summer replied.

"Yeah, but you have to bring a friend for Justin," I told her.

"That's fine. I have just the friend in mind," she said.

I didn't want to pay for her gas. A wise man once told me to say whatever needs to be said to get the girls on location, even if you have to lie. If they want money, tell them you have a million dollars. If they want alcohol, tell them you have four kegs. If they want drugs, tell them you have four pounds.

Chris and Justin approached the front desk and asked the hotel receptionist for three rooms. Normally they gave me a degrading speech before making a purchase on my behalf, but not on this night, my assets were en route.

However, my assets were running late. Justin and Chris planned on meeting their teammates at a local club once the girls arrived, but they were growing impatient. It was my job to focus on the task at hand, which was procuring and preparing the ladies, so I insisted they leave for the club without me.

Thirty minutes later, Summer came swinging her hips through the front door, wearing skintight white shorts and a clasped red sleeveless top with each breast snugly compacted against the other. With every blonde typically comes a brunette, and that brunette friend wore blue jeans, a black t-shirt and a green army styled hat. She was lovely, but Summer was magnetic.

After resting their bags in my room, I guided them to a bar on the back deck of the hotel. Let me rephrase. It was not a hotel, it was a villa, and this particular villa was built on top of the highest mountain, which overlooked scarce city lights and vast fields of cacti. The scenery was grand.

Instead of taking them to the club, which didn't seem productive, I sat down at the bar and ordered drinks for each. They were being primed for the occasion, and I filled the conversational gaps with questions about their lives, this way they did most of the talking. It's no secret how much girls love to talk about themselves, so it's imperative to have sharp interviewing skills. Ask, listen and pick one line out of their response for the next leading question. Simple.

"How does my girl look?" Justin texted.

"Give me a minute, I'll show you," I responded.

This is when the night took a fine turn in an even finer direction; ultimately providing the groundwork for what turned out to be a major-league night.

"Justin wants to see what you look like," I told the brunette.

"I want to change, I don't like what I'm wearing," she said.

"Let's take a picture together in our bathing suits," chimed Summer.

She didn't have to tell me twice. After scurrying to the room, they both got undressed in front of me and suited up.

"We should take it in the bathtub," said Summer, whose stock was climbing by the second.

They ran hot water and stood side-by-side splashing one another; I couldn't believe my eyes, it was like a scene straight out of Playboy. You could fill a munitions truck with the volume of pictures I was snapping off but I settled on sending this one to Justin ... with the caption 'Trust me, they'll be ready when you get back.'

"I'm on my way!" Justin replied, which didn't surprise me.

The next twenty minutes felt like twenty hours as the girls amplified their uninhibited disregard for social norms. I plugged in the iPod, dousing musical fuel on an already blazing fire while they steadily evolved from smacking each other's ass to taking their tops off and then–graciously–intertwining tongues.

Boom, boom, boom!

Justin knocked on the door. I unlatched the lock and opened up, it became apparent Justin showed the picture to Chris, because he was basically attached to Justin's back; forcing his way in.

When I opened the bathroom door, their reaction was priceless; you would have thought I opened the vault at Fort Knox.

I couldn't blame them; it's hard to compare the sight of two topless girls making out in front of you. For a moment, they stood frozen in disbelief.

Justin casually sat against the sink while Chris wrestled around in his pocket for his phone so he could–you guessed it–take video. He tried to act like he was texting someone, but I didn't think he was playing it off too well...with the lens unmistakably pointed directly at the girls.

Justin didn't speak the entire time, especially when the girls crawled out of the tub and began drying each other off with white cotton towels. We followed each step they made on their way into the main room, looking like the paparazzi in hot pursuit.

"B-rad, get this thing started!" Chris announced.

It was up to me to ignite all of our dreams. With this in mind, I completely disrobed Summer and took one for the team. I put my head down and well ... went down on her.

"Look at B-rad eat that monkey!" shouted a laughing Chris.

Eat that monkey I did, for quite some time.

Meanwhile, on the other bed, Justin was making progress of his own, and all but one piece of the puzzle was complete; Chris wasn't injecting himself into the equation yet.

Out of the corner of my eye, I watched Chris make a few false steps before finally plunging in and focusing on Summer's top half...while I continued to eat that monkey.

While the guy-girl-guy threesome is not ideal, one must bear in mind one crucial factor: this was my job – to facilitate.

Once Chris was finished, he vanished without a trace. At least physically, I'm not sure about forensically.

Nonetheless, I kept at it, and so did Justin, who left a deep dent in the wall after repeatedly hammering the headboard out of place. I was glad it wasn't my credit card on file.

Justin then retired to his room, capping off the night, leaving both girls alone in the room with me. I knew what was coming next.

"I think we're gonna drive home," said the brunette.

"Ok, I'm really tired anyways," I responded.

"Do you have the money for the gas?" Summer asked, to a cashless audience.

"I don't, I completely forgot to ask them," I mumbled, sinking my head deep into the pillow and closing my eyes.

When I woke up the following morning, my iPhone was nowhere to be found. I guess they took it upon themselves to make me pay (or so they thought).

Amazingly, after the previous night, Justin and Chris were on the field playing a spring training game in front of thousands of fans. Although I knew the intricacies of their life off the field, I was about to learn more about how they were treated on the field.

One of the benefits of being a returning big league starter during spring training is the privilege of going home early once you've played 6 or 7 innings. One of the disadvantages is not having a private exit to your car, so they wanted me to escort them (add bodyguard to the resume).

They both donned dark sunglasses when the locker room door swung open, joining the general population as if the sunglasses somehow shielded them from being spotted. Within five seconds, they were being hounded for autographs.

"Justin! Sign my ball!" a man bellowed.

"Chris! Sign my jersey!" another man howled.

These directives were ignored. Not many professions require you to consistently ignore other human beings, but being a professional baseball player is one of them; the only exception to this rule is when a kid makes the request.

I assumed the people following us would take the hint after their first 10 commands went unanswered, but they were only growing more ruthless.

"Come on Justin! Don't be an asshole, you make enough money don't you?" the man antagonized, causing Justin's cheekbone to protrude in anger.

We carried on, making our way underneath the stadium seats past concession stands and rabid fans. Then one of the autograph seekers breached our bubble, reaching his hand towards Justin, enabling me to counter his violation of personal space with a swift push to the chest, followed by a demonic stare.

The three of us reached the car unscathed, and we finally got a chance to review and rejoice in what took place the night before.

"Thanks for last night B-rad. That was big," Chris confessed.

"No problem," I nonchalantly responded.

"Yeah, it was nice doing business with you," Justin added.

Justin always made subtle hints and by mentioning the word 'business' in his sentence, I knew where he was trying to steer the conversation towards the topic of hiring me. The question was: did I want to work for them?

I went through this before with BJ and Kazmir. I started off getting paid by both of them and then it evolved into a war over which one gained full control. Not only did it cause problems for them, but it also affected my friendship with BJ.

The golden opportunity to talk about my employment was sitting on a platter, but I ignored it and stayed silent. I didn't want to come in between Justin and Chris and I certainly had no interest in disturbing my friendship with Justin. Some things are more valuable than money; besides, no matter how much was at stake, I would still feel inferior to them.

I decided not to make the same mistake twice and focused on my original plan ... being financially independent. This would require talking to Dave, so I went to see him once we arrived in Scottsdale. Of course, he wanted the full play-by-play on what happened with the girls.

He sat back in his grey suede couch, pleasantly occupied as I progressively unfolded each step of the lengthy escapade. When I reached the part about my iPhone being stolen; he was no longer amused.

"That's messed up man. You know Apple has a feature called Mobile-Me where you can track your phone even when it's turned off," said Dave.

"Yeah, well I don't have it," I told him.

"They don't know that," Dave replied with a crafty smile.

"You just gave me a good idea," I said, even though the idea was really his.

I was now going to call Summer and pretend like I really did have Mobile-Me, hoping to recover my phone with a bluff. If they did have my phone, then I'm a genius. If they didn't, then I'm an asshole. This was going to be a gamble.

"Summer, I can track my phone even when it's off and it's showing up at your house right now," I confidently lied.

"What? What do you mean? I don't have your phone!" Summer angrily replied.

When being accused, if the subjects initial response is "What?" then it's typically a stalling tactic and most commonly a telltale sign they're hiding something. So I proceeded, but I had to go all-in.

"Summer, I know you have my phone so you have two options. Bring the phone to me right now or wait for me to come to your house," I said, delivering my ultimatum.

"I'M SORRY! I don't know how it got in her purse but I will bring it to you right now," explained Summer.

She handed me the phone and I handed her $80 for gas. It was an awkward exchange and the prospects of sleeping with her in the future were dim, but I wasn't concerned; Dave and I were about to spend plenty of time in the field.



A New Path

Before beginning my adventures with Dave, I needed to handle some unfinished business. One item was yet to be scratched off my 'to-do' list, and her name was Jessica.

As previously noted, Jessica was the seductive dancer who worked for the PussyCat Lounge, but did I mention how she thought I was the backup catcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks?

I didn't tell her I played for the Diamondbacks, she just assumed I was guilty by association ... and maybe I failed to correct her.

It's also possible I kept her presumption going with a backstory, besides, who was I to spoil her dreams? If she really wanted to know the truth, it was one Google search away; there was no Brad on the team.

Lying to girls has an upside because it's remarkably easy and it also gets your foot in the door. Keeping up the lie, on the other hand, is entirely different. It's an obstacle that requires constant attention because all it takes is one slip-up and your cover is blown; as you will see.

After weeks of text message maintenance, Jessica finally bit the hook and was on her way over to Justin's place to have a few drinks before joining us for a night on the town.

She wore a sparkling and inflexible sequin dress that was bright yellow, with hair to match and tall black laced up heels. With Justin and his girl in the room, I probably wasn't the only one thinking she looked like a stripper.

So far, I felt accomplished taking her from Step A (seeing her through the glass at work) to step B (having her come over). Victory was within reach.

Then I saw a familiar look in Justin's eyes. Unlike his usual self, he wasn't smiling. In fact, it was the same look he gave me in Tampa when Natalia came over. Would he try to pull another power play?

We all sat around the island in his kitchen making casual conversation, and then Jessica gave him an opportunity to strike.

"So, do you have a game tomorrow?" Jessica asked me.

Justin's eyebrows raised and his chin perked up. He quickly caught eyes with me, displaying his trademark shit-eating grin.

"Brad doesn't have a game tomorrow, but I do!" he said loudly to Jessica, and turned to continue his on-going smirk.

I should have known. Justin could marginally deal with me pulling good-looking women on a regular basis, but saying I played baseball crossed the line in his sand. I was hi-jacking his angle, and he didn't approve.

He threw me under the bus and I was in crisis management mode. With my line snapped, I was forced to create a new identity. My options were limited and I scrambled to come up with something tangible on the spot. So I picked up Justin's French bulldog Lil Wayne, and became the guy who loves dogs.

It was a far cry from playing in the major leagues, but I was hoping she–like most girls–had a sweet spot for animals.

For the entire four hours we spent at various clubs, I refused to take her out of my sight. There was no way I could allow Justin to directly fill her in on my lie, and I knew he wanted to. The question was ... did she already figure it out?

My answer would come once we retreated back to Justin's place at the end of the night and sat down together on his black leather sofa.

"So, do you want to go upstairs?" I asked her.

"I'm pretty tired. I should probably go home," Jessica responded.

In summary, Justin sank my battleship.

I awoke the next morning furious and soon began plotting my reprisal. After mapping out my strategies, I decided on a Blitzkrieg style attack, so I called Natalia and invited her to Arizona. The rest of my day was occupied sitting around the house, staying silent while I twiddled my thumbs waiting for my special forces to arrive.

Natalia was one of a kind. She was perfect in every way; yet shy as if she was unsure of herself. I didn't need to lie to her, she knew exactly who I was and she also wasn't the type to use me to get closer to my friends.

My war plans were forgotten once she arrived (even though they technically still worked). I was reminded why I wanted her there; I simply enjoyed spending time with her. Justin liked having her around too.

Dave came with us to meet Justin's teammates in downtown Scottsdale. Bringing a top tier girl around a group of baseball players is like bringing fresh meat around a pack of wolves, except on this night, the meat was sealed (she wasn't interested in them). As expected, this caused bewilderment among the wolves; they looked at me like they wanted to say, "Who the hell is she and how the hell did you get her?"

Most baseball players didn't like the sight of me with good-looking women, but I was used to it. The answer to their last question was simple – I have game.

No matter who you are, what your status is, what car you drive or where you live – you must have game. Your game depends on how well you adapt to your environment. My competition held status, but I was heavily equipped with charm ... and charm is tough to beat.

It also helps to be smooth with words, be (or seem) genuinely interested in their life and to separate one's self from the pack. This doesn't mean to place yourself above your competition; sometimes putting yourself below can work just as well; just make sure you're different.

Natalia and I spent our last day at the Diamondbacks Fan Fest. Sometimes it comes down to a feeling of knowing a girl is right for you, and after spending the weekend together; I knew she was. She was also the first girl to break Lacey's spell, and I thought there was great potential for us to have a real relationship. The only hindrance was our distance.

I watched her fly away, and then moped over to Dave's house to play him in the FIFA soccer video game. Midway through locking up yet another victory, I received a unique text message.

"6 years, $51 Million," wrote Justin, who was referring to the contract he just signed.

"How does it feel to be a much richer man?" I asked.

"I feel good!" he responded, quoting James Brown.

I believed him. He was 22 years old with $51 Million dollars; this was a cause for celebration.

Teammates, agents and friends gathered at JackRabbit in Scottsdale for the guest of honor. Meanwhile, I was convincing Dave to buy Justin a $500 bottle of champagne, which he agreed to do as long as I made the transaction. Moments later, the room suddenly lit up with sparklers, and the grand gesture backfired.

Apparently when you spend that much on a bottle, the club deems it necessary to parade through the room with fireworks, which attracts unwanted attention for people who don't need or want to show off.

"Who bought this?" Justin asked, in a grateful tone.

"Dave," I told him, and then looked around for Dave who was nowhere to be found.

Crafty Dave successfully lined me up to be the patsy. I had to hand it to him; the guy knew how to handle his personal PR.

When I woke up the next day, a new reality was sinking in. I remember thinking Justin's life was going to change when he was originally drafted, but this new change was going to be even more drastic, and I wasn't sure if he recognized it yet.

While I sat in the dark brown leather chair to his right, I watched people he hadn't talk to in year's call and text him. It was that very moment when I knew our relationship was going to change; no matter how much neither of us wanted it to.

I didn't think he would change and I didn't think I would change – outside influence was going to change our friendship. Instead of being caught off guard, I knew it was time to gain a skill I could use for the rest of my life.

After consulting Dave, he proposed I start learning computer skills on a daily basis, so he laid down a few ground rules for living with him.

"You have to keep the place clean, take care of my dog and one last thing no haircuts," said Dave, ending his demands on a humorous note.

Instead of paying rent, we returned to the barter system that served as the initial catalyst to our friendship. He would continue my education into the world of computers, and I would continue my instructions on how to fearlessly approach women.

He wasn't bad at it, nor was I computer illiterate; we were simply specialists in our own fields. I certainly valued his teachings more so than I valued my own, but assessment's are in the eye of the student. An untrained skill has a unique and incalculable worth to someone; it just depends who the person is.

We also shared a determined willingness, or need, to further our own areas of expertise. Anything we pursued was a competition and it didn't matter if it was girls, websites or video games. Shamefully, the fiercest competition was brought on through the latter.

Before starting our first day of studies in his home office, Dave went out and bought me a brand new Apple laptop. Instead of pestering him from the corner of his desk using his old laptop, I pestered him from the corner of his desk using my own.

He taught me about editing code, search engine optimization, sales techniques, networking, link building and countless strategies on how to build a business of my own. Dave gave me one piece of advice and once I applied it, he would give me another.

Time management was of the utmost importance to him, more than anyone I've ever known. Dave was, at the time, running more businesses than I could even count, and those were just the ones I knew about. The bottom line was this; if he was going to help me, he needed to make sure his guidance wasn't going in one ear and out the other.

On the flip side, if I were going to learn from him, it would require asking a lot of questions. My constant badgering had its ups and downs. He would either give me valued information or he would go berserk and tell me to leave him the fuck alone. No matter the result, I knew deep down he appreciated my persistence, which ironically, was the same persistence needed to be successful with women.

After a few weeks, I started another website called PlayerSeason.com. It was a sports blog that never would have existed if it weren't for my altercation with Justin. Admittedly, I saw it as my avenue for influence in the sports world, and it was created with bad intentions; one of them being a tool for revenge against Evan Longoria. I may have forgiven him, but I never forget.

On top of Dave's expertise, his friend Jiyan would stop in town between coast-to-coast conferences and teach me the finer aspects of public relations. He taught me about press releases and how essential they were for building a brand and ultimately getting my businesses off the ground.

It was strange, just a year and a half before this I was asking a lady in Scottsdale for computer and PR advice. Now there were experts in both fields at my fingertips; it was almost as if my wishes were granted.

Although Dave and Jiyan had steady career paths, their spousal relationships were much more turbulent. Before we could leave the house for a night out, Jiyan was forced to spend hours on the phone arguing with a mystery woman and Dave, well, he had his own volatile ex-girlfriend to deal with.

Her name was "Brianna" and her looks certainly fit the bill for being a fiery former companion. She had short blonde hair, a slim figure and less than subtle implants. We've all met the girl who was hot enough to act crazy every now and then; this was Brianna.

One day, while playing FIFA on Xbox, Jiyan and I were able to see her in action. It was entertaining to say the least.

"She is fucking crazy!" said Dave, after running down the stairs.

Then Brianna entered the room and gave Dave a cold stare, prompting Jiyan and I to sit upright on the couch, in preparation for the show.

"Why don't you just leave?" Dave asked her.

"Just leave? Are you fucking serious?" said an irate Brianna.

"Obviously you're not stable right now, so why don't you just go?" Dave suggested.

"You weren't saying that five minutes ago when you were busting all over my chest!" yelled Brianna.

Jiyan and I also busted ... out ... in laughter, which caused Brianna to crack a smile. This also lightened the overall mood, and Brianna exited without further conflict.

It was now time for Dave and I to commence our mission in the field.

Until this point, I was the most clever person in any group I was ever associated with, but with Dave in the mix, this was no longer so. Most people feel threatened by someone smarter than themselves; not me, I knew it would generate brilliant ideas and only make me better.

One of the first ideas was devising a strategic plan to pick the best possible area to approach girls. So we located the office for Scottsdale's top modeling agency, and took a seat outside the Starbucks next door.

Sunglasses are essential for scouting talent; they provide adequate cover to stare at girls without the unwarranted stigma of doing so. Thanks to Justin's vast supply of designer sunglasses, Dave and I looked quite sharp on our recon mission.

One by one the girls walked out, and one by one I approached them. Each was followed by a review session with Dave.

"What did you say?" Dave asked.

"I told her she was pretty," I responded.

"Like she doesn't already know," suggested Dave.

"Yeah, but girls never get tired of hearing it," I told him.

A lot of guys go with pickup lines when they talk to girls, and every one of these guys is making a mistake. Females are wired to read facial expressions more aptly than males, and whether you know it or not; their bullshit detectors are stronger than we think.

This is why it's best to start the conversation with a relevant and current topic so it doesn't seem rehearsed. Telling the girl she's pretty is another obvious, but powerful tool that will never go out of style. These two bullet points may sound simple, and that's because they are. In baseball, if you are facing a pitcher throwing 95MPH, you aren't thinking about (or rehearsing) your swing. To be a good hitter, you must react naturally to your current environment, and to be a successful pickup artist; you must do the same.

Don't get me wrong, some pick-up lines (the savvy ones) work miracles, but they have to be used at the right time. Using them in the opening line is never a good idea, and when you do use them, it has to be undetectable. This is best served when you subtly steer the conversation in a direction where a girl sets it up for you; which in turn, makes it relevant.

Once the list of new contacts was stocked, we headed back to the house to go over the next crucial, and most difficult, phase of advancing with girls ... how to handle text messaging.

This is a skill I still haven't mastered to this day, but I have picked up a few key proponents to enact. The first is to be exciting and adventurous. Send them a message you think they have never seen before, regardless of how crazy it may seem. Remember, being different is above everything else.

The second is to start your texts with an open-ended message (Credit: Neil Strauss). Instead of saying 'what's up?' or 'how are you doing?' it's better to bait them into responding by making your message consist of two parts, and they don't get the second (most enticing) piece until they respond to the first. 'So I figured out what makes you so attractive' is a good one. Girls love themselves and naturally, they will be interested in what you think their best feature is. You're basically telling them you know exactly why they're beautiful. Sure, they've all been told they're pretty, but how many guys specifically tell them why?

Dave progressed through the next few weeks, which included him dating a 19-year-old Latin girl, but he was still eager for more. He really wanted to kick his game up another notch, so without telling me, he went out and bought a brand new Mazerati.

Unlike most people on his level; you would never be able to tell Dave was successful, even if you happened to see him walking down the street. He wore jeans without labels on the back pockets and his typical shirt was gray without a single stitch or logo. This was until I began forcing him to wear some of my shirts, which made a difference. I suppose he took the same principle into buying the Mazerati; positive results were bound to come.

Without question, a car like his will help seal the deal, but unfortunately most approaches don't occur in a drive-by scenario, so there was still work to do.

There's an annual golf tournament held in Scottsdale every year and although golf is probably the most boring sport to watch, the event (somehow) still attracted thousands of girls.

We walked down the cart path on our way in and I began discussing what I think is the best mindset to have before approaching a girl.

"You know what you should be thinking before you talk to them?" I asked Dave.

"What's that?" Dave replied.

"If you never tried talking to them and you never asked for their number, then the answer would still be no," I advocated.

"Ahhh, solid point," Dave said while nodding his head.

"If you try talking to them, at least you will find out if it could have been a yes. Virtually, you have absolutely nothing to lose," I continued.

"I agree," said Dave.

"And do you know which girls are the easiest to approach?" I asked.

"Who's that?" questioned Dave.

"This may sound crazy, but the best looking ones are most often the easiest to talk to. Do you want to know why?" I queried.

"I'd love to hear this," Dave responded, having not yet bought into my theory.

"Because out of every type of girl, most guys are afraid of talking to the hottest ones. When you see an extremely attractive girl, you never think she's lonely because her outer vibe has years of built-up confidence. But in reality, the inner-vibe is lonely from guys being afraid to approach. If you simply talk to them, you're doing what 95% of guys won't do, and that's a lot more than half of the battle," I ended my sermon, and Dave accepted the concept.

After hours of practice on various targets, we entered a tent for a concert being held once the tournament ended for the day. We ran into two young blondes so I opened, and Dave swooped in. Then I needed to go to the restroom, and I used my time away to test him.

"Your goal is to keep both girls engaged in this conversation with you until I get back," I whispered in Dave's ear.

On my way back in, I was told the tent was at capacity and if it weren't for a small opening between a fence and a pole, I never would have seen if Dave succeeded or not. I re-entered 15 minutes later, and there he was, with both girls on their toes. It's very rewarding to see progress from someone you're teaching, and Dave was becoming a master.

The girl's numbers were procured and we carried on (Dave ended up seeing his target weeks' later).

While the crowd was preparing for the band O.A.R.'s performance, I spotted the most challenging object of desire dancing onstage. Just like Jessica from the PussyCat Lounge, I needed to figure out a way to get close to her. The only way to accomplish this was to get backstage, but we lacked the necessary credentials. Naturally, Dave and I began plotting for a loophole.

I got on my blackberry and researched information on each member of the band. The plan was to act like we were family members, and being related to the lead singer wouldn't be the most believable backstory, but the drummer might work.

"You can't come back here without a pass," the bulky security guard stated.

"I'm Brad Culos man, Chris Culos's brother...the drummer for O.A.R."  I told him with an air of cockiness, acting like I was offended.

I was hoping the guard valued his job over facing potential backlash for insulting a family member, and I was right because he let us right through.

Now Dave and I were on a small platform, joined solely by family members of the band. We tried to mix in, but it was a tight-knit group and the prospect of being ousted was imminent. My time to talk to the dancer was dwindling down.

"Hey, what's your name?" I asked her.

"Reva," she said, while two guards stepped onto the platform.

"What's your last name?" I demanded, with no time to get her number after our cover was in the midst of being blown.

She quickly blurted it out and then we were whisked away.

This information would normally be rendered useless; if we weren't living in the Facebook era.

However, since we were (and are), it took just a handful of keystrokes before she was in her car and on her way to Dave's.

"So, you're a dancer?" I nervously asked the short but radiant Reva.

"Yeah, I also do promotional videos for people," Reva replied, while I attempted to keep my eyes off her chest.

"I have some baseball memorabilia on a website I own, you should do one for me," I suggested.

"Do you want to do it right now?" she asked.

"Yes. Yes I do." I anxiously told her.

I raced upstairs, snatched Dave's video camera and gathered as much memorabilia as my arms could hold from the closet. After prepping her lines, a most fortunate PR event was officially in production.

She wore a strapped teal tank top and ripped jeans as she stood in front of the fireplace in Dave's kitchen. I was torn between alternate desires of creating a great video and my instinctual longing to sleep with her. I was forced to manage both.

"You're good at this," Kyle announced from the dining room table in the dying moments of the first take.

"Shut the fuck up Kyle! I'm still taping!" I scolded.

The truth is ... I wasn't still taping. There were two guys in the room and one girl; I needed to eliminate him from the equation. Nature was at play, and man has to adapt to his environment. It was raw and primitive, but my actions seemed necessary at the time.

"Oh, I see what you're doing," a flustered but aware Kyle uttered while vacating the room.

I watched him go, with the same look a lion gives his competitors as they vacate the scene of a freshly claimed carcass.

Reva and I carried on; showcasing item after item while I underhandedly injected sexual connotations in each scene. I instructed her on how important it was to mention the 'ball marks' on the barrel of every bat, and made sure to capture an extended shot of her cleavage every time she leaned over to place items on the table.

The goal wasn't to be sexist; I was simply targeting my audience.

After we finished, Reva and I walked upstairs to my room and initially sat down on the edge of the bed. She stood up, stepped in my closet, took her jeans off and replaced them with plaid Burberry pajamas some other girl left behind. Without doubt, it was a bold and blatant move.

A few days later, Dave and I were busy on the prowl at a club called 'The W'.

We stood poolside, poised as we contemplated which of the many gaggle of girls were best suited for an encounter. Then I imposed a transition, our roles would reverse and the task of making first contact would now be up to Dave.

He spotted a group of four and made a swift move on his pick of the litter. Now it was up to me to swoop in and entertain the other three. Dave and I differed in a way; he was actually looking for a girl he liked, and I did this routine so many times it was hard to appear like I was actually interested.

So Dave championed them for the remainder of the night, it was like rooting for an underdog at the end of a marathon. His white tape at the finish line came in the form of his white Mazerati sitting out front in the valet...when every last one of them piled in.

When a runner wins a marathon, it usually comes with a gallant picture of them flailing their arms out wide as they burst through the finish line. Dave's was a mental picture; taken by me, with four girls in the background while he's cracking the biggest smile I had witnessed since the day I met him.

It made me reminisce to our days walking around the supermarket making cold solicitations, scouting out restaurants with the best looking waitresses and leaving the club alone. Now we were improved, grown and fully flourished.

Just a few seconds went by and I was suddenly blessed with another priceless and everlasting mental picture. One of the girls began taking short, choppy steps towards the car, seemingly overcome with excitement, but then it all changed...when she tripped and fell flat on her face. To think, we almost pulled away with a flawless exit.

I took the wheel and peeled off. Then another stark contrast between Dave and myself came to light. I wanted to take them to his place and he wanted to take them home.

This was a tough pill for me to swallow. What was the point of going out if they weren't coming back with us? To make matters worse, they lived 20 minutes away, but the tipping point ultimately came when one of the girls began incessantly screaming in the back seat. I couldn't take it.

"Will you please shut the hell up!?" I asked the girl.

"That's your last straw," Dave said to me, playing the hero and simultaneously enacting his power play.

He also probably wanted her to shut up but I knew what he was doing. First, he showed the girl he was standing up for her (playing the hero) and secondly he was letting them know that I lived under his wings by telling me I was on my last straw. What Dave didn't know, is that I opt out of power plays – even if you're giving me free rent.

"Go fuck yourself Dave! You don't own me! I'll find a place to live, I'm not one of your employees you can boss around!" I lashed out, much to his astonishment.

Our ride home was a silent one, but he didn't end up kicking me out. In fact, I'm pretty sure I had gained his respect. When you're rich, 99% of the people you know will kiss up to you. It was probably refreshing for someone to strike back and voice their unfiltered opinion.

We were back at it a few nights later. Of all the places you could meet four girls wearing classy dresses, and immediately invite over; its kind of hard to believe it was at a gas station.

Drinks were poured and the cards were shuffled. Having a 2:1 girl to guy ratio is a delicacy, their words and actions essentially serve as an interview for which one you should pick. Physical appearance aside, your best bet is to either go with the most outspoken girl of the group or the least. The ones who fall in the middle are usually caretakers or people-pleasers, and they don't make bad decisions for themselves.

I prefer the least outspoken, the one I can influence to rebel against her designated role and eventually entice to come out of her shell. This person doesn't take long to spot either because within minutes; I knew yellow dress was my target.

Dave, on the other hand, elected for the most outspoken and it was a battle, but pink dress came out on top.

"You seem like you're more interesting than you make yourself out to be," I told yellow dress.

This line and the other 20 similar themed provocations to follow were all a part of my plan. I was building a story line, and she was the character who was holding back, a diamond in the rough, who would find her true self by finally opening up. I was about to find out if her character would climax when we entered my bedroom together.

We kissed for a moment and then she jumped on top of me, straddling my hips. Then, the story unfolded.

"You know I'm not going to do anything with you," she said, smiling like her words were cute.

At this stage in our game and after so many successful nights, my tolerance for noncompliance was at an all-time low.

"Ok, well you can get off my bed now, I'm going to sleep," I informed her, indecently.

"Are you serious? You're an asshole!" she cursed as she stormed away.

As bad as this may sound I have to agree with her.



Private Jet to Tampa

For the first time ever, Justin and BJ were going to face off in the big leagues. Regardless of our differences, Justin invited me to come along; well, it was more like Justin and Chris wanted me to go. I imagine our night in Tucson with "Summer" and her friend influenced their decision.

We weren't flying separate. It was a grand occasion and they wanted to roll in style; so they chartered a private jet.

Four creme colored leather chairs faced opposite directions on each side of the plane, with one extended seat behind them. Justin clutched a bottle of Johnny Walker, Chris broke out a deck of cards and I stared at the built-in screen displaying our exact location on the map.

We drank and gambled while Chris plugged in the extra iPod speakers so he could blast whatever rap music was trending at the time. Then Justin reminded me why I came along for the trip.

"B-rad, I hope you have some girls lined up," said Justin, as Chris turned to me for an answer.

"I'm already one step ahead of you, they'll be at the hotel when we arrive," I confirmed.

It was true; Kendall and her friends would be there. I also texted Lacey just to let her know we were on a private jet.

Then I pulled out my camera, and started taking pictures. Chris and Justin initially gave the same reaction most famous/important people give when there's a camera around. That was just their natural instinct so I ignored it, after all, if I spent that much money on a flight; I would want pictures.

In fact, I could tell Chris was thinking the same when he began to consciously and not-so-covertly pose for the remainder of my photo shoot. Then he passed out.

Nighttime turned to daytime and we eventually touched down in Tampa during the early morning hours. Once we stepped off the plane, a black SUV pulled up and a man in a tuxedo-styled suit loaded our bags.

Chris wiped his eyes and Justin yawned while we grabbed our suitcases out of the trunk in front of the downtown Tampa hotel. It was 9:30am, and Kendall was waiting in the lobby with her friends, just like I had planned.

In essence, I was running an escort service. However, the girls were never paid and the clients never paid me either, unless you count free trips and hotel rooms; which I did.

The girls, on the other hand, were able to tell their friends who they hooked up with. Which, after years of research, is apparently very valuable to them. Go figure.

Kendall and her friends sprung off the multi-colored striped couch and scurried to the entrance to greet us, but we were tired and in no mood for small talk. I took Kendall to my room and I can only imagine they did the same with the others.

A few hours later, "Sienna", the girl who was with Justin, joined Kendall and I in my room.

"Justin said he was going to sleep," uttered the confused Sienna.

"Ha, he kicked you out!" Kendall blurted out.

"You know, we could have a threesome," I intervened.

Kendall and Sienna looked at me.

Kendall looked at Sienna.

Sienna looked at Kendall.

Kendall territorially looked back at me.

"Ha, you're funny," said Kendall, killing my dream.

It wasn't funny to me. The elusive threesome escaped my grasp once again. I rationaLaceyed it, like a sociopath, by deciding Kendall wasn't in the mood to share. Then it made me wonder; if I was supposedly so good at talking to girls, then why couldn't I convince them to have a threesome? It left me feeling unaccomplished.

Since it was Thursday, and the first game wasn't until Friday; we decided to meet up with BJ for a night on the town.

Per BJ's request, I called a girl at the bar to get us a table. Which highlighted an often seen fact in their life; when you're rich, people constantly try to rip you off.

"Hey, do you have a table?" I asked her, from the parking lot.

"Who are you with?" she asked.

"BJ, Justin and his teammate Chris," I told her.

"Ok, well we're kind of packed. I can get you one, but it's going to be $1,000," she quoted.

"Yeah, let me think about it," I avoided, before hanging up.

"That's bullshit! She said she wants a grand, let me go inside real quick and sort this out," I told my disgruntled mates.

I stormed into the club intent on changing their offer, and not just to a lower price; I wanted it for free. Instead of seeking out the girl who wielded no real power, I found the manager and stated my case.

"You and I both know a table doesn't cost that much, you're trying to squeeze them. Even if it does, their presence alone will bring more people to your bar. You should be giving it to them for free," I candidly told him.

"That's fine. We'll set it up now," he said, confirming the fluctuated price.

The point is this; without someone frugal like me, the $1,000 would have been paid, because negotiating a price makes a multi-millionaire look like an asshole. Now they were happy, it was a rare occasion for someone to save them money – financial managers included.

Within minutes of sitting down in our rightfully free seats, a frenzy of people surrounded us. Baseball was a big deal in Tampa, and everyone knew Justin was in town to play his brother. I could hear the chatter, and for the first time some of them were talking about me.

"Who's that?" a female onlooker asked another.

"He's like Turtle from Entourage, but with baseball players," the other answered.

I accepted their assessment. After years of hearing chatter about everyone but me, they could have said I was like Rodney Dangerfield from the movie Back to School and I still would have been satisfied.

On this night, I met a girl named Brooke, who has a brother in the big leagues, and she was all over me. She was pretty, athletic, curvy and very friendly. At the end of the night, I ditched the other suitable alternatives and took her back to the hotel.

Normally, some kissing and touching occurs immediately after you close the door. Not this time, she sat on the end of the bed wanting to talk, a nightmare scenario when the alternatives were willing to commit heinous acts. I needed a way out, and within moments it emerged.

Knock, knock, knock.

"What the hell you doing? Open the damn door!" Justin demanded.

The door swung open and there stood a delighted Justin; smiling widely with Kendall and Sienna on each arm.

"We're trying to kick it! Who you in here with?" said Justin, while he peeked over my shoulder to see Brooke with her legs crossed on the bed.

I turned around, looked at Brooke, squinted my eyes and leaned my head to the side while shrugging my shoulders. She took the hint, grabbed her purse and exited the room briskly without saying so much as a word to anyone.

The four of us slipped out of our clothes before jumping in the hotel hot tub, and the rest of the night persisted, as one should expect.

BOOM, BOOM, BOOM!

Someone savagely pounded on the door, many hours after I fell asleep. The only question was, how many hours? The curtains completely covered the windows and the room was pitch dark. I wasn't sure if it was morning time or if I slept until the following night.

Furthermore, I had no idea who was at the door. They knocked like they were police, so I replayed every step from the night before. After concluding I hadn't done anything illegal, I tiptoed my way to the door and looked through the peephole – it was BJ.

"B-bad, you got any condoms?" he asked, wired up like a crack fiend.

"What time is it?" I asked back, trying to get a scope on reality.

"It's eight man," BJ answered, like I was stupid for not knowing.

"In the morning? You can't be serious. Why are you asking me for condoms at eight in the morning?" I truly wondered.

"Man, never mind all that. Do you have any or not?" he said, as if my questions were out of line.

"Hah. No, I don't," I told him.

"I forgot your nasty ass never uses condoms. Aight, I'm out," BJ miffed, before disappearing down the hall.

I was perplexed. Their game didn't start for 11 hours I didn't even know why he was awake, let alone why he decided to violently wake me up, ask for condoms and then slander me when I couldn't produce. Classic BJ.

Once I woke up on my own accord, everyone was already at the field except for the Rays starting pitcher, David Price. Unlike any other level of baseball, he was allowed to show up a few hours before game time, and it wasn't hard to guess what he was doing; he was playing FIFA soccer on Xbox.

I walked in his condo and wasn't surprised at all to see his tall, lanky body stretched out on the floor in front of the TV. He wore white Nike sandals, gray Jordan sweatpants and a dark t-shirt with the sleeves cut off. His face was covered with trimmed stubble and his eyes were doing just as I expected; focusing on his current game of FIFA.

"Let me know when you're ready," I told him, submitting my challenge.

"I'm always ready, you're gonna get whipped!" he fired back.

For the next few hours, we didn't move an inch, unless it was to change direction on the joystick. Trash was talked after every goal scored and taunting noises were let out upon every deceptive juke move; then I chose to be a little more deceptive by giving him false advice on how to pitch to Justin.

"What do you think Justin will do against you?" I baited him.

"He's going to strike out, without question," Price confidently answered.

"Don't throw him anything on the inner half of the plate. I've been watching him all year, that's the only thing he looks for early in the count," I assured him.

"Well if he's looking inside then I'll just have to paint the outside corner all night!" Price excitedly decided, thinking he did so on his own.

He was unaware my loyalties were now with the Diamondbacks, so I texted Justin once I sat down at Tropicana Field, just an hour before the game began.

"I told Price you only look for inside pitches, take his shit deep oppo!" my text read.

'Oppo' meant opposite field, which is right field for a right-handed batter. 'Take his shit deep' meant to hit a home run, which Justin was more capable of accomplishing with an outside pitch than most other players. It was actually one of the stronger facets of his game.

Justin stepped up to the plate for his first at-bat, and ripped a single up the middle. Then the fourth inning rolled around, and Justin dug in for his second at-bat. With three balls and one strike, Price falsely assumed Justin was looking for an inside pitch, but he didn't know Justin was provided 'inside' information.

Price threw a fastball on the outside corner at the knees, just like he said he would do, and Justin crushed a line drive over the right field fence for a home run; exactly as planned. I smirked from the bleachers, Justin trotted around the bases and Price screamed at himself into his own glove.

For the next few innings, I focused less on the game and more on the third row behind home plate; I was trying to spot Lacey. It was aberrant to see her after all we went through together, albeit from a distance. You don't expect, or even don't want to see them functioning normally without you; but they are.

Like a creep, I watched while she sipped diet coke, presumably with no ice, from my strategic perch behind the left field foul pole; I couldn't help but wonder if I was finally over her. My answer came the very next minute when I unlocked my iPhone and fell victim to my inner desire of making contact with her one last time.

"Hey, do you want to meet?" my email read.

Thirty minutes go by with no response. My phone died an hour later during the eighth inning.

I wrote it off as a lost cause and proceeded back to BJ's house to get ready for another night out. Once inside, I plugged my iPhone into the charger and hopelessly checked to see if she responded...and she had.

"Yeah," her email read.

If my phone didn't die, I would have seen her again, in the same place we first met. Maybe it was fate or maybe I should have charged my phone more when I was playing Price in FIFA. Either way, my timeline for not being over her was slightly extended.

On a different note, this night out also marked the beginning of a new reaLaceyation for me; my websites were creating enemies.

First, it was Longoria. When I entered the second-floor of the club to meet up with everyone, he was the first person I saw. He stood against a structured beam in the middle of the room, talking one-on-one with a girl, and we caught eyes for a second. Normally, he would have dropped what he was doing to acknowledge me and say hello. Not this time, he looked away and pretended like he didn't know me. I guess the stories I posted on PlayerSeason.com such as "Is Evan Longoria Gay?" were getting under his skin. I thought they were funny, but apparently he didn't.

I wasn't going to let him big league me. In my mind, he was still in debt to me after messing around with Lacey. So I countered his shunning by delivering a swift tap to his nuts, before proceeding to meet up with everyone else. I imagine this only made matters worse; he left soon after.

The second enemy to surface was a guy, or man named Emil. He was Justin, BJ and David Wright's official memorabilia dealer. We knew each other for a while and always got along pretty well, but this was before I started ProspectMemorabilia.com, a site that mostly sold BJ, Justin and David Wright memorabilia.

Emil sat at the circular-shaped table with all my hometown friends, wearing a light blue collared shirt, khaki pants and black boots. The second he became aware of my presence, he stood up, slid past everyone and left. I didn't hold any hard feelings towards him, but he obviously didn't feel the same.

Longoria was different; I didn't care about offending him. I never expected someone like Emil to disavow me as a person just because I was trying to make some money on the side, even if I was doing the same line of work. If anything, it should have been a compliment. As they say, 'you can be successful and have enemies or you can be unsuccessful too, and you can have friends.'

Up until this point, I was always beloved by everyone; it was the reason why girls liked me and powerful people let me in their inner circles. This night served as a forecast for my future and it marked the beginning of a transformation from being the favorite to becoming the most hated.

In the meantime, there was still work to do. A short, pig-tailed girl walked by wearing skimpy denim shorts and a Tampa Bay Rays t-shirt, which was the equivalent to wearing a bull's-eye on her chest. Her name was Blair and she was promiscuous from the start, so I invited her on a triple-date to the casino with Justin, Sienna, BJ and Mike (one of BJ and Justin's lower-level agents).

From 2am to 5am, the six of us sat around the high-rollers blackjack table swigging Johnny Walker's and coke, even though there was a 1 o'clock game the following day. Mike was equipped with a company bank account for the sole purpose of keeping BJ and Justin entertained. He continually increased his bets while comically leering at my new pig-tailed friend at the end of each hand; in a botched attempt to woo her.

Just before the sun came up, Justin and I were dropped off in front of our hotel with two girls in tow.

"Sienna has to go to your room, I'll never get to sleep if she comes with me," said an exhausted Justin.

"I guess I can do that for you," I sarcastically replied, and then laughed like I had just hit the lotto.

I stepped in my room and two girls hunkered down on each side of the bed. Once again, I was face-to-face with an opportunity to finaLaceye my dream of conquering the elusive threesome.

Blair bounced on top of me and the two of us began making out while Sienna rested just inches to my left. I slyly placed my hand on her leg and slowly rubbed back and forth; signaling my intent. Her blonde hair shifted, and she rolled over looking me dead in the eye. This was my moment, I was rounding first base thinking I just hit a home run, and then I was told it was actually a ground rule double.

"I think I really like Justin," Sienna passionately confessed.

"Is that so?" I asked, pretending to show interest.

"Yeah, there's something about him and normally I don't get attached but I just really like him," Sienna professed, before staring down at the bed, apparently in deep thought.

If I were selfish and willing to commit sabotage, I would have told her about the girl who currently lived at Justin's house in Arizona. That's not how I played the game though. Furthermore, she was probably unaware Justin knew I would try to sleep with her. It wasn't a normal understanding between two friends, but this is how we operated. Besides, nothing about our lives at the time was really normal in the first place.

Another rule in my playbook was to not intentionally hurt girls feelings, so I decided to let her keep dreaming. I took Blair to the bathroom and finished the night under a more standard operational procedure.

That didn't stop me from taking this picture when I woke up in the morning – at least it looked like I had a threesome.

Then there was drama. Not with the girls, it was between BJ and Longoria, and it was televised on national TV.

I still don't know why, but the two of them were face-to-face in the dugout screaming at one another. In fact, BJ was so fired up he had to be restrained!

You can say I'm narcissistic (and you might be right) but I found it strange for this fight to happen the day after I tapped Longoria in the nuts. It also came the night after BJ and I had a blast hanging out together, which was reminiscent of the days I used to live with him, and he also knew my animosity towards Longoria was the reason I didn't stay in Tampa after Kazmir was traded.

Maybe I'm wrong but I think a part of BJ wished I were still living there. The feeling would have been mutual; I couldn't recall one night we went out when something over-the-top or hilarious didn't occur. He was on par with my level of wildness, or I was on par with his; it really depended on what day of the week it was.

After the game, Justin and I sat down on two leather stools in the lobby of the hotel before he had to leave town. For the first time since the dustup that led to him kicking me out; we had a private one-on-one talk.

"Ashley asked me if I messed around with any girls while I was here," Justin laughed.

"What did you say?" I asked.

"I told her I did," he said, and casually took a swig of water.

"That probably wasn't a good idea," I told him.

"It is what it is," Justin remarked.

"You have a girlfriend living with you who is doesn't care if you mess around with other girls. Maybe my opinion is bias because you know I don't like her, but does that ever make you think about her intentions?" I asked him, squinting my eyes in anticipation to make sense of his response.

"If I didn't have a girl at the house then I would be going out every night, and that wouldn't be good for me. Plus, she cooks food and takes care of my dog," he explained, then began scratching the label off his water bottle.

"I'm just saying, you have 50 million to protect now," I said, making my closing argument.

My words weren't going to change anything, but I hoped it would at least make him think about it. He left town shortly after, as for me, I wanted to spend a few more days in Tampa.

With the Rays also being out of town, my options were limited. Luckily David Price was nice enough to let me stay at his place with his roommate Terry, who was also his friend from high school.

Terry was a short Asian with buzzed hair and plenty of tattoos. His energy level and intensity were from another planet; the guy was always moving around, he was simply plugged in.

First order of business was to get a girl over. Her name was "Holly", she had auburn hair and eye-popping breasts; no further explanation needed. She was the type of girls who was only attracted to assholes, and I just happened to be playing the part when I met her two nights prior.

"You know she be hooking up with Longoria all the time," Terry whispered to me when Holly walked in.

"Perfect," I told him.

It's not often one is able to get with a beautiful girl and enact their revenge at the same time. I was obligated to follow through, so I did.

When I awoke the next morning at Holly's apartment, I jumped on my flight back to Arizona.



Tricking Longoria & Harper

Once again, I was back in Dave's downstairs office. It was no longer just a center for educational enlightenment; it became a war room.

Similar to Obama asking his closest advisor for advice during the hunt for Bin Laden, but our operation was on a much smaller scale. The purpose wasn't nearly as important either, in fact, it was comical. My plan was to trick athletes and then post the stories on my website. The only question was...how do you trick professional athletes?

The first exploratory step was to figure out their weakness. All I needed to do was look next-door at Justin's situation to come up with the answer; their weakness was girls.

So I knew I was going to somehow incorporate girls to trick them, but I needed to do it in a way where I could post proof of it online. Naturally, Facebook came to mind.

I got on my laptop and created three fake profiles of hot girls. One was blonde, one was black and the other was Natalia. Pictures of the first two were found through searching popular girl names at random, but those of the latter were much easier to come by.

Then I gave them all new names, or aliases, and thoroughly filled out their fictitious background and description. Each one was given a different location along with a favorite quote from Marilyn Monroe; I was selling it.

I added friends, made wall comments and posted comments on their pictures from the other girls' accounts for the next two weeks. Finally, with a few hundred friends, I was ready to begin my mission.

The first target was, of course, Evan Longoria.

My blonde girl profile seemed appropriate. It also seemed fitting to make her from New York, an ode to the birthplace of our feud.

Maybe I have a twisted sense of humor, but I thought it was hilarious. I'm not much of a judge though.

The next target was Bryce Harper, who just one month before this was drafted #1 overall to the Washington Nationals.

Why was he targeted? For one, he was 18 years old, which made him very susceptible to trickery. More importantly, he just beat Justin's record for a signing bonus out of high school, and he needed to pay his dues.

If it's not broke, don't fix it. Longoria's chat was yet to be revealed, so I used the same girl on Bryce Harper. It worked quite well.

Apparently he doesn't get any girls, that don't like him!!! "hah"

After fooling Bryce 'Rico Suave' Harper, I moved into my own apartment. Five months went by since I first moved in with Dave, and I learned more from him than I did during three years of college.

Honestly, I didn't want to leave. I really wanted to keep learning but he already gave me a place to live, purchased a laptop for me and supplied an education I could use for the rest of my life; I didn't want to overstay my welcome.

Plus, my new apartment was less than a mile away.

I wondered if he got as much out of it as I did.

My answer came one week after I moved out of his house – when two smoking hot 19 year-old girls moved in.



Brett Favre & Jenn Sterger

To begin this story, we have to flashback to when I was at Kazmir's condo, the one he rented out after the World Series.

"Are you with Scott?" the early morning text from a female Rays employee read.

"Yeah, why?" I asked.

"Jenn Sterger's dad just called our office and said she was missing. And that he thought she was with Scott," she explained.

She wasn't with him, but this was the first time I learned of her relationship with Kazmir.

The second time is when she came over to Scott's penthouse, which was noted in an earlier chapter. What wasn't noted, for purposes of this chapter, was how she told him about Brett Favre sending her pictures of his dick.

"You won't believe what she just showed me," Kazmir said after Jenn left that night.

"What's that?" I replied.

"Brett Favre has been sending her pictures of his cock, and she just showed me all of them on her phone," he said, laughing in disbelief.

"What? Is his face in the pictures?" I investigated.

"Ha, no, he is wearing a sweet pair of Crocs though," Kazmir remarked.

"Maybe it's not him," I vetted.

"Well if it is, he's not packing much down there," he said.

I didn't repeat the story in Tampa, but I did tell my brothers about it during Thanksgiving dinner in 2009 (which they all remember).

Now I was in Arizona, it was the summer of 2010 and I didn't work for Scott anymore. I also ran a sports blog, and I thought about posting the story, but I didn't have any pictures.

Before making any rash decisions, I decided to seek advice about whether or not I should post the story at all. After explaining the scenario, the source told me it would only be valuable if I have the pictures, which I didn't, so I chose not to go through with it.

A few short weeks after I have this conversation with the source, DeadSpin.com obtained the nude pictures Brett Favre sent to Jenn Sterger and the story was subsequently all over the news. Coincidence? I think not.

Although I have no proof, I think this source was the person to ignite the flame. I couldn't fathom how a story could stay dormant for so long and then suddenly appear after I told someone (who was fully capable of making it happen). Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think I am.

I knew better than to throw any accusations his way. If he wasn't involved, I would have looked like an asshole for saying he was. Even if he were complicit, he would still say he had nothing to do with it. You live and you learn.

"What do you think about your girl being on the news?" my text to Kazmir read.

"It's crazy! She just sent me an email about it," he replied.

"What did it say?" I asked.

"I'll send it to you," texted Scott.

"Hey Scott, My life is a little hectic right now, as you've probably seen. I just want to let you know that I don't want to drag you into this and affect your career in any way. If they ask me about you I am going to tell them we were just friends. Just a heads up if anyone reaches out to you. Anyways, I hope you're doing well and tell your family I said hello!  Here is my new number xxx-xxx-xxxx."

As soon as I read it, I knew it was valuable. Scott and Jenn were more than friends, and furthermore, she admitted how she would to lie to the media if she were asked about their relationship.

I wasn't going to let my thunder be stolen twice, however, I couldn't directly report it to the media, because then Scott would know it was me who did it (which was probably similar to Dave's alleged train of thought). Still, I knew I needed to do something because I genuinely wanted to help Brett Favre.

I didn't like how Jenn Sterger was rubbing his name through the mud just so her fake breasts would be plastered on every TV screen in the country. Up until this point, his 20-year career was squeaky clean, which is a miraculous accomplishment in itself. Lastly, I didn't blame him or even judge him for doing what he did, anyone is his position would have done the same (minus the Crocs).

There was a disciplinary hearing coming up for the NFL to decide his punishment, and after being around sports agents, I knew his agent would love to get his hands on this email. I did a Google search for "Brett Favre's agent" and found out his name was Bus Cook, so I called his office.

"Hello?" his female secretary answered.

"Hi, I have some information I think Bus would be interested in hearing. It pertains to the Jenn Sterger situation," I told her.

"He is busy right now but I can take your information," the secretary replied, which seemed like a brush off attempt.

"I don't think you understand. This information would really help Brett Favre's case. If Bus is there, you need to get him on the phone," I insisted.

"Hold on," she said.

"This is Bus," a man loudly announced.

"Hey Bus, I have an email I acquired in relation to the Jenn Sterger situation, and I really think it can help Brett's case," I repeated.

"This whole thing has just been a nightmare, and I keep telling Deanna (Brett Favre's wife) that none of it can be true," Bus said, which I took as a hint that she was in the room with him.

"I'm not sure if I'm the person to say that to, because I know it's true. That's not my point though, I think I can help him get out of it," I told him.

"What is the email about?" he asked, moving on from his recent comment.

"I think it'd be better to discuss in person," I told him, insinuating a payment scenario.

"I can fly you to Mississippi," Bus suggested, desperate for a solution.

"Eh, I don't really want to fly to Mississippi," I told him, because I didn't.

"Well, where are you?" he asked.

"Scottsdale, Arizona," I replied.

"There's a kid at the University of Arizona I want to go watch, could you meet me there?" Bus questioned, which was probably a cover story for him flying to see me, maybe it wasn't.

"That's a few hours away in Tucson, I don't really want to drive that far either," I honestly expressed.

"Well could you at least tell me something?" he pleaded.

"It's an email between her and an old boyfriend," I complied.

"Kazmir?" Bus asked, which let me know he did some homework.

"Yeah," I confirmed.

"What was it about?" he pried.

"I want to help you out. Without being too specific, it's a situation where if she were willing to lie about her relationship with another guy, then why wouldn't she lie about Brett? At least that's how you could spin it," I conveyed.

"So she told Kazmir she would lie about their relationship?" Bus relentlessly continued.

"Something like that," I vaguely confirmed.

"Ok, write down my cell number so we can keep in touch," Bus said, and then gave me his number.

I gave him everything he needed; I was sucked dry by a seasoned negotiator. There is no doubt about it; he would have paid me for this information. For me, it wasn't about the money; I just wanted to make a difference.

I posted this picture on my website one day before Brett Favre's meeting with the NFL to decide his punishment. The title was "Brett Favre Isn't Alone, Jenn Sterger Sends Nude Pictures Too!"

Then I texted Bus the link to the story and added "I'm doing everything I can to help you out!" I'm sure it scared the hell out of him to realized he was talking on the phone with an active blogger, but I never posted a word about our conversation. In fact, this book is the first time I have ever written anything about it.

Although I can't confirm this, I am pretty confident he used the information I gave him during Brett's meeting with the NFL. Partly because there was no reason not to use it and partly due to the fact that Brett came out of the meeting unscathed with no punishment.

Once again, I have no proof (other than having his cell phone number). I simply put the facts on display; each person is entitled to their own opinion.

I never did speak to Bus again, but I'm sure he remembers me and I like to think he appreciated my contribution.

In the end, I was glad Brett Favre didn't get punished for doing what every guy would have done (minus the Crocs).



Hacking Nike

Hanging around multi-millionaires creates a burning desire to be on their level, to live how they live. It's unpreventable and it will cause you to cut a few corners to make it your reality.

I was sitting on Kazmir's plush leather couch inside his newly leased Scottsdale condo, which he rented months in advance to prepare for spring training with the Angels. He was on the computer ordering a few thousand dollars worth of Nike merchandise; just like before in Tampa.

"How much does Nike give you for gear?" I asked.

"$25,000 a year, if you make the all-star team," he smugly responded.

"Damn," I replied.

"Yeah, but if you don't order the full amount by the end of the year, it's all gone and you start over," informed Scott.

"What a travesty," I sarcastically shot back.

"You just have to get the big orders in for Christmas to drain it," he said.

I looked over his shoulder while he was putting the finishing touches on his NikeElite.com order. Although I wasn't consciously aware at the time; the seed of a Machiavellian plan was being planted in my head.

After returning to my mediocre one-bedroom apartment for the night, I sat down in my computer chair and stared at the screensaver being displayed on my MacBook Pro. I thought about all the years I waited and watched as the lives of those around me steadily progressed; baring witness to what I truly wanted for myself.

I'm not sure if it was Kazmir's Ferrari, Dave's live-at-home millionaire status, BJ's reckless spending habits or Justin's newly installed leather floor (yes, floor) in his bedroom; maybe it was all of them combined. I knew one thing for sure – I reached my breaking point.

So I decided to make a change and I knew, by now, it wouldn't be given to me ... I would have to take it.

I typed NikeElite.com into my Firefox browser and began looking for loopholes in their system. I already knew how to hack email accounts; I was looking to see if I could expose the same flaw.

Once I clicked on the 'Forgot My Password' button, NikeElite's website automatically prompted me to enter a username. I still couldn't figure out if the flaw existed until I entered a username successfully; all I could do was guess.

I went onto Nike's main website and made a list of all their sponsors athletes who I assumed would have accounts with NikeElite. As soon as the list was complete, I went back to NikeElite.com and began guessing usernames at random. I tried entering over 100 player's name, name with jersey number, last name with jersey number and first name with jersey number – but nothing worked.

After three or fours hours passed by, it was late into the night so I gave up and went to sleep...but I couldn't get the thought out of my head.

Actually, the thought was completely consuming me. A double-life was beginning to take shape; during the day, I acted as if I was content with the status quo, but at night ... I was trying to break out of it.

A sense of purpose overcame me when I stepped into my apartment. I never contemplated whether or not it was ethical or illegal, I just knew it was interesting and challenging. Once I took a shower, I threw on a pair of mesh shorts, black slippers and a hoodie. It seemed like a suitable uniform for a hacker, after all, they say you have to look the part to play the part.

When I rested my arms against the $49 glass computer table I got at Wal-Mart, the only other piece of furniture in the room, and the entire apartment, was a $100 black leather futon with minimal back support. This would all change soon.

This time I tried a variation of the athletes name and team name; still came up empty. Two hours and several failed attempts later, I was growing hopeless, but then I hit the jackpot!

It was actually quite simple I entered the player's first initial and their entire last name. When I came to this epiphany I was working on Pau Gasol, all-star forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, or 'PGasol' as I came to know him by.

"Would you like to reset your password by email or answer your security question?" the screen read upon entering the correct username.

Without access to his email account, my only option was to answer his security question.

"What sport did you play in high school?" the security question read.

I wonder what sport Pau Gasol, an NBA basketball player, played in high school. Maybe basketball?

"Your password has been reset, please type in a new password for your account," the screen prompted.

I made his new password 'PGasol16' but this is where it became tricky. Once the password was reset, the player wouldn't be able to get in his account anymore. If they were smart, they would know their account was compromised, but if they weren't, then there was still a shot of maintaining access. Luckily IQ falls well below height, speed, vertical, agility and a list of other attributes on the chart when professional teams are scouting them.

Due to the reset, I thought my window of opportunity was limited so I logged into Pau Gasol's control panel and became acquainted with every intricate detail of the system. There were four tabs at the top: account balance, user information, guests and order history.

His current balance was $7,000, which dwindled down from the $30,000 originally bestowed upon him.

The user information showed his name, email address, phone number and home address. Which was valuable in it's own right.

No guests were listed; at least for the time being.

Previous order history made for useful intelligence gathering. He didn't make any orders over the last 5 months, which meant he probably wasn't logging in anytime soon. I also found out he was a fan of long leather coats and cowboy boots, which made me laugh for the first time in an otherwise serious-faced task.

I wanted to play it smart, so I waited two days to see if anyone would notice the password was reset. They didn't...so it was time to strike.

I logged back inusing my neighbors unlocked Wi-Fi, and figured it was best to make the order as a guest. I did research on Pau Gasol's family and discovered he has two brothers. One was Marc, who also played in the NBA, and the other was Adria, who was mostly unknown.

If there was someone supervising the account, they might question Pau Gasol making an order to Arizona while his season was taking place in Los Angeles, but they may overlook the order if it was listed under his brother's name.

I created a new dummy email account for Adria, and sent the guest confirmation link. This is when I realized that creating a new guest would also generate entirely new login information, thus enabling me to maintain access even after the original account holder changed their password back. Perfecto.

Once I was registered, I ordered a pair of Lebron James basketball shoes, two pairs of shorts, two dri-fit shirts and six pairs of socks. The total ended up just over $300 and I briefly cringed before finding the courage to click 'Ship My Order'.

For the next few days, I stood by the front window of my condo, nervously peeking through the blinds. I was looking for the FedEx guy, who showed up three days into my stakeout and dropped each box on my doorstep – no signature required.

I impatiently ripped each box wide open so I could unearth my newly acquired gear. Then I proudly placed them on one article at a time, being most satisfied with the socks, which came with 'L' and 'R' stitched into each foot. How could I stop now? These socks were awesome.

Later that night I logged back into Pau Gasol's account and took three essential notes before moving forward. The first, no one changed the password yet, so Nike's IT security was lax. The second, and most important, was discovering how orders from a guests account didn't show up in the order history on the main account. Lastly, the name Adria Gasol and the email I made for him was listed under 'Guests' in Pau's account.

So now, after having completed enough homework, I felt comfortable to expand my operation. I wanted to get in as many accounts as possible, but I knew they all wouldn't be inactive like Pau Gasol's. The plan was to get in, create a guest account, get out and sit idle for a week. It's not like there was anything else for me to do.

Instead of finding a family member for every player, I decided to make the guest name the same as the actual account holder. This way, if they clicked on the 'Guests' tab, they would see their own name and hopefully think nothing of it. I also needed to make the fake email accounts similar to those of the actual account holders if I wanted to fully avoid detection.

With all the strategizing, prepping and dry runs completed; the only thing left to do was get more accounts. First in line was none other than future NBA hall of famer Steve Nash.

Surprisingly, his username was 'SNash'. His security question was "Who was your hero growing up?" This would normally be much harder to find, if it weren't for a recent press release publicizing how Steve Nash was co-directing a documentary on his hero...Terry Fox.

I encountered more trouble than expected entering it in correctly. I tried 'TerryFox', 'terryfox', 'TFox', 'tfox', 'TerryF', 'terryf', 'Terry', 'terry', 'Fox' and 'fox' NOTHING was right.

Still, I knew I had the right answer so I pressed on and for the first time in my history of typing passwords, I used a space. 'Terry Fox' and it worked!  Steve Nash was not only sneaky on the court, but he also used spaces in his passwords; he's one slick dude.

After registering the guest, I took a gander around his account and spent more than a few minutes looking at the $450,000 worth of gear he ordered over the past ten years. I could only imagine what his closet looked like.

Next on my hit list was–you guessed it–Evan Longoria.

As those who fell before him, his username was first initial and last name, or 'ELongoria'. His security question was "Who is your favorite superhero?"

I googled "Evan Longoria favorite superhero" expecting to see at least one result but there was no mention of it. You would think, after all those interviews, someone would have asked him who his favorite superhero was, but I wasn't that lucky. Naturally, the next step to take was searching his Facebook account for clues.

Fortunately, he was still a Facebook friend with my fake blonde girl's account. It didn't take long to get a hot lead; he was wearing a shirt imprinted with The Joker's face in his main profile picture. Could this be the answer?

I tried 'Joker', 'joker', 'TheJoker' and 'thejoker'. Swung and missed. Then I went Steve Nash style and tried 'The Joker' and 'the joker' yet it still did not bare fruit. So I moved on to other characters by trying 'Batman', 'batman' and then I tried 'Robin' and presto, I was in.

Robin ... now that's a shitty favorite superhero.

I registered his guest using the fake email account laterwhatever@gmail.com – since his real email account was similar.

What do you expect from a guy whose favorite superhero is Robin?

As previously noted, I held a vendetta against him, so I took his hack a step further and changed the registered email to my fake one on his main account. Which meant I owned his account, the only way for him to get back in was to call Nike and whine about it.

For the next week, I spent every night attempting to gain access to new accounts and I was pretty damn successful. Google and Facebook were helpful for security questions but when they failed to produce results, I turned to my account on BeenVerified.com to conduct background checks for any questions regarding relatives or what street they grew up on.

When I was done compiling my hit list, I looked it over and I successfully gained private access to the following accounts: Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, Evan Longoria, Troy Tulowitzki, Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, Daniel Gibson, Jon Lester, Roy Hibbert, Jarrett Jack, Matt Holliday, Josh Powell, Luther Head, Luke Walton, James Posey, Julian Wright, Jonny Flynn, Al Horford, the assistant football coach for LSU and Michael Jordan. The assistant coach for LSU's username was 'NRobertson' and I originally thought it was Nate Robertson, the midget basketball player but sadly it wasn't. Michael Jordan's account was being controlled by the clubhouse manager for the Charlotte Bobcats but his username was 'MJordan'... so hey, it counts.

I gave it another week to see who would reset their password, and I was shocked to find out just about every one of them did–besides Evan Longoria–because he couldn't.

With roughly 20 accounts lined up, I patiently waited one more week to let the dust thoroughly clear. Now the only way I could be spotted is if they noticed the dollar amount decrease on their balance; the odds were in my favor.

I struck Luol Deng first, for a 3-wood driver and a baseball bat totaling $700. Then I ransacked Matt Holliday for $300 in shoes and workout clothes I fancied. They were placed neatly in my closet for a pile I envisioned growing much taller.

Next I pillaged Pau Gasol for another $500 in workout gear, and even plundered Steve Nash for a few bills worth of clothes. Nash's actual address was less than a mile from my apartment, so I wasn't too worried about raising any eyebrows with his account.

I looted Matt Holliday and Pau Gasol continuously for the next few weeks, with each order averaging $500 a piece at the rate of two orders per week. My front door was like one of the hungry hungry hippos, gobbling gear instead of marbles; with no end in sight.

Up until this point, I didn't want to involve anyone else. However, after making numerous orders to the same address, I needed to find a new docking point. Plus, my closet was so packed it was comical to even look at; I actually stopped inviting people over just so they wouldn't see it.

I was dating a girl named Katie at the time who was a young, petite and gorgeous 19 year-old brunette (who was one of the girls to move in with Dave). She also held a carefree spirit similar to my own, which was crucial towards accepting the deliveries and keeping it low-key.

So I invited Katie over, in part, to show her what I was working with. She laughed in astonishment at the sea of orange boxes and then continued staring in disbelief while I focused on the backside of her yoga pants, which I planned to replace with a newer Nike model.

After stiff negotiations, she agreed to accept the package, er, I mean packages. In return, I planned to make it worth her while.

With a new drop spot on the roster and my first liaison recruited, I donned a hoodie, put my laptop in a new Nike backpack and walked around the corner to Starbucks at 2am. I assumed my IP address was being registered with every requisition, and although I never used my own; I thought it would be wise to switch it up.

A new address allowed me to use new accounts, so I chose my next prey. They would be Ben Gordon of the Chicago Bulls and Daniel Gibson of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Starbucks left the patio furniture outside at night so I sat down in the padded chair and looked off at the moon resting just over the mountain on the other side of Scottsdale Road. Conditions were prime.

My idea of a reasonable order was growing, similar to the tolerance of a drug addict. I also needed to add more gear for Katie, so I picked out a pair of baby blue Air Max 360's, two pairs of yoga pants with matching yoga tops and socks. Once my cart was full, I closed my laptop shut and disappeared into the darkness; each order totaled over $1,000.

"They're here! Did you really order golf clubs?" Katie texted.

"Absolutely, I'm on my way," I sent back.

Katie wore faded sweatpants and an old gray sweatshirt when she guided me to her bedroom to show off the boxes neatly organized in the corner. She didn't open any of them, but I could tell she was already conjecturing over which ones contained her gifts.

She wasn't born rich and she wasn't materialistic, which was out of character for a girl in Scottsdale, so receiving a few hundred dollars worth of new clothes actually meant something to her. It also made me happy.

"These are fucking hot!" said Katie, after opening up the box to her baby blue shoes.

"I think they'll look good on you," I told her, and then she jumped up to give me a hug.

Out of all the benefits from the operation thus far, nothing felt better than the satisfaction of seeing Katie's smiling face while she looked over her new outfit in the mirror. This was the first time in my life I was in a position to give, and man it felt good.

I packed the golf clubs into my car and headed back to my apartment, which became a restricted hazard zone to anyone but Katie due to half of the square footage being occupied with orange boxes.

At night, another Ben Gordon and Daniel Gibson invasion was in motion. It took place at the Wildflower Bread Company, another local eatery conveniently offering free Wi-Fi several hours before dawn. This time Katie was getting purple Air Max 360's, a puffy white snowboarding jacket, a wide array of shorts, headbands and my favorite – more socks.

I routinely checked the accounts to see if Nike picked up on my trail. So far, there were no reasons to suspect they were. In fact, the only downside presented itself when I found out Katie's roommate was growing jealous of the contents in her closet.

Normally I wouldn't fret, but her roommate was hanging out with Evan Longoria at the time, and I didn't want him to catch wind of my scheme. So, like a mafia boss, I ventured over to their apartment to make her roommate an offer she couldn't refuse.

Bang, bang, bang.

I knocked on their door, planning to proposition her roommate any gear she wanted in exchange for silence. Historically, she was a pretty girl, but she opened the door wearing no makeup; looking remarkably dreadful and noticeably discontent.

"Brad, I know all about the deliveries you're making and if you do it again I'm going to call the cops!" she screeched before slamming the door shut.

I stood baffled. I didn't know which was worse, what she said or catching a glimpse of her appalling face without makeup. There was also a third issue; another order was already on the way to their place.

Thankfully Katie reasoned with her over not making a fuss about one more coming through. The Arizona side of my operation came to a halt.

Over the course of two months, there was $5,000 supplied from Pau Gasol, $4,000 from Matt Holliday, $5,000 from Ben Gordon, $5,000 from Daniel Gibson, $700 from Luol Deng and a few hundred from Steve Nash. Bringing the total just over $20,000.

Thanksgiving was a week away and it couldn't have come at a better time; I needed to vacate the area. Nonetheless, I was still in a giving mood and I wanted to show appreciation for those who helped me in the past. So, without their knowledge (nor knowledge of it's origin), I dropped $3,000 worth of gear in front of Justin's door.

I boarded my flight a cheerful man, but I was only getting started.

When I got back to Virginia, I consciously resisted the gamblers itch to keep it going.

My activity was idle for the first week, but then I cracked and went right back at it. This time I raided the accounts of Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks, Jarret Jack of the New Orleans Hornets and Jonny Flynn of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

I was only going to be in town for one month, so obtaining items I could easily ship became a top priority. The most befitting item for this purpose was the Nike Sportband, only a few inches in width yet retained a value of $59. With the limit set at a maximum of 30 per transaction, each order came out to $1,770 and my idea of a reasonable shipment was rising once again.

So was my idea of the number of shipments I placed; I recruited another liaison with the purpose of putting the remaining hacked accounts to good use. Hawk, my friend from high school, was getting his masters in North Carolina and was always an avid fan of sports gear; so another proposition was made.

"I don't want them coming to my house, but there are some empty places across the street. Actually, there's quite a few," Hawk suggested.

"Sounds good to me, let's do this," I told him.

With multiple addresses, I could activate multiple accounts. We used Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox, Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers, Julian Wright of the Toronto Raptors and we even re-used Ben Gordon's.

Before each one, we got on the phone and Hawk told me a list of the items he wanted; he also added notes on what items he thought carried the best resale value. It got to the point where I gave him the login information for Luke Walton's account to make it less strenuous, but I'm not sure if he ever did anything with it.

Then, for the first time, I thought Nike might be catching on. During one of our last shipments, three out of the four orders failed to show up. I was worried, paranoid and began thinking of an exit strategy. Then I checked the tracking information on FedEx's website and it stated hazardous weather as the cause for failure. Still, I was skeptical.

Hawk took his cut and brought the rest to Virginia when he returned home for Christmas break. My bedroom upstairs became a bigger calamity than my apartment in Arizona ... there was no room to walk.

Like Kazmir said, Christmas was the time when everyone drained the accounts. With this in mind, I went on a five-day spree, placing $3,000 shipments every single day on each of the three different accounts. Let's just say Santa was putting plenty of presents under the tree this year.

I almost couldn't believe what I did. Al Horford, Julian Wright and Jarrett Jack each had roughly $19,000 in their accounts before Christmas, and just below $2,000 when it was over.

With a planned skiing trip after New Years, I wasn't finished just yet.  I got back on and ordered jackets, ski pants, gloves, socks, undershirts and beanies for everyone who was going. With a few grand worth of attire on our back, legs, hands, head and feet – I think it's fair to say we were looking quite professional on the slopes.

I realized, upon our return, there was over $50,000 worth of apparel and sports equipment in my bedroom ... it was hard to grasp. Tiger Woods golf shoes, sportbands, collared shirts, winter jackets, compression pants, hoodies, a mountain of Air Max 360's, golf bags filled with clubs, batting gloves, sunglasses and of course plenty of socks. If Nike made it, there was a good chance it was in my room.

I didn't want to ship all of the gear across the country, so I got on eBay and sold as much of it as I could. This was the first time I saw a monetary profit, and it was paying well. In fact, the proceeds were so lucrative I got on craigslist and began looking at condos in Arizona. My eyes were locked on a particular penthouse in Tempe, inside the Arizona State University campus.

Before I could head back to Arizona, my friend Scott Sizemore was getting married in the Caribbean and invited me to be in his wedding. This was my first time attending a wedding and furthermore, it was my first time taking a trip with excess money in my pocket. I packed a bag with fresh clothes and boarded a flight to Jamaica mon!



Jamaica & Willie Jigba

My flight landed in Montego Bay, and from there, a bus awaited. However, this bus was the antithesis of modern, the kind you would expect to see transporting hippies across town during the 70's.

A winding voyage along the northern and western coast of Jamaica spoke a different reality than a land deceitfully advertised as paradise in the brochures. Most structures were poorly built and most families were on the street struggling in blistering heat; I actually felt bad for being there.

Upon my arrival at Sandals Negril Beach Resort and Spa, the scenery largely transformed into the utopian landscape I anticipated.

Scott was lounging on the beach at a table grounded in white sand with his fiance Brooke when I finally converged with them. They were happy to see me; after all, I was the reason they met.

It was during my first semester at VCU. Scott and I were armed with a 12-pack of beer, yet nothing to do. I asked if he wanted to sit in front of the freshman dorms and wait for girls to walk out, and he said yes. Brooke and her friend exited soon after, and like always, I approached them. We both got of their numbers, but each led down a different path; I talked to her friend for a week and Scott continued courting Brooke for the next four years.

There we were. In a way, my role remained the same as the first time they'd met because I was still interested in Brooke's friends, and there were a lot of them. Unfortunately, on the first night, my only partners were Jamaican rum and the soothing melodies of reggae music.

Day two arrived and only a few hours remained until the wedding bells rang, so I decided to put my Nike income to good use by renting out jet-skis for Kyle, Scott and his Detroit Tigers teammate Casper.

The four of us cruised along the beach line like Kenny fucking Powers, in honor of Scott's last moments as a free man. It was truly the best way for him to go out; there's no feeling more magical than shredding the Caribbean current on a jet ski. I didn't want this moment to end, so when they retired back on shore, I kept riding into the sunset.

Eventually I parked next to an island off the coast, turned off the engine and sat on my Yamaha; completely mesmerized. The water was exceptionally clear and it was captivating being able to see every speck of corral on the ocean floor; the sight alone was powerful.

A beautiful ceremony on the beach followed; Scott officially became a married man. Seeing my first wedding gave me a new perspective on marriage, and I began to question my player lifestyle. Sure, my world was entertaining, but rarely did it ever result in lasting happiness.

However, there was no time to meddle with my conscience indifference. A tent was being set up, drinks were being stored in coolers, a DJ was preparing his playlist and more than a handful of Brooke's friends were marinating for what would surely be a memorable night.

"All single guys to the middle of the tent," the Jamaican DJ announced, after an hour or two of intoxication.

"It's time to show the ladies your best dance move," the DJ declared.

In 2009, when I invented my own dance move, 'The B-Walk', I never thought it would pay off so fortuitously. There were five of us in line, me being the last, and I already knew it was over before it even started; I was looking down on my opponents with the confidence of Yao Ming.

Brooke's little brother went first, yielding nothing but yawns. Kyle was third in line, accruing nothing but crickets. Then it was my time to bring the house down.

I stepped out, throwing interchangeable heel clicks in front of my body with a grace only comparable to Enrique Iglesias. Then I froze, leaving one heel out with my toe pointing towards the heavens, leaving the crowd paralyzed. To bring them back to life, I swooped my right arm down like a pendulum, and promptly wiped the sand from atop my seemingly electric shoe; pure polish. Spectators no longer encircled me; cheering fans surrounded me (slight exaggeration).

The rest of the night, however, didn't go quite as planned. My sights were set on a curly haired photographer named Carly, and she was almost as flawless as my dance routine. I don't know what changed; maybe my mental intervention about my lifestyle subconsciously began taking shape. All I can remember is waking up the following morning on the floor of my room with a severe hangover.

"Dude, do you even remember what you did last night?" my roommate Kyle queried from his bed, with a girl on his arm.

"No, not at all," I replied, with true amnesia.

"Oh my god dude, it was fucking hilarious! You grabbed the DJ's microphone and told all of the girls to remove their clothes and jump in the ocean, I was literally in tears," Kyle energetically explained.

Well, so much for my theory about altering my lifestyle. I was in another country with close to ten readily available girls, and I played the friend role for the first time ever .

Then, while I was entering the airport to go home, I received another unusual experience.

"Heyyyyyyyyy Brad!" six of Brooke's friends hollered from a distance, and then ran up for a group hug.

I was not used to this treatment. My entire flight home was spent wondering if they liked me because I was entertaining, or because I didn't sleep with any of them. The only other time I could recall a group of girls running up to hug me was in front of the casino in Tampa, and I didn't sleep with them either. What a paradox.

Up until this point, my only freight experience was shipping packages. When I returned to Virginia, I was shipping crates. Transporting two hundred boxes of shoes across the country doesn't come cheap.

I got out of my lease the day I arrived in Arizona, then pulled the trigger on my plan to occupy the penthouse condo in Tempe. The building was called North Shore and my new place was on the top-floor with two bedrooms all to myself. The best feature of all was how it overlooked Tempe Town Lake, with a scenic view of the mountain wedged just beside ASU's football stadium.

Even though I didn't have an elevator installed inside my unit like Justin, I felt like I was keeping up for once. I never thought it would happen, but I was actually satisfied. It probably helped being centered in a campus with, arguably, some of the most enticing female students our country has to offer.

Surprisingly, I was more exited to open boxes of shoes than I was exploring the school grounds for prospects. In particular, I was eager to see how well my custom made Nike ID shoes turned out post-production.

Piece by piece, I designed ever minute detail of these shoes to my own specifications; there were a total of 5. One pair was black and gold Kobe Bryant basketball shoes with 'P1ay3r' stitched on the inside of the tongue, but my best work was showcased in the other pairs of Nike Dunk Low's.

There were four different color schemes: black/gold, white/gold, black/silver and white/silver.

By far, my favorite pair were the white and gold's. The overlay was outfitted with white calfskin leather, black lining, white laces, black midsole, white outsole and a crusted shiny gold swoosh. The ID, on the outer half of the heel, was stitched with 'B500'...as were the other three pairs.

The 'B' was for Brad, and the '500' was a motivational symbol to eventually own a fortune 500 company (unfortunately, the exact models I produced are no longer available on Nike's website, but you might be able to buy them on my website).

I moved in on a Monday and I was exhausted after hauling all those boxes, so I took a nap and woke up around 2am on Tuesday morning. With no food in my condo, I walked across the bridge to a gas station on campus to get a Snickers bar and some snacks. It was on my way back when I encountered something interesting, and rather strange.

Just before I reached the bridge, I spotted two guys on bikes, at the apex, standing motionless in the center of the walkway. It didn't strike me as unusual, until I got much closer.

The first guy was either Asian or Mexican and he wore a dark colored hood. The second guy wore a cutoff t-shirt and he was Caucasian with sideburns and a tattoo on his arm. Their appearance wasn't too out of the ordinary, but the manner in which they were staring me down definitely was.

Similar to an animal's behavior in the wild, the bigger you make yourself; the lesser chance you have of being attacked. So I puffed my shoulders out wide and went into 'Bulldog Mode'.

When I came near the first guy, he quickly turned his head and looked towards the lake, as if he didn't want me to see his face. The second guy, however, was a different story. He looked me dead in my eyes with a cold and deep stare. His gaze and the apparent salivation around his mouth made me assume he was on drugs. I was weary of being mugged, so I turned my head back after making it past them, and the second guy was still staring me down even harder than before.

I made it home safely, and thought nothing more of this encounter, until the following week...

After lacing up my B500's, I adjusted my desk against the window so I could work on the computer while also being able to enjoy the lake and mountain view.

By chance, or fate, I looked out the glass window and noticed numerous cop cars, two fire trucks, a police camper and three news trucks were lined up on the edge of the lake.

A quick search online revealed that a young black kid named Willie Jigba went missing the previous weekend, and they were searching for his body in the lake.

"Some kid went missing, they think he's in the lake," I told a friend, who wishes to remain anonymous.

"You should take pictures of it," the anonymous friend told me.

I took their advice and grabbed the high-powered camera resting on my kitchen counter. I then stepped onto my balcony and snapped picture after picture, playing the role of a seasoned journalist.

With an eagle's eye view, I continued watching from my perch for the next hour. To the casual bystander, it appeared as though the police were relentlessly searching for this kid but the more I watched, the more I was bothered by their effort, or lack thereof.

So I loaded the pictures onto my computer and began examining each one. All of them captured the same disturbing image; masses of people walking around on shore and just two of the officers in a small boat on the lake.

It wasn't my business, but for some reason it still affected me. I wanted to know more, so later that night I logged onto 'TheDirty.com' to see if there were any further details.

There were. Apparently Willie Jigba attended a party on Saturday night and never returned home. After missing his first day of work on Sunday, one of his friends called the police out of concern. It was unclear at the time how all of this led the cops to Tempe Town Lake.

Then I visited the comments section, and read on until one of them jumped off the page. Willie's parents joined the conversation and made a desperate plea, crying for help. I was deeply moved and overwhelmingly sympathetic.

Instead of airing out my thoughts in the comments, which I almost did, I decided to take it a step further by sending the website owner, Nik Richie, a detailed message about the troublesome spectacle I witnessed during the search; with pictures included.

Here is what I wrote:

"Nik,

I started to write a comment on the Willy Jigba post from the 24th, and then I remembered the comment someone had left in that post about how keeping the news fresh will put more pressure on the police. So instead of commenting, I'm hoping you will do a new post to keep the story in the news. I watched this "search" of Tempe Town Lake for at least two hours the other day. It was an absolute joke...and was one of the most staged events I have ever witnessed. It appeared as if their cause was to be seen by the public, instead of actually attempting to find the guy. There was one boat in the water the entire time, and the boat never made it to the left side of the bridge. This was a small boat too, so there couldn't have been more than a few people on board. (back end of the boat is in one of the pictures). There were 28 vehicles on the scene and 12 police officers just standing around, doing nothing. Then I saw two officers walk along the sidewalk to the top of the bridge, and they were walking with a purpose. What was this purpose? To stand at the top of the bridge and look down in the water. Last time I checked, the water in Tempe Town Lake looks nothing like the water in the Caribbean...so I seriously doubt they could have managed to see anything beyond one foot of depth. I checked the news...they are supposed to continue their search of the lake today. If you blast them this morning for their lack of effort the other day...it may cause them to step their game up when they go back out again today. I do not want anything out of reporting this to you...I actually want the opposite, because I would prefer and nicely ask you to keep this email private. I simply want them to do the right thing by showing more effort. Thanks."

The email was sent at 8:10AM on Thursday, and I went to sleep sometime later in the day. When I awoke on Thursday night, I went on TheDirty and discovered the search for Willie Jigba was called off just hours earlier, but Nik Richie didn't posted the email I wrote to him – at least not yet.

I genuinely felt my words would make an impact, so I wrote him another email at 4:25AM on Friday. There were no words this time, simply a link to a YouTube video from the movie 'Finding Forrester'. In the video, Sean Connery famously yelled to his apprentice "Punch the keys for Christ's sake! Yes! Yes! You're the man now dog!"

Although Nik was far from being my apprentice, I thought the video was a clear representation of the message I was trying to get across.

He posted my email on Friday morning, and I was right.

In a shocking series of events, the police decided to continue their search, which was called off the day before, a few hours after he published what I wrote.

My email was anonymous, but this fact didn't stop me from being stricken with anxiety while I read over hundreds of comments on what became a wildly popular post. On top of this, the police were outside searching the lake again, and I assumed the only reason they returned was to fan off the negative press my words created, but they will never tell you that. In fact, the reason they gave to various news outlets was so dishonest it was sad; apparently they resumed the search because of a 'gut-feeling'.

Bullshit.

Once again, I went on the balcony to watch their (re-launched) search effort, and I was baffled by what I saw; in a good way. When I looked down, the landscape was much different this time around. There were no news trucks and not a single person was just standing around. Interestingly enough, every last one of the officers was huddled up next to the boat. Even though I was worried about being pointed out, I couldn't miss the opportunity to snap another picture.

I sent the picture to Nik in an email, and he quickly responded.

"I just posted old one... I will get this up this afternoon. They need to drain the lake!" his email read.

"I like your attitude!" I replied.

I pulled up both pictures on my computer screen, the before and after, and was enamored by the stark contrast between the two. Not only was I already convinced the police continued searching because of what I wrote (and Nik published), but I was also fairly certain they changed their conduct during the search from what I photographed.

Then the unthinkable happened – the police found Willie Jigba's body in the water...

I was immediately capsulated with every human emotion at once. I was grieving, sad, proud, nervous, honored, anxious, appreciative and most of all...fearful. I didn't know what to think or feel, and to be honest – I've never been the same since.

On one hand, I never knew words could be so influential to the point where it caused a real and immediate change – drastically affecting other people's lives. On the other hand, it was a sad event overall; no one wants to hear his or her son's body has just been found. Personally, I took solace in knowing that if I were one of Willie Jigba's parent's, I would rather know something over nothing at all.

I took a break for the next few days and spent most of my time playing Dave or David Price in FIFA on Xbox, just to get my mind off everything that happened.

Then, on Sunday, it dawned on me. What if those two guys I saw on the bridge had something to do with it? Most people who commit murders often return to the scene of the crime, according to the show The First 48. Their behavior was certainly odd, so I sent Nik an email about it, but never heard back from him.

On Monday, I witnessed another abnormal scene. Two city workers who wore orange shirts were cleaning the walkway on the bridge with a leaf blower and a shovel. Without the autopsy being complete, I imagined they would treat this area as a potential crime scene. To make matters even more peculiar, they only cleaned one side of the bridge – the same side the two guys were on.

Seeing potential evidence being destroyed was aggravating, so I stepped onto the balcony, for the third time, and took more pictures. For the third time, I forwarded the pictures to Nik.

He was slow to act, so I impatiently plastered the pictures on my own website. Soon after I did this, he emailed me and said he would publish them the following day.

As promised, he posted a story suggesting there was a cover-up and furthermore, that there was some "dirty cop shit going on."

This is the moment I began worrying about retaliation. If you know anything about Arizona, then you've probably heard of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He titles himself 'America's Toughest Sheriff', nationally known for making inmates wear pink boxers, but locally known for cracking down and raiding anyone who dares to criticize him.

I grew paranoid when I began seeing cop cars 80% of the time I looked out my window. Either it was a coincidence, or I was next.

So I decided to lay low for a while and put my activism on the shelf, after all, it wasn't smart for me to criticize the police when I was in the middle of hacking Nike's website.

People can say what they want about Nik Richie and TheDirty.com. Personally, I don't agree with a lot of the stuff he does. However, there is no doubt in my mind he was the only person who had enough balls to publish this story, and I will forever respect him because of it.

I still don't know if they ever figured out what exactly happened to Willie Jigba.



Player Season Leaks

When you see a popular website make such a great impact on the world around you, it motivates you to have one of your own.

The first story to really take off on PlayerSeason.com was, regrettably, one I originally posted as a joke.

Blake Griffin was probably the most covered athlete at the time, so I created a blog post suggesting he was in a relationship with a girl named Jasmine Shein. In reality, the pictures were of Natalia, and furthermore, I created the fictitious name Jasmine Shein.

I knew it would be convincing because I already had a fake Facebook page setup for her with a few thousand friends. Ironically, the back-story I created for their relationship actually claimed they met on Facebook.

With the blog article and Facebook page active, all I did next was go on a forum where girls asked about Blake Griffin's girlfriend, wrote one sentence alleging he was dating Jasmine Shein and then added my link.

From there, the story took off.

Every sports website in the country was talking about Blake Griffin's relationship with Jasmine Shein, and I was sitting at my desk laughing.

FuelTV even did a segment on air about her, but the pinnacle came when I logged onto TNT.com and saw a link to "Check out Blake Griffin's New Girlfriend Jasmine Shein!"

The links were doing wonders for the traffic on my website. Her article, by itself, brought in around 3,000 hits a day, and her name alone produced well over 100,000 hits on Google search. The best part was how Blake Griffin never said a word about it not being true, but with a girl like her, why would he?

"This is crazy, my friend just saw me on TV," Natalia said to me on the phone.

She wasn't alone; I was also amazed by how fast it was spreading. Then one website questioned the authenticity, and instead of admitting to the hoax, I came up with a plan to convince them it was real.

My method was simple, I asked Natalia to send me a picture of herself holding a piece of paper with "I'm REAL" written in black ink.

Her picture certainly calmed the storm of skepticism, but I kept getting requests for a picture of her and Blake Griffin together. This is when most people would give up, but I didn't. I checked the Clippers schedule and figured out they were coming to Phoenix on March 1st, which was one month away.

I arranged for Natalia to fly to Phoenix, and began plotting on how I would get a picture of them together. There was plenty of time, or so I thought.

More traffic meant more demand for better stories, so I hired my first writer. My moniker was 'The Player President', so he coined himself as 'The General' and, technically, Nike was paying his salary.

From this point on, I decided all of my future stories would be real.

My methods may or may not have been questionable, but either way, I began producing, and publishing, documents no one else could get their hands on.

The first exhibit of documentation was official MLB scouting reports on every single hitter in the New York Yankees lineup.

Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Jorge Posada, Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner, Randy Winn, Marcus Thames and a few others. I even forwarded them to David Price for personal use, but he replied back saying he doesn't look at scouting reports, which was a shocking response from a Vanderbilt graduate.

If he didn't put them to good use, at least I was. There's nothing better for a website than posting original content, and my Google juice was flowing.

Giving one of Nike's top athletes bad press was, in hindsight, another bad play. I was unknowingly digging my own grave, and I wasn't done yet.

I 'stumbled across' a document titled "Rotohog Payouts". Once I opened it, I realized the contents were far more valuable than the scouting reports.

The spreadsheet contained a list of MLB baseball players who played in a fantasy football league together. They were big names too, like Chipper Jones, Kevin Millar, Sean Casey and Travis Hafner. There was even a professional poker player in the mix named Josh Arieh.

This wasn't your average fantasy league, they were betting big money (to an average person). The regular season winner, Kerry Lightenberg, took home $18,500.

My favorite part is the list of team names, particularly 'Boats & Hoes'. I still can't figure out what Chipper Jones' team name is supposed to mean. Fake bizzies?

Anyways, I was happy. I had my own place, a potentially successful website and most importantly; I wasn't living under my friends wings anymore – and then all hell broke loose.



Raided By the Secret Service

"Have you seen this girl Bibi Jones?" asked Dave, in a gmail chat.

"No, who's that?" I replied.

"She's a porn star and she lives in Scottsdale. You should go talk to her, she's perfect," he suggested.

After being directed to her twitter feed, I was shocked – she actually was perfect.

"How would I meet her?" I ambitiously asked.

"She's stripping tonight in Phoenix, just go there," Dave recommended.

So I did.

Two minutes after I walked inside the dark and dungy strip-club, Bibi was walking out the door – and I had no choice but to pursue her on foot.

In the next 15 seconds, I strategized my game plan. I couldn't just ask for her number; it doesn't work for girls in her occupation – and I was literally following her outside, I would only have 10 seconds to make my pitch, tops.

Everyone has a weakness, and girls in her occupation have a big one – money. I planned my opening line accordingly.

"Hey, are you Bibi?" I asked, as bouncing chest turned towards me.

"Yeah," she quietly replied, probably thinking I was some crazed fan.

"I have a job for you, and it'll pay $5,000 every time you do it," I said, attacking her weakness with my business proposal, which was entirely made-up.

"Ok, write your number down and I will get in touch with you," Bibi responded, and I complied.

I wasn't entirely sure if she really planned on getting back to me about my fake offer. Only time would tell.

When I returned to my penthouse condo in Tempe, I began wondering if my place would impress a girl of Bibi's caliber. One thing was certain; she would never see a condo with more sports gear.

A colony of Nike shoeboxes populated my entire spare bedroom, and rightfully so, they were paying rent. Just around the corner, a copious community of Nike Sportbands settled in what used to be a walk-in closet.

A month and a half went by since submitting my last order on NikeElite.com, I told myself I was done. Just like blackjack, you have to know when to stand up and walk away. Ideally, this time comes when you're ahead, and after securing $60,000 worth of gear in December; relinquishing the operation was the only logical step forward.

I still held access to the accounts, which was tempting. How could I just let it all go? Technically speaking, when it came to free gear, I had the largest Nike endorsement in the world.

The thought alone consumed my every waking moment. Each night, I logged in just to see if any new products were released. I was addicted, and these were my symptoms of withdrawal.

So far, the angel on my shoulder was defeating the devil. That is, until I found a legitimate excuse to make another order.

It was Friday, and my 25th birthday was on Tuesday. Normally my Fridays were filled with excitement and adventure. However, my friendship with Justin was strained; we weren't even speaking to one another.

I sat in my upscale condo completely alone. Sure, there were some missteps along the way, but I was only trying to make a life for myself. I suppose I succeeded, but at what cost?

Being doubtful anyone would bless me with a birthday gift, I decided to get on Nike's website and treat myself. They just released a new Air Jordan retro jacket with matching sandals, and I wanted them.

All of the login information was held on a palm-sized external hard drive, so I plugged it in and picked out a new account...Jon Lester's.

Having never made an order under his name, I assumed nothing could go wrong. So I added the jacket, sandals and a few other items to my virtual shopping cart and clicked send. The total was only $600, far less than the average $3,000 orders I was placing back in December. I just hoped the boxes would arrive in time for my birthday.

Over the weekend, I made a few sales on eBay, mostly to clear up space in my spare bedroom. A few days later, I turned 25.

Knock, knock, knock.

Someone was at the door, presumably with my Nike gear, and the timing was perfect; it was my birthday. I slowly crept towards the peephole, like I did many times before, and peeked at the FedEx delivery guy. I stood silently, waiting for him to drop the packages on the ground and walk away...but he didn't.

Well, he did walk away, but he still had the packages with him. Without rationaLaceying the situation, I opened the door and called for him.

"Come back!" I pleaded.

Then I signed for the delivery, using the old tenant's name.

The boxes weren't inside for more than a minute before being sliced open and gutted. Arm by arm, I proudly placed the jacket on my shoulders like a golfer who just won The Masters. Then I slipped into my sandals and checked myself out in the mirror; all without stopping to think why this delivery was the first to require a signature. I was blinded by greed.

"I like your jacket," said Katie, who came over for my birthday.

"I can probably get you one," I sarcastically told her.

We went out to Gordon Biersch for a nice dinner, sat down in a corner booth and ordered a few drinks. Then Katie initiated an unforeseen and eye-opening conversation.

"You know, in the past few months, I think everything we've talked about has been about Nike," Katie claimed, philosophically.

"You're probably right," I replied, after briefly reminiscing.

"It's not good, I think you're obsessed," Katie informed, with a sly grin.

"I think you're obsessed," I countered, smiling back.

She was right, but it wasn't an obsession; it was an addiction. When we left, she walked in front of me wearing a sleek black dress. I was relieved to know I wasn't alone in my thoughts. She actually confirmed the inner truth I was trying to avoid; I had a problem.

On Wednesday, Roxy walked in wearing tight black yoga pants and a strapless purple tank top. Luckily some time passed since her back was lodged with glass shards following the botched threesome attempt in Tampa; so we were on good terms once again.

She was there to ship the items I sold on eBay, and I was paying her to do it – mostly to make up for the aforementioned debacle.

Roxy never asked where or how I obtained so much gear. The truth is, she didn't know where they came from, because I never told her.

"Ok, I'll be back in thirty minutes," she said, hoisting a stack of boxes out the door.

"Text me on your way back," I told her.

I settled down in my computer chair and started working on PlayerSeason.com for the day. After getting a couch the week before, my desk was against the wall in the living room; roughly ten to fifteen feet away from the front door.

An hour passed and Roxy was taking an unusually long time to get back from FedEx. So I texted her, "What's taking you so long?"

A few short minutes later, I got my answer.

BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM! 

"Brad!  We know you're in there!"

Initially, I didn't know what to think. Then it hit me; this knock at the door was what I fearfully expected every day for the last five months.

BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM!

"Brad! Open the door!"

I was motionless, frozen. I looked at the door with a terrified stare, my eyes open so wide they looked like basketballs.

BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM!

"BRAD! OPEN THE DOOR OR WE'RE COMING IN!"

My heart was pounding; I was stricken with panic. There was no time to hide an entire room and closet packed full of gear. Actually, it wasn't just gear anymore – now it was evidence.

I thought there might be time to hide the most damaging piece of it all; the external hard drive storing the Nike login information.

The panic transformed into adrenaline and spiked through every vein in my body. I could feel my heart beating in both arms.

I pressed my chair into the floor so I didn't make a noise when standing up. Then I latched onto my hard drive and swiftly tiptoed into the spare bedroom, in search of a hiding spot.

First, I put it on the top shelf of the closet, and then immediately jumped up to retrieve it. They would have found it within seconds.

Then I stuffed it deep inside one of BJ's used Adidas baseball cleats. Two ticks later, I fetched it back out. Although Adidas gear would likely serve as formidable camouflage in this scenario, I couldn't take the risk.

BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

They knocked from a distance, my time was running out.

I turned around, facing the door to the balcony. The lake wasn't too close, but it wasn't too far away either. If I ever needed to put my baseball skills to good use – now was the time.

So I sprinted to the balcony, slung the door open, gained two steps of momentum and launched my hard drive into the Arizona sun with every ounce of my might. I walked away and turned back like a desperado; watching it splash firmly in the lake.

The instant I stepped foot off the balcony and back onto the carpeted floor, I heard an earsplitting bash. It was either a battering ram, or they brought Paul Bunyan. There was no time for second-guessing; my door was being busted down.

I dropped to my knees in the spare bedroom, which, from their viewpoint, was located to the right side of the condo.

Once they gained entry, I heard footsteps rumbling and clattering like a West African stampede.

"Secret Service! Search Warrant!" they shouted.

"I'm in here!" I nervously yelled back.

Five Secret Service agents rushed in the spare bedroom with bulletproof vests on top of plain clothes; with guns drawn. Not only were they drawn, but they were also pointed directly at my face.

"Get on the fucking ground!" one of them demanded.

"I'm on the ground!" I tried to explain.

"Who else is in here?" the agent wearing jeans and a collared t-shirt asked.

"No one," I responded.

"WHO ELSE IS IN HERE!!!" he repeated, discrediting my previous answer.

"No one, it's just me!" I insisted.

Instead of walking me into the living room, they dragged me. Two agents grabbed each bicep and hoisted me forward while my knees slid along the carpet. During my transport, I looked up at one of the agents with an outward show of confusion.

"I'll fucking shoot your ass!" the agent responded, even though I didn't say a word to him.

They put me face down in the living room, both agents digging their knees into my back while bounding me in handcuffs, as if there was a viable escape route. Then they began scouring every room, while I was spread out on the floor, horrified. Everything was moving so fast, it didn't even seem real to me – it felt like a movie scene.

However, this was real.

They lifted me up and placed me back down in my computer chair. Then their search for evidence began. Ziplock bags were continually filled and sealed with Nike equipment, each item decorated with it's own individual label. There were so many Sportbands they were forced to go downstairs and get extra large trash bags; the kind used by a school janitor.

"Can I please put a dip in?" I asked one of the agents.

"What?" he said.

"The can of tobacco on my kitchen counter, can I put some of it in my mouth?  I'm stressed," I explained.

"Yeah, sure," he surprisingly responded, and then unfastened my handcuffs, placing them back on once my dip was in place.

There I was, sitting in a computer chair, hands tied behind my back, leaning over to spit in a cup while federal agents dismantled my condo.

Suddenly, Roxy appeared at the front door, being ushered in by a Tempe policeman; with handcuffs behind her back.

Apparently they followed her to FedEx and then pulled her car over on the way back to my place. I noticed the shipment receipts in one of the officer's hand, so much for my eBay buyers receiving their tracking information.

I could tell Roxy was puzzled, and she should have been. Like I previously stated, she didn't have the slightest clue about what I was doing with the Nike accounts. She was gone long enough where I imagined the agents already put her through questioning, and I couldn't have been happier with my decision to keep her out of the loop; they probably thought she was just an extremely loyal accomplice.

(Roxy later told me they asked her to knock on the door so they could gain access, but she refused ... what a good girl.)

I continued to watch as the agents carried 141 wristbands, 31 pairs of shoes, 19 golf clubs, 9 pairs of batting gloves, 7 boxes of golf balls, 6 hats, 4 t-shirts, 3 shorts, 3 sweatshirts, 2 polo shirts, one golf bag, one backpack and one pair of pants.

It's safe to say they had a mountain of evidence against me.

Once the gear was tagged and taken away, a younger tan-skinned man with short dark hair approached me.

"Hey Brad, my name is Mike Roberto, I'm the case agent with the United States Postal Service," he said, in a friendly manner.

"Hi," I replied, not knowing what else to say in this situation.

"Let's go downstairs so we can talk," he directed, while reaching his hand towards the door to guide me.

As someone who's overly observant of human behavior, I perceived something unordinary about his conspicuously nice demeanor. In his eyes, I was a suspected criminal. There was no reason for him to be nice...unless he wanted me to confess.

We took the elevator down to the first floor, and then walked to the residents' lounge, which was a large room near the buildings front door. All the while I'm passing by other guests who are baffled as to why I'm in handcuffs.

Roberto led me through the double doors, asked me to sit down on the couch and unhooked my handcuffs. Another young and fair-skinned red headed female joined us; she was with the Secret Service.

"Do you see this room? We've been camped out in here for three days, watching you come and go," claimed Roberto.

"Really?" I said, surprised I was worthy of such resources.

Roberto reached into his briefcase and pulled out a thick, I mean really thick, manila folder stuffed with papers. He freed the rubber band encompassing the folder and then smacked it down on the table.

"Brad, obviously we know what you've been doing. We just want to ask you a few questions about it," he said, squinting his eyes discerningly.

I didn't say a word. For all I knew his manila folder was filled with blank pieces of paper.

"Brad, it might be best for you to talk to us," the female agent interjected.

"I'm not saying anything without talking to a lawyer," I countered, noticeably breaking their spirit.

Roberto stormed out of the room to make a phone call, leaving the disgruntled female agent behind. He came back a few minutes later.

"We're getting a warrant for your computer, but I need to ask if we have your permission to go ahead and search it," asked Roberto.

"No, you don't," I told him, candidly.

"Ok, we'll be back sometime tomorrow to get it," he said.

"So I'm free to go?" I asked, failing to disguise my excitement.

"I'm not sure yet, let me find out," stated Roberto, before exiting the room again.

It was a bad move to express my elation after finding out they weren't able to search my computer. I'm sure he thought I was going to erase everything; but he was unaware the real evidence was sitting on the bottom of Tempe Town Lake.

"We're going to take you in, but I'll do you a favor. Are there any sandals you want me to grab so you can have shoes in jail?" Roberto asked.

"Yeah, there's a pair of Cole Haan wool slippers in my closet," I said, requesting an item that should have been in their evidence truck.

With slippers in tow, they carted me out the front door, where a large gathering of ASU students stood around wondering why so many police cars were outside, and then wondering who the guy was being thrown in the back of one.

I arrived in Tempe jail at 9pm and immediately asked for my phone call. After securing bail, I put the phone back on its hook, and then I heard a female voice shrieking from another jail cell.

"I need to go to the bathroom!" the whining voice bellowed.

"Roxy, is that you?" I asked, laughing in yet another situation typically not deemed humorous.

"Yeah! They won't let me go to the bathroom!" she explained.

"Oh, well do you need any help getting out?" I inquired.

"She'll be fine, get back to your cell," an officer intervened.

I posted bail at 10pm; at the latest, I should have been let out by 11pm. Well, midnight rolled around and I was still sitting alone in my cell.

"Guard!" I beckoned.

"What?" he disapprovingly shouted.

"I should have been let out an hour ago, what is the deal?" I asked.

"Your fingerprints have to be cleared before being let go, and the person who does that isn't at their desk right now," the guard declared.

At first, I believed his tale was true. So I rested down in the bottom bunk and stared at the mattress above me, jail is the worst. After another hour passed, I grew suspicious of the guard's explanation.

"Guard!" I yelled.

"What do you want?" he reluctantly asked.

"When WILL this person be at their desk?" I investigated.

"I don't know, it could be an hour, it could be in the morning," he deceivingly replied.

Now it all made sense. They were under instructions to keep me in jail until the agents obtained a warrant for my laptop, I had no proof, but it was the only rationale I could think of for keeping me in for such a long time. I decided to act on it.

"Hey guard!  I wonder what my lawyer is going to say about there being no one on staff to clear my fingerprints, how do you think that will play out?" I challenged.

Two minutes after I said this; they released me. I was shocked, and it basically confirmed my theory was true.

It was 2am, four hours after I posted bail, and I was walking in the middle of the street, across the ASU campus, on my way to the condo. However, I was in for another surprise. When I reached my front door, I discovered it was nailed shut. Not once, not twice, but five times! They really didn't want me to get in there.

This only motivated me to figure out a way in. So I walked across the street to the A-Loft Hotel, charmed the girl at the front desk and then asked her for a hammer; she gladly presented one (I eventually returned the favor).

I grappled the claw and ripped out every abysmal nail from the hinges. Whoever did the handiwork made sure each of them were a few inches deep inside the frame, so it took some time.

Finally, the door opened and unbelievably – my laptop was nowhere to be seen.



Hit The Lights

There was no time to waste – I needed a lawyer.

A quick Google search for "Tempe White Collar Lawyer" revealed David Cantor as the top result. He is the brother of Senate majority leader Eric Cantor, and a wise choice if there was any hope of avoiding jail time.

Actually, it would be Federal prison time.

On my way to his office, I exited the elevator on the first floor; Mike Roberto stood there with two sheets of paper in his right hand.

"Here is the search warrant for your laptop," he said, after noticing I regained entry to my condo.

"Oh, thanks," I told him, saving my words for the lawyer.

I glanced down and examined the search warrant, discovering it was signed on February 23rd at 4pm; they took my computer before having a warrant allowing them to do so.

Desperate for answers, I proceeded to David Cantor's office. He was there when I arrived, sitting in a black leather chair behind a rich oak desk with full-length glass windows covering the entrance and pricy artwork against the wall behind him.

"Don't get too freaked out, you're not a terrorist," he said, in a comforting manner.

His large physical frame and crater-dimpled chin exuded confidence, along with the gray power suit and red tie he wore. Unlike most lawyers, he made me feel like the ball was in our court; not the other way around.

"You have a few things going for you. Nike doesn't know how you got in their accounts and they also don't know exactly how many you have. I'm sure they're worried," he explained.

"Why would they be worried?" I asked.

"Because. If you release the information inside the accounts, those players can sue them," he concluded, nodding his head with assurance.

"So I won't go to jail?" I questioned, cringing in anticipation of his response.

"You have a decent chance to avoid jail, but I can't guarantee it," he frankly advised.

"What happens next?" I asked.

"I will set a meeting with the prosecutors, where you'll tell them how you gained access and the names of every account you compromised. But it will be a few months until then, these things take time," he concluded.

With no guarantee, I was still worried. Picturing myself in an orange jumpsuit on the courtyard of a federal prison was a frightening prospect; especially in Arizona.

I returned to my apartment, looking to wind down and ease my mind. I couldn't though, there was an incessant clicking noise going off every few minutes, and I had never heard it before. So I googled "do listening devices make clicking noises" and yes, they do.

My senses were increased, sharpened and I became more observant of everything around me. I turned all the lights off, closed the windows and inspected my condo for anything out of the ordinary. This is when I discovered the smoke detector in the center of the living room flashed a red light every time I walked underneath it.

I tested it over and over again. Staying out of its range for ten minutes to see if the light turned red; it didn't. Then I walked underneath it again, and it did. So I unscrewed it and left it hanging.

I walked over to In N' Out Burger to grab a bite to eat the next day. When I returned to the condo and approached my front door, I noticed the handle was barely attached...and it definitely wasn't like this after the raid. A young black security guard happened to walk by while I was inspecting the damage.

"What happened to my handle?" I asked him.

"The cops did that," he told me.

"No, it wasn't like this after they broke in, it's much worse now," I explained.

"You're not hearing me. THE COPS DID THAT," he insinuated, and then walked away.

Once I opened my door, I took another look at the search warrant. It vaguely stated how they were allowed to enter my apartment anytime during the day from February 22nd -March 8th . Now I knew what the security guard meant; the cops, or feds, or secret service were still watching me, and they were going in my place whenever I left the building.

I looked up to the ceiling and the smoke detector wasn't hanging anymore; someone screwed it back in. I grabbed a circular glass ceiling light shade, rolled double-sided masking tape on the edges of the side with an opening and then used a baseball bat to make the glass shade stick around the smoke detector. MacGyver style.

At this point, I knew it was time to get the hell out of Arizona.

Before doing so, I had to consult with Dave. If I ever needed this brainy bastard, the time was now. Not wanting to speak freely inside of my apartment, I asked him to pick me up in his truck, and from there, we drove around and talked.

"I need to get out of the country," I told him.

"If you leave, you won't be able to come back," Dave explained.

"I don't give a shit. I'll be in Mexico tomorrow," I said, half joking and half serious.

"Heh, I don't think you need to leave the country man. Even if you go to jail, it'll only be for a year or two," said Dave.

"Fuck that, I'm not going to jail. I'll be long gone before that happens," I assured him.

Within days, I sold every non-movable item I owned on Craigslist and packed the remaining necessities in a suitcase for my flight home to Virginia. The night before I left, I received a text message from an unknown number.

"Hey, it's Bibi" the message read.

With my paranoia still at an all-time high, I chose not to respond. Trying to fuck a porn-star was of very little importance to me; the only thing on my mind was survival .

I assumed being on the other side of the country would help calm my nerves, but it didn't. The thought of going to jail was on my mind every waking moment; I was incapable of being myself. All I could do is lie on the couch and play out each future scenario in my head. The worst part was not being able to talk openly to anyone in my life...anything I said could make the person a potential witness.

Because of this, I was forced to keep everything to myself; including my imminent decision to escape justice and hide out in Florida.

Without telling anyone, I covertly packed a bag of clothes, withdrew every last penny from the bank and ordered a cab to pick me up down the street. I was on my way to the airport to purchase a one-way ticket to the sunshine state.

The weather was perfect, but the following steps in my game plan were far from it, in fact, they didn't exist. I just wanted to escape my own reality and become untraceable, that's as far as my thought process went. At least I arrived at an opportune time.

"Where do the college kids go for spring break?" I asked the airport cabbie.

"Cocoa Beach," he enthusiastically replied.

"Take me to Cocoa Beach," I spontaneously instructed.

Before being dropped off at the hotel, I stopped by Wal-Mart and picked up a box of black hair dye. I then purchased a room, in cash, and followed the instructions on the box to change the color of my hair, eyebrows and a recently acquired beard.

I don't know what I was thinking, but I couldn't stop laughing at myself in the mirror. For reasons I can't explain, I was acting like I was the most wanted man in America. I'm sure if my lawyer saw me like this, he would change his mind about me being a terrorist.

Early the next morning, I stepped out on the sandy white beach, placed a long white towel along the surface and stared off into the Atlantic Ocean for hours. Fleeing seemed like a genius idea in Virginia, but living in a hotel every night wouldn't be sustainable, nor could I obtain a job without using proper identification; which was out of the question for me. The most haunting aspect of it all – I would have to live this way for the rest of my life.

Then I began to think exactly how I was caught. Could Nike have suddenly grown wise after being clueless for five months? Not likely, but possible. Were the police exacting their revenge for my criticism on their search for Willie Jigba? It's feasible. Did someone with a vendetta against me find out about the Nike fiasco and turn me in? I wasn't sure, but Evan Longoria's car was stolen in Arizona one week after I was raided. A week after that, his house was burglarized in Florida.

My hiatus only lasted nine days before I ultimately came to my senses and boarded a flight back home.

There was no greater feeling than resting on the brown leather sofa at home. I didn't tell anyone I was back, so when I heard someone enter the front door, I stood up. My brother instantly jumped once he entered the kitchen. Even after looking at me for a few seconds, he still thought I was an intruder – apparently it was hard to recognize me with a black beard.

I would now have to face the music, so I called David Cantor to figure out when the meeting would occur. He told me it was already scheduled, but I needed to pay him the other half of his fee before he would go, which was $15,000 I didn't have, especially after my trip to Florida.

He was nice enough to issue me a refund, at which point I hired a grizzly Russian lawyer by the name of Mike Kimerer. Those words couldn't describe him much better; he was burly, he was grizzly and he was Russian.

The stage was set and I was on my way to Arizona for a date with destiny. Unfortunately, this time destiny was not the name of a stripper.

With the meeting taking place just hours after landing, I was riddled with anxiety and saturated with stress during the flight. I needed to take the edge off, so I started guzzling beers on the plane; I was drunk just in time for my showdown with the government.

Mike Kimerer and I ascended half way up a large skyscraper in downtown Phoenix, settling in a waiting room decorated with pictures of Barack Obama. From there, we entered another room with no windows and three people on the other side of the table Mike Roberto, the female Secret Service agent and the female federal prosecutor.

"Ok, tell us about the Nike accounts," the prosecutor said.

I lucked out by having two females in the room; it was no different than talking to a girl in a club; all I needed to do was charm them. However, the deal isn't offered until the end; so the pressure was on to perform.

For the next hour I told them exactly how I was able to gain control of the accounts and I also wrote down a list of every athlete account I still 'owned'. Knowing this information was being passed along to Nike, I repeatedly mentioned how I stored all of the user data in safekeeping, and still held access.

I really didn't care about being overly thorough and descriptive; my focus was on one thing, and that was making them like me. Every sentence I completed was followed with a dimpled smile and steady eye contact directed at the female prosecutor...because my future was in her hands.

It was strange how all the techniques from the years I spent picking up girls were being used to in an attempt to avoid prison. I was about to find out if it helped once they offered me this plea agreement.

One count of computer fraud and five years of probation, but I wasn't going to prison if I helped Nike fix the leak.

Best of all, the deal guaranteed immunity to any accomplices who may (or may not) have played a role in helping me hack Nike. Worst of all, I owed them a lot of money, at least $50,000, but I wouldn't know the exact amount until sentencing.

Overall, looking at the big picture, I was very fortunate.

I also found fortune on the plane. Sitting to the left of me on my flight back home was a young and amazingly exotic Spanish girl named Selena. I needed to sharpen my skills again – solid game can save your life.

"Let me guess, you're a model," I said, stroking her ego.

"Hah, no actually I'm a singer," she warmly replied.

"Singing in the shower doesn't count you know," I mockingly told her.

"I know! I'm a dancer too," revealed the angel-faced brunette.

"Me too, but only competitively," I sarcastically disclosed.

"I have a song on my iPod if you want to listen," she offered.

We shared headphones, bringing us closer together and remained that way for an hour. Once the lights went out , I decided to go nuclear.

I leaned in, kissing her on the neck and nibbling on her ear. We were remarkably comfortable for two people who just met, and I knew it would only escalate once her earring fell into my mouth.

She then placed her legs on top of mine and I put my hands on top of her legs. With six hours left to go, it's safe to say it ended up being quite the memorable flight.

When I returned home, I checked my email inbox and found an interesting anonymous email...

IT WAS A DOCUMENT



The End

brad@playerseason.com



To be continued...