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The Cardinals are scoring a bunch of runs - A Hunt and Peck

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And the pressure is on...

Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

At On the Run corporate headquarters* located somewhere in the United States...

A man sits at his desk. It is late, but the job cares not for the time and he has a deadline to meet. The humming of a machine sounds in a dark corner of the office. His heart speeds up as the paper falls from the old fax machine. That machine has not been used since 2013. He gulps and slowly marches to the collect the paper, reading over it slowly, carefully. He reads it again.

The color drains from his face.

***

He never asked for this. Growing up he dreamed simple dreams, living a quiet life, raising a family. His wife has long left him, his kids, at best, are apathetic to him, and the demands of his job are all he has. He sighs deeply in thought as he stares out the large windows of his plush corner-office. He knows he is kidding himself - he would not change a thing. He lives for this.

The doors to his office crash open and his sweating, panting assistant runs in. He does not flinch at the abrupt entrance. He stopped flinching years ago.

"Sir," the assistant began waving a wrinkled piece of paper.

"They have done it again, haven't they Jeffery?" the man interrupts, his voice chillingly level from behind his brown leather chair.

"I am so sorry, sir. It was never supposed to be this way. They...they were eleventh in the league in home runs and runs scored last season!"

"Remain calm, Jeffery. We knew this could happen. The team was sixth in wRC+. There was always this chance. Here, have a drink." The man turns his chair from the window, pulls out a bottle of scotch and two glasses from his bottom drawer, fills them, and offers one to his sputtering assistant.

"Thank you, sir," Jeffery responds, his breathing returning to normal as he sips from his glass, "It is just... look."

The man studies the paper carefully before crumbling it into a ball in his fist and throwing it down. Jeffery jumps at the sudden display of emotion.

"What will you do, sir?" Jeffery asks, his voice just above a whisper.

"Even my powers have limits, Jeffery," the man says, his voice hard.

"How long do we have?"

"Five weeks. Are you able to get your affairs in order in that time?"

Jeffery nods.

"Good. Now leave me, Jeffery. I have much to consider."

"Yes, sir," Jeffery says, turning to leave. "And sir?" he continues over his shoulder when he reaches the door, "For what it is worth, Jeremy Hazelbaker was a surprise to everyone."

The man gives the assistant a smile, but it does not reach his weary eyes. "Thank you, Jeffery."

The man turns to look out the windows as the door closes softly behind him. He never asked for this life, to rule this empire, to do the things he has done. He has lost his family, his friends, his humanity for this, and he'll be damned if a twenty-eight year old rookie will best him.

His knuckles turn white as his grip on his glass tightens like a vice. His lip turns up in a snarl as his eyes narrow into a steady glare.

"Hazelbaker."

On the Run | Six is a serious number

*** On the Run is technically a product of Exxon-Mobile and their corporate headquarters are located in Irving, Texas

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