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The OIdest Guy Joke: A Trilogy of Families, Fame and Baseball

1,056 pages16 hours


Greg Rittmeyer lives an almost perfect life for 54 years. Not almost perfect in the sense that each day is beautiful and wonderful, but in the sense that everything he does is excellent but not great, the biggest pot of gold perpetually just out of reach.

Meanwhile, Cassandra Banuelos is bearing down on 40 and could care less.

In this trilogy of families, fame and baseball bound into one ovel, Greg glides through the baby boomer years into the 21st Century living his B+/A- life.

From childhood, he sensed his size, strength and skill would bring success in his chosen sport of baseball. Indeed, he reaches the major leagues and pitches for 13 years, never sent back to the minors, never injured, but never an All-Star, never even once in his team’s regular starting rotation, never a closer; he defines journeyman, a generic “big right-hander.”

On the other hand, with his pro athlete’s 6’7” build, piercing blue-gray eyes and a plainspoken nature, women most other men would consider out of their league line up to play for him. He lives first with a Grammy-award winner singer, then a movie star, then a talented young lawyer – the cream of the crop from a lifetime of conquests – but never quite finds himself closing the deal.

A quarter century before, a week after her joyful quinceańera, Cassandra was attacked in broad daylight in a pleasant Southern California neighborhood, and life seemed to turn into an ordeal to be survived, with little to celebrate or look forward to. At 17, weeks away from a final chance to prove her family’s gang ties didn’t define her, the opportunity was ripped away and, in her frustration, she sparks a second violent clash that winds up with her brother dead and a judge giving her a choice: jail or military service.

Twenty years, two Middle Eastern wars and a decorated but dreary run as a military police sergeant later, she sets up shop in a one-woman office as a private investigator in Washington state almost because she can’t think of anything else to do after retiring from the Army. She gets up, goes to work, comes home and lifts weights on her back porch to fatigue herself enough to sleep. Then, brought into a large bank fraud investigation by a Seattle law firm, she sees a familiar name on the list of sources she is to contact, a former Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher she and her cousins once met at a movie premiere. The interaction lasted only a minute or two, but the pictures the guy took for them, as she and her older cousins posed with his impossibly beautiful actress girlfriend, are iconic to Cassandra, relicts of the happy girl she’d been always seemed to have before she turned 15 and life began to sour.

Greg thinks he is about to wipe the “almost” off the board, leaving only “perfect,” after joining his best friend on the Seattle Mariners’ staff after 17 years as a college coach; that life with his latest too-much-for-mortal-men lover, a TV sports reporter little more than half his age, will roll pleasantly through to the finish line realizes isn’t as far away as it once was.

Instead, as his life lengthens, Greg realizes every bit of fun his animal magnetism created has been balanced by problems left unsolved. With “change” the mantra of the day in America, facets of life many men encounter at a younger age, fatherhood, violence, romantic failure, catch up to Greg.... as does Cassandra and her search for answers.

NOTE: While this is primarily a story of families and romance and baseball, there are occasional explicit scenes making it most suitable for an adult audience.

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