December 11th, 2025.
A woman walked through a desolated landscape. She wore tattered rags and carried a guitar on her back. Those were her only worldly possessions, and she knew that those were all she would ever need in this cruel world. Walking down what had once been a busy city street, she spotted some boxes in the burnt out frame of what used to be a fast food eatery. She looked around. There didn't seem to be anyone around. She knew that this state wouldn't last long, and with great speed she sprinted to the box, picked it up and whisked it away. She was lucky. As she was running away from the scene, she heard a blood curdling scream. She did not look back. The scream turned into words. "The Towers! He has taken our food!"
She ran back to her hideout a few blocks away on the second story of a slightly burnt but still intact building. With some force she opened up the box. It was full of frozen beef patties that weren't too green yet. "Better than nothing," she said aloud to nobody. She looked at the expiration date on the box just to make sure. "December 22nd, 2025." The date caught the woman by surprise.
"Thirteen years since that day. Has it really been that long?"
Throughout most of her life, this had been the way things were. She was used to burning husks of cars, frequent attacks by mutants, and the scrounging for food that everyday life brought. It was like Gilbert in the year 2012, but spread across the entire world. It wasn't always like this. Not before the war. It all started off so innocently....
December 11th, 2012.
She was lying in bed. Her mother had just read her a bedtime story and she was ready to fall asleep when suddenly...
"Dammit to Hades!"
She wasn't fazed. Even at only eight years old, she was used to her father shouting randomly. She would later look back on it as part of his charm. Despite that, she always had a curiosity about her father's eccentricities. She crawled out of bed and opened her bedroom door ever so slightly to hear more of what was going on.
"Just... Dammit! Damn damn damn!"
"What is it, honey?"
"Towers traded Bauer away!"
Bauer was a name she had heard a few times before. He was a baseball player of some sort. She didn't really give him much thought before.
"Oh, is that bad?"
"Of course it is! He gave up on him! Lowballed him! Gave him up for nothing! He was the future! The future!"
"Oh, it can't be that bad."
"Hear me now, Doris. The Diamondbacks trading Bauer away is something we will all come to regret!"
"Pipe down, dear. Julia will hear you!"
"She should! She needs to know the future was ruined!"
December 11th, 2025
"Julia." It had been a long time since she or anybody else had used her given name. It was meaningless to her now. Her musings were interrupted by a loud rumble.
"Must be that time of day again." She thought.
"Hear us, believers, for I have brought the Tome of Trevor to commemorate our savior! We must convert these heathens!"
"It is not I who is a heathen, it is you. You who ignore the character flaws that would have destroyed the world more than it already has."
"Prepare to long toss your manuscripts, loyal believers!"
"Get ready your scriptures of walk rates, gentleman!"
This was a daily occurrence. The two sides didn't bring harm to one another at this point. They just shouted and threw things and occasionally burned things.
It pretty much started out that way. She got a fire going for her burgers and started cooking. She took her guitar and started strumming a tune as she remembered...
February 22nd, 2013
The people were restless. What had started out as somewhat silly arguments on the internet had turned into a full-on schism that became the hot issue of the day. People were marching in the street for both sides. They would occasionally clash with each other, and sometimes they would clash with the police. It hadn't evolved into riots... yet.
At Julia's school they had an emergency assembly to try to explain this issue to the children. In the cafeteria, the Principal stood in front of a podium with a microphone and started to speak.
"Now children, you may have heard about the Trevor Bauer trade and what it has done to our community..."
"My daddy says that Bauer is going to be an ace for his career and that shortstops are a dime a dozen and that the Diamondbacks won't have any fans left!" said a random child shooting up from his seat that Julia didn't know.
"Yes, that's one viewpoint. However, we must learn to respect..."
"My mommy says that Bauer is a grumpypants. He once had a clown go to his birthday party and he didn't laugh once! He also likes loud music. My mommy says that you can judge a person solely by what music they like!" This was another random child.
"Now you see, this is the problem..." The Principal was already showing visible signs of frustration.
"No! The Diamondbacks just can't handle Bauer's awesomeness!"
"If he was so awesome, why did other GMs offer so little for him?"
"Because Towers is an idiot!"
"He led the Padres to five division titles! The Padres!"
"Now children, behave..."
"Kendrick undercut Bauer's value!"
"You shut up!"
December 11th, 2025
Nothing much had changed.
"We are done for the day! We shall show those scouting heretics what they are missing!"
"It is the bad attitude of the one you follow which leads to this!"
Julia sighed. She looked over at the burger on the fire that she had started. The burger looked just cooked enough to eat. She snatched it from the fire and started eating. It wasn't the tastiest thing she ever had, but in this world you had to count your blessing and take what you could get. She gobbled down the burger and returned to her guitar musings.
"This all could have been avoided, but the worst case scenario..."
October 25th, 2013
Chase Field. Game 7 of the World Series. Diamondbacks vs. Indians. The D'Backs had bounced back from their disappointing 2012 season to win the National League West. They had advanced to the World Series partially due to the good fortune that befell them when somebody hit eventual NL MVP Bryce Harper with a voodoo curse that made him believe he was an alpaca. The D'Backs swept through the Nationals easily.
The Indians also had a resurgence of their own. Terry Francona had rallied this team together and Bauer had a solid rookie season. He was on the mound for Game 7, a sign of trust from his manager. This made the Pro-Bauer faction restless, and they were openly rooting for Bauer to beat their purported favorite team. The Anti-Bauer people would print pamphlets denouncing Bauer whenever he wiped sweat off of his forehead. Julia's father had gotten tickets and had taken her to the game. The atmosphere could only be described as "interesting".
The game itself was a pitching duel between Bauer and Ian Kennedy that game. Both of them took a 1-1 tie into the bottom of the 9th inning. Cliff Pennington struck out and pinch hitter Eric Chavez flew out to begin the inning.
"Bauer's gonna shut us down again and they're gonna score and that'll show KT and he'll be fired and shamed in the town square for sure!" Julia's father said this with a mixture of dread and glee.
"Hey man, he's gonna get ejected biting the head off of a kitten this inning," said a man sitting next to him, "because he's a loose cannon. You'll see!"
"Now batting... Adam Eaton!" The PA announcer called out.
Eaton was able to fight off a fastball and put it in between the shortstop and third baseman for a single. The winning run was on first. Aaron Hill came up and hit a line drive single.
"See, he's gonna choke, KT was right!" Said the man sitting next to Julia and her father.
"You shut up!" Julia's father looked right cheesed at this turn of events.
Terry Francona went out to the mound and talked to his young pitcher. After a lengthy talk, Francona left him in the game.
"See! He has to throw a hissy fit to stay in the game!"
"No, he's just the best pitcher in the history of pitchers. He'll get Upton out."
Justin Upton walked to the plate. He had scored the only run for the D'Backs up to this point, a solo home run in the third inning. Bauer got his sign from Carlos Santana and spiked a first pitch Curveball into the dirt. Ball one. He then got Upton to chase two straight high fastballs. The count was 1-2.
"See, KT's gonna get Marie Antoinette'd after this game." Julia's father said in a very dark tone
"Daddy, you're scaring me."
"Watch the game, Pumpkin." He did not look at her.
Bauer's next pitched was a slider that seemed to paint the corner, but the home plate umpire called it a ball. The pitch after that was another high fastball. Upton had learned his lesson and did not chase. It was a full count. Bauer's next pitch was another slider that seemed to hit the corner. He started to walk off the mound, but the Umpire called Ball Four and Upton walked to first after a well-earned walk.
Bauer walked back to the mound and said to himself "Darn it." in a neutral tone. This was the catalyst.
"Yeah Bauer! You sulk like that, that's why we traded your sorry ass!" Yelled the man next to Julia's father.
"You shut your mouth! He got screwed by the ump!"
"You're just mad because your golden boy choked!"
What happened next was a fan fight that morphed into a full on riot between the Pro-Bauer and Anti-Bauer factions. Bud Selig had to shrug sheepishly and postpone the game. It was never finished. In a flurry the city of Phoenix was gripped in what became known as the "Long Toss Riots" throughout the world. An ESPN talking head bemoaned how Phoenix didn't care about their teams enough and that could have prevented this while on air. When the anchor pointed out that this was surely a sign that people in Phoenix cared maybe a little too much, the talking head responded "Well, they're doing it wrong. As they always do. Remember when they booed Prince Fielder? This is almost as bad!"
The riots spread throughout Arizona, then they spread over the borders as people were converted to either side. Eventually, the whole country was gripped in this chaos. There were no fatalities to speak of, but a lot of yelling and property damage.
Years later, the Pro-Bauer and Anti-Bauer factions evolved into competing religions. The result was what Julia had heard outside all those years later, what she had heard outside everyday since that day.
December 11th, 2025
Julia stared up at the partially burnt ceiling of her hideout. She wondered what had happened to the actual Trevor Bauer. Nobody actually knew. The Pro-Bauer people said that he had transcended to a higher plane of existence, watching over the true believers and waiting to return when the world was cleansed of those who thought that DiDi Gregorius might have been a good Shortstop someday. The Anti-Bauer people said that he was underground somewhere yelling at sewer dogs and brooding at them and totally proving that KT and Kendrick were right about his attitude.
Julia didn't care either way. The world she knew was gone, but she would survive, as she had always done. Her thoughts were interrupted by a loud crash downstairs. She shot up quickly. Had they found her? She heard voices from outside.
"You are too late, Towersites! We Long Tossers have claimed this building, and will open it up by overpowering it!"
"You are fools! You refuse to change your ways for the good of the team! You should coax it open!"
"You are wrong! Overpowering the door has worked up to this point!"
"But you will only get tired out earlier and you will have to go to your relief door openers sooner!"
Julia sat back down, clearly free from any danger. She picked up her guitar again and started strumming a song. It was a sad song, but had an undercurrent of hope. It was one she had heard somewhere, long ago, before all of this. She sang to herself as the door opening argument continued below her, long into the night...