“Drop the Mic” Notebook
Clue #1—Night Janitor
After the initial report was filed, authorities attempted to piece together several bits of information gathered from those who knew, or claimed to know, likely suspects who might have motive to end the announcer’s life. The first, Blake Clarkson, was the night janitor who found the body. Indeed, it was Clarkson who found McFadden’s corpse just before he called 911. With the ballgame ending around 11pm, it’s no wonder why police were intent on keeping the ballpark custodian until their questions were satisfactorily answered…the call HAD been made 3 full hours after the time of death, according to the coroner on the scene. The time of death was officially recorded as the same time McFadden had been celebrating the Bats’ opening day win, and the cause was, of course, strangulation by microphone cable. Apparently, in his exultation of the game’s outcome, Pierce hadn’t seen or heard the culprit slip into the press box, grab the spring-coiled cable excess, and raise it above the announcer’s head until it was well too late. Clarkson’s alibi was that he hadn’t reached the press box for routine cleaning until the late hour of the call, saying, “I mean, have you ever SEEN the mess a set of bleachers holds? Especially on winning nights, these fans forget the meaning of the word ‘litter.’ It took me till 1am just to get the popcorn and beer off of the stadium proper.”
The flustered cleaning man did, however, shed some light on another possible suspect: McFadden’s co-commentator from last season, Rocky Cliffton. Apparently, by the end of the previous season, the two intercom jockeys were at such great odds that shouting could be heard well after the last patron’s car engine could be heard leaving the stadium grounds. “I tried to stay outta the press box area until they decided they’d had enough and each of them stormed out back to the private lot,” claimed Clarkson. “Seems Rocky always wanted Pierce to give him more air time, but you know, this was PIERCE’S show, and he wasn’t ever in any mood to share spotlight. After a while, Rocky decided his career wasn’t going anywhere if he didn’t fight for it…at least, that’s how I took his meaning.”
Blake Clarkson’s comments were recorded and he was released from police custody shortly thereafter, with a stern warning to stay in town until the culprit had been found.
Clue #2—Super Fan
When news of the Stitchton commentator’s death hit the local papers, the townsfolk came out in droves to pay their respects at Warring Field…most left photos, signed programs, baseball paraphernalia, and even some sports-themed floral arrangements at the entry gates. Some donated large sums of money to the stadium and ball team in McFadden’s honor. One, however, came forward with some surprising news: she had evidence that might lead to knowledge about McFadden’s killer.
Mimzy Shanks wasn’t just any normal townsperson, though. She was well known to the ball club as the most zealous fan in the history of the local association. She had unofficially become the team cheerleader, almost a second mascot, and was well-liked by everyone who graced the diamond and outfield in a Bats uniform. Her smile was infectious, and even though she loved the game, or rather, this particular team, a little too much for the typical supporter, her genial attitude and camaraderie had kept her in the team’s good graces for long enough to allow her special access to meet and greets, afterparties, and the occasional press interview. It’s not wonder, then, that her favorite Bat of all time was Slugger Woods…not surprising, seeing as how he was, well, EVERYONE’S favorite Bat of all time.
Because of this adoration for her home team, and her subsequent privileges, Mimzy told authorities that she was headed to the postgame press conference (naturally) in the locker room when she stopped in her tracks…she heard a couple of hushed voices, she said, around the corner of the hallway leading towards the conference room, and by their sound, the conversation wasn’t a pleasant one. She instantly recognized the low, booming tone of Pierce McFadden, catching the last part of the sentence she was JUST ABOUT to interrupt with her presence. “…and I’ve been working too long here to watch my whole career go down the tubes just because YOUR star player is juicing, Carve!” At this point in the interrogation, Ms. Shanks identified the other party as the owner of the Stitchton Bats, Sylvester Carvel, a man known to love baseball only second to money. “Well, it seems we’re both in a rough spot, McFadden…see, if word gets out that I’ve been keeping Slugger on the team with the open knowledge that he’s using, not only does HE go away, but I go with him…and I think we both know if I go, YOU go. Or, we could pretend this little talk never happened and watch both our careers skyrocket like that homer he clocked tonight. You catch my meaning?”
“I don’t know what you’re thinking, Sly, but I’ve been here longer than you, and the people of Stitchton won’t have it, lies and deception,” Pierce sharply replied. “They want the truth, they deserve it, and my rep is on the line!”
“Well, then,” Mr. Carvel intimated, “I guess we know what we gotta do.” “Yeah, I guess we do,” said the normally-jovial mic jockey.
It was then that Mimzy heard one set of footsteps retreat towards the conference room, and the other make its way towards her…in a mad dash to keep out of sight, the fangirl quietly hid behind the slotted door of the janitorial closet as the forlorn, yet determined, announcer stalked out of the hallway and into the dugout.
After relaying these events to the local police, Ms. Shanks grew quiet and withdrawn, seemingly drawing up the courage to say something that was on her mind. Finally, after an awkward glance or two at the one-way glass window in the interrogation room, she took a deep breath and said, “I just know Sylvester Carvel did it. He was afraid of losing his best player, ball team, and notoriety. I mean, he’s intimidating anyway, but the way he was talking to Pierce…it was different…it was….menacing. Like a wolf right before it bares its teeth, when its THINKING of what its going to do to its prey.” Then, she looked down, nodded to herself, and more strongly said, “Yes, it has to be Carvel. He’s the one who killed Pierce McFadden.”
As with every other person of interest, police kept Ms. Shanks for further questioning while a private detective was sent to check out her story.
Based on the information given to the authorities by the last two people they questioned, the remaining three people of interest were tracked down and asked to come to the local precinct. Rocky Cliffton, Slugger Woods, and Sylvester Carvel were quite a sight to behold, all arriving for questioning within seconds of each other. Exchanging surprised glances at each other, they nonetheless silently climbed the steps to the law enforcement building and obliged the officers therein.
Being separated upon entry, they were each assigned an interrogation room, but each session came back with more vague ideas about who pulled off the murder than straightforward information. Although he was cooperative and extremely honest about his outright hatred of his co-worker, Rocky was eventually allowed to leave since his alibi checked out: he was actually out of town the night of the game and the murder…according to his cell phone triangulation, he’d only just arrived back in town around 10am the next morning. He was asked not to leave town for posterity, but most everyone felt he was telling the truth….maybe TOO much. He was noted as saying loudly enough for those in earshot to hear, “Maybe now I’ll get a word in edgewise!”
Slugger, too, was let go…the evidence of his innocence, at least in the murder of the beloved commentator, wasn’t so much in his words, but more in his REACTION. After being told that he had been the central subject of a conversation about his drug abuse, Woods visibly turned as white as a sheet, and quickly asked for a glass of water. Though he was sure to lose his season in baseball, if not his career, at least he wouldn’t be spending it behind bars. He walked, dejected, out of the precinct, shaking his head and muttering to himself.
The Bats’ owner, however, proved to be a more difficult nut to crack. All he mentioned before asking for his lawyer is that, yes, he HAD talked with McFadden regarding the roid-filled heavy hitter, and NO he hadn’t killed him, but yes, he HAD promised Pierce that he’d get rid of him. “Too bad someone else got to do the way I’d have liked to,” he sneered near the end of his session.
A private eye was hired to check out Carvel’s story. More details to come.
Final Clues—Investigators’ Findings
Later on in the day, our private eyes came back with some new evidence that may aid in naming the culprit of our conundrum.
The detective sent to find more about Mimzy noted that, upon reaching her apartment in the downtown district, she found some unsubstantial, albeit, odd, proof of the fan’s love of the game. As was expected, Mimzy kept a typical college-aged bachelorette’s abode: a neat foyer/living area with a LARGE screen television (most likely to watch the play-by-play of each second of any broadcast television sport, a few photos of what was presumed to be her family (Mimzy in a typical black high school graduation gown), and a bathroom that was pretty clean (all except for the myriad of makeup and cleaning products strewn across the double vanity). Her bedroom was the typical amount of “messed up” for a younger lady who had places to be. The sleuth was just about to leave when a soft glow coming from underneath the closet door caught her eye…thinking to cover her tracks and ensure the light was turned off so that Ms. Shanks was none the wiser, our detective swung the door open and found, to her surprise, much more than an additional storage space for clothes and shoes. What she found, instead, was something of a veritable shrine to the star player of the Stitchton Bats, Slugger Woods. The usual knick-knacks like season pennants, foul balls, and broken bats were among the findings, but there were some more…UNusual…keepsakes. Several press conference photos of the heavy hitter were found with clipped-out photos of Mimzy taped INTO the photos, surrounded by cut out paper hearts and scribbles of “MS loves SW,” and the like. Clearly, Ms. Shanks was not JUST a team supporter. And tucked into the corner of the of one of what could only be an old cleat of the team’s driving force of a player was an official looking piece of paper, donning the official crest of the Warring Field’s administration.
Our other investigator dropped by the Warring Field offices, unannounced, to find that Mr. Sylvester Carvel was not in his office. However, his assistant, a young intern looking to please anyone with ANY kind of authority, was quite informative about his whereabouts: Mr. Carvel was on a scouting mission at the local sports radio station to find a possible apprentice for Rocky Cliffton. Quite surprised, the agent on the case mentioned how odd that was since the lead commentator had only JUST been murdered, to which the intern replied, “Oh, but the search had been going on for a little over a week or so, and this was the first opening both parties could find in their schedules. In fact, there should be a termination of contract around here somewhere…it only needed to be delivered.”
When the document could be found nowhere near the young assistant’s desk, Mr. Carvel’s office suite was thoroughly searched, but the important document could not be found.
“I guess Mr. Carvel took care of it himself, but that’s really out of his character…in fact, that’s the kind of thing I take care of typically,” said the confused secretary.
The remaining question is: Who killed Pierce McFadden, and why?