OK, thought experiment: If a writer – be he a certifiable genius or a certified loon – were to change just one letter in each of, say, six recent headlines, what would happen? Well, here’s what would happen.
With the Royals on the verge of their first playoff appearance since 1985, manager Ned Yost is worried that his team is feeling the pressure – but only in one particular circumstance. “They do just fine in front of large crowds,” he told the Kansas City media. “It’s large crows that give them a problem.”
Among the concerns, he said, is the matter of crow intelligence.
“Some species have learned to use tools, other to store food and others to predict behavior,” the skipper explained. “One species uses crumbs for bait fishing! Imagine what a large crow could do, then, were it to lure Butler with strips of crispy bacon.”
Compounding the threat, he added, is the collective name of crows. “I mean, a ‘murder‘ of crows? Jeez, why not a ‘bloody slaughter’ or ‘grisly massacre?’”
The team, he said, is trying to appease the crows by playing smart baseball.
“Problem is, they’re trying too hard. Just yesterday, Gordon took a ‘random walk’ to first base. I don’t mean he took an indiscriminate base on balls. I mean that upon hitting a line drive to right, he took a series of random steps that mirrored the route of a molecule through gas or the search path of a foraging animal. Needless to say, he got thrown out at first. Also needless to say, the crows got pretty riled up.”
Outfielder Ryan Raburn is back in the Indians lineup after two weeks on the DL.
Said Raburn: “To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t be happier. Liszt was a great composer and all – have you heard Années de Pélerinage? Sublime! – but spending 15 days atop any composer, let alone a composer whose disability is that he has been dead for 130 years, can get pretty old. I kept bumping my head in the coffin.”
Raburn expects to platoon with Zach Walters, who prefers Liebestråume.
In efforts to boost their playoff hopes by way of increased chick production, the Yankees have added veteran Chris Young to their September rooster.
“We didn’t need him for the August rooster,” said GM Brian Cashman. “That sexy bird was the cock of the walk! Those chickens – hens; whatever – were helpless. I once saw them toss their room keys at him, even though they don’t have rooms.”
Added Cashman: “But this September rooster, he just sits around watching Cocktail and eating Denver omelets, which, when you think about it, is kind of ironic. He should be fertilizing eggs and guarding the henhouse, but instead he’s taking up space, like Jeter but with less animal magnetism.”
The addition of Young, said Cashman, should help.
“First, he’s a centerfielder, so he’s just got that swagger. Second, he boasts the potent combination of power and speed, but he also strikes out a lot. So, our belief is that Chris can teach Septy exactly how to score, situationally, but also how to handle the occasional whiff.”
Asked why, exactly, the Yankees are hopeful of increased chick production, especially when Jeter is around, Cashman said, “Actually, there’s no double entendre here. We just want more chicks. McCann thinks they’re cuddly.”
In a blow to Milwaukee’s playoff hopes, Brewers centerfielder Carlos Gomez has been diagnosed with what doctors (and some nurses) are calling a “Grade 2 waist sprain.” Gomez first suffered the injury while using a 1930s-style Mueller Exerciser Belt, an innovative contraption that employs a vibrating belt to “jiggle away the fat” and perhaps also provide “a semi-erotic experience.”
Said manager Ron Roenicke, “It’s not that he needs to burn fat, even in such a scientifically validated way, or enjoy the sort of sensual pleasure that most of us only dream about, often three or four times per game. It’s just that he likes to sing Tiptoe Through the Tulips while in full, ferocious jiggle, mostly for the purpose of achieving a sustained vibrato.”
While on the DL, Gomez plans to recuperate by performing the sorts of toe touches and knee bends that “one might see in a 1950s educational film,” the outfielder said, “or in a corporate video that advocates for robust employee health.”
Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo will be sitting for a few days, and quite gingerly. An MRI this week revealed a strain in his lower sack.
“The lower sack is a lot worse than the upper sack,” Rizzo acknowledged yesterday, “because the lower sack is pretty much where the balls are.”
Rizzo first suffered the injury while watching a 1950s instructional video.
Back from a torn tendon in his pitching hand, rightie Brandon Morrow has rejoined the Blue Jays’ pitching staff – not as a starter, but as a believer.
“For the longest time I just didn’t believe,” the seven-year veteran said. “Whenever I watched The X-Files, I always sided with Scully – you know, rationality over mythology, fact above faith. Granted, I thought Mulder’s UFO poster was cool, but the thing is, I didn’t want to believe. Now I do.”
Morrow registered his first UFO sighting yesterday. Today, an unnamed official in a dark suit told Morrow that it was actually a Bautista batting-practice launch, countering earlier reports that it was a noctilucent cloud.
John Paschal is a regular contributor to The Hardball Times and The Hardball Times Baseball Annual.