How like its new-born state, but sans the gleam,
It stood, atop the mound, for any team.
It passed its years of service, fit and faithful, until the day
A comebacker wing-dang-doodled off the front: the exposed face
The linden leaf spot above the heel; and marked it.
Was this the wound that killed it in old age?
With the death of Fidel Castro last fall, the number of world leaders with even theoretically verifiable experience on the diamond has fallen to a new low. Despite efforts and reputation, Castro never quite achieved the heights of dictatorship as envisioned by self-impressed prevaricator “Che” Guevera, settling for middling career numbers in a pursuit fueled, per persistent rumor despite the dates not matching in the slightest, by the shortsightedness of the Baltimore Orioles, whom we delight in blaming for let’s say all of Cuba’s ills even though, again, they didn’t even exist during Castro’s youth.
So you find yourself in need of a dictator, but aren’t sure where to look? You want solid stats and a proven track record, but it’s a tricky affair: Rare is the dictator who swaps teams mid-career. Rare as well is the hot prospect, dictators often being defined in part by the longevity of their rule.
[This continues my award-seeking foray into the realm of Young Adult Fiction. I hope to turn it into a multimillion-dollar film franchise within the next few years.]
Chapter 15 concludes — and also contains in its entirety — a grim period for Chief Wahoo and his charges: the fallow time between pennants, chapters 13 and 14 covering the 1954 season and the Indians’ 111 wins in boisterous fashion and then largely glossing over the ensuing sweep, perhaps framing “the Catch” in such a way as to highlight the publisher’s inclusiveness of diversity or however they put it now, without exploring too deeply how it was the first dagger-blow in a crushing defeat, because we have to be careful about whom we vilify.
To click is to enlarge.
More marketable events have more characters. Imitators and investors, take note.
Our own “Hat Steve” Action, tepid reporter, has been delivering the goods to us from the floor of the Winter Meetings where he has been hiding among the nutcracker army in the grand floor display at the Convention Center. His missives are heavily encoded and delivered by carrier salmon, so we tend to receive most information long after it is old news, but at the same time, we sent his notice of termination in identical fashion, so at least it’s free labor.
Around this time last year, the Right Honourable Brian, Lord Reinhart, W.B.E. &c. laid before the Commentariat and consortium the prospect and duty of electing the 2015 Banknotes Industries MVP. Perhaps he shall raise the banner again in 2016; though as he is at present in repose, bare-chested and slathered with a thick, red wine mushroom sauce highlighted with hints of honey dijon, the haste with which he is at leisure to address said task is decidedly limited. In the spirit of golden gloves and silver slugs, we shall entertain a metaphorical writerly mound visit and hand out some lesser hardware to stall.
You, dearish reader, said to yourself a season ago or so, “My, but if that Theo Epstein builds a Cubs team that wins a World Series — two famous franchises and two famous ‘curses’ broken? — he’s a Hall of Famer for sure, no matter whom he sexually punches toward the end of his career!” No doubt you and all those who said similar were and are correct. But, ah, the question is: Which hat does he wear?
No, no, unfurrow thy brow, for we at Banknotes Industries know as well as thou dost — if not better — that the executive does not wear a team cap. The choice for young Epstein is pointed or floppy, broad-brimmed or star-topped, solid or patterned; for young Epstein, scion of sweathogs, is a wizard. How else could one unweave such potent ensorcellments as chained the Red Sox and Cubs to historical failure? Otherwise, we should be suggesting that the very notion of “curses” is a silly one, that indeed ours is a world without magic. How dull, how overmodern, how like a Hollywood Injun.
The Chicago Cubs of the National League have won the World Series, here, now, recently, in 2016 of the calendar you know; and, as such an incident clearly pursued and involved items of magic — including and featuring curses, goats, curse-breaking, enchantment and sorcery, spells and science — and perhaps some on-field action, we will surely be publishing investigative pieces in the near future. In the meantime, as there are no other events of significant concern to America or the world on the close horizon, you can go ahead and just relax for a while.
At the outset of these playoffs, I proposed that it should be a fine incident if the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians were to meet one another in the World Series. This suggestion met with notes of disfavor in some of those to whom it was leveled, amidst complaints secondarily that it would be unexciting or have the appearance of a fix, and primarily as it would create as an inevitability that one franchise’s “curse” should end. Yes, that is rather what I was getting at, I explained but moved none of the complainers. As much as sports championships or their lack mean anything, this year’s contest puts a great deal before us.
As brisk as the autumn air was his step; leaves turned bright hues overhead were little mirrors; Chief Wahoo was on a mission. Others might have worn their determination on their features, but he was forever buoyant. He was not the first to arrive at the meeting hall; in fact, he may have been the last. That was all right; they might not all know that he had called this conclave otherwise. This was important.
All the logos were assembled: Mister Windsor had been driven down from New England; headquarters being in New York, Reb Giovanni was playing host, setting out pastrami and salami, knishes and cannoli; Big Daddy Leon and Bubba Billy-Bob were joshing each other about southern team sympathies; Wang-san and Señor Vato maintained their endless debate on west coast fandom; the great room was churning with voices.