Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Interview with the Baseball Gods

Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time, while probably getting driven irreparably insane, will also know that I can not be considered a journalist by any stretch of the imagination.

So, you can imagine how thrilled I am to have landed the biggest Cubs interview since Kellie Pickler visited the broadcast booth and enthralled us all with her two... um... I.Q. points.

Shortly after the latest Cubs loss to a pitcher only fantasy baseball geeks have ever heard of, I had an opportunity to sit down with the Baseball Gods to talk about baseball, the Cubs, and The Curse.

Aisle 424: First, I want to thank you all for being here and taking time out of your busy schedules. It is quite an honor. But before we get into the heavy stuff, can you introduce yourselves to my six readers?

Diane: Certainly. First, we are happy to be here and we look forward to clearing up some of the misconceptions that float around about us, particularly in the Cubs fan community. I'm Diane, God of Health, on my right is Cleo, God of Talent...

Cleo: Hello, it's great to be here.

Diane: ... and on my left is Felicity, God of Luck.

Felicity: Hello.

Aisle 424: I think when most people think of the Baseball Gods, they envision bearded Zeus-like men with bolts of lightning and such. Sitting here with you all now, I can't help but notice that you are all female. Where did such an erroneous stereotype begin?

Diane: Well, baseball has long been a male dominated game among the players, but women have a long tradition of appreciating baseball in all of its intricate beauty. If oversight of the game had been left in the hands of men, it would be far more needlessly violent and thuggish. You see what has happened with basketball.

Cleo: That is so true. It used to be such a beautiful game, but now its all razzle-dazzle followed by a giant man bullying his way to the basket and jamming it through while other giant men shove and smack him along the way. I don't know what those guys who run basketball have been thinking.

Felicity: I'll tell you what it is, they hang out with the Football Gods too much. Those guys are bad news if you ask me, but they know how to build revenues. I'll give them that.

Aisle 424: So being a Sports God involves building revenues for the sport?

Cleo: We'd be lying if we didn't say that was part of it. Let's face it, this is the world as it is and sports are only going to survive by playing by the same rules as everyone else, and that includes making some money, sure, but that isn't everything.

Felicity: At least it shouldn't be. You have to think of the game itself. You have to keep the essence of what makes the game great. When they brought in some new female leadership to the Hockey Gods, things started turning around for that sport.

Diane: That is a GREAT example. They kept some of the fighting, which again, let's face it, that is part of the game of Hockey, but they aren't so fixated on it anymore. They started getting back to the skating and the passing and the scoring. Plus, they stopped letting every damn team into the playoffs.

Aisle 424: I see, so you three have been charged with overseeing the overall wellness of the game of baseball in all of its aspects?

Felicity: That pretty much covers it.

Aisle 424: So do you work with Bud Selig?


Cleo: Oh my, I was told you were funny, but that caught me off guard...

Felicity: Damn it, I'm crying that was so damn funny. Do you have a tissue?

Aisle 424: So, you don't work with him.

Diane: No, no, no, no, no. He works FOR us. He might not realize it fully. Frankly, I think that he thinks that he runs the show, but that's just his own ignorance. He wouldn't be able to wipe his own ass if we didn't allow him to.

Aisle 424: OK, well it's clear who's running the show, so let's get right into the guts of what Cubs fans want to know: Why do you hate the Chicago Cubs so much?


Diane: Yes, that certainly is direct. I do appreciate your candor so we are going to tell you a little secret: We don't hate the Cubs.

Aisle 424: Really?

Cleo: You seem surprised by that.

Aisle 424: Well, forgive me, but I have been operating under the assumption that there was a massive supernatural conspiracy against the Cubs.

Felicity: Oh, well sure, there is. But you asked why we hate the Cubs. We don't at all. We hate the Yankees.

Aisle 424: What?!! How can you say that?! They have 26 World Championships!

Cleo: This is why there is so much confusion. You and most Cub fans have misunderstood these things for years. You equate a drought of championships to mean that we hold a grudge against your team and its fans. You equate World Series victories with some kind of approval from us. That isn't it at all.

Aisle 424: I am so confused.

Diane: We know. It's cute. But think about it, how many happy Yankee fans do you know?

Aisle 424: I know they are always pretty happy after they win a World Series.

Diane: Yes, for about a minute. Then they go back to their sad lives of obsessing over how they can possibly win ANOTHER championship the next year. They win three in a row, four out of five and do you know they can't get past Luis Gonzalez keeping them from four in a row? Or why they didn't have five in a row to begin with? What the hell kind of life is that?

Cleo: They HATE the Red Sox for infringing on their "property" a couple of times. They can't deal with any other team having even a small amount of success because it means they have FAILED in their minds. It doesn't matter how often they beat the Red Sox down in the past or how often they will in the future, they will hate Boston to the core until they die.

Felicity: They have an addiction and it consumes them. They derive no joy from win after win. Pardon my French, but they want to boo the shit out of Joe Torre for crying out loud. The man resurrected them from a huge (in their eyes) slump of championships and they would punch him in the head if they had a chance.

Aisle 424: So, let's say I buy into this, "We hate the Yankees and will curse them with seemingly unbounded success." Why do you hate them?

Cleo: Because they are so damn full of themselves. You'd think that they were the ones who orchestrated the trade for Babe Ruth themselves. They think they did something to DESERVE Babe Ruth. We made Babe Ruth. We bestowed him on the Yankees and they go and act like their shit doesn't stink because of it.

Diane: So we gave them Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, and Yogi too. These poor bastards on the team now have no chance of ever replacing the Golden Gods of Yankees Past. A-Rod? Seriously? That guy could hit 2,000 homeruns a season and have drug tests as pure as the driven snow, and if he pops up once with a runner at third with less than two outs, he'll hear for two weeks that he'll never be a "real Yankee." They love Teixiera now, but wait until he strikes out with runners on in the playoffs. They're getting on Jeter now for being over-rated. Derek Jeter. This guy was the heart and soul of those teams and he takes crap for losing a step and not having the greatest range in the world at short. These people would boo the second coming of Babe Ruth. That is why we hate them. The sense of entitlement.

Aisle 424: So the Cubs drought of 100 years isn't because you hate the Cubs? Then why?

Felicity: Because it makes us laugh.

Cleo: Absolutely, there is no ill-will. We just find it funny. Don't you?

Aisle 424: How is it funny? There are fans that have been born, lived to a ripe old age and then died without ever seeing a Cubs championship. That's funny?

Diane: Maybe funny is too strong a word. Perhaps it would be better to say it amuses us. It is a great story of longing and yearning and unfulfilled love. It's great. Women love that sort of stuff. Why do you think that the Twilight crap is so popular? Cubs baseball is the same sort of thing only with more substance and real drama.

Aisle 424: So the Bartman ball, the ball between Durham's legs, the injuries to Prior and Wood, the collapse of 1969 and all the rest was orchestrated for your amusement?

Felicity: You are thinking far too simplistically. We didn't make Steve Bartman do anything. Durham simply took his eye off the ball, and 1969 is the greatest piece of marketing and over-hype we have pulled off yet.

Cleo: On September 2, 1969 the Cubs had 84 wins and the Mets had 77. The Mets went on a 23-7 run to end up with 100 wins. The Cubs only won 8 more games, but they would have had to go 17-9 down the stretch to end up the season ahead of the Mets. The Cubs weren't winning in 1969. The Mets would have run them down anyway. The collapse makes for a better story though. It led to all sorts of excuses from a mangy cat at Shea Stadium to playing too many day games. It is all part of the grand plan.

Diane: We don't involve ourselves in the minutia of individual games very often. We are more into the big picture. We simply orchestrate situations that come together to maintain the order and balance that a championshipless Cubs team provides.

Aisle 424: So how is destroying Mark Prior's career not involving yourself in minutia?

Diane: Mark Prior was doomed from the start. He was fragile, coddled, and a wuss.

Aisle 424: So you weren't involved at all?

Felicity: You just aren't getting it at all. This is the problem with men. We orchestrated the whole situation to provide the Cubs with the opportunity to even have Mark Prior in the first place. We made sure that the Cubs were crappy enough the year before to get a great draft pick. We made sure that the pre-draft hype was so high that the Twins wouldn't even think about trying to sign him. We held his body together with our sheer will power so he could excel on the mound for just long enough to get everyone to start pre-enshrining him in the Hall of Fame. Then we just let the natural order take its course.

Cleo: See? We just add a few elements of drama to keep things interesting. We didn't force Bartman into interfering. We guided that ball to a spot that was almost out of reach for Alou, but not quite. You've seen the video and the pictures. Everyone in that area was reaching for the ball. Bartman was the one who happened to touch it.

Diane: We actually felt bad about that because we didn't mean for anyone to get killed over it, so we did make Gonzalez drop that ground ball shortly after to take some of the heat off that poor kid. It didn't work completely, but I think he's alive today because it couldn't be spun as COMPLETELY his fault.

Aisle 424: But why? Why the Cubs?

Felicity: We honestly didn't think you minded that much. You pack that ballpark even though ticket prices go up almost every year. You put bleachers on top of buildings across the street so you can catch a glimpse. You dance around like you've won the World Series after winning a regular season game against the damn Brewers. You seem pretty happy.

Diane: Plus, you seem to have so much fun with the whole goat thing. For awhile I thought you guys were playing along with us.

Cleo: We messed with the Red Sox and they just got PISSED! White Sox fans just ended up going insane and a little psychotic. Cubs fans just kept rolling with it. They blamed a goat, made some t-shirts, and kept singing "Go Cubs Go." Why would we end that party?

Aisle 424: But what about the fans that hate all that crap? What about the ones who would demolish Wrigley Field after it was re-named Wal-Mart Field at Cisco Systems Park if it meant seeing a Cubs World Series victory before we die?

Diane: We're not saying that everyone should be happy about it and we do feel for the people who suffer and die a little with every Cubs failure, but we're really quite proud of how long we have kept this going. There are going to be a few casualties, which is regrettable, but the long-term benefits are too great.

Cleo: Think about it, every time the Cubs manage to get close, it starts a whole new resurgence in the "Cubs Mystique" and the undying loyalty of the fans when faced with unending adversity. It's good for the game. Remember, we need to make sure the game itself remains healthy. It needs a tragic hero as much as it needs a villain like the Yankees.

Aisle 424: So there will be no World Series this year?

Felicity: We're not going to comment on that except to say you all can probably safely make plans to go out of town in October.

Aisle 424: Is there anything that can end the conspiracy?

Diane: It might play itself out at some point. People might get bored with this storyline. You can't milk the "will they/won't they" angle forever. But for now, we have some really nice sub-plots that are in process. We're particularly proud of orchestrating a global financial collapse that prevented one of the biggest cash cows of the last quarter century to sit on the market for over two years and ending up preventing them from making any serious mid-season adjustments to a roster that is already overpaid. That took some doing.

Felicity: We put in a lot of overtime on that one. But we love what we do, so it really is a blessing to work with these ladies. Remember when we got the United States involved in World War II so that Wrigley would donate the metal for the lights to the war effort? That got another 40 years worth of excuses. Cleo, that was your baby, wasn't it?

Cleo: Oh stop. I might have kicked off the idea, but we all pulled together to make it work. Felicity arranged to put the team on WGN and planted the idea of marketing the "romanticism" of day baseball. I remember, Diane came in one day and said, "What if we put ivy on the walls, wouldn't that be pretty?" We just wove that into the mythology. It really is a work of art, and to ask us to stop now is almost like asking Michaelangelo to just put a coat of stucco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel instead of a painting.

Aisle 424: Well, this certainly has been enlightening despite being wholly depressing.

Diane: We are sorry about that. You seem like a good guy and you are obviously taking it all very hard. Maybe we can help out a little.

Aisle 424: Can't you allow the Cubs to win it this year before I either die or can't afford the tickets anymore when PSL's arrive with the new owner?

Felicity: I'm afraid I can't promise anything like that. You'll have to stay tuned. What if we gave Milton Bradley his power-stroke back?

Aisle 424: Won't you just injure him after a couple of good games?

Cleo: You're starting to get it. There may be hope for you yet.

Aisle 424: Thanks, I guess. Again, I appreciate you sitting down and talking with me. Perhaps we can do it again some time?

Diane: You bet. We're not going anywhere anytime soon.


Kris said...

Hysterical!!  Who knew the baseball gods were actually godesses?  They're right, girls go in for the yearning and longing. And we're partial to mangy cats.

Tim McGinnis said...

It makes total sense and I don't know why I didn't realize it before.  Men can't possibly have been able to interweave the intricacies of such a long-standing hex for so long.  They would have gotten bored with it and gone for a beer or been distracted by boobies or something.

Cubs Magic Number said...

Also, I don't think males can sustain that level of shadenfreude.

Seat 106 said...

See. It really wasn't my fault!!!!

Tim McGinnis said...

I'm making a mental note to bring that up with them the next time I talk to them.

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