Friday, October 22, 2004

My Team Can Beat Your Team

There was much made of the recent contest between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, and I suppose it cannot be ignored. What I will remember of this confrontation is that it ended with the death of a young woman who got in the way of a supposedly non-fatal rubber bullet shot by a police officer in Boston; that no problems of human enmity or the war against Nature were solved; and that the forces of Greed and Excess once again prevailed among us. The following is a "prediction" I had written on the evening of the final game.

I am examining the fall of the cards, the glow of the orb, the incandescent light of the coins, and I foresee the following: one set of trim, muscular multi-millionaires will score more runs than another similar set tonight, and one fat, bloated, egocentric owner will swim in champagne while the other angrily orders the building of an additional wing to the yacht. One mayor will have to order a lobster or a pizza to send to the other. Tim McCarver will make another obscenely obvious error in analysis, which he will embellish and aggrandize in a self-serving voice-over of a slow motion replay that visually exposes his distortion; meanwhile, Joe "Mega" Buck, a disgrace to his old man's memory, will sing a J. Geils tune while the camera pans around on fans in attitudes of prayer or contempt. Corporate America will celebrate the event with a fresh, game 7 set of Madison Ave. jingles (except of course for AIG, which will feature the same stupid letters dancing around with only the added message: "ignore those executives being led away in handcuffs...look at the cute letters doing flips for your money").

The game will be briefly interrupted by an appearance of Michael Moore's Slacker Uprising Tour, until the home plate ump reminds Moore that NY is already in the bag for the Dems. Then he will leave and go to New Jersey, where the GOP is making gains. If the Yankees lose, Steinbrenner will be possessed with self-flagellatory guilt and issue free season tickets for 2005 to all fans in attendance. Little will they know that by next April the entire team will have been sold, traded, or executed, depending on the level of blame assigned to each player for the debacle. The ball boy on the third base line will be ritually sacrificed in a post-game ceremony, and the prisoners in the nearby Bronx Correctional Facility will choke on the fumes of his burning flesh. Once the game is over and the parking lot has been cleared of the Jaguars and BMW's, the South Bronx will return to its normal life as a place where anonymous people, most of them people of color, struggle to survive amid crime, drugs, and poverty.

In the locker room and beyond, for days to come, players on both sides will talk, like imperial generals to embedded reporters, to fawning pressmen about their courage, determination, character, heart, and religious zeal, even as they sheepishly defer questions about next year's free agent contract to their agents. Jeter will shrug his shoulders and say, "didn't you see the ghosts? Bring a Polaroid next year--it always catches their aura better than those fancy digital cameras." Tom Brady will appear and mutter, "4 in a row? Big deal...come talk to me after you've won 16 more." The money will be eagerly, lasciviously counted on both sides, with no thought of the difference between wealth and excess, between abundance and depravity, between prosperity and corruption.

Mariano Rivera will skip his shower and hurry to the airport, to get back home to the people who still need him there.

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