Humorous and properly disrespectful views of the most obvious illusions and hypocrisies now in play to convince Americans that they still live in a democratic republic and their vote counts.
Supreme National Pastime by William C. Banks
"Quite a match-up today, eh Don? Houston versus New York! Two better teams you won't find, and historic rivals too. Your prediction please, sir!"
"Ha, ha, Al."
"No seriously, Don, we're on the air. I'm sure a few of our elderly viewers want to know which team 'The Ole Warthog' thinks will win today's historic contest!"
"Wow, you've always been a big, Texas guy. Your reasons, sir, please."
"Reasons? Well, Earl Frimblehaus, Walt Watanabe and Moe Reese."
"What a kidder! Folks, those men are, of course, the umpires at home, second and third. And of course we all have the greatest respect for the game's ultimate judges, baseball's 'court of no appeal,' eh, Don? "
"The 'highest court.'"
"So really, who's gonna be making things happen out on the field today, Ole Warty?"
"Well, first-base ump Billy Newsome might be able to help New York , but Watanabe's ex- is from Queens, and she had a terrific lawyer."
"I'll bet, and aren't we all from Queens, deep down? But really, which players pose the biggest threat to young Duke Wellington, Houston's $30 million-dollar super-righty?"
"Players? Oh, I suppose Johnson, Jackson and Jacoby will knock him off the mound by the third inning, as usual. But I don't see what that has to do with anything."
"Oh ho! So suddenly you're not so sure about Houston, eh!"
"No. I'm sure."
"Wait a second, Don. If the Yank sluggers tag Wellington from the git-go, Houston's gotta be in big trouble. Are you saying Astros batters are gonna do even better?"
"Maybe, but it's not important. I just told you: Frimblehaus is behind the plate. He's on record saying he'll make every call for Houston for as long as he draws breath."
"I thought they never found that record."
"Oh right, I think it sort of disappeared just before he was appointed to The Show. Okay, strike that. Of course, everybody in the minors knows all about him, including the press and a few million fans."
"But can they prove it? I'd like to see 'em try!"
"Al, a slug in a salt mine has a better chance than any un-Texas team when Frimblehaus is behind the plate."
"What? Listen, Warty, if a runner gets on first, he can round the bases and score! That's the way the game's played, always has been played and always will be played."
"Good point: Newsome has hated Frimblehaus' guts ever since that magazine article where Earl called him a vomit-soaked cannibal."
"Ha, ha, that was a good one, all right. What a kidder! Boy, I guess it's hard to live some things down, huh?"
"I wasn't referring to your drinking, Al."
"Huh? What are you talking about? I just said Newsome can't seem to live down that old vomit thing I've been repeating all month."
"And don't forget Moe Reese out behind second. Moe's said more than once that he never met a Yankee he hasn't shot at with his 12-gauge."
"Get outta town. He never said that!"
"Not more than a few dozen times since opening day. Don't you read the sports section at all?"
"Whoa! Easy on the beta blockers, Warthog. Look, if Johnson whacks one out of the park, even the umps will have to let him tour the bases."
Who told you that, Al?
No one told me that. That's the rule! You hit a home run, you score. That's it. End of discussion."
What rule would that be, Al?"
I don't know the number, but that's how it's been played since the Founding Fathers. An ump can't just throw away the rule book because he personally hates one team."
"Earl's not fond of Boston either."
"You know what I mean,"
"And so few can say that, Al."
"Sure, whatever. Let's wrap this up. So which players do you think will make the difference today, old man?"
"Well, now that you put it that way, none."
"Oh, brother! Look, you cynical cretin, the umps' personal prejudices are not the only factors in a great trial like this, an historic national clash!"
"What else, Cracker Jacks?"
"No! It's the accomplishments, the facts, even the breaks of the game! May the best team win and all that, but definitely the victor is one with the most runs on the scoreboard!"
"There's a thought. It could happen. But realistically, the best New York can hope for is a rainout."
"Ok, whatever. Wait! Here comes Wellington's first pitch!"
"And it's a breaking ball just over the backstop! Strike three! New York's leadoff batter is outta there!"
"But, Warty, the Texas righty only threw one pitch!"
"That's right, Al, and here's Mark Jacoby stepping up to the plate. Yessiree, it's a whole new ballgame for another great American institution. "
"This is ridiculous! The fans won't stand for it! We, the press, won't stand for it! We'll sue and take it all the way to the Supreme Court!"
"Oh, no-brainer there: You'll lose 5-4 every time with dissents no one will read in our lifetime.
" And now this word from the good people at Right Thinkers Investment Trust, 'The financial folks who always know better than you do about everything!'"
"Huh? Who the hell are they? Wait a second, is my mike still on?"
"Easy there, Al. Remember what Yogi used to say: '"Yup, it's over."'
"That's not what Yogi Berra used to say!"
"It is now, Al."
((c) William C. Banks 2006