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CLERK: THE SENIOR AND JUNIOR CIRCUIT Court is now in session, Judge Landis presiding. The National League has brought suit against the American League for obstruction of the game, for failure to comply with the laws of baseball and for general malfeasance. Joining in the suit is Francis T. Vincent Jr., commissioner of baseball. Attorney for the plaintiff, the National League, is Steve Rushin; representing the defendant, the American League, is Steve Wulf.
LANDIS: Will both parties please approach the bench? I am holding these proceedings during the All-Star break so as not to disrupt your busy summer schedules, and while I realize there are deep divisions between the sides....
RUSHIN: Pardon me, your honor. The American League East is anything but a deep division.
LANDIS: Mr. Rushin, any more remarks like that, and I'll hold you in contempt.
WULF: I believe we of the American League are the ones being held in contempt, your honor.
LANDIS: Gentlemen! As I was about to say, I know there is a long history of animosity between the two parties, but I will not tolerate any name-calling or shenanigans in this courtroom. Is that clear? Good. Mr. Rushin, you may proceed with your opening argument.
RUSHIN: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, it is your duty today to uphold Justice. And Sandberg. And Bonilla and Gooden and Hershiser. It is your duty, in short, to uphold the entire National League. Hold it up next to the American League. I am confident you will conclude what is right: That all things considered, the swift winged foot of the National League kicks the American League's ample butt.
The American League stands accused of playing bad baseball. Frankly, it's a wonder the league can stand at all, given the cumulative weight of its players, who are generally big and fat and stationary. "Lumbersome" is the word Pittsburgh pitching coach Ray Miller, a former American League manager, chose to describe players in that league.
I intend to prove that the National League plays harder, plays faster and plays the game the way it was meant to be played. I will demonstrate that the designated hitter is an idea whose time has gone. Bye-bye, Balboni. I will elicit expert testimony to the fact that the most difficult thing that American League managers have to do is maintain straight faces while addressing each other as "Sparky" and "Stump."
Finally, I will give details, graphic but necessary, of the American League's most heinous crime—its predilection for endless, torturous, narcolepsy-inducing games. Games that feature full counts on every batter. Four and a half hour games uninterrupted by rain. Games whose high dramatic points too frequently come when Scooter Rizzuto reads that "expressed written consent" disclaimer with two outs in the ninth. This, ladies and gentlemen, is American League baseball.