“Who is it?”
“It is I, your granddaughter,” replies Red. “I have brought you a basket of goodies!”
The door creaks open and Little Red Riding Hood skips inside. The cottage is dark and she can barely make out the figure in her grandmother’s bed. She comes closer. Something crackles underfoot. Peanut shells? A grim realization takes hold. That’s not her grandmother--it’s Major League Baseball’s commissioner Bud Selig!
“What have you done with my grandmother, you awful beast?”
“It is disappointing,” he says, “and I find it sad because I told everybody a year ago, while we may disagree on the issues, we're not going to get personal. And we've lived up to our end of the bargain. I don't think threatening anybody, getting personal, does anybody any good.”
Superman is having one of those days. It seems like everything is twice as hard as it needs to be. Faster than a speeding bullet? Not today. More powerful than a locomotive? Not even. Able to leap over tall buildings in a single bound? Check back tomorrow. Later, he’s supposed to do a charity event at Yankee Stadium, but frankly he’s not feeling up to it. All he wants to do is sit on the couch and watch Baseball Tonight on ESPN, but the remote control isn’t working. He removes the back panel and--what’s this?--the batteries are suffused in a greenish glow. Wait a minute… It’s Kryptonite! Superman throws the remote across the room. Who would do such a thing?
He gets his answer when the front door crashes open and Bud Selig strides into the room.
"People are angry," he says. "They're angry about the game, they're angry about steroids, they're angry about a lot of things."
The British investigator Sir Denis Nayland Smith sits with Dr. Petrie over a snifter of plum brandy before a crackling radio. The Los Angeles Dodgers are blanking the San Francisco Giants 3-0 thanks to a homer by Shawn Green. To present his trusted ally with an honest picture of the difficulties surrounding his latest case, the Scotland Yard sleuth attempts to describe his arch-nemesis:
"Imagine a person, short, squat and froglike, round-shouldered, with a brow like Vincent Price and lips like Victor Mature, a forelock of black hair hangs above the feral eyes of a bespectacled rodent. Invest him with all the cruel cunning of a monopolist, accumulated in one feeble intellect, with all the resources of baseball past and present, with all the resources, if you will, of a powerful religion--which, however, already has denied all knowledge of his competence. Imagine that awful being, and you have a mental picture of Allan Huber Selig, peril of America’s pastime, incarnate in one man."
A wisp of green smoke wafts through the open window, and before either man realizes what is happening, the cheap-suited figure of the insidious Bud Selig materializes before them.
“Anything that intensifies feelings and adds more tension to the equation is, frankly, not very productive and doesn't help any. I hope we can turn the rhetoric down and get back to work.”
Ted Williams arrives in hell, sans cabeza. Bud Selig greets him at the gates, pitchbat in hand.
“Boy,” the Splendid Splinter says through his neck hole, “are they ever mad at you up there! Can’t say I blame them. Thanks to you, baseball is as good as dead!”
“I wouldn't say it's dead,” Selig says, wallowing in a sulfur pit. “Nothing is dead right now.”
Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi adjusts his necktie. The courtroom is stuffy as courtrooms always are. The bailiff coughs. A chair leg squeaks. The blades of a ceiling fan describe a lazy circle again and again and again.
Bugliosi believes he has the jury right where he wants them. Have they seen enough? Have they endured enough of this lunatic’s ravings? Yes on both counts. His best bet, he thinks, is to simply put the madman on the stand.
Bud Selig shuffles into the box. He leers at the jury as he is sworn in. He’s carved a dollar sign into his forehead.
“Mr. Selig,” Bugliosi begins, “there are people who feel you have run baseball into the ground. How do you respond to that?”
“I ran a club,” Bud responds with a discomfiting grin, “and one thing I’ve known, I’ve been convinced of, is that every fan has to have hope and faith. If you remove hope and faith from the mind of a fan, you destroy the fabric of the sport.”
Bugliosi turns to the judge. “No more questions, your honor.”
Here is a set of train tracks. Here comes a train. We can’t see it yet, but we can hear it coming around the proverbial bend.
Upon the tracks there is a damsel tied. She is bound and gagged in a manner that is not supposed to be suggestive or kinky, but who are we kidding?
Bud Selig, dressed in a black top hat and cloak, watches her squirm and writhe. He’s got knives, dynamite and a nuclear warhead at his disposal, but he thinks the train will suffice. There are heroes afoot, but the union tells them what to do. As for us, we do what we always do: we watch.
The whistle blows. The damsel whimpers. The villain gets his way.
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