I totally made this up, but I think it could happen.
Mark Shapiro — GM of the Indians
Eric Wedge — Manager of the Indians
Travis “Pronk” Hafner — Designated hitter, clubhouse leader
Grady Sizemore — Cleveland’s version of Derek Jeter, except without the rings or the bad defense and better offense
The ghost of Bob Wickman — former closer of the Indians
Assorted other Indians players, Johnny the Batboy, and a ham sandwich named Melvin.
Scene 1 (early 2007)
SHAPIRO <on the phone>: Yes, yes, Mr. Dolan. I know we don’t have a Proven Closer ™ this year. Of course I’ll get one. You can depend on me! <hangs up>
Now, let’s see who’s available that will shut Dolan up… Keith Foulke! He helped win a World Series in Boston! Let’s get him!
<calls Foulke’s agent>
Mr. Jewstein? I would like to hire Keith Foulke. He is good at pitching. We will give you money in exchange for his services. What’s that? …. No, I don’t think you’re an idiot. This is how I talk to everybody… Great! Tell him to come to spring training.
Great! Now, I should get a couple more pitchers in case Foulke doesn’t work out. Roberto Hernandez AND Joe Borowski are still available?!? I’m on the phone so I can call their agents and acquire their services for money! I have money and I need services! Pitching services!
Scene 2: A meeting in the Indians clubhouse (End of spring training)
SHAPIRO: You there, manager of the Cleveland Indians Professional Baseball Club who is known as Eric Wedge! Come here!
WEDGE: For the last time, Eric is fine. What do you want?
SHAPIRO: One of the gentlemen who throws baseballs later in the game for our club has chosen to retire from the sport of baseball, which our business (the Cleveland Indians) partakes in!
WEDGE: Look, Dolan gave you a new contract. I’m pretty sure he’s convinced you’re smart enough to stick around. Me, on the other hand…
HAFNER: Hey, skip, I heard Keith Foulke bailed on us. Who’s the closer now?
WEDGE: What? That… Who on our club has saves? Saves are important!
SHAPIRO: According to this computing device which may be kept on one’s lap or other flat service, both Joseph Thomas Borowski of Bayonne, NJ and Roberto Manuel Hernandez, from Santurce, Puerto Rico, have acquired countless saves in the past… specifically 80 for Mr. Borowski and 326 for Mr. Hernandez.
SIZEMORE <running up to catch the news>: Isn’t Hernandez older than dirt? ::giggles boyishly::
SHAPIRO: Young Master Sizemore, I do believe that Mr. Hernandez is over forty years of age! This is a salient point, and should play a role in the decision making process, Baseball Manager Wedge.
HAFNER: Aren’t you still a rookie? Go fetch my laundry, rookie! <gives Sizemore a hot foot>
SIZEMORE: Oh, Pronk! ::giggles boyishly, then skips like a metrosexual::
WEDGE: Borowski it is then. I’m glad we have a Proven Closer this season!
EVERYONE: Woo hoo!
Scene 3: Middle of May, after an Indians win and Joe Borowski save
WEDGE: Thataway, Joe. Good game!
HAFNER: Yeah, Joe. Here, rook, get Joe and me a beer!
<Ryan Garko starts to get up, but Hafner waves him down until Sizemore shows up>
SIZEMORE: Sorry, Mr. Pronk, my beloved lord and master, I was retrieving the balls as befits my status as a rookie!
GARKO: Uh, Travis, isn’t Grady —
HAFNER <whispers>: You want to do it? <Garko thinks better of it>
SIZEMORE: I’ll be back in a minute, my noble sir ::giggles boyishly and prances off. Two female fans swoon.::
BOROWSKI <muttering>: I hope everybody likes me. I need to be loved! FOR CHRISSAKE WON’T SOMEBODY LOVE ME! ANYBODY!?!?!?
HERNANDEZ <melts in from the shadows>: Joseph, heed me well. I well know the ways of the professional athlete. If you wish to be well regarded, you must appear to be as those who came before. <melts away>
BOROWSKI <muttering>: Yes, yes of course! I’ll start watching film of Bob Wickman! Everyone loved him, even though he was fat! I know, I should gain more weight and shave my head! Then I’ll start pitching like him! Yes!!!!!!!! <calls wife> HONEY, PLEASE TELL ME YOU LOVE ME! PLEASE!!!! I NEED TO BE LOVED!!!! <dial tone> NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
Scene 4: A meeting in Wedge’s office. HAFNER, BOROWSKI, AND VICTOR MARTINEZ are present.
WEDGE: Joe, we need to talk. You’ve been getting saves, and saves are good, but you’re not being very efficient.
BOROWSKI: Oh, no, I’m sorry, skip. Please don’t hate me! PLEASE!!!!!?!? I NEED ATTENTION!!!!!!!!!!!
HAFNER: What’s his problem? Rook, get him some more beer! <looks around, sees Grady isn’t there, then notices Victor> What the…? Who are you? Are you also a rookie?
MARTINEZ: I was here last year… and the year before that…
HAFNER: No way. That’s spooky.
WEDGE <whispers to MARTINEZ>: He’s a DH. We told him not to worry about playing the field, and it seems he’s forgotten everybody who does. He knows all the pitchers, but calls all the position players “rookie.”
HAFNER: That’s okay, I’ve got some beer under my seat.
WEDGE: No beer in team meetings! Now, Joe, I brought Travis here because he’s kind of our clubhouse leader —
HAFNER: Damn straight, skip.
WEDGE: And Victor because he’s the catcher and has the most contact with you. Victor, do you want to explain the problem?
MARTINEZ: See, Joe, the problem is that you need to control inherited baserunners better, as well as your own.
BOROWSKI: I… see. I… have failed. OH, MERCIFUL JESUS, STRIKE ME DEAD!!!!!
HAFNER: Lighten up, Joe. You want a beer?
WEDGE: NO BEER!!!!
HERNANDEZ <melts in from the shadows>: Borowski, you have not convinced them. The one called Wickman was never questioned and was always beloved. You must continue to be like him! <melts away>
WEDGE: What the…? Did you invite Roberto here, Joe?
BOROWSKI breaks down weeping.
Scene 5: May 31st, 2007 in Mark Shapiro’s office.
SHAPIRO: Good day, friends and employees all! I have gathered you together to discuss the contributions of our comrade Joseph Thomas Borowski, second in the American League of Major League Baseball in saves! All hail the bountiful statistic that is the save!
All shout: “Hail the save!”
SHAPIRO: Now, Closing Pitcher Borowski, it would seem we are at something of a crossroads here. You continue to accumulate the save, and yet, you pitch quite poorly. Your Earned Run Average, which is calculated by dividing the number of earned runs by the number of innings you have pitched, is a quite ghastly 6.50. I feel, my good man, that you are not maximizing your potential.
HAFNER: I’m thirsty. Beer, anyone?
SHAPIRO: Designated Hitter Hafner, there shall be no consumption of alcoholic beverages in my office.
SHAPIRO: Nor shall there be profanity.
HAFNER: Well son of a —
SHAPIRO: I ask you, Mr. Hafner, to depart before you incur my righteous wrath!
HAFNER: Fine. Come on, rook. <everyone in the room leaves except for BOROWSKI, WEDGE, and SHAPIRO>
BOROWSKI: PLEASE DON’T FIRE ME!!! IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, PLEASE, GIVE ME ANOTHER CHANCE!
WEDGE: Take it easy, Joe. Look, I know you came from the Marlins. We aren’t going to send you back there.
BOROWSKI: OH, THANK YOU, TREASURED LEADER! A THOUSAND TIMES THANK YOU!
SHAPIRO: Do behave as a professional baseball player, which you are, Mr. Borowski. We are simply asking why you perform so poorly. Perhaps it is a mechanical issue?
PITCHING COACH CARL WILLIS <spits out chewing tobacco>: It almost looks like he’s tryin’…
GHOST OF BOB WICKMAN: OOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I am he who was once Bob Wickman! Who dares summon me?
SHAPIRO: According to my payroll sheet, Mr. Wickman, you are no longer an employee of the Cleveland Indians Professional Baseball Club, nor are you dead, so I do not see how you can possibly have appeared here.
WEDGE: Wait, which one is Joe?
SHAPIRO: Zounds! That’s it! Mr. Borowski has possessed by the ghost of a living player! But only the most powerful voodoo priest could have possibly unlocked such a mighty spirit.
HERNANDEZ <melts in from the shadows>: It is I, Roberto Hernandez, who dared summon the unthinkable horror —
WICKMAN’S GHOST: Wait a minute —
HERNANDEZ: For one reason only! I wish to claim the closer’s job and all of its glory for myself!
WEDGE AND SHAPIRO gasp. BOROWSKI cries like a little school girl. WICKMAN’S GHOST spots an unfinished hoagie and begins eating.
WEDGE: But you’ve got over 300 saves!
HERNANDEZ: I know, but… everyone thinks I’m so old…
BOROWSKI whimpers, looking like a puppy dog with his big sad eyes.
SHAPIRO: You were born on November 11th, 1964.
HERNANDEZ: I know that!
WEDGE: Hate to break it to you, Roberto, but you’re actually pitching worse than Joe. He has a better strikeout to walk ratio.
SHAPIRO: He also has a lower Walks + Hits divided by Innings Pitched.
WEDGE: You’ve allowed a higher average against.
SHAPIRO: If not for his opponents striking the most prodigious of pokes against him, he would also have a lower Earned Run Average than you.
BOROWSKI: I… would? I’m not… worthless?
WEDGE: Of course not, Joe, you’re the second best man in the AL in saves!
BOROWSKI: This is the happiest day of my life!
HAFNER <ducks back in>: Anybody else want a beer?
EVERYONE: Oh, Pronk! ::laughter, including Grady’s boyish giggle::