It’s a while since I’m back to the Liquor and Rubber Balls Sports Emporium and Kosher Certification Services to see the crowd and watch a game — almost as long as the time since the Marlins scored a run, let alone win a game. Regulars Lu Senz, retired baseball writer, and Duck Diamonds, professional gambler, are already at the bar.
“The reason we still watch these games,” observes Duck, in reply to my question, “the only reason we watch these so-called contests,is to hate on the team’s ownership.”
“You mean in terms of years or number of dollars? Don’t matter. If the odds were any longer they’d throw shadows on Uranus.”
Except he might have said, “your anus.”
It’s email Tuesday, which means Marlins’ announcers Tommy Hutton and Rich Waltz entertain questions sent in by the broadcast’s diminishing audience. We’re watching game 2 of a split-day/night doubleheader in Minnesota, where the temperature in 38 degrees.
“The one place it makes sense to have an indoor stadium, and they move out of one,” says Lu, sipping her beer. “Ugh. It’s almost too cold to drink this while I watch.”
Almost. After all, Lu covered the Cubs for many years, and watched games during snowstorms and 45 mph lake-effect winds.
“Here’s our first email tonight,” says Waltz. “’Why did the Marlins switch starters tonight? It was supposed to be Nolasco for the first game and Fernandez the second.’”
“I wondered the same thing,” says Duck. “Maybe they didn’t want the kid to stay up past his bedtime, even though he’d probably get knocked out by the 4th inning anyway.”
“Bringing up a 20 year old with zero major league experience to pitch for a hopeless team run by a rookie manager,” says Lu, shaking her head in disgust. “If there was such a thing as baseball malpractice, they’d be sued. This could fuck his head and ruin his career before it starts.”
“Here’s our next one, Tommy,” says Waltz after the Marlins are retired on 11 pitches. “’Why don’t we hear from Marlins President David Samson on your station anymore? It was so much fun listening to that shrimp’s nasally voice apologizing for everything while telling us it was all to improve the team’.”
“That’s an easy one,” says Duck. “They took him off the air because it was bad enough they’d lost audience for the games — they couldn’t afford to lose any more on the sports talk shows.”
“What were they thinking when they let that choad loose in public, anyway?” offers Lu. “Anybody with a gram of sense could tell after 60 seconds how unfit for prime time he is, and always would be. It was like Wal-Mart hiring having Quasimodo as a greeter.” She swallows her beer. “No, check that. Quasimodo would be perfect for Wal-Mart.”
He’d be better than Samson on the air, too.
“I’m seeing a pattern tonight, Tommy” says Waltz. “Here’s another question — ‘Is there any chance we could bring George Steinbrenner back from the dead to buy this team?’”
“Why bring him back from the dead?” asks Duck. “His corpse would do a better job. Get Billy Martin in here, too. And Jose Canseco.”
“Canseco isn’t dead,” Lu reminds him.
“Might as well be.”
“I dunno, Tommy,” says Waltz, minutes later. “Every question tonight is some gripe about the owners. You’d think by now somebody would send us a baseball question, wouldn’t you?”
“Why? What does baseball have to do with a Marlins game?” asks Hutton.
Duck, Lu, and I just clink our glasses.