Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Revelation No. 99

It was the end of October and pinstripes faced pinstripes in a city known for its wind, its food, and its processed meats. The City of the Big Shoulders had never seen anything like it, never had come close to the cool of the October grass while standing in the national spotlight. October, a revolutionary month, once again pitted the bourgeoisie against the proletariat.

The task of getting to this grand series was no easy feat. The bourgeois Northsiders had played a dozen close baseball games just to get to the series, as did the working class Southsiders. The two teams had duked it out for six more games and arrived to the last game of the 2008 baseball season, the city tense with the finality of it all. Scuffles had broken out across concrete and pavement, in bars and restaurants, at gas stations and libraries, between all sorts of people - doctors and patients, lawyers and clients, professors and students, shoppers and cashiers - all because of a children's game played with a little white sphere bound with 108 stitches.

The final game was played on the Northside, where money, drinks, and obnoxiousness flowed as freely as the river forced between downtown banks of concrete. A rather large and loud Venezuelan took the mound for the Northsiders against a kid from Austin, Texas. The visitors went down quietly in order in the first inning, and the home team followed suit. This went on for five innings. The annoying former catcher turned broadcaster began proclaiming this to be the best World Series game ever, his scrawny sidekick wondering if he should agree. But the sixth inning came around, and a fallen hero in the twilight of his career came up to bat in search of the one elusive addition to his Hall of Fame shelf - a ring.

The sweetest swing you've ever seen sent a baseball soaring into the seats as it had done more than 600 times in over 20 years. The visitors, the Southsiders who were plentiful in the stands of their crosstown rivals, roared thunder into the ancient palace in which the contest took place, as their team had taken a 1-0 lead.

The former catcher turned broadcaster was right. This was the greatest World Series game ever played, for three and a half more innings passed without another hit. The home team came to bat in the bottom of the ninth, nary a hit to be had against the Austin kid.

Now there was a man who sat in the stands in leftfield with dark glasses and a Northsider sweatshirt with the hood pulled up over his cap. One could see from the bulges on the sides of his head that he wore headphones to listen to the radio broadcast. The man stood in his front row seat as if to say, "I am the Alpha and the Omega," yet nobody took much notice of him, as the first two batters in the bottom of the ninth had struck out. Twenty-six up, twenty-six down. Suddenly, appearing from seemingly nowhere was a small pigmy goat. It ran around the field as security officials fat and slow and useless with age tried to capture it. This delayed the game for twenty minutes.

As one can only imagine, the Northside fans exploded into a fit of laughter, rage, and that trademark obnoxiousness that makes the baseball world loathe them so. The goat had appeared on the field and lifted the curse, they said, and they were riled. The pitcher, too, knew of the curse and so was rattled and walked the next batter on four pitches. There was great anticipation as the pitching coach made his way to the mound to calm his marauder.

The thunder within the friendly confines was deafening and anything but friendly. Something in the air changed. Southsiders put their hands to their faces or prayed or threw their hands about wildly. "Strike one!" the umpire shouted like the sound of many waters. "Strike two!" he said next like the sound of a trumpet.

The next pitch went to the leftfield wall. That strange loner reached with his left hand and grabbed it just below the top of the wall and right before it hit the leftfielder's glove. The force of the ball sent his body jerking, and his sunglasses fell to the warning track below.

The leftfield umpire immediately recognized the face as that of the infamous Steve Bartman. Fearing the man's death if it went as a ground rule double, he ruled it a home run. Ozzie Guillen had an aneurysm, a stroke, and a heart attack at the same time which made his head explode and sent bits of brain soaring through the dugout. The leftfielder shouted death threats at Bartman, but the memoriless Cubs fans tackled their new hero and then hoisted him up on their shoulders in a joy akin to, well, nothing else. After 99 years of solitude, the Northsiders were World Series Champs.

The city erupted like a volcano. No one could hear his own thoughts. Suddenly, the goat reappeared onto the field, but it was a deformed goat, as it had seven horns and seven eyes.

Then, a white horse appeared on the field; its rider had a bow and arrow and wore a Chief Wahoo cap. Behind him, a second horse appeared, a bright red creature with a bat-bearing rider. The farm continued with a third horse, this one as black as a Southsider cap, and its rider held a scale in his hand. A fourth horse absent of any color appeared behind the others, its rider more horrifying than anything on Earth or on television.

Ghosts appeared on the field wailing and whining about having to wait for something, but the shouting and cheering and confusion in the stadium was too loud for them to be heard.

Then, as if in a horror movie or a really scary book, the Earth shook and the full moon became blood and the stars of the sky fell to the earth. This was followed by not just silence, but the utter absence of sound. No one could cheer if they tried.

The silence was broken by Vlad Guerrero, Torii Hunter, Gary Matthews Jr., and Garret Anderson flying through the sky and blowing trumpets. One played some jazz, another played a marching band tune. Another seemed to be tone deaf while another couldn't play a note. The sweet smell of incense began to replace the stench of spilled beer and half-eaten hot dogs. Lightening. More earthquakes. Hail and fire mixed with blood. The ivy burnt off the brick. Lake Michigan dried up. More falling stars, more fire. People ate something called wormwood - chernobyl in Russian - which fell like fire from the sky. A third of them died. They were all Cubs fans, so this was ok.

A great cloud moved towards the stadium and then people saw it was a swarm of locusts, and they thought of the 2007 Division Series when Joba Chamberlain was nearly swallowed whole by all of those newly hatched bugs in Cleveland. And it was gross. The locusts bit people and wore battle dress uniforms - the desert kind, not the green computery looking ones - and their faces were like human faces, and they all looked like Cory Hart, and people were scared. Their teeth were like Tiger's teeth the year they went to the World Series, and they made a buzzing sound that sounded exactly like drunk Cubs fans on a winning day.

More thunder, more fire, blah, blah, blah, then a woman who looked like Britney Spears appeared on the scorched field wearing a skimpy bikini as bright as the sun. She wore a crown of twelve stars and she had a kid right there on the field. Just as some red dragon was about to eat the kid, the kid floated up to the sky, because it was supposed to rule the world with an iron fist. There were more beasts with various numbers of horns and heads, and one carried a rather drunk woman with a Cubs hat on. She wore a purple and red dress with gold and pearl jewels, and everyone could see she was Paris Hilton. She held in her hand a plastic souvenir cup full of the abominations of the Earth, and one of those was Major League Baseball teams in Florida, and another was the Designated Hitter. She told everyone her name was Babylon but no one understood, so she said, "Well, today I'd be called Iraq!"

Then all the merchants of the earth began to weep and mourn, since no one bought their cheap plastic junk with the logos of their favorite teams because it was the end of the world and the profitmongers were all going to that molten place in the center of the Earth with their friend Bud Selig.

The End.

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