Not to be outdone by either the Red Sox, who appear to have signed Japanese pitcher Junich Tazawa (even though he is an amateur), or by the Pirates, who have inked deals with Indian pitchers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel (even though neither youngster had ever heard of baseball), the Yankees have taken a major dive into the world’s untapped talent pool.
“We can’t sit back and wait for Sabathia to make up his mind,” Yankees Control Person Hal Steinbrenner told She-Fan during a late evening meeting over cocktails. “What’s more, it wouldn’t be prudent for us to pay what Boras is asking for Teixeira. And we’re certainly not throwing money at Pettitte, Abreu and Giambi, although they will always be part of the Yankees family.”
“Then which players are you planning to put on the field on Opening Day?” I asked with a healthy dose of skepticism. I do love Hal, but he’s still pretty new to the job.
That’s when he began singing – right out of the blue, his voice an oddly familiar falsetto.
“We are the world. We are the children.”
Yes, that’s who he sounded like. “Why that song?” I asked.
He motioned me closer and whispered, “This is very confidential, so please don’t blog about it. We’re replacing our expensive players with amateurs from the far corners of the world.”
Well, I was shocked, of course. This was the Yankees we were talking about.
Hal revealed the names of our Opening Day lineup, which I will now pass along to you. I know, I know. I told him I would keep his secret. I hope he will forgive me.
Without further ado, here are the new Yankees.
From the Netherlands….batting first and playing shortstop: Percy Isenia, a member of the Olympic baseball team. He’ll have to lose the facial hair, naturally.
From Thailand….batting second and playing left field: Ek Boonsawad, a champion sailor.
From Hungary…batting third and playing right field: Zsolt Nemcsik, who excels at fencing. On guard! Touche!
From Croatia…batting cleanup and catching: Blazenko Lackovic, a burly handballer.
From Iceland…batting fifth and DH-ing: Sigfus Sigurdsson, an even burlier handballer.
From Cameroon…batting sixth and playing third base: Joslain Mayebi, a goalkeeper or something like that.
From Denmark….batting seventh and playing center field: Jonas Rasmussen, who is good at badminton and can, therefore, handle a shuttlecock if need be.
From Switzerland…batting eighth and playing first base: Niklaus Schurtenberger, an equestrian jumper who goes by the nickname “Baldy.”
From Luxembourg…batting ninth and playing second base: Marc Schmit, another sailor. He’s got a little Nick Swisher in him, doesn’t he?
And from Latvia…pitching: Aleksandrs Samoilovs, who plays beach volleyball and will have to replace the smile with a snarl if he wants to succeed in the Bigs.
No marquee names. Not even any names I (or Bob Sheppard) will be able to pronounce. And how will the Bleacher Creatures come up with chants for these guys?
Still, Hal’s strategy is bold, I’ll give him that.
“I only foresee one problem,” I told him as he was getting ready to catch his flight back to Tampa. “Too many translators in the clubhouse.”
He smiled. “Haven’t you seen the pictures of the new Stadium? The clubhouse is huge.”
“Right. Have a safe trip.”
I miss A-Rod already. I even miss Swish.