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"The Balls of Liberty" or, Rupert Puts Roger Ailes in Charge of Fox Sports
Friday, 28 August 2009 07:32
by Mark W. Bradley

"The Balls of Liberty must be Atwatered from time to time with the Dribble of the Dimwitted and the Piddle of the Privileged. It encourages their natural downward spin."
- Sir Roger Hoggwash (celebrated cricketer and producer of "Fox Hunter and Friends")

Being both a Progressive and a fan of Major League Baseball, I sometimes find myself confronted with a troubling moral dilemma: whether or not to besmirch myself by watching the odd baseball game on FOX Sports. Don’t get me wrong; I will watch a game on FOX, but it requires considerable self-justification. I tell myself things like, “Actually, Rupert Murdoch doesn’t make a dime off you watching this. You’re not in the market for a new Dodge Ram Pickup, you hate Doritos, and you haven’t gone near a Coors Light in years. Relax, already.” Such rationalizations, until recently, worked wonders in assuaging my guilt. But, alas, no longer. Not now that Murdoch the Mighty has put Roger Ailes in charge of FOX’s sports division.

Imagine the horror of tuning in during the sixth inning of a game and hearing the wingnut blathering of FOX News commentators Sieve Doozy and Kneel Kabuki. Oh, the humanity!

Kabuki: Well so far, Sieve, I’d say we’ve had a pretty fair and balanced contest here this afternoon.

Doozy: That’s right, Kneel. The fact that the scoreboard shows a 17-1 advantage in favor of the Tawkina Blue Streaks over the Rottenboro Red Herrings is really quite misleading. As I’m sure our FOX Sports viewers are well aware, Commissioner Limbaugh’s recent ruling that “any game decided by a margin of less than 23 runs shall be considered a tie” has gone a long way toward eliminating the sort of unfair advantage previously enjoyed by teams who held “numeric superiority” or who employed “game plans” or “strategies”, or other kinds of underhanded tricks. And if you saw those three homemade-sign-waving grassroots demonstrators outside the FOX News Studio this morning in support of the commissioner, you know in your gut that real baseball fans everywhere are 100% behind this common sense ruling...

Kabuki: So after five innings here at Dan Smoot Memorial Stadium in Rottenboro, Texas, the score is tied, 17-1.

Doozy: And Kneel, here comes the Tawkina Blue Streaks’ manager, “Doc” O’Bama out of the visitors' dugout. Yep, he’s waving down to the bullpen. Looks like he’s gonna bring in his controversial middle reliever, Max Balkus.

Kabuki: That could be good news for the Red Herrings, Sieve. Balkus has a lifetime ERA of 27.2.

Doozy: Good point, Kneel, and the stats show that Balkus certainly lives up to his name. He’s the National League record holder for “maximum number of balks committed in a single game”, an impressive thirteen, in fact. Among active pitchers, only Harry “Wiffle Ball” Weed comes close, with nine.

Kabuki: Excuse me, but do you notice anything odd about that conference the Blue Streaks are having out there on the mound, Sieve?

Doozy: What do you mean?

Kabuki: Maybe it’s my imagination, but I don’t see a single Red Herring uniform in that conference. It looks to me like the Blue Streaks are trying to prevent their opponents from having any input into an important decision that could drastically affect the outcome of the game. I doubt the fans are going to stand for this, Sieve.

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Doozy: Neither, apparently is the plate umpire, Gland Bark. He’s gone out to the mound to admonish O’Bama for exhibiting shameless personal bias against the Red Herrings. Now Bark’s waving at the Herring dugout, holding up three fingers. Oh, I see. He’s motioning for three Red Herring players to join the conference on the mound, which should even things up a bit.

Kabuki: That’s only fair, obviously. But really, Sieve, does it go far enough? I heard from a reliable source that the Red Herrings don’t have a single representative inside the Streaks dugout. Not one! Without appropriate oversight and reasonable consultation by members of the Rottenboro team, how can the fans trust any of the decisions coming out of that dugout?

Doozy: Once again, Kneel, it looks like Umpire Bark is right on top of this. He’s telling O’Bama he’s going to have to allow at least five Herring players in the Streaks’ dugout. And boy, O’Bama does not look happy about it! I mean, he’s not saying or doing anything about it, but he sure looks unhappy...

Kabuki: Trust me, those negative expressions are not lost on the umpire, Sieve. Bark’s started gyrating around wildly and tearing at the turf with his cleats, throwing infield dirt and divots all over O’Bama. Now he’s thrown himself down on the infield and is keening like an Irish widow. He looks like he might even... Oh, there it is, Sieve, did you see it? O’Bama just shot the sobbing, prostrate umpire a disdainful, elitist look. I’m afraid he’ll have to be tossed from the game for that, Sieve.

Doozy: And rightfully so. He probably should be banned from the game for life, or even longer. In fact, how do we know he’s even eligible to be a Major League manager, anyway? I know he claims to have been a player at one time, but has anyone ever actually seen a baseball card with his picture on it? What exactly is O'Bama hiding, that’s my question. SHOW US YOUR ROOKIE CARD, MR. O’BAMA!!

Kabuki: Well, now that O’Bama’s likely been banned-for-life from Major League Baseball, it looks like “Slidin’ Joe” Biden will be taking over as acting manager. No telling what'll happen now...

Doozy: Excuse me, Kneel, but our producer tells me that with all our incisive and unbiased commentary we’ve forgotten to report what’s happening down on the diamond...

Kabuki: Point taken, Sieve. Here comes Balkus’s next pitch. The batter swings and misses, strike four. That'll bring up a full count: one ball and four strikes. Now the hitter, Chuck Gasbag, steps out of the batter’s box; he’s taking a sack of something out of his pocket - chicken manure, it looks like - and he's dumping it all over home plate. Now he’s taken off one shoe, handed it to the umpire, and stepped over to the other side of the plate to bat left handed.

Doozy: That’s not a normal thing to see, is it Kneel? A batter switch-hitting in the middle of an at bat, I mean?

Kabuki: Actually, that’s one of Gasbag’s trademarks. That and losing track of what game he’s in...

Doozy: Here’s the windup, and the... Oh, now you don’t see that everyday. It looks like Balkus stepped off the rubber, stuck the ball completely into his mouth, took it out again with his dentures clamped around it and threw the whole thing over the top of the backstop. The ump’s gonna have to call a balk, interference, and a wild pitch on that, I’m afraid. All three base runners are gonna be allowed to score on that unfortunate gaffe.

Kabuki: It’ll be interesting to see if Balkus looses his composure here. So far, he’s maintained the same unflappable Cheshire Cat smile throughout the inning, almost as if he knows something we don’t.

Doozy: Here comes the delivery to Gasbag. Oh, it looks like the pitch hit him. Yep, the ump’s waving him down to first base. Let’s take a look at that one on the replay, Kneel. Yeh, there it is, the ball hit him square in middle of his 26” wide inflatable batting-belly.

Kabuki: And there’s a perfect illustration of why the Red Herrings’ manager, John "Puzzlewit" Brainer requires his players to wear those things every time they come to the plate - when worn properly they take up nearly the entire strike zone. Even so, you gotta give Gasbag credit for hanging in there on that pitch and taking one for the team...

Doozy: That’ll bring up Red Herring center fielder, Dick Smarmey.

Kabuki: You know, Sieve, Smarmey was one of the first players in the league to take advantage of the new regulation deregulating the size of bats. And as all baseball fans should know by now, deregulation means more and better choices for everyone, especially indiscriminate sluggers like Dick Smarmey.

Doozy: That’s true, Kneel. That's why Smarmey chose to trade in his old 34” Louisville Slugger for a 79” long Darth Maul Titanium-Core Deathclub.

Kabuki: Let’s see how Big Dick wields that Deathclub against the enemies of liberty and democracy out there in the field, Sieve. I know that all the fans who love and respect this game the way we do will be rooting for him to pulverize, dismember, and decapitate anyone who stands in his way...

Doozy: And here’s the pitch. Smarmey swings, and (crack!!!!) Oh-h-h that looks like it hurt! The Blue Streaks’ catcher and team captain, Burney Frink looks like he was hit in the back of the head with something really hard. What do you suppose it was, Kneel?

Kabuki: I’m guessing it was that 79” bat...

Doozy: The Blue Streaks’ trainers are bringing a stretcher out onto the field... Burney’s out cold. It looks like he’s already lost a lot of blood. But wait, now it appears as if Smarmey’s going to make the case that Frink deliberately interfered with the arch of his swing...

Kabuki: Look’s like the fans agree, Sieve. About a dozen of them just ran onto the field wielding broken bottles, bicycle chains, cyanide canisters, grenade launchers, and tactical nuclear warheads strapped to refrigerator dollies. Of course here in Texas, citizens are all perfectly within their rights to do so, assuming they’re law abiding and possess valid birth certificates...

(Scattered fist-fights and running gun battles break out between groundskeepers and disgruntled fans in the outfield; roving packs of timber wolves and hyenas emerge from the visiting team dugout in pursuit of fleeing players, and swarming flocks of starlings, scrub jays, and magpies begin relentlessly dive-bomb panic-stricken fans in the bleachers, even as they trample each other trying to get to the exits.)

Doozy: Well, isn't this a treat! We’ve just been joined here in the booth by the sports reporter for the Gulf Grifter, Tom DePraved. Tom what’s your take on all this hullabaloo?

Depraved: (His voice nearly drowned out by bursts of automatic weapons fire, British police sirens, Chinese Gongs, trumpeting elephants, and sporadic cannon blasts) What you’re witnessing today is the righteous indignation of the average American baseball fan. For years now, these good, decent people have been trying to send us a message: WE NEED TO SLOW THIS GAME DOWN. Baseball is far too important to the American people for us to rush to any final score before the fans have had a chance to weigh-in and assess what’s going on here. What we need is to start this game from scratch...

Mark W. Bradley is a retired teacher and satirist in Sacramento, CA. He can be contacted at markwbradley@comcast.net.

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