Saturday, June 6, 2009




A hooded figure approaches. His eyes are hidden, but the tracks of tears are visible on his cheeks, and his jowls shake with ill-disguised anger. He speaks!

"Yes, my friends, it is I, Brother Johann. I speak for the anointed group of ballplayers known as the St. Francis Friars. We are sorely tried by the failure of Freddy Garcia to pitch at a major-league level. He seems far more interested in hanging out with people of bad repute and smoking the sacred herb."

"Therefore," the hooded monk continued, "We are granting Garcia his release and eating the remaining $400,000 of his contract! Let that be his reward. As it is written, 'The Lord will roll you up tightly like a ball and throw you into a large country. There you will die and there your splendid chariots will remain— you disgrace to your master's house! (Isa. 22:18)

The monk pulled a handkerchief out of his cloak and dabbed at his face. "What provokes us even further," Brother Johann continued, "is the great good that young man could've provided his brothers in the St. Francis clubhouse. For, Randy Johnson and Jamie Moyer were not exactly born yesterday, though they are still quality pitchers. As it is written, 'They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.' (Ps. 92:14) Yet they can not be expected to go seven innings every time. Another veteran starter, but not so ancient as the hills, would've been very welcome. As it is written, the wise man 'instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.' (Matt. 13:52)

"But," and here the friar appeared truly anguished and his voice cracked, "What treasures have we poor servants? For Juan Salas, we have been informed, has been released from his debt to his masters in much the same way that the Metropolitans disposed of Garcia. We have been informed by the Commissioner's Office that if neither is with a major-league club within 7 days of being released, then they are ineligible for BARB play! This is a cruel blow. We simply do not have enough pitching. We may have to ask some of our regular players to throw innings at this rate."

"So," the friar ended piteously, "we must throw ourselves on the mercy of our brother GM's. For, we do not think that Tony Sipp is completely recovered from Tommy John surgery, nor do we think that Jason Vargas is 'tuned up' for regular duty. But, as it is written, 'we must cast our bread upon the waters, and after many days we will find it again.' (Eccl. 11:1)

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