Friday, November 4, 2016
In a stunning development, St. Francis Kansans owner Scott Hatfield has lost control of his beloved BARB franchise. Celebrity billionaire Donald Drumpf, using money from his personal foundation, bought a controlling interest in a block of stock and (promising to "make the ballclub GREAT again") has shunted Hatfield to the side.
"He can be the team President," said an expansive and unfiltered Drumpf to reporters. "He can be the team President, he can talk about the team, he can, like he always has, 'preside'. But we've gotten too casual..Too casual. Weak, it's like a disaster. So much weakness. We need strength, not the weak thing. And so, who are you going to want to be in charge? A weak leader, like Scott? He's low energy. Low energy. Everyone knows it, everyone knows it. People are saying it. But he can be team President, that's OK. But if you want to win, you need Drumpf."
Insiders speculated that other stockholders flocked to Drumpf's lead after the Kansans (89-73) failed to win 90 games in the 2016 regular season. While the club has qualified for the playoffs for the fifth time in six years, having averaged over 90 wins a season, this year's edition of the Kansans struggled mightily in July and August, when they lost most of their left-handed pitching. After leading BARB in team ERA for the first third of the season, the club's bullpen collapsed as the club lost, in swift succession: Wei-Yin Chen, Rich Hill, Sean Doolittle and Carlos Rodon.
The result: a long summer watching Matt Harvey go under the knife for the second time in three seasons, squirming while waiting for their left-handed pitching depth to come back, and watching the division-leading New England Yankee Stompers widen their lead. In September, the Kansans were able to regroup, adding RHP John Lackey to the rotation, RHP Kensley Jansen to the bullpen, C Yadier Molina behind the plate and OF Jay Bruce to the lineup. On paper, St. Francis is a much more dangerous club, fortified for a deep playoff run.
Drumpf (of course) was happy to claim victory on behalf of his persona, even before the stockholder's meeting that empowered him.
Speaking of the acquisitions, Drumpf dismissed the talent dealt (C Brian McCann, RHP Allen, various prospects), and then rambled:
"It's sad. As sad as this trade we are confirming with Low Energy Matt and the Worcester Eliminators, who will never be, in my opinion, George Steinbrenner. We get a Puerto Rican catcher, they tell me he's pretty good, Yadier Molina....and a great pitcher, Jansen, he's mine now, get a load of my African-American. To acquire them, I gave up that slob Brian McCann, save some money. It's called business....
Oh, and some outfielder named Robles, and this guy, Cody Allen, who lost his job, who needs him, I like relievers who actually give relief, OK?"
For now, at least, it appears that the eccentric billionaire is calling the shots as the club attempts to make another playoff run. Whether or not Drumpf's coalition of unhappy stockholders will keep him in power is another thing. One school of thought claims that a deep playoff run or a series win could empower him to take an even larger, George Steinbrenner-type role. Yet others think that since the bulk of club's talent was acquired by a team led by the ousted Hatfield, that a Series berth might change the stockholder's minds yet again.