On the Eve of the End
2016 brought us a Cubs World Series championship and President-elect Trump (among other bafflements), both of which, I’m sure, are harbingers of the apocalypse. With that in mind, I’ve spent much of the new year studying religious texts in search of portents for the near future, as well as to cover my afterlife bases (pun intended, this being a baseball website).
If nothing else, I believe my deep dive into mysticism and end-of-days scenarios has given me special insight into the coming baseball season, since, as we all know, there is no purer way to commune with the spiritual than through our national pastime. Here’s how I see the year in baseball unfolding:
With the arc of the moral universe no longer bending toward justice, but simply broken altogether, the Hall of Fame committee, in a late-breaking press release just days after its official induction announcement, confirms that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will be enshrined in Cooperstown. Further, they will be joined by George Mitchell, Kirk Radomski, and Ken Caminiti’s favorite syringe.
On the eve of pitchers and catchers reporting, President Trump “bigly” disrupts the sport by announcing that all spring training games will be played in Arizona this year. Citing the physical strength of professional athletes, and the significantly dwindling availability of low-wage workers due to the recent wave of forced deportations, Trump notifies MLB that all players will be required to spend half their training time building the wall along the Mexico-U.S. border. Who will pay for it is still in question.
Now that Putin is openly managing the affairs of the United States through his puppet regime in Washington, MLB’s opening day has been moved back to May Day. The first game of the season will also be played in Kiev, Ukraine, which was recently re-annexed by Russia.
With one-third of all professional baseball players having either died or been hospitalized from heatstroke during the construction of the border wall, Trump announces that they will be replaced by former coal miners and auto workers from the country’s Rust Belt, as well as English-speaking Russian FSB agents.
In his official announcement, Trump tweets, “Baseball players not as strong as they thought. Sad! But it gives me the chance to create even more JOBS. #MAGA”
The baseball season officially kicks off in Kiev, with the newly renamed New York Imperialist Pigs facing off against the Tampa Bay Mar-A-Lagos. The game is preceded by a Russian military parade, and the first pitch is thrown out by the recently appointed U.S. ambassador to Russia, Tiffany Trump.
Rob Manfred falls victim to the rampaging avian flu epidemic – which the CDC was unable to contain after its budget was eviscerated by Congress – and has to resign from his hospital bed. Trump steps in and forces baseball’s owners to accept Curt Schilling as the game’s new commissioner.
The 2017 All-Star Game is moved from Miami to Cleveland, due to the fact that the former city (both grammatically and literally) is now fully submerged in sea water.
Commissioner Schilling announces a new rule change: Any closer who blows more than two saves in a row will be sent to a gulag in Siberia, or North Dakota. In either instance, they will be forced to work on building an oil pipeline that is guaranteed to desecrate land that is significant to the locals for both its spiritual importance and natural resources.
Amid fallout from the global nuclear war that began earlier in the month, Commissioner Schilling is able to announce that the game has been completely ridden of steroids, as they’ve been rendered unnecessary since radiation-driven mutations have given every surviving player the strength of 20 men, the brainpower of 10 frogs, and the fins of five lake trout (which, incidentally, no longer exist).
The World Series gets underway. By dint of strategic insignificance and prevailing winds having pushed the worst of the fallout away from their environs, the Seattle District 12s and the St. Paul Singles (unfortunately, Minneapolis was essentially wiped off the map during the race riots that engulfed the country earlier in the summer) are the only two franchises left in MLB. The series will be best-of-seven, or, however-many-games-we-can-get-in-before-the-rapture.