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Ricky Romero on the Mound, or The Blue Jays' Nine Misfortunes

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Well, Beeston had done it. The Blue Jays had won it.

I think enough original work went into this to thwart any copyright claims....
I think enough original work went into this to thwart any copyright claims....
Background: screenshot from "The Simpsons" episode 8F13; all players' headshots: Kim Klement - USA Today Sports; Paul Beeston: Tom Szczerborski - USA Today Sports; Alex Anthopoulos: Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports; Jon Morosi: screenshot from FoxSports.com video; Garfoose: from dirkhayhurst.com; compilation by Minor Leaguer on Photoshop
INT. BUFFALO BISONS TEAM FACILITY, SEPTEMBER 2014

Enter Ricky Romero, scarfing chicken, broccoli, and sweet potatoes down his throat at lighting speed.

STEVE TOLLESON

Hey Ricky, slow down! You're going to choke or something!

RICKY ROMERO

Don't tell me how to eat chick-ERK

Ricky has choked on the chicken. He begins moving frantically around the room in a vain attempt to dislodge the chicken from his throat.

JOSH THOLE

Hey, Ricky's choking again. Someone scare him.

RYAN GOINS

That's for the hiccups!

Steve Tolleson makes his way over to the wall, where papers are hanging, including one instructing the Heimlich maneuver.

STEVE

Hey! Look at this! Big league starts next April! Pointing to an MLB sign-up sheet.

Ricky spits out the chicken.

RICKY

Big league?!?! Sign me up! Who's next?

STEVE

Nah.

JOSH

Not me.

RYAN

No thanks.

RICKY

What's the matter with you guys?

STEVE

Ricky, this year we were 2-and-28!

RICKY

Look, I know it wasn't our best season-

STEVE

Actually, it was.

RICKY

Oh yeah? Well next year's going to be different. I have a secret weapon.

Cut to a montage of our hero and his three teammates being called up to the big league team that very month - they go on to post a 21-and-4 record and capture the nation's attention. Ricky Romero dominates opposing hitters with his newfound pitch--the fastball that finds the plate.

CUT TO INT. 360 RESTAURANT, NOVEMBER 2014

Two figures sit opposite each other at a dinner table, smoking cigars and drinking scotch. One, seated in a green chair-and-a-half is Blue Jays team president Paul Beeston. The other is a bespectacled John Henry, owner of the rival Boston Red Sox.  One figure stands behind Beeston.

ALEX ANTHOPOULOS

To Beeston: Good news sir! The team has won again! If we beat the Red Sox next year, we capture the pennant!

PAUL BEESTON

Did you hear that Henry? My boys beat you next year and the title is ours!

JOHN HENRY

Hah! The gladiators from my team, along with our new star third baseman and left fielder, will crush your team like nine flabby grapes!

PAUL

I disagree.

JOHN

Would you like to bet a million dollars on that?

PAUL

Oh well if we're going to bet why don't we make it interesting?

JOHN

What the salary of one second time arbitration eligible average baseball player isn't interesting to you?

PAUL

Oh I'm sorry did you say a million? I'm sorry, my mind was elsewhere (a thought bubble appears above Paul's head, an image of flip flops with high socks appears then vanishes along with the bubble).  I thought you would start with a small amount and bait each other, you know it goes...Yes, certainly, a million will be fine!

CUT TO ALEX AND PAUL IN BEESTON'S OFFICE

An image of a baseball diamond is covered with names and faces of ballplayers.

PAUL BEESTON

Anthopoulos, I've been thinking. Is it wrong to cheat in order to win a million dollar bet?

ALEX ANTHOPOULOS

Yes, sir.

PAUL

Let me rephrase that. Is it wrong if I cheat to win a million dollar bet?

ALEX

No, sir.

PAUL

I've decided to bring in a few ringers. Professional base-ballers. Roger Clemens! Cecil Fielder! José Canseco! Vernon W-

ALEX

Uh, sir-

PAUL

What is it, Anthopoulos?

ALEX

I'm afraid all those players have retired and um, moved on. In fact your centre fielder hasn't played a game for 400 days!

PAUL

Damnation! Find me some good players! Active players! Scour the professional leagues! The American League! The National League! The Philadelphia Phillies!

ALEX

I'm on my way sir.

PAUL

Oh and Anthopoulos. Paul's tone of voice becomes menacing. You have one year...

ALEX

I'm not entirely sure how that's relev-

PAUL

Just go find me some players!

We cut to another montage. Alex has travelled much of the world to find his players. Jose Bautista. Edwin Encarnacion. Russell Martin. Jose Reyes. Kevin Pillar. Michael Saunders. R.A. Dickey. Marcus Stroman. Aaron Sanchez. Josh Donaldson. Brett Cecil.

CUT TO ROGERS CENTRE, FEBRUARY 2015

The turf is not in place yet, grey concrete is visible. It is a team meeting. Ricky, Josh, Steve, and Ryan are present, along with many others.

PAUL BEESTON

And now I'd like to introduce the new members of our happy Blue Jays family:

Our new first baseman Edwin Encarnacion;

Our new right fielder Jose Bautista;

Our new catcher Russell Martin;

Our new...we'll make up position for the rest of these guys later.

STEVE TOLLESON

Hey Mr. Beeston, with them on the team you won't need us!

PAUL

Well, duh!

Michael Saunders begins to walk away.

PAUL

You! Saunders! Get back here and play!

MICHAEL SAUNDERS

Thanks just the same, but I'm here to focus on getting this turf up to par with the rest of the league!

PAUL

One more outburst like that and I'll send you back to the Mariners!

CUT TO SAME DAY, CAFETERIA, RICKY ROMERO WITH AARON SANCHEZ

RICKY ROMERO

Hey, you're Aaron Sanchez.

AARON SANCHEZ

Yeah, Ricky, we played together last year.

RICKY

You're a starting pitcher, that's my position!

AARON

Yes. So?

RICKY

Well are you better than me?

AARON

Well Ricky that's a tough question. You see, I'm a starting pitcher with virtually no experience in the major leagues, but who had success in limited time in 2014. Some people are expecting me to be amazing but others are skeptical. In the best of cases I could end up being a dominant starter, or have a Trevor Rosenthal type of early career path, where I come out of the bullpen and dominate. I could also flame out and be sent back to the Bisons where I could hopefully regain confidence and my ability to pitch. I could also have an outstanding breakout season like you and then lose my ability to throw the ball over the plate resulting in my demotion and eventual dismissal from the team's 40-man roster, a blow to my confidence and psyche, even more so when no team claims me on waivers. Thing is, like you said, I'm a starting pitcher and there are five available slots so realistically we could both wind u-

Ricky has already gotten his food and is sitting at a table with Steve, Ryan, and Josh on the opposite side of the lunchroom.

AARON

Aw.

CUT TO BEESTON'S OFFICE

Beeston is writing out the team's new starting lineup, comprised of all the ringers for the big season at hand. Notably left off the list are Ricky, Josh, Steve, and Ryan. Anthopoulos stands over him.

PAUL BEESTON

Hehe. Anthopoulos, there's no way I can lose this bet. Unless of course my nine all-stars fall victim to nine separate misfortunes and are unable to play this year! Three misfortunes, that's possible. Seven misfortunes, there's an outside chance. But nine misfortunes? I'd like to see that!

CUT TO PRACTICE FIELD

The team is practicing bunting. Everyone is present, including Beeston and Anthopoulos, coaching and watching over the team.

JOSH DONALDSON

Skip, why do we have to practice bunting? All it does is reduce run expectancy for nearly every situation in the game, thus lowering our win probability. It's often better to swing away, even with a man on base and the potential for a double play! I read that in The Book, written b-

PAUL BEESTON

Donaldson one more outrageous comment like that and I'll have you kicked off the team! And get rid of those sideburns!

JOSH D.

Sideburns?

Donaldson bunts a baseball that Marcus Stroman attempts to field, only to become molecularly destabilized. He is rushed to the nearest hospital and is deemed unable to play for the entire season.

JOSH D.

See?

PAUL

Dammit Donaldson. Fine! Swing away!

Donaldson swings away and crushes a baseball towards the left field fence. Unfortunately, it strikes an exposed sprinkler head in left field and bounces over the fence, striking Michael Saunders, who is simultaneously testing turf samples and negotiating a stadium relocation deal for the Toronto Argonauts in hopes of having a grass field by 2016. No one sees him get hit and he misses the entire season as well.

CUT TO EXTERIOR, CAR BEING DRIVEN IN TORONTO

Jose Reyes and Kevin Pillar are taking in the sights of the city, enjoying what they see.

JOSE REYES

What a nice town. Maybe I'll buy a home here when I retire.

Police sirens ring behind the car as Jose and Kevin are pulled over.

KEVIN PILLAR

What seems to be the problem officer?

OFFICER MOROSI

That's enough out of you, smart guy. Driver, reach for your license. Slowly. Inspects license. Well, well. Jose Reyes. From the Dominican Republic. I heard someone's pet donkey went missing in the Dominican Republic and they never solved the case. You wouldn't know anything about that, would you, Jose? Maniacal laughter.

JOSE

But there's hundreds of unsolved donkey disappearances in the Dominican Republic!

OFFICER

You don't know when to keep your mouth shut, do you?

KEVIN

Sneezes

CUT TO INT. MOUNT SINAI HOSPITAL

Jose Bautista is lying still in a hospital bed. A doctor is standing over him.

DOCTOR POULIS

Uh, Jose, try to lift your arm.

JOSE BAUTISTA

Can't. Lift. Arm. Or. Act. In. MLB. Films. Productions.

DOCTOR

Well, I'm afraid you have a case of beta-carotene overload. One too many Booster Juices!

JOSE

Will. I. Be. Able. To. Play. Baseball. This. Year?

DOCTOR

Hehehe. No, by this time tomorrow, you'll barely be able to shave!

JOSE

Aw. Man.

NURSE FROSTAD

Doctor Poulis, Russell Martin needs to see you immediately! He tried to join a pickup game of baseball and refused to play any position other than shortstop so out of frustration the other players stole his equipment and really hurt his feelings!

DOCTOR

Good lord. He won't be able to play for months!

INT. SNAKES & LATTES BOARD GAME CAFE

R.A. Dickey is playing board games and is in a heated discussion with a player at the next table. Seated at the other player's table is some sort of yellow giraffe-looking creature.

DIRK HAYHURST

--and I say Star Wars' greatest Sith Lord was Darth Plagueis!

R.A. DICKEY

Freedon Nadd!

DIRK

Darth Plagueis!

R.A.

Freedon Nadd!

DIRK

Okay! You asked for it!

The yellow giraffe delivers a swift kick to the head of R.A. Dickey and knocks him out cold. The owner of the café appears to congratulate Hayhurst.

MIKE WILNER

Yeah! You showed him. Freedon Nadd...

DIRK

Darth Plagueis!

INT. ROGERS CENTRE ON OPENING DAY 2015

PAUL BEESTON

Dammit Anthopoulos! Where are my ringers?

ALEX ANTHOPOULOS

Well, sir, Jose Reyes is in jail for donkey-related mischief. Kevin Pillar sneezed. R.A. Dickey is out arguing about Sith Lords. Russell Martin just plain went home. Marcus Stroman's particles are floating in to the upper atmosphere. Jose has too much facial hair and can't put a shirt on. Michael Saunders is nowhere to be found, and Edwin Encarnacion irritated his back after helping a woman with her washing machine and player piano. On top of all that, somehow Brett Cecil's special glasses didn't make it and he can't see anything. Only Josh Donaldson and Aaron Sanchez are here and able to play, sir.

PAUL

Damnation!

ALEX

Sir, perhaps we could just buy Brett Cecil a new pair of glasses?

PAUL

Anthopoulos, I didn't become a millionaire by making poor financial choices! I can't just give a player money! We don't have the funds for new glasses.

ALEX

Sir, he's really a very good player.

PAUL

Fine! Give him money. I suppose we have some left to spend and may as well spend it on a pitcher.

ALEX

Great choice sir, I'll buy him some new glasses with the company card.

PAUL

No, don't do that. I've changed my mind.

ALEX

Sir, do we have money for new glasses or not?

PAUL

Anthopoulos I tire of your questions.

Suddenly Josh Donaldson approaches from out of frame. He has a mullet and lots of hair on top of his head, but none on the sides.

PAUL

Dammit Donaldson! I thought I told you to shave those sideburns! You're off the team! For good!

JOSH DONALDSON

Fine, fine. Donaldson mutters to himself as he walks away: Still like him better than Wolff.

Beeston approaches the remaining players, all men from the Bisons. He addresses Josh Thole, Steve Tolleson, Ryan Goins, several others, and Ricky Romero.

PAUL

Alright you rag-tag bunch of misfits! You hate me, and I hate you even more! But without my beloved ringers, you're all I've got. So I want you to remember some inspiring things and go out there and win! Except you Romero, the man who plays your position is still here.

RICKY ROMERO

D'aww...

The team proceeds to dominate the regular season, even without the majority of their ringers. Aaron Sanchez leads the team to the playoffs with ease and Beeston is thrilled. The Blue Jays meet the Red Sox in the ALCS and it comes down to a game seven. Aaron Sanchez gets the start and strikes out the first 25 batters he faces. The Blue Jays lead 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth with one out.

PAUL

You! Sanchez! Strike this man out!

AARON SANCHEZ

Okay, skip! Sanchez Strikes out Dustin Pedroia on three pitches.

PAUL

Alright, one run game, none on, David Ortiz coming up with a chance to tie the game.

RICKY

Thinking to himself. They're going to win the pennant. No thanks to me.

PAUL

Wait! Waving at Sanchez. You! Sanchez! Good effort today. Take a lap and hit the showers! I'm putting in a left-handed pitcher to pitch for you.

ALEX

What?

AARON

You're putting in a reliever? For me? I've struck out everyone I've faced on three pitches each! The guy at the plate isn't even holding a bat this time!

PAUL

Yes. You see, you're a right-handed pitcher, and the batter is a lefty. If I send up a left-handed pitcher, it's called playing the percentages! It's what smart owners do to win ballgames. Romero! You're pitching for Sanchez.

RICKY

I am? Woo-hoo!

RYAN GOINS

Atta boy, Ricky!

STEVE TOLLESON

You can do it!

R.A. DICKEY

Freedon Nadd!

PAUL

Alright, Romero. Here's the plan. Throw the ball down the middle of the plate. Don't let him hit a home run. Remember, Ortiz likes fastballs, so throw him off-speed stuff. Did you study his tendencies? Remember the signs from your catcher. One is fastball. Don't throw that. Remember what I said about fastballs? Two is your change. Three is-

Ricky is already on the mound and has thrown three straight balls to Ortiz. Luckily Ortiz forgets the new pace of play rules and is issued three automatic strikes for taking too long between pitches. The Blue Jays take the Pennant and Paul Beeston wins his million dollars! Internet prices in the Greater Toronto Area go up.