Paul lounges on a brown football-shaped couch. Posters of NFL legends grace his walls. Jock Jams roars in the background. Enter David, followed by Bud.
PAUL: Good evening, gentlemen.
DAVID: Good evening, friend. (pause)
(Both turn to Bud.)
DAVID: (sternly) Shut up, Bud.
PAUL: Anything to drink?
DAVID: A Bud for me.
PAUL: Please, have a seat.
DAVID: Pigskin couches?
PAUL: But of course.
DAVID: Very nice. Not quite as nice as 100% composite leather though. Orange tinted leather, that is, with black pebbled composite leather channels.
PAUL: I beg to differ. Aren’t those little raised bumps thoroughly annoying?
BUD: Nothing beats a wooden couch.
BUD: Tinted, not corked.
PAUL: Shut up Bud.
PAUL: Anyhow, we have an important purpose at hand, friends. An ominous cloud of problems hangs over our heads. (Bud looks up) The cool breeze of economic recession is upon us. It threatens the very sporting establishment we stand on. (Bud looks down) We are losing fans, losing advertising money, our legends are growing old, and people just don’t like us. Our worlds are slowly falling apart. MJ is still playing for crying out loud. Barry Bonds is a hero. Barry “Blow Me” Bonds.
BUD: Hey, don’t mess with Barry. He’s my friend.
PAUL: (continuing without pause) We are at a crossroads. This is our Battle of Yorktown. We must be cautious. It is time to open the umbrella of safety.
DAVID: Sounds familiar.
DAVID: I see.
PAUL: So what do we do?
BUD: About what?
PAUL: About lost revenues! Fan apathy! Declining T.V. ratings!
PAUL: Now you’re onto something.
DAVID: That’s it! Rework the contracts for all our employees and place a maximum wage! (mutters) Blasted Kevin Garnett.
BUD: No, no, no, reduce the teamage. We have too many jerseys, too much equipment, and too much hassle.
PAUL: (aside) I had this very thought myself a few years ago, and the owners fell for it like the cool side of a pillow. I decided to create a new division called, South. How mysterious, some pondered. Ha, little did they know that in five years, I would plan to phase out Division South and all of its teams completely and funnel the gained into Dan Snyder’s pocket, who would in turn let me play for the Redskins. Ah, a lifelong dream come true.
DAVID: (aside) Cut teamage? Interesting. Those blasted Bucks almost ruined my ratings last year, I’d get rid of them first. A team in Milwaukee — how absurd. Next on my list? Ah yes, those cute little Grizzlies, wasting my money like there’s no tomorrow. Then the Clippers — turnaround shmurnaround, they’ve embarrassed me enough. Then the Bulls, definitely the Warriors, the Pistons, the Hawks . . ..
BUD: Who are you guys talking to?
PAUL: Shut up Bud.
BUD: Sorry. (aside) Everybody’s so mean to me. No one even likes what I do. Baseball represents boredom.
PAUL: Drollery beyond belief.
BUD: I know absolutely nothing about labor relations.
PAUL: Strike-shortened season? Incredulous!
BUD: And as if life wasn’t short enough, I need a new haircut. That blasted barber in Minneapolis ruined me!
BUD: (aside) But there’s a way out. Yes, and the name of the game is contraction. First, get rid of the Twins. Blasted Minneapolis. Next, I’ll save some money by shutting down the Expos. Then, let the players strike to their hearts’ content, use replacement players, pay them less, keep the difference, buy out David and Paul, and rule the world. Yes, my friends, your fate is sealed.
PAUL: Something wrong, Bud?
BUD: (turns to Paul) How about if we raise ticket prices?
BUD: Remove half of the stadium seats and put in luxury boxes!
PAUL: Mmm, luxury boxes.
BUD: Charge money for listening to games over the Internet!
PAUL: Wow, Bud, you are ingenious.
BUD: Put more salt in the Popcorn! Make the hot dogs shorter! Cut down rosters! Get rid of pitching coaches! Sell out space on uniforms! RAIN, RAIN go away, big bad Bud is here to stay. (Exeunt Bud)
PAUL: I think he just lost it.
DAVID: . . the Lakers, the Sixers, the Knicks, the Nets . . .
Archived article by Sumeet Sarin