IF Today's Umps Worked "The Natural's" Game

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IF Today's Umps Worked

A transcript of the radio broadcast of the 1939 Championship Game featuring Roy Hobbs, better known as The Natural. We come in after commercial:

"Good afternoon everyone, and welcome back to the BIIIIG game between the New York Knights and the, uh, the, well, Wikipedia didn't mention their name, anyway it's a beautiful mid-day....a sort of near-sunset. A home run hit now would look especially memorable.

"It's a cliffhanger here in whatever part of New York it is we play in. You can cut the tension with a rusty, dirty, non-sterile late thirties knife. The owner of the team, The Judge, has bribed the star pitcher to throw the game. We're down by two in the bottom of the ninth, two out, but up comes Roy Hobbs, the so-called 'Natural.' Somehow there are two on, and it aaaalllll comes down to this.

"The pitcher stares at and throws a strike. Hobbs, a 36 year old weirdo with movie star good looks, has suddenly and mysteriously re-appeared after being shot by a gangster's moll.

"He brandishes his home-made bat, Wonderboy. This remarkable bat was carved from a tree hit by lightning--a tree where his dead father used to hang out. Almost unbelievable, if you think about it.

"Hobbs looks weak. He's been poisoned by the evil owner of the team The Judge, who as I previously mentioned has bet against HIS OWN TEAM! Yet he heroically soldiers on. Even to make contact with the ball would represent a redemption and the best a country loaded with second chances could offer. Anything more than that would be unrealistically optimistic.

"Here's the pitch--IT'S A DEEP DRIVE! WAY BACK! IT IS GONE!

"His unmistakeable home run has sent this capacity crowd into a frenzy. His massive, clearly over the fence blast serves as a spine-tingling affirmation of everything good in the human spirit. Thank God I'm here to witness this!

"The booming roundtripper actually carried to a section of lights deep in right field, causing an explosion of sparks that backlights this epic hero as he rounds the bases. DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRA--????

"HOLD EVERYTHING!

"The umpire crew has gathered. A hush falls over the stadium. One them gestures like a deranged chimp. Oh no, oh my GOD! They have inexplicably called Hobbs' dramatic blast a ground-rule double! It's as if a giant wind has been sucked out of the crowd, leaving them more diminished in a deep and primal way than any other possible outcome.

"OH NO! Now the opposing manager has challenged Wonderboy, and now the umpires have ruled it an illegal bat. Hobbs is out! HOBBS IS OUT! You can tell by his slumped shoulders he is but a cardboard cutout, an empty shell, an aging never-was who's now a has-been. SO tragic!

"Now Pop Fisher, the Knights' irascible and beloved manager runs out and screams at the umpires, who drool moronically and pick their noses! He's really working up a rage--OH MY GOD! Now Pop Fisher, the beloved manager of the Knights, is on the ground clutching his heart. He's dead ladies and gentlemen--I can see that from here. A massive coronary caused by the stupidity of the Blue Crew. A sad day indeed here.

"Here's a quote from little Bobby, the batboy: "After Wonderboy broke, he told me, 'you pick a winner Bobby.' It would have been the greatest moment of my life. Now I going to be a drunk and hang out in porno theatres hustling old men."

"Uh-oh. I've just been handed a note from the owner, The Judge. It seems I'm fired for my earlier rash comments about him and his attempts to fix the game. I guess that concludes our broadcast. If only the Umpires From The Future had gotten it right!"

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