Everyone knows that Zac Snyder's epic war film "300" was based on real events.
Unfortunately, very few people actually know what events the movie portrayed.
Elitist historians will tell you that "300" is the story of the Battle of Thermopylae, the beginning of the second Greco-Persian War, fought between Xerxes' army and a token force of a few hundred allied Greek soldiers who intended to give the Athenians time to evacuate their city before the Persians arrived.
That's a lie.
In reality, the movie was based on the Spartan Red Sox and their fearless king, Grady Littlidas.
Here are some excerpts from what would have been a much more accurate representation of these events.
When the boy was born, like all Spartans, he was inspected. If he’d been small, or puny, or sickly, or misshapen, he would have been discarded.
From the time he could stand, he was baptized in the fire of combat. Taught never to retreat, never to surrender, that death on the ballfield, in service to Sparta, was the greatest glory he could achieve in his life.
Now, as then, a beast approaches, patient and confident, savoring the meal to come. This beast is made of men and gloves, bats and balls. A beast approaches and it was King Littlidas himself who provoked it.
(A messenger, clad in pinstripes, arrives in Sparta)
“Before you speak, Persian,” Littlidas said, “know that in Sparta everyone, even the Boss’ messenger, is held accountable for the words of his voice. Now, what message do you bring?”
“Damon and Embree,” the messenger declared.
“You rode all the way from Persia for Damon and Embree?” Littlidas asked.
“Do not be coy or stupid, Persian,” said Manny, “You can afford neither in Sparta.”
“What makes this woman think she can speak among men?” the messenger exclaimed.
“Because only Spartan women give birth to real men,” Manny replied.
“Listen carefully, Littlidas,” the messenger continued, “Steinbrenner buys and controls everything he rests his eyes upon. He owns a wallet so thick it shakes the ground with its weight. All the God-King Steinbrenner requires is this: a simple offering of Damon and Embree, a token of Sparta’s submission to the will of Steinbrenner.”
“Choose your next words carefully,” the messenger warned, “they may be your last as king.”
Littlidas’ eyes twinkled and he drew his sword to the messenger’s neck.
“You bring your crowns and heads of conquered teams to my city steps. You insult my queen. You threaten my people with free agency and death. Oh, I’ve chosen my words carefully, Persian. Perhaps you should have done the same.”
“This is blasphemy,” the messenger cried, “this is madness!”
“Madness,” Littlidas repeated, “This is Sparta!”
(As the Spartans begin to mobilize, they meet up with another band of men)
“Epstein,” Littlidas said, “What a pleasant surprise.”
“We heard Sparta was training,” Epstein said, “We were eager to join forces.”
“If it is baseball you seek, you are welcome to join us,” Littlidas said.
“But you bring only 25 players against the Yankees? I see I was wrong to expect Sparta’s commitment to at least match our own.”
“Doesn’t it?” Littlidas asked. “You there,” he said, pointing to a man behind Epstein, “What is your profession?”
“I’m a scout, sir.”
“And you, Bostonian,” he asked another, “What is your profession?”
“PR manager, sir.”
“PR manager,” Littlidas repeated, “And you?”
“I sell hot dogs.”
“Spartans!” Littlidas yelled, “What is your profession!”
“See, old friend?” Littlidas asked, “I brought more ballplayers than you did.”
(The Red Sox began to march through Minnesota, stopping as they came across the burnt remains of a domed stadium)
“Where are all the people?” Epstein asked.
“Persians,” Littlidas replied.
“Littlidas,” Nixon called to him, “A child.”
A weak and wounded child approached Littlidas and collapsed in his arms. He wore a tattered jersey that said “Santana.”
“The child speaks of the Persians’ preliminary forces,” Garciaparra cried. “They are the hunters of men’s contracts. They cannot be killed or outbid. They are called the Athletics.”
“Athletics.” Littlidas repeated, “We’ll put their name to the test.”
(A man in a Yankees jersey approaches the Spartans on a platform carried by slaves)
“Who commands here?” Zimmer yelled, “I am the emissary to the ruler of all the world. The god of gods, Boss of bosses. Do you think the paltry Green Monster scares us? Do you really think your pathetic wall will do anything but fall like a heap of dry leaves in the face—”
Zimmer was interrupted when Pedro hurled a baseball at his shoulder. “My arm!” he screamed as it snapped away from the rest of his body.
“It’s not yours anymore,” Pedro said. Zimmer jumped off his platform and charged towards him. Pedro threw him to the ground.
“Go now. Run along and tell your Steinbrenner he faces loyal players here. Not free agents. Do it quickly.”
“No,” Zimmer said, “Not free agents. Your women will be free agents. Your sons, your daughters, your elders will be free agents. By noon this day, you will be Minor League men.”
“A billion dollars of the Yankee Empire descend upon you!” Zimmer exclaimed, “Our wallets will blot out the sun!”
“So much the better,” Ortiz replied, “Then we will fight in the shade.”
(After the first day of battle, Littlidas and Varitek discuss strategy)
“Captain,” Littlidas asked, “Have the men found any weakness in our strategy?”
“None, sire,” Varitek replied.
“There is such a weakness, good king,” an old man said as he approached Littlidas, “Wise king, I humbly request an audience.”
“You wear the red stockings of a Spartan,” the king remarked.
“I am Clemensialtes, born of Sparta. I served in the rotation many years ago. I beg you, bold king, to permit me to serve in your pitching staff.”
“Earliest memory?” Littlidas asked,
“What is your earliest memory?”
“The day JFK was assassinated, sir.”
“Ah,” Littlidas said, “You truly are old. I am sorry, my friend, but not all of us are made to be ballplayers.”
(Feeling betrayed by the Spartans, Clemensialtes goes to enlist with the Persian team)
“The gods were cruel to shape you so, friend Clemensialtes,” Steinbrenner cooed, “The Spartans, too, were cruel to reject you. But I am kind. All the money you could ever desire. Every purchasable happiness you can imagine. Every monetary pleasure your fellow Greeks and your false gods have denied you, I will grant you. Embrace me as your king and as your Boss.
“Lead my rotation, join my pitching staff, and your joys will be endless.”
“Yes,” Clemensiartes said, “I want it all! Wealth, steroids—and one more thing. I want a pinstriped uniform.”
(With Clemensialtes’ help, the Persians begin to mount a comeback against the Spartans)
“Littlidas,” Torre said, “My compliments and congratulations. You surely have turned calamity to victory. Despite your insufferable arrogance, the Boss-King has come to admire Spartan power and hitting skills.”
“You will make a mighty ally,” he continued, “Yield, Littlidas! Use your reason, think of your men. I beg you, listen to your fellow Greek. He can attest to the divine one’s generosity.
“Despite your several insults, despite your horrid blasphemies, the Boss of bosses is prepared to forgive all. And more. To reward your service—you play for your lands? Keep them. You play for Sparta? She will be wealthier and more powerful than ever before. Your fight for your kingship? You will be proclaimed Commissioner of all of Greece, answerable only to the one true master of the world.
“Littlidas, your victory will be complete if you but take Pedro out of the game and kneel to holy Steinbrenner.”
Barely a year ago.
Long I pondered my king’s cryptic talk of victory, and the time has proven him wise. For from Greek to homegrown Greek, the word was spread that bold Littlidas and his 25, so far from home, laid down their careers, not just for Sparta, but for all baseball and the promise this sport holds.
And now, here on this ragged patch of earth called Fenway, Steinbrenner’s hordes face obliteration. Just there, the barbarians huddle, sheer terror gripping tight their hearts with icy fingers.
The enemy outspends us now by a paltry three-to-one, good odds for any Greek. This day we rescue a world from capitalism and tyranny, and usher in a future brighter than anything we can imagine.
Give thanks, men, to Littlidas and the brave 25.