Monday, November 21, 2005

The 2005 MVP Al-Star Team

Alan Trammell followed Alex Rodriguez into the lounge, looking more than a bit confused as he looked at the group of guys hanging around. "Hey, Alex," he started, "I knew something strange had to be going on when you invited me to your house, but this looks like the weirdest party group I've ever seen."

A-Rod just smiled. "You're here by special invitation for a very special reason, my man." He waved an arm around, at the guys sitting, drinking, playing darts, pool, and poker. "What do these people all have in common?"

Trammell stared. He couldn't think of a single thing that Al Leiter, Albert Pujols, Alex Gonzalez, Alfonso Soriano, Alex Cora, and Alex Sanchez, among others, had in common. "They're all baseball players. Um. They're all baseball players whose names start with A?"

"You're on the right track. Keep going."

"Well, okay, their names all start with A and L. Except Sandy Alomar, what's he doing here?"

"Now you've got it! Everyone here, well, you can call them 'Al'. This is going to be the greatest team ever... it's the 2005 MVP AL STAR TEAM!" He waved Pujols to come over. "See, me and Al here, we realized that it was just too cool that both of the MVP winners were named Al. And so we wanted to come up with a special way to celebrate it."

"So," started Pujols, "We invited all of these other awesome Als here."

"Ha, guys," laughed Trammell, "Then what am I doing here?"

"You, Al Trammell," said Pujols, "are going to be the MANAGER of our awesome Al-Star Team."

Trammell glanced around. "I hate to break it to you, fellows, but most of these guys are shortstops. Who's going to play anywhere else?"

Pujols and A-Rod looked at each other and grinned. "Well, Rod's playing third and I'm playing first," started Pujols.

"Alomar's catching, obviously. We cheated, but the alternative was Alberto Castillo," A-Rod laughed. "As for the rest, well, it's obvious that the awesomest people would be Als and play shortstops, but the way I figure it, I'm the most awesome Al shortstop in the world and I've been playing elsewhere all year, so these guys can suck it up too."

"Alex Sanchez gets center field by default," continued Pujols. "Alfonso Soriano's playing second base, and we're giving Alex Cintron the shortstop job."

Trammell blinked. "Curious choice, men, why not Alex Gonzalez?"

A-Rod smiled. "Well, the problem is... which Alex Gonzalez? It wouldn't be fair to pick one over the other. And while the ALEX GONZALEZ SHORTSTOP DEATH MATCH sounded like a pretty cool pre-game event for our Al-Star Game, we figured it was a better idea to just put them both in the outfield rather than lose them to injury. One plays left, one plays right, we don't really care which."

Trammell seemed to accept this. "How about the bench? I assume Alex Cora is the infielder, Alexis Rios is the backup outfielder?"

Pujols nodded. "Yeah. Castillo's going to be our backup catcher, too. Al Leiter's the starting pitcher."

"You don't have much pitching for this team, actually. Alan Embree and... ah, another cheater, Alfonseca, in the bullpen?"

Pujols shrugged. "I wanted Al Reyes, but well, he's not throwing a ball again any time soon."

A-Rod said, "Well, now that it's all settled, we might as well get the party started, huh?" He clapped his hands loudly a couple of times. "GUYS!" he shouted.

Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked over at him.

"So, now that we've got our manager in the loop, we're ready to rock, I think. I'm guessing you've all figured out why you're here. Mr. Pujols and I, we could be happy just being the MVP's, sure. But we wanted to share the fun with an entire group. And all of you are what we consider the MLB's MAP's!"

"The Most Al-uable Players. This is going to be the most fun exhibition ever. We are all Als, and we are all stars. This is the greatest Al-star team ever assembled. Here's our proposed lineups," said Pujols, handing out sheets of paper to people.

A-Rod grinned as the papers were passed around. "We're celebrating all sorts of Als. In tribute to one of the earliest baseball Als, Al Spalding, the Spalding sporting goods is providing all sorts of equipment. In tribute to Alexander Cartwright, we're playing the game in New York."

"Oh, and wait until you hear the coolest part," said Pujols. "We contacted several celebrity Als to sing or perform for the pre-game. Weird Al Yankovic said he respectfully didn't think he'd fit in well with our Al-Star team, but he *did* write us a song for the occasion. Hey Rod, strike up the karaoke machine, man, and toss me a mic..."

A-Rod flicked a few switches on the complex media center, and music started blaring from the speakers. Pujols caught the microphone and started singing in a falsetto voice in the intro.

"I won my MVP..." he sang in his best imitation of Sting. The drums pounded. "I won my MVP..."

The rest of the room started nodding their heads to the guitar of Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits as the music to "Money For Nothing" played.

Now look at them voters, here's the way you do it
You play the baseball as a stud Yankee
We got the writers, got the big-ass payroll
But money means nothin' to a guy like me.
Now that guy Pujols, playin' on the Cardinals
Lemme tell you, that guy can jam
Maybe'd be his second if not for that Bonds guy
Maybe he's as awesome as I am

I fought to win some mighty great sluggers
Vlad Guererro, and Dave Ortiz
I got to send them back to the dugout
'Cause they ain't this year's MVP's

See that A-Rod with his ribbies and his homers?
Yeah, buddy, he's a nightmare
That crazy slugger's gonna be a hall of famer
That crazy slugger is a zillionaire

I fought to win some mighty great sluggers
Andruw Jones, and Derrek Lee
I got to send them back to the dugout
'Cause they ain't this year's MVP

I shoulda learned to pitch like a star
I shoulda learned to strike out bums
Look at those slackers, they're out there, sitting in the outfield 'pen
Goofing off all day
The call comes, "What's that? Pitch for an inning?"
They're throwin' on the mound for just an out or three
See, that ain't workin', that's the way you do it
Get your money for nothing and your naps for free

We had to beat some mighty great sluggers
But we're the finest as you can see
We got to send them back to the dugout
'Cause they ain't this year's MVP

Now we're the winners, any way you cut it
We worked our butts off for that MVP
We're always out there, lookin' at those bench guys
They get their money for nothing and their naps for free

You get your money for nothin', and your naps for free

Pujols (overlapping):
I won my, I won my, I won my MVP...

Everybody applauded. The music faded out.

"So, um, hey, A," said Alfonso Soriano. "Having an Al-star team is good and all, but who exactly are we going to play against?"

Pujols shrugged. "Well, that isn't exactly clear yet. It's looking like it'll probably be Ryan Howard and the All-Ryan team, though."

"Yeah," agreed A-Rod. "For some reason, Vlad's having issues getting together an All-Vlad team."

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