Monday, August 14, 2006

Bench Potatoes

Rene Rivera, Mike Morse, Greg Dobbs, and Adam Jones were all sitting on the couch in the clubhouse.

"Goddamn, TV is boring these days," said Jones.

"Seriously," said Morse. "Everything's a freaking rerun."

Dobbs grabbed the remote control and turned on the TV. "Yeah," he said, "This is ALL a bunch of reruns. I don't even know what's good on TV anymore."

Rene Rivera piped up. "I hear 'Friends' is good!"

Dobbs snorted. "Rerun. Any other ideas?"

Morse thought. "Bloomquist likes Grey's Anatomy, so let's not watch that."

Adam Jones flipped through the channels. "Hey," he said, "It's an episode of Happy A's."

Dobbs blinked. "I've seen this one before too, dude. Washburn vs. Zito? That's TOTALLY a rerun. It was on, like, last weekend."

Rene Rivera tilted his head to the side. "Is this the show with Fonzie?"

"No, but it's got Kielty and Bradley and Swishie and Chavvy, does that count?"

Morse gaped as Ben Broussard hit a home run, giving the Mariners a 2-0 lead. "Wait a minute," he said, "That didn't happen last time. Are you SURE this is a rerun?"

Dobbs nodded. "I think so... I swear, I've been watching this show all season. It's true the plots start looking alike after a while, and there's only so many ways you can find for the Mariners to lose to the A's, right?"

"Yeah, they seriously need new writers," Jones agreed. "Maybe today something idiotic can happen like Bloomtard getting a home run, I bet that'd raise the ratings in Bremerton..."

The four sat there on the bench, watching the plot unfold. The A's scored a run in their half of the inning, and then Mark Ellis hit a home run in the bottom of the 4th.

"Oh my god, this is totally not a rerun," said Morse. "I've never seen Mark Ellis hit a home run before. Or anyone from South Dakota, for that matter."

Dobbs raised his eyebrows. "I don't know. I mean, it still feels really familiar, doesn't it? False hope, and then a bunch of guys getting cut down by Zito curveballs, right?"

The next inning started and Willie Bloomquist hit a home run.

Everyone looked at Adam Jones.

"What?" he asked.

"I thought you said you hadn't seen this one before?" blinked Rivera.

"I haven't! Have ANY of us been following this show long enough to have seen Willie Bloomquist hit a home run? I know it hasn't happened since I've been watching."

Dobbs got quiet for a second. "Actually," he said, "This is proof that it IS a rerun. Because, like, Willie's LAST home run was ALSO off Barry Zito in Oakland. I remember that episode. I was TOTALLY there. I even pinch-hit for him after that."

Jones tilted his head. "Oh yeah? What did you do?"

Dobbs blushed. "I struck out."

Morse shrugged as the score went to 4-2, but then Frank Thomas hit a home run and it went to 4-3. Zito and Washburn both came out of the game, with Washburn holding the win, and it seemed impossible: Seattle vs. Oakland in a battle of the bullpens? This couldn't possibly be a rerun. The bullpens hadn't had a lead to protect yet this season.

The game went on, and the Mariners' lead held. Mark Lowe pitched a beautiful sixth and seventh innings, as did Chad Gaudin.

Morse said to Dobbs, "If this is a rerun, what's going to happen next?"

Dobbs gulped. "Grover's going to mismanage the bullpen. Just wait."

Sure enough, lefty George Sherrill pitched to lefty Eric Chavez, who singled. Then righty Rafael Soriano came in to pitch to Jay Payton, who was obviously a huge power threat. Nick Swisher came up to bat, from his favored left side of the plate.

BOOM! Soriano got a 3-1 count on Swisher, and then he swung away, belting a shot just over the wall in right-center.

All four guys on the couch were silent as Swisher ran back into the dugout and did a series of high-fives and crazy frat handshakes with every person in sight.

Dobbs said, "I'm not going to say I told you so, but I told you so."

Rivera looked confused. "Then didn't you just say you told us so?"

Dobbs shook his head with an exasperated motion. "Great, I've got to go bat against the only guy in the league whose name I can't spell. See you all later." He walked out.

"Well, then," Jones said. "Let's all make bets on how we think the game will end? I'm going with Bloomquist caught stealing."

Morse grimaced. "Dobbs tagged out at home for the third out."

Rivera almost laughed. "I say Jose Lopez pops out to Kotsay at the wall."

They watched as Dobbs grounded out, and Bloomquist flew out into a beautiful diving catch by Mark Kotsay. Then Ichiro came up to bat and did his thing, fouling off a bunch of pitches until he got one he liked and could bloop into shallow left for a single.

Rivera said, "See? You see? I win! I bet Lopez will--"

Ichiro took a step towards second, Duchscherer fired the ball to first, and Swisher got the pickoff tag. Game over. The three just stared at the TV screen with their mouths open in shock.

Dobbs came back into the clubhouse. "God, that sucked. Since when does Ichiro get picked off bases? Freaking hell."

Morse glared at him. "See? I TOLD you it wasn't a goddamn rerun, dumbass."

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