Introducing Team ElitePosted: March 29, 2012
I’ve seen it all during my three year stint as an assistant coach in the Mentor Girls Softball League:
Our team (Dick’s Sporting Goods) had a .500 season mired in controversy—primarily the well-documented feud between third base coach Mattie (my cousin) and I. After one loss in which I took particular issue with many of her ill-advised calls to hold/send runners, I stormed off the field without addressing the team and told my mom, the manager, to name me third base coach or I’d quit. This hollow ultimatum proved unsuccessful, and I took the walk of shame to first base the next night. The tension was palpable for the remainder of the season, which mercifully ended in the second round of the playoffs. I thought my career was over until…
My mom deserves all the credit in the world for putting this team together. Following the brutal Dick’s campaign, she morphed into a sleazy, Calipariesque recruiter, intent on making Chips Manufacturing a dream team that would cause Vince Young to blush. The entire season was easy living—we shit on each collection of 12-and-under girls the MGSL had to offer and I loved every second of it. After the championship game, I received several tempting offers to take my coaching talents elsewhere but chose to stay put.
This season was just like 2010, except we never won. The core group of players from Chips stopped playing rec ball, and their replacements weren’t exactly formidable. By mid-July the clubhouse was in disarray—reports of players consuming fried chicken and Capri Suns during games circulated daily. Local media outlets alleged that carousing among the coaching staff reached obscene levels. It was time to move on.
As one of Ohio’s foremost fastpitch minds, I needed to spice things up. Thus, Team Elite was born. With the aid of Mattie, my top assistant, I decided to assemble the greatest bunch of talent to ever step foot on Ridge Junior High’s softball diamond.
Money has been no object in my quest to reappropriate Murderer’s Row. I’ve doled out plenty of hundred-dollar handshakes to ensure that prospects on my radar sign with Team Elite. The price to negotiate with Asian sensation Pooh Darvish was steep, but our boosters covered it without hesitation. When Pooh finalizes her contract, she’ll fly into Cleveland on our private aircraft. I even paid the MGSL sponsorship fee so the team’s official name could be Team Elite. A line of jerseys, snapbacks, and baller ID bands—of the all-black-everything variety—are flying off shelves nationwide.
Team Elite plans to hire three umpire baiters. The umpire baiter’s job is to sit with fans of the opposing team and obnoxiously grumble about any call verging on questionable. The best baiters protest an umpire’s decisions with off-color platitudes until the team is warned and subjected to potential forfeiture.
Additionally, the three must develop a rapport on the fly. Much like the MIT blackjack team in Ben Mezrich’s Bringing Down the House (or the film 21), a troupe of incognito baiters arrives on the scene detached from one another. The fallout would be massive if this ruse went public, so baiters must be more tightlipped than a cloistered nun. Yesterday, I began the arduous process of narrowing down the applicant pool for this position, which features dozens of qualified candidates. While Team Elite won’t actually require the assistance of baiters to win, it’ll keep the season compelling.
To fill out additional roster spots, I will be hosting a combine this Saturday. Those interested in participating may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Serious entrants only! The combine will include standard exercises designed to test the physical and intellectual abilities of each athlete, such as the 40 yard dash, broad jump, and Wonderlic test. A panel of judges (comprised of myself, Mattie, Mel Kiper, and Simon Cowell) will provide biting commentary throughout the event, which can be seen on Scrawl So Hard Television (DIRECTV channel 625).
Mindful of the fanfare that Team Elite will engender, practices (which begin in May) are going to be open to the public. If you seek entertainment beyond the unmitigated athletic prowess on display, live music will serve to simulate crowd noise. I’m talking explosive tracks—tracks like Ray Jr.’s “Livin’”, which will be played at the onset of each practice.
(This conjures up memories of the 2009 Browns training camp, where Eric Mangini stole my idea and blared melodies with similar purpose. One day I made the trek to Berea, found a seat, and hummed along to “Ice Cream Paint Job” while taking in practice. To the disdain of Shaun Rogers, who had been whimsically pedaling a stationary bike, the music abruptly stopped. The hefty defensive tackle proceeded to berate an unnamed staffer until Dorrough’s voice was once again booming across the complex.)
If it wouldn’t be too much of a problem, I’d appreciate for an altruistic soul to lend me a yacht for the post-championship party. In the coming weeks, I’ll release details regarding VIP packages available for the bash. Shenanigans are guaranteed to ensue.
Also: Does anyone know a good PED dealer?