Forget those two games Bud Selig scheduled over in Japan last week…the true Opening Day for the 2012 Major League Baseball Season is almost upon us.
Which brings us to a very, very important question…who will be YOUR team’s Joe Shlabotnik this season?
For those uninitiated with the name…Joe is a fictional baseball player featured in Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip.
Joe was Charlie Brown’s all-time favorite baseball player.
Charlie Brown worked endlessly to hunt down any and all memorabilia associated with Joe Shlabotnik. He once bought 500 one-card, one-cent packs of baseball cards just to get one of Joe’s. While he wasn’t successful, his “pal” Lucy van Pelt bought but one pack and…whatya know…she owned a Joe Shlabotnik baseball card. Unfortunately, Lucy refused to trade, even though she had little knowledge of the Grand Old Game. Once Charlie Brown exhausted himself trying to entice her to give up Joe’s card…she eventually decided he wasn’t “as cute” as she thought and threw the card in a dumpster.
Charlie Brown once was under the impression he had a Joe Shlabotnik autographed baseball…it turned out to be a forgery.
But it isn’t Charlie Brown’s futility trying to get a Joe Shlabotnik “original” that makes him relevant to this post. It is the legend, the essence of Joe Shlabotnik. More importantly as you read about his career, think upon which player on YOUR favorite team this year is most likely to match the “achievements” of Joe Shlabotnik…
1. He was demoted to the minor leagues after hitting .004 over an entire season. The one hit was a bloop single…with his team comfortably ahead.
2. He once promised to hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth. He popped out…but circled the bases anyway.
3. He had a knack for making routine fly balls into spectacular catches…as well as throwing out runners who had fallen between first and second.
4. After his demotion to the Green Grass League, Joe retired as an active player and took a job managing the Waffletown Syrups. He was fired after one game. He called for a squeeze play…with no one on.
Charlie Brown never even got to meet his hero Joe Shlabotnik.
He bought tickets to sit at a sports banquet where fans could dine with their favorite athletes…but Joe was the only one who didn’t show up. He had marked the wrong event, city AND date on his calendar.
Joe was also invited to attend a testimonial dinner for Charlie Brown. He got lost en route.
It seems each year at least one player on each team manages to embarrass himself and/or the game on or off the field. Please feel free to submit your predicted candidates now…or note their resemblance once the season gets underway. You can be sure in the meantime I’ll be highlighting the “best” baseball has to offer.