64 – The Mean Machine


This is the Rubbery Shrubbery blog, where you’ve been learning how Yachats (YAH-hots), Oregon, acquires a Major League Baseball franchise. To learn more about Yachats and its inhabitants—called Yachatians (yah-HAY-shuns)— please go to this page or go to GoYachats.

With the Yachats Smelt about to join the major leagues, some Yachatians are looking to cash in on what they see as a major opportunity. After all, what’s baseball for if not for getting rich. In today’s post Clapboard Eaglewink, himself a self-made entrepreneur of sorts, tells us about one such alleged opportunity.

The Mean Machine
by Clapboard Eaglewink

Hooo Boy! The Rubbery Shrubbery Stadium had some frenetic, turbulent times this past week, let me tell you. All because Brassica Chin’s younger brother Cap decided he’d build a bigger, better pitching machine, and the world would beat a path to his door (see Fig. 1). And why not? Cap’s got plenty of tools and he’s real good with his hands.

Figure 1. Ralph Waldo Emerson, who did not say, “Invent a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” Mousetraps were the farthest things from his mind.

Well, Cap disappeared for about two weeks and then turns up to unveil his new state-of-the-art pitching appliance. We call it Cap Chin’s Contraption (CCC). It’s something worth beholding, for sure. (Behold Fig. 2).

The Smelt Board of Directors eagerly assembled at the stadium to watch the first demonstration of the marvelous machine. They gawked in awe as CCC rolled itself onto the flat pitching mound and posed for photos. It was a bit cocky and full of itself but seemed harmless enough. Of course, all the directors wanted a chance to bat against the Contraption.

But as the first batter, Wumpy Mugwump, stepped into the batter’s box, the demeanor of the apparatus seemed to undergo a subtle change. It looked to be growing larger, and an eerie green glow began to emanate from somewhere deep within its bowels. It grew intimidating.

Figure 2. Cap Chin’s Contraption, in happier times.*

It didn’t make the transformation any less disturbing when it suddenly occurred to Wumpy that there didn’t appear to be a power source for CCC. No cord, no batteries, no generator. Wumpy pointed this out to us, and we all knew it couldn’t be good.

The first pitch to Wumpy was a hard slider that broke across the outside corner, knee high. Astounded, Wumpy didn’t even consider swinging. CCC looked like it was smirking.

Wumpy wasn’t going to take that smirk lying down. But he did. The next pitch was a high, inside 95 mph fastball that knocked Wumpy’s cap clean off as he dove for earth.

That was enough for Wumpy. Befuddled and shaken, he picked himself up and rushed to get behind the backstop for cover.

Meanwhile, Potty Grimes had been watching all this with temper rising. In the battle of man vs. machine there is only one rightful victor. We can’t let nuts and bolts get the better of us. Representing humankind, Potty grabbed a bat and strode to the plate.

CCC’s smirk grew grander. Potty took plenty of time to get himself situated in the batter’s box. Then suddenly here came the pitch out of nowhere. It was a spitball, with mucus and slippery elm and blue-green algae flying off as it came in hard, shoulder high, and then shot downward at a 45 degree angle. Potty, dazed, took it for a strike.

Things weren’t looking good for the humans at this point. Potty was furious and shouted at CCC that it was an illegal pitch. CCC smirked harder.

Then CCC threw a screwball, an emery ball, a knuckleball, a licorice ball, a talc ball, a pine tar ball, a Vaseline ball, and a split-finger fastball. Potty swung and missed each pitch.

With frustration mounting, Potty walked to the backstop to pick a different bat. When his back was turned, CCC hit him in the posterior with a 100 mph fastball.

That was all it took. With the bat raised like a war club, Potty limped/charged toward the mound. CCC clanked/charged toward Potty. They clashed at mid-field with a window-rattling explosion. See Fig. 3.

Figure 3. Joe Turner’s quick rendering of the Potty-Contraption brawl.

It was a nightmare. We, the onlookers, could only imagine the terrible carnage cloaked by flashes of lightning, by great plumes of smoke and expletives. Oh, the humanity!…too stupid to contemplate. Oh, the machinery!…beyond comprehension.

Then it was over. The smoke began to clear. An errant shoe bounced off the backstop, a flywheel gently rolled to right field. All else was peaceful.

But we noticed a slight stirring in the rubble. Then, to our surprise, Potty, bruised and battered, rose up from the destruction. Flinging gears and crankshafts aside, he did the Yachats Y© (see Fig. 4) and shouted for joy.

Figure 4. The Yachats Y, performed by Susanna Eaglewink.

Leaping from the debris, Potty went into an exuberant victory dance. At the very peak of his strut, though, he collided with a post on the backstop and knocked himself out.**

In the aftermath, we gathered the combatants and their departed parts and loaded them into ambulances for the long trip to the hospital in Newport.***

Both Potty and CCC will make a complete recovery, we are told. Although most of the Smelt directors agree they should undergo psychiatric realignment, Wumpy insists they each need just a warm hug from Bebe Broadbent.

* Image credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs
** It’s a shame, really. It was a very good victory dance.
*** We first realized CCC possessed some mechanical gender when it flirted with the paramedics’ power tools. Then, when CCC was taken out of the ambulance, the rascal propositioned it.

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2 Responses to 64 – The Mean Machine

  1. Steve Gillis says:

    ccc must have been programmed by Sal Maglie or Don Drysdale.

  2. Dave Baldwin says:

    Steve, you’re right — Maglie and Drysdale probably had a hand in programming the Contraption. There might have been others — Gaylord Perry comes to mind.

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