Sunday, May 28, 2006

Chollie The Chessmaster


I played chess since I was a child, but really learned how to win years later from some opponents with masterful skills at a café during my self-imprisonment in Buttfuck Tucson.

Speed chess was the game of choice, and I regularly got whooped. But I kept coming back for more, knowing full well if I could win a few games at their playing level, the more pedestrian players would always be my bitch.

Just as Ryan Madson was lifted after a solid five-inning outing in which he surrendered only the obligatory two-run handicap to the Brewers, my son got a hankering for a game. Caesar has some real possibilities as a chessman, so whenever he wants a game, I give him my best.

I was reluctant to be distracted from a game in which the Fightless had come back to claim a lead, 4-2, as the floodgates were being unlocked – the bullpen door opened, that is - and the always-impending disaster loomed. Would Chollie let Ryan Franklin fuck this one up, too?

As my queen raped various pawns, clergy and horsies on the chessboard at home, the foursome of Jeff Geary, Rheal Cormer, Arthur Rhodes and Flash Gordon likewise put the Brew Crew down, shutting them out for the final four innings, allowing no run damage on four hits. Better, the offense squeezed two more runs out of the Brews’ reformed bong-smoking reliever named Joe Winkelsas, last employed as a trash collector in Buffalo. Really.

The victory almost seemed routine. Could Chollie be…gulp…employing a workable strategy?

“That whole bit with Ben Franklin was a setup for the Brewers,” the Appalachian Bobby Fisher explained, identifying the wrong stiff as he gnawed on a barbequed tripe sandwich. “I figgered we let ‘em get cozy the first five times we faced ‘em, then pull a quick one on ‘em.”

Still, Chollie said he was tempted to use Franklin.

“That woulda been somethin’ to see, three Ryans in one game, huh?” he said, intestines dripping down his cheek. “They wouldn’t know which pocket they stashed their balls in!”

That seven-inning relief effort last week against the Mets might have straightened out Madson’s confused head, as he not only gathered himself after permitting a second inning two-run homer, but clocked a two-run double to tie the game in bottom of the fourth after Dingdong David Bell and Italian Sausage Sal Fasano failed to consummate with runners eager to score. Madson is hitting .357 on the year, and Chollie might be well advised to trot him out as a pinch hitter in lieu of Abraham Nunez, now hitting a horrendous .164, the Team Succubus now nursing on his man-spunk.

Ryan Howitzer continues to terrorize pitchers this month, as he stroked his 17th homer to give Team Psycho the lead for good, 4-2. His numbers are Ruthian – or Pujolistan, if you will – considering the pace he is on would yield 51 homers and 132 RBIs by season’s end. He’s a .307 hitter right now and a lot of the production has come against lefties, which some skeptics said he couldn’t hit. The numbers are all the more impressive because it’s 100 percent country strength, fueled by Mom’s home cookin’ as a youth and not from the end of a needle in his ass by a steroid salesman.

The Memorial Day festivities continue tomorrow in South Philly, as the vaunted Washington Nationals throw their murderers row up against Jon Lieber’s teflon 5.83 ERA. He is sure to be fattened by the gift barbeque pig air-mailed by the retired Alex Gonzalez to his "comrades" from his hacienda in Florida. It is a holiday, after all.

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