WITH NOTORIOUS bad boy Albert Belle in the fold, this promises to be an exciting season for Orioles fans, especially if you don't mind taking an occasional fastball in the chest from the big fella.
But O's owner Peter Angelos isn't through yet, folks!
There are some serious sociopaths out there just waiting to be signed, which means the Opening Day lineup could look like this:
First base -- Palmeiro, Schmalmeiro. Who needs the big lug?
Not the Birds if they get off their rear ends and ink the ballplayer known all over South America as The Natural: former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet!
At 83 and ill, there's some question about his mobility around the initial hassock. But the guy can flat-out hit: more than 3,000 deaths and disappearances during his regime, not to mention four straight years as an All-Star torturer!
And, Pete, what pitcher wouldn't quake to see Pinochet goose-stepping to the plate in full military uniform and black boots, the sun glinting off his medals?
Second base -- Let's face it, Roberto Alomar, who once spit in an umpire's face and then wondered aloud why the ump couldn't get over his dead kid, would be a perfect fit.
But he's gone, so let's not get all weepy about it. Instead, let's welcome the O's newest head case: Dennis Rodman!
True, he hasn't played organized baseball since Little League. But the NBA's on strike, so this is a no-brainer.
And look what he brings to the table: he sulks, skips practices, kicks photographers in the groin -- that's an all-around game, folks. Not to mention the multiple tattoos, body piercings and rainbow hair-do.
Pete, Pete, Pete ... who cares if he can turn the double-play? Give this guy a contract!
Shortstop -- Mike Bordick? Puh-leez! Hustles, keeps his mouth shut, goes out and does his job -- get him outta here!
You want marquee value, Pete? How's this sound wafting over the Camden Yards PA system: "NOW BATTING FOR THE ORIOLES ... NUMBER 14 ... MIKE TYSON!"
Yes, Iron Mike himself! The ol' ear-biter! Think the umps won't be a little leery about ringing this guy up on strikes?
Third base -- Yeah, yeah, Cal Ripken. Played in 50,000 straight games, two MVP awards, first-ballot Hall of Famer, blah, blah, blah.
Who cares? What we need is a little life at the hot corner! And who better to provide life than a guy doing life -- in the slammer, that is!
That's right, ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for the O's new third sacker, the Godfather himself, Mr. John Gotti!
Think this guy hasn't done some whacking with a baseball bat? And Pete, you can get this guy cheap. The man's in a federal penitentiary -- he'd sign for a carton of cigarettes!
Catcher -- What's the first thing you look for in a catcher? A guy with a gun for an arm, right? I'll go you one better: how about a guy with a real gun!
That's why we need Robert Downey Jr., the man with the lifetime pass to the Betty Ford Clinic. My favorite incident was when police found crack, heroin and a gun in his truck during a traffic stop -- and arrested him after they found him asleep in a neighbor's bed!
I'm thinking multiyear deal with this guy, Pete.
Left field -- Pete, close your eyes for a moment. In the pantheon of psychos, who's the biggest name of them all? The ne plus ultra of nutcases?
Right, ol' swastika-head himself, the man who put the Helter in Skelter, Mistah Charles Manson!
Pete, Manson makes Dennis Rodman look like Beaver Cleaver. He might not hit .300. But he'll make things happen out there, guaranteed.
Center field -- Look, Brady Anderson's a nice guy. But you know what they say about nice guys, Pete.
So sign Latrell Sprewell. Remember Spre? Choked his NBA coach? Then came back and threatened to kill him? Nice touch, no?
If I'm manager Ray Miller, I'm already getting fitted for a neck brace.
Right field -- Cap cocked at a jaunty angle, glove raised to the sky, two syringes filled with 20 cc's of potassium chloride in his back pocket -- you see where I'm going here, Pete?
Dr. Jack Kevorkian: where fly balls go to die. And other things, too.
Designated hitter -- O.J. Simpson. He's tired of golf. Nuff said!
Pitcher -- Pete, let's play word association.
I say "potential 20-game winner." And you say -- that's right -- "Marilyn Manson."
An androgynous wacko who sings about mutilation and death on stage while desecrating the American flag belongs in your rotation, Pete.
I can hear the play-by-play guys now: "Manson throwing to Manson in the top of the third ..."
Has a nice ring, doesn't it?
Pub Date: 12/02/98