CLEVELAND — “Good morning, everyone.”


“Let’s get started. Bring me the files on the endorsement stars of this World Series. Let’s stick with the pitchers.”

“Yes, sir. Here’s our top candidate.”

“This guy? With the glasses?”

“His name is Greg Maddux.”

“He looks like an archaeologist.”

“He’s the best pitcher in baseball.”

“Where’s his muscles?”

“Mostly in his brain.”

“Great. We can show him flexing his brain. That’ll sell a lot of underwear.”

“Sir, he’s brilliant. Batters can’t hit him. He baffles them constantly. He shut down the Indians in Game 1 of the Series, and he pitched again Thursday in Game 5.”

“He throws a fastball, right? Maybe we could do a sports car endorsement. Something like, ‘You want blazing speed? Go with a pitcher who knows blazing speed.’ “

“Uh . . . that wouldn’t work, sir.”

“Why not?”

“His fastball is only 87 m.p.h.”

“Are you kidding? How does he get anyone out?”

“Placement, sir.”

“Great. We can show him flexing his placement. That’ll sell a lot of underwear.”

“He’s incredibly consistent, sir. He’s got five pitches, and he never throws the same speed back-to-back. He has won three Cy Young awards, and he’ll surely win another this year.”

“How about a nickname? We can work with a nickname. Something like ‘Stud.’ That’ll sell cologne. Or ‘He-Man.’ Or ‘Love God.’ He does have a nickname, doesn’t he?”

“Well . . . yes, sir.”

“What is it?”

“Bat Boy, sir.”

“Bat Boy?”

“He’s kind of young-looking, sir.”


Glasses, no muscles

“Before you give up on him, sir, he has an interesting background.”

“How’s that?”

“He grew up in Las Vegas.”

“Yeah? Like that Agassi kid in tennis? That might work. Was he a bad boy there, a rebel with an image, a guy with a headband and his shirt flying up around his belly button?

“Not exactly.”

“Well, what did he do in Vegas?”

“He worked at Wendy’s.”

“He WHAT?”

“He also likes to watch ‘Jeopardy.’ “

“Is this a baseball player or Stephen Hawking?”

“There are other candidates, sir.”

“Hurry. Show me something.”

“Well . . . let’s see. There’s Maddux’s opponent, the Indians’ top pitcher. Here’s his photo.”

“Howdy Doody?”

“Orel Hershiser.”

“Is this some kind of joke?”

“No, sir. Hershiser is one of the best in the game. He has had a long career, won the MVP award in the 1988 World Series, and is having a rebirth in Cleveland. He pitched Thursday as well.”

“He looks like Richie in ‘Happy Days.’ “

“Yes, sir.”

“He wears glasses, too?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Where are his muscles?”

“Also in his head, sir.”

“Don’t tell me. He doesn’t throw a blazing fastball. He’s great with placement. He has lots of pitches.”

“Also a wife and kids.”

“Tell me something exotic in his background. A stint at the Sorbonne in Paris. A year in the coal mines of Ireland. Adventure. Romance. Where’d he grow up?”

“Buffalo, Detroit and New Jersey, sir.”

“Oh, God.” Don’t forget Fonda

“Maybe you should see the other photos, sir?”

“No more pitchers! Show me some hitters! Show me someone who has some muscles, for pete’s sake!”

“Here’s Eddie Murray of the Indians. He was the hero of Game 3.”

“A hero? Great. We could book him for motivational speeches.”

“Not really, sir. He barely speaks.”

“What about this guy? He looks strong.”

“Albert Belle.”

“Good public person?”

“He has almost killed several reporters.”

“Great. Do you have anyone on these teams who actually looks like an athlete, has the personality of an athlete and hasn’t threatened anyone recently? Say. What about this one? This is a good face. This could sell a lot of products. Who is this?”

“Jane Fonda, sir.”

“Hmm. Can she pitch?”

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