Bottom of the fifth inning. After a one-out single, Nick Punto breaks for second base on a Drew Butera ground ball to the left side of the infield. As LNP grits his teeth and turns up the hustle, he feels the cool summer air rush past his stubbled and eyeblacked face...when suddenly everything seems to slow down. As time seems about to grind to a halt, he chances a glance across the infield toward third base. He catches the odd, hypnotizing and piercing gaze of Mark Buehrle. Punto's ears are suddenly filled with a rushing sound as though a waterfall has filled his brain, and time stops altogether. He blinks.
When he opens his eyes, he is standing on a small platform which hangs precipitously over what seems to be a bottomless cavern. A wind whips past his face and through the ear hole of his helmet, but it's not a natural summer air. It's metallic. He hears loud, labored breathing and turns. It's Darth Buehrle. He speaks slowly, his voice thick and gravelly.
Darth Buehrle: Nick.
LNP: [Calling out over the din of the wind] What is this?! Where am I?!
LNP: Are we in Cloud City?
LNP: Why are you talking like that?
DB: I am your father.
LNP: No. No. That's not true. That's impossible.
DB: Search your feelings. You know it to be true.
LNP: No you're not. I'm older than you.
DB: Join me.
DB: Join me and we will rule the South Side of Chicago as father and son.
LNP: A) You're not my father, and B) White Sox fans hate me.
DB: I shall teach them the error of their ways. They shall bow before you as my apprentice, and will learn to appreciate your grit, hustle, head-first slides and forearms the size of grown men's thighs.
LNP: I'll never join you!
DB: You already have the money, LNP GET MONEY GET PAID. I will give you the POWER and then you will have the WOMEN.
LNP: ...different movie, dude.
DB: There is no escape. Don't make me destroy you, LNP. I could cut off your throwing hand.
LNP: That seems a little harsh.
DB: Fine. I'll make you tweak your hamstring. And then you shall meet your doom.
DB: Yes, you will not break up the double play.
LNP: Pfft. Yeah, right.
DB: Do not under-estimate the power of the dark side.
LNP: Dude, grit+hustle > "the dark side".
DB: Very well. But grit and hustle do not win games on their own. Meet your doom, and despair in tonight's loss! I shall throw seven shutout innings and all Twins hitters shall be stupefied!
Darth Buehrle raises his arm and an invisible force launches LNP off the small platform and through the air. As he falls time once again slows, and the all-encompassing rush enters his head again. He blinks, and finds himself back on the baseball field, still holding eye contact with a brooding Mark Buehrle. Hamstring be damned, thinks Punto as he turns his attention back to second base, preparing for another head-first slide as time resumes. I'm breaking up this double play.