The Minnesota Twins shocked the sports world yesterday, trading former All-Stars Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau to the Washington Nationals for “players to be named earlier,” namely the pre-injury versions of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.
Acquiring the two players in their undamaged form is the talk of baseball’s winter meetings, and has caused many sportswriters to immediately identify the Twins as Central Division favorites for 2012, while searching for clues as to how such a move was possible.
The groundbreaking trade appears to be the brainchild of team officials studying the particulars of Target Field, the new Twins home stadium, and realizing it subverted the conventional laws of Newtonian physics.
“Target Field displays an unusual propensity to reverse most normal baseball assumptions,” general manager Terry Ryan said. “The outfield depths are similar to the Metrodome’s, yet the ball doesn’t carry as far even on hot, dry days. Our attempts to improve the offense in 2011 by adding speed actually worsened our run production. And – most curious to our consultant – the removal of several trees directly behind the batter’s eyeline, while requested by certain players, proved to be disastrous to our overall plate discipline.”
The “consultant” mentioned by Ryan is unidentified, but loosely described by insiders as a malcontent who left the team to practice his Dark Magical Arts in other climes. Before departing, he apparently concluded that Target Field must contain within its parameters a multidimensional vortex, which, if utilized correctly, would allow the organization to bend all baseball logic inward upon itself, creating the opportunity to mishandle time, space, and agreed-upon transactions.
Further research by NOK architects revealed several possible spots for the space/time anomaly, and tests revealed the exact whereabouts. This is believed to be the key to the Twins’ new aggressive strategy, although the precise location is a closely held secret.
When asked about the probability of such a strategy succeeding, noted baseball statistician Bill James was reportedly only able to garble out a few half-chewed sentences before going silent on the phone. James has not been seen or heard from since. The recording of his last conversation (to date) is not available to the public, but one source who heard it described the tape as “terrifying. Like someone sucking the world’s longest French fry into their pursed lips. Accompanied by hoarse, out-of-breath attempts to scream.”
Some physicists who have reviewed the censored recording believe that James somehow achieved the critical mass necessary to become a black hole, and subsequently disappeared into his own event horizon. One such astrophysicist believes he may even know the location of the Twins’ vortex.
On deep background, he gave voice to his suspicions. “I’m at this game with Stephen Hawking, and we need accessible seating, right? So we get wheelchair seats in the outfield, and they’re easy to find, but there’s no elevator to reach them. Even the friendly staff had no idea. We finally found a service elevator, unmarked, barely big enough for the two of us, and all the labels on the buttons had no rational connection to how the floors are numbered. It was weird, I tell you . . . and then Jim Thome, who used to just KILL the Twins, hits a go ahead homer that lands right in front of that elevator. That pretty much confirmed something was off, as far as I was concerned.”
When pressed for further detail, the scientist became evasive, suggesting that Hawking was a big Twins fan and adding “if I do anything to screw this up, he’ll destroy me. You don’t want to see him when he’s mad about a Twins loss. His voice computer starts singing some old song about a girl named Daisy and a stylish marriage, and it sounds, well, evil. I don’t know how else to put it.”
Reaction to the Twins’ moves among baseball circles has been varied. Commissioner Bug Selig thought the new strategy might open up potential vortex portals for other struggling franchises. “The Mets keep losing despite a huge market and high payroll, while the Cubs somehow can’t please their legion of eternally optimistic and puritanically sober fans. Besides, I always told you there was a reason I unbalanced the leagues and put the Brewers in the NL Central – in the looking, you will seek which you fail to unknow is already never lost or found.” The commissioner than transformed into an attractive man with a stylish head of hair and hovered backwards from the podium into a transparent cloud of dry mist. His remarks were applauded silently by broadcaster Bob Costas, bravely continuing to cover baseball despite an advanced case of progeria that has aggressively aged the television personality for the last 20 years.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman denied that the Twins’ innovations would lead to any competitive imbalance. “Well-run barebudget organizations like our own will always manage to succeed on the principles we’ve relied on in the past,” he claimed. “Attracting humble players who care less about big contracts than enjoying the laid-back charms of traditional baseball, far away from the harsh anti-light of infinite improbability.” Cashman then added that if conventional Yankee methods lost some of their usual edge, he was confident the taxpayers of New York would willingly finance a new two-team league which would play one yearly 162-game series in a stadium on the Moon. Cashman indicated that the stadium would be visible from Earth, but only in specific East Coast cities, whose locations he declined to specify.