SCENE: The back of a commercial airplane. One whole row of seats is taken up with the veterans of the Twins pitching staff, as well as pitching coach RICK ANDERSON. The younger members of the staff are in the row in front, kneeling on their seats and peering over the seatbacks like first graders.
ANDERSON: Men. Thank you for gathering here in row 22.
RYAN PRESSLY: And row 21!
ANDERSON: Shut up, Ryan. Now, by now, most of you have probably heard about Clay Buchholz. Our guy Jack Morris accused him of throwing a spitball, and everybody's up in arms about it. Now, you men know that the spitball is illegal, right?
ALL (in semi-unison, with Anthony Swarzak a dreamy two steps behind): Yes, coach.
ANDERSON: Good, I'm glad we got that cleared up. Now here's why I wanted to talk to you: some of you need to start putting some stuff on the ball.
VANCE WORLEY: You mean we need to start throwing harder?
ANDERSON: Wait, you can throw harder, but you've been holding back?
WORLEY (in a sad voice): No. He hangs his head in shame.
ANDERSON: What I meant was, whatever substance you guys can get on that baseball, you do it. You do it right now.
MIKE PELFREY: You mean we should put rosin on the baseball, like Buchholz does?
ANDERSON: Pelfrey, if I was you, I'd smuggle anything I could carry out to the mound. Chunky peanut butter. Country gravy. Anything, literally anything, to make that fastball of yours move more than the one-quarter of an inch that it does now.
PERKINS: Why can't we just mix up our pitches and strike out every other guy we face?
Everyone stares daggers at him.
PELFREY (under his breath): Teacher's pet.
PERKINS: Sorry. (mumbling to himself) Not my fault that you pitch like you're a drunk throwing darts.
ANDERSON: What was that, Glen?
ANDERSON: Right. Now, the rest of you. Diamond, I want you to start putting maple syrup on the ball.
DIAMOND: How am I supposed to get maple syrup out to the mound?
ANDERSON: You're Canadian, ain't you?
DIAMOND: Yes, but that doesn't mean -
ANDERSON: THEN TALK TO YOUR FRIEND THE MAPLE SYRUP MOOSE, OR WHATEVER IT IS YOU PEOPLE DO. Sheesh, do I have to do everything around here?
ANTHONY SWARZAK (two beats later): No! Wait, what? Man, I am so out of it right now, this dude in Cleveland said I'd get mellowed out but he didn't mention this.
ANDERSON: How is it possible that Ol' Smoky over here is actually getting guys out?
KEVIN CORREIA (brightly): I'm not struggling, Rick!
ANDERSON: Yes, Kevin. That's great.
CORREIA: I talked to this giant rainbow, and he said I'll never have troubles again!
ANDERSON: Oh God. Were you hanging out with Swarzak?
SWARZAK: Don't mind him, man. We're gonna give him some orange juice, he should be fine.
ANDERSON: Yikes. Right. Anyway, Pelfrey and Worley, I want your baseball-doctoring plans presented to me by 2pm in the clubhouse tomorrow. Diamond, you too. Hernandez, you get prepared for the inevitable. Correia... Anthony, you going to tell him what we said?
SWARZAK: Tell who what now?
CORREIA: You have happiness pouring out your ears!
PERKINS: This actually explains a lot.
ANDERSON (looking towards the heavens) Saint Radke, our blessed saint of pitching to contact, give me strength.
We cut to the outside of the plane, which we see receding into the distance, with only the faint sound of Correia and Swarzak shouting "WHEEEE!" to take us out.