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Game 1: Minnesota Twins

This story is not religious, nor does it reflect any sort of religious beliefs on behalf of the author. It's just a story, told like a myth.

Bud Selig stood on the terrace of his desert palace, overlooking the setting sun that still blazed an unceasing heat upon his kingdom.  The baseball gods have forsaken me.  The words formed in his mind, but he refused to acknowledge them.  He was, after all, the Commissioner of Baseball, and certainly the Commissioner of Baseball still held sway over America's past-time.

In just a few moments, a game was to begin.  While at present he was finding strength in the solidute of the terrace, for hours he had been mentally preparing to run interference in the Chicago v. Minnesota match.  It wasn't so much that he had a vested interest in the White Sox; they weren't an East Coast team.  It was the Twins that gave him pause.  Left for dead earlier than expected, Selig had turned his focus elsewhere, only to find that the Minnesota team was far more resilient and adaptable than he'd thought.  Just this morning upon finding that the Twins were merely three games out of the Wild Card lead, Selig had cursed his confident nature, and vowed not to let The Team To Be Contracted crawl any further into the hunt for the postseason.

As the game began, Selig fell into a deep, metitative trance.  His power for vision, once the tool for realigning the divisions and used for good, was now used for his own selfish ambitions.  He still held influence over the course of any game, it was true, but he knew that any action too drastic would arise the suspicions of the baseball gods...and that, he could not afford to happen.  Certainly the Twins could not compete for long against a superior foe such as the White Sox; Selig decided to let the game play along its natural course before he intervened.

To the surprise and the frustration of the Commissioner of Baseball, the game was becoming a match of wit and skill.  While Vasquez, the pitcher for the White Sox, imposed his will over the Minnesota offense, a magician past his prime was doing just the same against the Chicago offense.  His name was Radke.  While certainly effective in the use of location and guile in the prime of his days, these were not the prime of his days.  Yet, here he was, stymieing a juggernaut of an offense.  This did not please Selig, and as the innings went by his displeasure grew.

Finally, with one out in the bottom of the fourth, Selig's frustration overcame him.  With the mighty Konerko in the batter's box, Selig granted his vision to him, and as Radke's pitch came through the zone the hitter swung a mighty swing that shattered hearts and brought tears to the great fans of Minnesota.  For although their beloved magician was pitching a gem, with one fell swoop his fortunes appeared to have changed!  The tiny white sphere cleared the bounds of the field of play, and the White Sox took a slim, yet intimidating, 1-0 lead.

As Konerko rounded the bases to thunderous applause from the fans of Chicago, Selig was listening for something else.  In fact, it wasn't so much about "listen" as it was about "feel".  As the rest of the inning played on without interference, Selig was stilling the use of his vision for all but himself.  He was waiting to see if retribution would fall from the gods of baseball.  Indeed, the rest of the bottom of the fourth inning came and went, and still there was nothing that would imply to Selig that the baseball gods were aware of his impudence.  So in the top of the fifth inning he imposed his influence for a second time, getting Luis Castillo to ground out after upstart Jason Bartlett had collected a single.  During the commercial break the Commissioner of Baseball again waited...and still the gods of baseball were silent.  Selig's confidence grew.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, he decided he would act again against the Twins from Minnesota.  Surely, without Selig's assistance, the outcome of the game was still in doubt.  On an 0-1 count, Selig granted the punchy Juan Uribe the same vision he had granted the mighty Paul Konerko, and Uribe took Radke's pitch and hit it into next week.

As Uribe rounded the bases to applause similar to that of just the inning prior, the Commissioner of Baseball was laughing.  The baseball gods have not forsaken me, he thought between fits of hysterical, heaving amusement.  They have forgotten me!!!  And certainly, this seemed true, as the hapless Brian Anderson doubled in the next at-bat, albeit without the Commissioner's aid.  Then, Scott Podsednik bunted Anderson to third.  As Selig regained his composure and wiped the tears of laughter from his eyes, he prepared to lend his vision to Tadahito Iguchi.  This next at-bat would put the game away!!

Yet as Selig focused on Iguchi, something was wrong.  Iguchi swung and missed.  Selig focused harder.  Iguchi swung and fouled this pitch off.  This isn't right! said a voice in Selig's mind.  He didn't acknowledge it.  As the fourth pitch came in Selig forced all his will upon Iguchi, and yet he popped the ball up.  The sphere fell harmlessly into Jason Bartlett's glove.

Bud Selig severed his sway over the White Sox, but it was too late.  His eyes flew open and his meditative state faultered; the baseball gods were upon him.  He felt the dry desert wind on his face, and tried to fall back into his trance.  His mind began sending phrases of apology and excuse to the baseball gods.  I couldn't help it!  It had to be done!  The Team To Be Contracted cannot be allowed victory!  But the baseball gods were silent and did not answer him.

As the top of the sixth inning began, Selig could do nothing but watch, his mind aware of the presence of the gods yet unable to do anything but observe.  With Nick Punto leading off, he worked a 3-1 count before the baseballs gods blew their breath.  Gentle and serene, the breath slowed the ball down in the sight of Little Nicky Punto, who took a swing and laced the ball for a single.  Standing on first base, Punto mused at how light the bat seemed on his shoulders.

Two hitters later, on a 1-1 pitch, the baseball gods again blew their tranquil breath.  This breath ever-so-slightly altered the rotation of the laces, causing Vasquez to miss his spot and the hitter to put a mega-blast into the ball.  Rounding the bases, Michael Cuddyer tossed aside the notion that he knew where the pitch would go before it was thrown.  With this, the baseball gods ceased their aide of the Twins, who had tied the game and thusly neutralized the effects of Commissioner Selig.

This, however, didn't stop Justin Morneau from going Boom.

Selig felt the sudden disappearence of the baseball gods.  They were mysterious and without allegience, yet the Commissioner knew his influence was no match for theirs.  In spite of this, and perhaps this is an execellent example of how offenders never learn, Selig would tempt fate once again.

After allowing the bottom of the sixth to pass, the Twins were mounting another attack of their own in the top of the seventh.  With Chicago down 3-2 to the team he wanted to annihilate, Selig's ambition overtook him.  He had to stop the Twins!  On a play at the plate where Jason Tyner clearly slid past the tag of A.J. Pierzynski, Selig used his vision in a different way than he had earlier in the game:  he blocked the vision of the homeplate umpire, who could not see the play from the correct anlge.  The umpire called Tyner out, and Selig's awful hair shook over his forhead as he cackled his victory, and reveled in the agony of the Twins.

Suddenly there was a voice in Selig's mind.  Only the baseball gods could impose their thought upon the Commissioner of Baseball!  Selig's eyes grew wide with terror as he heard the phrase:  The Young One, donned in white with the helmet of a warrior.  This was all the voice said, and yet no matter how hard he tried, this time the Commissioner of Baseball could do nothing but acknowledge it.

As Selig watched in his mind, he saw The Young One.  Today, he was donned in gray, but it did not matter.  He was The Hero.  He would serve poetic justice.  He was Joe Mauer.

On a 3-1 count, Joe Mauer, of his own accord, launched a ball deep to the recesses of center field.  Selig's mind saw Brian Anderson racing back to the wall, he saw the majestic arc of the baseball, and then his vision was broken.

Bud Selig collapsed onto the terrace of his desert palace, too shocked to notice that the sun had drifted below the horizon.  He wasn't sure what was more frightening:  the fact that Mauer had hit the ball without influence from the baseball gods, or that the gods chose to warn Selig in a form of mockery to his vision.

As the powerful White Sox mounted a late rally with a two-out homer in the ninth, without help from Selig or the baseball gods, the Commissioner pondered on his future.  He was the steward of the game, yet spending was out of control, there was little parity between markets and steroid scandals still shook fans' faith in their heroes.  Selig forced this moment of clarity from his mind, still half-heartedly convinced of the sway of his office.

But just as unaware as Selig was of the sun setting on his day, he was unaware of the motion of the game moving beyond his reach.  This story has just begun.