College World Series, Correspondence School Division Finals

June 12, 2005

San Mateo Stereo Repair Riversharks (Home) vs. Gun Repair Academy of Greater New Jersey Hammers (Away)

Top of the First

Dear Sir,
Starter Bill Stoneman steps to the rubber. He’s been learning stereo repair in his basement apartment for the last few months while working as a day manager at Arby’s, and by the way, he’s 6’4”, 230 with a dominating slider and a beautiful 12-6 curve. He takes your leadoff hitter completely by surprise, however, starting the game off with three change-ups. Swinging strikes on all three pitches. May I add that I look forward to this competition, and may the best team win.
Yours, Howard Youpsis, Manager, San Mateo Riversharks

My esteemed colleague,
Thank you for your letter regarding our leadoff hitter, and may I say upfront that I share your enthusiasm for this contest. But I do regret to inform you that, while Sam “Speedy” Salvatore did swing and miss, your catcher dropped the third strike. Speedy, who placed third in the 400m at the New Jersey high school state finals in 1989, took off for first base. Your catcher, who we can only assume is in some way mentally defunct, attempted to recover and throw Speedy out at first, but his tremendous anxiety over Speedy’s aforementioned speed resulted in a wildly errant throw. The ball went into the home dugout, and umpires awarded Speedy third base. Perhaps more upsetting? That the ball struck your designated hitter in the forehead at tremendous velocity, rendering him unconscious. He was medevaced from your crappy, low-rent stadium. Runner on third, no outs. Second baseman Pete Forester steps into the box.
I eagerly await your reply, Stan Bostwick, Manager, Greater New Jersey Hammers

Greetings Stan,
We were quite shocked to learn of these developments in your latest message. That is a shocking turn of events. More shocking, even considering what happens next. After nibbling at the corners and running a 2-2 count, Stoneman hangs an inside slider. Forester turns on it, sending a scorching 110 MPH line drive down the third base line. But in an amateur baserunning mistake, Salvatore is not standing in foul ground, and is struck in the Adam’s apple. He’s out. As he collapses to the ground, grasping his throat, the ball pops into the air, landing gently in the glove of our third baseman. Double play, and it’s a busy day for the medevac crew, as Salvatore is taken off to breathe through a tube for the next six months. Tough break. And Forester is so shaken up, he removes himself from the game, to go back to … what? I’m guessing he sells Amway products. Two outs, nobody on.
Sincerely, Howard

Though some consider it trite, I have often found that sometimes the worst things can be turned into the best things. Even though he has never met Salvatore in person (ironic, as they live in the same building in New Brunswick), No. 3 hitter Ricardo Alomar vows to win this game for his little teammate. And he delivers, mashing Stoneman’s second pitch over the right field wall. It’s the longest homerun in the history of the Hammers, and Stoneman, disheartened, soils himself. Which is why we suspect he chose correspondence school in the first place. 1-0 Hammers, Vijay “Big Poppa” Nehru to the plate. And may I send my condolences – based on your penmanship, I can only assume that you have recently suffered some kind of cerebral hemorrhage.
Looking forward to your reply, Stan

My Dearest Stan,
Correction – Nehru was scheduled to come to the plate, but he never made it there. Alomar foolishly showboated, flipping his bat, watching his homerun leave the park, flipping off the pitcher and walking backwards around the bases. Fans of the San Mateo Stereo Repair Correspondence School Riversharks do not tolerate such antics – we have the angry postcards to prove it. They storm the field demanding retribution, and Alomar disappears into a sea of flailing arms and beer bottles. Don’t get me wrong – we don’t approve of mob violence, but the fans of correspondence school baseball are a blue collar lot with not much else going on in their lives. Had you done your proper research (instead of, judging from the smell of your last letter, pounding bourbon), you would have known that this has happened in the past – our semifinal match-up with the Minneapolis Home Art Institute was marred with a similar incident. Forewarned is forearmed, but Alomar chose to reap the whirlwind.

Howard, Howard, Howard …
A decision he could make quite handily, knowing that each of his teammates has easy access to a wide variety of recently repaired guns. Not to mention a healthy supply of rubber bullets. The entire Hammers team empties round after round into the slack-jawed inbred hicks that pass for your fans, pulling a bruised but surprisingly intact Alomar from the clutches of death. You’ll notice a carbon copy of this letter has been sent to the league commissioner – given your inability to guarantee the safety of our players, we have asked that your team be forced to forfeit the game.
“Regretfully” yours, Stan

Burn in hell. You’ll notice a carbon copy of this letter has been sent to all of your relatives. I’ve also enclosed a picture of me peeing on your school’s pamphlet.
XOXO, Howard


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