Holy Hindenburg! Just when you thought that the bedlam of this winter’s baseball off-season with all of the big-name trades and power move re-signings had quelled, the Yankees go and throw another whale on the wagon – whatever that expression may mean – and yet again change the politics and practices of a sport spiraling out of control.George Steinbrenner announced early Tuesday that the Yankees alone had just been granted the patents for new ‘rubber-wood’ bats. While conforming to all pre-existing MLB standards, the bats boast an elasticity rating twice that of other bats, thus heightening the trampoline effect, or the ‘spring’ that occurs when ball meets bat. This unveiling comes after a clandestine three-year development period during which Yankees scientists, working in a secret lab under a Bronx laundromat, and at considerable expense, re-established the molecular composition of wood. This report comes just hours after a similarly amazing story leaked that all Yankees players, managers, bat boys and beer vendors are to undergo full physical re-calibration, including laser eye surgery, electric muscle stimulation, titanium bone fortification, braces, heart, lung and liver transplants and “both that thing they did to that Rowengartner kid in ‘Rookie of the Year’ and that thing they did, with the legs and the extension things, to Jude Law in ‘Gattaca,'” according to trembling team physician Dr. Stuart Hershon. “George had us look into bionic bodies – something akin to ‘Robocop’ – but we deemed it too unsafe. Then he had us look into it again, and we still deemed it unsafe. Then he had our pets killed.” Shortly after his comments, Hershon was roughly escorted from the room by men in pinstripe suits and capes.These new developments should come as little surprise to anyone following the Yankees camp as of late. The league is still reeling from the news that the Bronx Bombers have turned the House that Ruth Built into the Dome that Ruth Built, replete with selective gravity. When asked how the team managed to alter the gravity in the stadium while still providing oxygen for players and patrons, the team’s physicist – who, at Steinbrenner’s request, remains veiled in anonymity – provided a brief explanation of the ‘split-air’ phenomenon now found in the stadium. “Thanks to the ample funding George provided, I was actually able to create a vacuum that exists only at a height of three meters or higher, and only above the field.

“The air beneath the vacuum and all throughout the stands is perfectly normal.” When asked what benefit the new anti-gravity outfield has, the masked mathematician replied, “Well, interestingly enough, the anti-gravity mechanism appears to be plagued by a malfunction that shuts it off when the opposing team is batting. But, due to the infrequency of such an event, we’re going ahead with the system for the upcoming season nonetheless.”Perhaps the most shocking news release involves the Yankee’s heavy influence regarding an amendment to the constitution of baseball itself. Thanks to heavy lobbying by Yankees lobbyists – true masters of the lobby – Bud Selig, acting figurehead / commissioner of major league baseball, recently succumbed to pressure from a supposed variety of sources and issued an edict that, paraphrased, establishes that ‘a team is not required to stop playing during a player substitution, providing that no more than nine designated players are on the field at any one time.” Seemingly innocuous at first, the on-the-fly substitution rule has dire implications when considered alongside Steinbrenner’s most jaw-dropping new policy yet. Taking full advantage of his team’s seemingly bottomless treasury, Steinbrenner will now include a one-day contract, with both non-integral uniform and league minimum $1,851.85 paycheck, with every outfield seat ticket purchased, thus creating a sea of eligible outfielders for any daring ball with home run aspirations. When asked at a recent press conference about the outright unfairness of such a move, Steinbrenner had all of the press conferencers’ pets killed. It would appear, then, that the Yankees have thoroughly prepared themselves for the 2004 season, boasting an armory of space-age equipment and a roster of superstars, many of whom actually know that they’re playing for the Yankees. Of course, such an endowment will just make it that much funnier when, after going undefeated in a season during which they surrender nary a run, the Yankees lose in the playoffs to a young team whose entire budget is less than the paycheck of a single pinstriper, and a team whose nine positions don’t change like a Rubiks cube in the hands of speed freak every season. One might even say it’d be a particular heart-laden, everyman team from Boston. But I won’t, out of concern for my pets.Janowitz can be reached at njanowitz@campustimes.org.

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