!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Reports from the Nation: Imaginary Baseball World

Monday, August 15, 2005

Imaginary Baseball World

From the extremely well done Cursed to First, there comes the idea of Imaginary Baseball World: Imaginary Baseball World is the place in your mind where you develop your metaphorical, often highly symbolic, at times Freudian, relationships with the players on your team or teams. Imaginary Baseball World is where you take the publicly agreed-upon persona of a professional athlete and relate it to your own personality... What we feel about [someone's] public personality says more about us than about him, because most of what makes up the phenomenon of baseball is imagined.

They then go through the Red Sox line-up illustrating their own imaginary relationship with each of the players. Here's a glimpse inside my own Imaginary Baseball World.

Terry Francona - We often just sit in comfortable silence.

Jason Varitek - We live in the same neighborhood. I'd always liked him but I thought he was bit uptight because of how neat he keeps his lawn, of course, he thought I was a slob because of how unkept my lawn is. We finally get to know each other better when he invites me over to his barbecue. He grills a mean polish sausage and I impress him with the beer that I bring over. Now we meet every Thursday night to go bowling with some of the guys.

Kevin Millar - I can never run for public office because of all the stupid things I've done with Millar. We've gotten drunk and thrown out of bars and clubs all over Boston. It's happened so often that we've had to start hitting Cambridge bars. After a particular gruesome Karoke session I mention that Millar's got such great blackmail material on me. He simply smiles and says, "What happens in Boston, stays in Boston, baby." Then laughs hysterically at his own bad joke. It doesn't take long before I'm laughing too.

Mark Bellhorn - We used to be close but one day I needed to be picked up from the airport and even though he said he could do it, he backed out at the last minute, meaning I had to take the T home, switching lines twice, carrying all my language with me. I find out later he was in the middle of a good book and that's why he cancelled. Our friendship has been strained ever since.

Edgar Renteria - He keeps making these awful jokes that I don't know are supposed to be funny until he offers a smile at the end. I try my best to laugh but it always feels a little awkward, a little forced.

Bill Mueller - I got to know him better during the Thursday bowling games. He always brings the latest book he's reading and I always end up borrowing it. The books are mostly historical analysis, socio-political tomes and cheap sci-fi thrillers. Sometimes we get into heavy debates about the importance of gender in modern society. Our debates usually stop when someone (usually Trot) rolls their eyes and says loudly, "Jesus, you guys are dorks."

Manny Ramirez - Manny loves to tell stories; long, rambling, Abe Simpson-style stories where he gives far more information than is actually needed. He's also always offering people things. Really anything that isn't bolted down. He'll offer people the chair he's siting in, to go get them some Gatorade. He once loaned me his car without any prompting.

Johnny Damon - A fun enough guy to have around but he keeps inviting himself along. It wouldn't bug me at all except that it's the way that he does it. A group of us will be talking about going to catch a movie at the Commons theater on Friday night and Damon (who wasn't sitting with the rest of us), will say, "Oh man, Friday's bad for me." Then he'll wait a second before sighing and saying, "I guess I can cancel that appointment." Then he pauses again as if waiting for us to comment on his sacrifice.

Trot Nixon - Trot likes to pretend to be tough but ever since I caught him eating the team's apple sauce and watching the Backyardigans in the clubhouse, I know the truth.

David Ortiz - Ortiz loves pop culture catchphrases and will use them at any and every opportunity sometimes mixing and matching them. It'd be almost annoying if he didn't flash his grin and chuckle everytime after doing it. Ever since he found out I dig the culinary arts he keeps inviting me over so I can taste what he's cooking. For away games he actually makes both of us a couple of meals and travels with them in Tupperware.

Kevin Youkilis - A good kid but he's a little too eager to please. Some of the guys make him get them coffee or pick up their dry cleaning. I've been trying to teach him to say 'no' but he's still doing it, although not as often so there's hope.

Gabe Kapler - He doesn't want me to tell anyone but he's really into manga and anime. He just got hooked during his time in Japan. He keeps his stash over at my apartment so when people visit his place they won't know his secret. Sometimes he'll call me late at night and ask if he can come pick up the latest Naruto book.

Doug Mirabelli - We never really hit it off and then one day he overheard me telling Millar about how drunk I got at my last birthday party, and now I've noticed that he's avoiding me.

David Wells - We go out and he tries to get me to do stupid things like moon a cop but when it's his turn he always chickens out. He always has an excuse, his back is bothering him or he's hungover but I know the truth: he chickened out.

Bronson Arroyo - I like Arroyo but sometimes I treat him like my own personal jukebox. I'll say, "play that song" and he'll ask, "what song?" "The one with that line about 'your smile's like a ray of sunshine' or something like that," I'll say. He'll think for a minute then play a song. I'll listen to the whole song then say, "no, that's not it." I'm half expecting him to break his guitar over my head one of these days.

Wade Miller - The first day he came I joked," not another Miller," but he didn't find it amusing. We haven't spoken since.

Tim Wakefield - We go out fishing together. He reenacts gags from the TV show Taxi and I do bits from Futurama. Neither of us gets the other's reference, but we still have a good time.

Matt Clement - He still owes me thirty-five dollars for the time when I covered his bar tab because Bukowski's only takes cash (which he said he didn't know but this wasn't his first time there and they've always been cash only). I've told him that he doesn't pay me back before his next start then I'm shaving off his goatee, while he sleeps.

Curt Schilling - I like Curt and I respect him. Sometimes we sit next to each other on the plane and talk about baseball or God, but ever since Mueller had to separate us, we've learned to avoid politics.

Mike Timlin - The fourth bowler on our team, he keeps trying to get me to go hunting with him and Wakefield. Whenever we go to play the Astros, Rangers or Braves we always go out bar hopping and say things like, "I love Boston but the South's got such hospitality."

Mike Myers - I call him up at home and ask if his name is really Michael Myers. When he says "yes," I snigger and hang up. He's had the phone company block my number.

Keith Foulke - Whenever he used to get a save, I'd give him a swat on his bottom and whenever he blew a save, I'd give him a frog on his arm. Despite the fact that I knew he hated it but the ritual worked for us last year. I finally stopped when Bronson asked me to.


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