Hello everyone! As part of Short Story Saturday, I have posted another short story, this one entitled A Silly Blog Post. Please enjoy.
I just wanted to entertain people. I never expected a blatantly farcical blog post to somehow get a life of its own. It was never supposed to be taken seriously. I was frustrated with the team and wanted to write something silly to blow off some steam.
I was the owner and operator of Neptune’s Numbskulls, a, not to brag too much or anything, popular baseball blog covering the Seattle Nauticals, my favorite baseball team. Only seven years prior they had been one of the top teams in baseball but in 2008, they were on their way towards losing over one hundred games. It was especially disappointing because fans had high expectations for the team before the season started.
So rather than write about their 81st loss and their tenacious stranglehold on last place, I wrote an incredibly facetious tale about how the best and most popular player on the team, Sanjuro Sasuke, would draw derisive pictures of his teammates in between innings to vent his frustration over his team’s appalling play.
To give the story some context, the Japanese superstar Sanjuro was and still is an enigmatic player. He took the American baseball world by storm rookie season in 2001 after having spent the first seven years of his career in Japan. He was a big reason why the Nauticals won over a hundred games that year.
During that season he earned the nickname The Artist. The baseball field was his canvas and his bat was his brush. True, the analogy doesn’t really make any sense, but it’s the kind of pleasurable inanity that often demarcates professional sports, at least when the institution as a whole remembers it is all about having fun.
Anyway, even though the team as a whole had fallen on hard times, Sanjuro’s play had remained exceptional. However, his somewhat reclusive nature, his seemingly strange mannerisms, and the almost mystical philosophical nature in which he approached the sport of baseball, once thought to be charming, was slowly beginning to irritate fans.
Suddenly, he wasn’t playing to his strengths, he was simply playing for himself. Suddenly, his wise erudite sayings were pretentious, hollow, and insincere. Suddenly, he wasn’t being a smart player, he was being selfish. Suddenly, he was less a Rembrandt and more just a finger painter.
That was the germination of my story. It was supposed to be comical. I was actually mocking people that felt that way about my favorite baseball player.
Unfortunately, I was very subtle. I wrote the story as if it were a breaking piece of news and did not show a hint of irony. I did not make it obvious that the article was a farce. I trusted the readers. Clearly, I overestimated them.
It spread around the Internet like wildfire. Everybody and their cousin reported the story as if it were fact. The Seattle Daily caught wind of the article first. From there, it went viral. Hundreds of reporters wrote their own articles chastising Sanjuro for being a poor teammate. It got to the point that even national broadcasts like ESPN were arguing about it on their morning shows.
“Sanjuro Hates Teammates and Draws Mean Pictures of Them.” “Sanjuro: More than a Baseball Artist”. “When Does Art Go Too Far: When it’s used to Bully – A Sanjuro Story”. “Should Athletes be allowed to do Art?” And so on and so forth.
I immediately retracted the story. I posted it to the top of the page where it stayed for the remainder of the year. I wrote that the story was a piece of fiction designed for laughs. I contacted reporters practically begging them to inform their readership that I had made everything up. I even did something I never did before, or since, nor do I ever think this should ever be done except for in the most dire or extraordinary circumstances: I deleted the story.
None of these attempts worked. The myth got so widespread that I even saw it on Sanjuro’s Wikipedia page. The legend will always be printed instead of the truth.
At that point, there was nothing else I could do. I had to accept the fact that I had lost control of the story. The joy I once had posting on my blog had completely evaporated. For the rest of the season, I dryly wrote accounts of the previous night’s games without any of the usual panache I added to keep things interesting.
Never was I so happy for a season to end. The media frenzy the article created had mostly dissipated at this point. With playoff baseball around the corner, it was only a matter time before the entire incident was but a memory.
Shortly after writing a lifeless recap of the season, a recap that blatantly omitted the elephant in the room, I went outside to check the mail. Amongst the bills was a letter. I did not recognized the names on the address. Apprehensively, I opened the envelope bewildered who could be sending me such correspondence as the majority of my communication were online.
The letter was short and merely inquired about my availability. Quite mundane, yet a chill still went down my spine. It was not the contents but the origins that produced my fright. The letter was sent from the legal team that represented Sanjuro Sasuke.
Naturally, I was defensive at first. I informed them that I had done everything in my power to retract the story. I had contacted another legal team who told me that there was no grounds for a defamation case because I had intended for the article to be a parody.
Sanjuro’s lawyers informed me that they were not interested in taking me to court. He wanted to meet me in person. It was an invitation to his home.
Of course I accepted. An opportunity like this is exceedingly rare. I had some reservations, of course. The nature of the visit was obtuse to say the least and there was some fear that I was walking into a trap, though I dismissed such thoughts as ludicrous and the product of an overactive imagination which got me into trouble in the first place. Regardless of any fear, the prospect of visiting the home of my favorite player was too good to pass up. I packed up my bags and immediately flew to his home in Toyoyama, Japan.
His people greeted me warmly. From the airport, they took me to a bamboo and brick that had a mixture of traditional and modern Japanese design that was, though quite large, still somehow modest for a multimillionaire sports athlete.
Sanjuro himself met me at the door and, without saying a word, made a motion for me to follow him. With his people in tow escorting me, I followed the man down the long hallway, down some stairs, into his basement.
A mixture of fear and anxiety engulfed me as we went into that unlit, gloomy, musky room. For a moment, my imagination acted up again I thought whether it was wise to make such an impulsive trip without really telling anyone about it. It crossed my mind for a moment that this basement had the potential to be my burial ground. Those absurd musings immediately vanished when Sanjuro turned on the lights and, after a second or two of allowing my brain to process the contents of the room, I ambled around dumbfounded, my mouth wide open and agape.
In the room were pictures, paintings, sculptures, and various other artistic expressions of fellow teammates messing up on the field. There were depictions of players making errors, striking out, getting caught stealing, giving up homeruns, and all sorts of other ways a player can fail in baseball. After I had finished a room wide examination, my eyes met Sanjuro’s. He spoke the only bit of English that I had ever heard him speak, “How did you know?”
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