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 to losing over one hundred games. It was especially disappointing because fans had high expectations for the team before the season began.
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 spending 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 demarcates professional sports, at least when the institution remembers it was once about having fun.
Anyway, even though the team as a whole had fallen on hard times, Sanjuro’s play had remained exceptional. However, his reclusive nature, his strange mannerisms, and his almost mystical and philosophical nature with 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 piece as if it were breaking news. It did not show a hint of irony. I trusted the readers. This was a mistake.
It spread on the Internet like wildfire. 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 and explained it was a piece of fiction intended for laughs. I posted it to the top of the page where it stayed for the remainder of the year. I contacted reporters and practically begged them to inform their readers 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 direst or extraordinary circumstances: I deleted it. None of it worked. The story grew so large that it was for a short while 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 accepted that I had lost control of the story. The joy I felt when posting on my blog completely evaporated. For the rest of the season, I dryly wrote accounts of the previous night’s games without any of the usual panache my readers were used to. Never was I so happy for a season to end. The media frenzy the article created had mostly dissipated by then. With the playoffs around the corner, it was only a matter of time before the entire incident was nothing but a memory.
Shortly after writing a lifeless recap of the season, one that blatantly omitted the elephant in the room, I went outside to check the mail. Amongst the bills was a letter. It leaped out at me because I did not recognize any of the names nor the address. I opened the envelope apprehensively and bewildered. I wondered who could be sending me such correspondence as the majority of my communication was online.
The letter curtly inquired about my availability and nothing more yet a chill still went down my spine. It was not the contents but the letter’s origins that frightened me. It was sent from the legal team representing Sanjuro Sasuke.
Naturally, I was defensive at first. I informed them that I had done everything in my power to retract the story. I contacted another legal team who told me that there were no grounds for a defamation case because I intended to write a parody.
Sanjuro’s lawyers responded by telling me they were not interested in taking me to court. The man himself wanted to meet me in person. It was an invitation to his home.
Of course, I accepted. An opportunity like that is exceedingly rare. I was excited, I mean, it was an opportunity to meet my childhood hero in person. Had someone told me at the beginning of that fateful year I’d be given this chance, I would have asked who did I have to kill. Yet, there was I was, standing in my driveway reading the invitation over and over again just to confirm I wasn’t dreaming.
I had some reservations, of course. The nature of the visit was obtuse, to say the least. I was worried whether I was walking into a trap. I dismissed such thoughts as ludicrous and the product of an overactive imagination, which incidentally is what got me into trouble in the first place. Besides, the prospect of visiting the home of my favorite player was too good to pass up regardless of the circumstances. I packed 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 edifice that had a mixture of traditional and modern Japanese design that was quite large yet 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 him through a long hallway, down some stairs, and into his basement.
My imagination acted up again and I was filled with the mixture of fear and anxiety that engulfed me before. I thought whether it was wise to make such an impulsive trip without really telling anyone, not even my readers, about it. Perhaps this basement was to be my final resting place at the hands of a crazed ballplayer.
Those absurd musings immediately vanished when Sanjuro turned on the lights. I ambled dumbfounded and my mouth was large and agape. If I were given centuries on this earth, I would have never imagined seeing what I saw that day.
There were pictures, paintings, sculptures, and various other artistic expressions that depicted Sanjuro’s fellow teammates messing up on the field. They showed 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 stumbling about, my wide 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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