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Sure, Hans Christian Anderson spun a nice yarn, but did he know anything about baseball?

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As the (Sox) World Turns

We move from soap opera to tales as old as time

Inspired by recent White Sox events, this was originally supposed to be in the form of a soap opera script, akin to the famed As the World Turns, which was also set in Illinois. However, as a member of the Dramatists Guild, the author cannot violate the picket lines of the Writers Guild, which has long been on strike against the moguls of Hollywood. Therefore, we revert to a form that came long before television, moving pictures, or even Jerry Reinsdorf.

Once upon a time there was a king who amassed untold riches from the land over which he ruled, taking lucre as he willed from the people and, as was the way of royalty in those ancient times, giving almost nothing in return. King Jerry was a happy king, but had run out of new ways to reap wealth until one day one of his courtiers came to him with a story of a game created in another kingdom, a game played with a ball and a stick.

The king cared not for games, but he learned that the field up which the contests were held were called “diamonds,” and he did love diamonds dearly. He saw a chance to use this game to grasp ever more gold and jewels, so he encouraged it to be played in his realm, extracting compensation from all who would enjoy watching this new and curious event.

It came to pass that King Jerry formed a group, called a “team,” of his minions to play the game against other kingdoms, with rewards to be reaped by the most successful, but, alas, his minions were not good at the game. “We must do more, so I can get ever richer,” proclaimed the king, and he called forth his favored lickspittles and told them they must change the players, and cast out those who play well but insist on being paid a tiny portion of his Mammon, send them to other kingdoms, and replace them with those who would seek no pay and only meager rations. The lickspittles thought this not wise, but being lickspittles, they did what they always do and kissed the feet of the king and went to carry out his bidding.

Alack, this only made the players of King Jerry worse, but he cared not, for he was too busy counting his gains to bother with games.

It came quickly to pass that one of the players of the game who had gone to another kingdom spoke ill of King Jerry’s team, asserting that the players lacked guidance and aid in improving their performance. This angered the king, who called forth one of his overseeing lickspittles to refute this treasonous attack and to ensure that all the others who had been cast out be subject to unprovoked attacks upon their characters, lest they, too, dare to speak out.

The lickspittle, being a lickspittle, kissed the king’s feet and went to proclaim to amassed town criers and scribes that all who were gone were selfish and not worthy of playerdom. He even told a favored scribe that three of those cast out, whom he named, engaged in “backstabbing” of teammates. “What is this backstabbing, and how do you do it among members of a team?” asked the scribe. “I know not, but write it anyway,” answered the lickspittle.

And so ended this tale of events in the ancient land of King Jerry. Or so it was believed. But there would be more.

It came to pass that King Jerry grew tired of merely assassinating the character of those over whom he no longer ruled, and decided to return to his favorite pastime, extracting ever more levies from his serfs and landholders. He knew he had squeezed the people with success before, and could do so again, if he indulged in such favorite feints as extortion and threats.

Thus the king said he must be given a new playing field, paid for by those over whom he ruled by way of taxation and tithes, or he might cause all the games to be played in a far off land, never against to be seen in his own fiefdom. The lower lords had succumbed to such a threat many years before and filled his coffers with gold and frankincense and myrrh and potatoes and lamb lest the serfs turn upon them, so KIng Jerry was sure they would do it again. He settled back in his throne and laughed until his sides did nigh on split.

King Jerry was laughing so hard, he thought of another ploy, and called forth a favored scribe and instructed him to spread word far and wide that the king might even sell the team to another royal personage. “But your majesty,” said the scribe, ”everyone in the kingdom wants you to sell the team, all have been clamoring for it lo these many seasons. They will be made deliriously happy if it comes to pass.”

Not wanting to take any chance of having deliriously happy serfs, King Jerry cut off the scribe’s head, so he could concentrate on his wonderful plans for extortion. He called in his two leading lickspittles to apprise them of his extortion plans, and one of them — the legends do not say which — accidentally made a grimace upon hearing the plan because he liked his current castle. So King Jerry cut off their heads as well.

The king thought his serfs would be distraught, but they were not. They instead rejoiced, saying, “At last the bumbling lickspittles are gone.” But then they wondered, “Who now will be the lords over this team of ours which does so poorly?”

Alas, the tale must end here, for the scrolls upon which the rest of the history was written were consumed by fire in the War of the Diamonds. We do know that King Jerry brought forth an ancient vizier, one renowned for his ancient age, if not the acumen of his fading brain, and asked upon his advice, for reasons beyond comprehension.

Legend has it the king chose as the new leader of his team a lickspittle even more lickspittling than the two whose heads he removed, one who had proven himself incompetent at any all endeavor within the operations of this game. But that is only legend, the words of one scribe. There are also tales that the citizens rose up against King Jerry and finally tore the team from his grasp, but those are only tales, so we know not their veracity.

It does say in the records of the kingdom that King Jerry reigned until the age of 127.

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