Quade vs. Quaid - Part I
On Opening Day 2011, Mike Quade, new manager of the Chicago Cubs, found himself matching managerial wit with an opponent not of this planet. At least, his opponent hadn't been on Earth in some time.
Quaid, of course, grabbed headlines as soon as he landed. He had been the hero of the revolution on Mars, and even managed to fix up his old friend Kuato after what he thought was a fatal blow to the head. Those mutants really heal. Unfortunately, Vilos Cohagen had also made it out alive - barely - and no one knew where he was hiding.
Why was a revolutionary hero returning to Earth from his prominent position of Grand Chancellor to manage the Phillies? Quaid speaks, in an oddly Austrian accent.
"I knew it was my time to make a run at the bigs. Quade took a job I really wanted. I spend some time in Chi-town growing up and thought I was a finalist for the job, but things didn't work out. Or maybe I misunderstood when I read the papers and thought they just misspelled my name?"
Quaid didn't handle every interview leading up to the season opener against - you guessed it - the Cubbies with such grace. He had previously called Mike Quade a "faggot", "loser", "sissy", and most recently, a "mutant fuck". Mike Quade responded in kind.
We skip to Opening Day, and Quaid is ready. He's even recruited some help from afar - despite MLB's objections to a Martian national hiring an entire coaching staff to coach a Major League club. Quaid points out that players from Cuba and other places are allowed to play in the big leagues with not so much as a sniff in the direction of their citizenship documentation, so why can't he manage if the Phils want to hire him? No one in the ultra-tolerant American Federation dares speak against this crowdlogic.
It's the 8th inning, and Quaid is restless in the dugout. The Cubs are down by only a run with their big bats coming up in the next inning. Starter Halladay has had a good afternoon but let up a single, a walk, and a fly bloop in order after struggling to make his second fly out. When Halladay walks the bases loaded in uncharacteristic fashion, Quaid makes his move.
As he approaches the mound, Halladay pretends not to notice him. Not yet, Halladay thinks. Not yet. I can't give up the rock for some monstrosity of a player from another goddamn planet. But he has no choice, and very rarely do pitchers fight their manager's decisions publicly - he didn't want to get the year off to a bad start.
Quaid touches his belly. Not his left arm or right arm, but his belly. Halladay pukes on the mound - this is too much, he thinks. Quaid looks over matter-of-factly. "Looks like you ate some PIE before the game, eh Roy? You gotta work on that. Now gimme the fuckin' ball - you pitched a hell of a game but we're gonna let my own personal George Washington bring this shit home."
As Halladay returns to the dugout to a standing ovation, his face turns greener and he nearly doesn't make it before he has to puke in the Gatorade bucket. Really? A pitcher who comes out of the thorax of another guy? How is this possible or even in accordance with MLB rules? How does the windup work?
Then, there's a bit of a distraction, allowing Halladay enough time to compose himself while Kuato strolls out to the mound via his human shell. A crazed man with huge eyes, broken blood vessels, and swirling gray hair storms the field with a knife, in an apparent attempt to assassinate Kuato. Quaid steps right in, as he thinks to himself that he's seen that look, that face, those broken blood vessels before; side-stepping none other than Vilos Cohagen, tripping him, and then pulling out a contraption and strapping it to his face. It's a depressurizer - the devices you find on Mars to ease back into an Earth-like environment should you ever be exposed to Mars' low-gravity natural environment. Cohagen's head bursts in a beautiful array of reds, oranges, and purples. The players on the field puke, and the crowd goes wild. Some cheer, some stare in horror, some take their children and leave, never to watch baseball again.
Quaid thinks to himself, "now we're getting somewhere!"
Kuato warms up, and his 102-mph bullpen session is a thing of the past. He's hurling it at 110, 115. None of the players on the Cubs feel they have a chance to, for one, relieve themselves of the distraction that is the presence of Kuato, and then also hit a 115mph heater. His change-up is 57mph. There's no way this ends well for the Cubs.