Prior to the start of this blog, a man named Albert Schlegg made considerable efforts to start and maintain penpal relationships with a variety of sports entities. While most of his letters were met with deaf ears, he did get a few responses. With fond memories of these cherished connections, he has decided to re-up his resolve to add a little humanity to the ultra-competitive and hyper-critical world of professional baseball. We are hoping to include these letters as a semi-regular addition to the Soxdetox blog. Here is his latest correspondence:
Dear Mr. Huntington,
I know what you’re thinking: Albert Schlegg, Albert Schlegg… I know that name from somewhere, but… BINGO! That’s right, I applied for the Boston Red Sox General Manager position back when Theo Epstein left. You’ll remember that I was left off the short list and never had an opportunity to interview. As you know, those decisions are so very difficult. Alas, I’ve moved on. (That said, if you would like a copy of my CV, it’s updated and I’d be happy to send one along if you think the Pirates are ready for my particular brand of expertise.)
First off, I see your Alma Mater is making another run at the NESCAC crown. What do you think Mike Odenwaelder needs to do to take his game to the next level? The recent sweep of Williams must have been quite satisfying.
Do you ever long for the simple days on your old New Hampshire farm, Neal? Having spent long, wholesome hours with cows myself, I know the unique pleasures and insights the dairyman gains while plodding the pasture and scrubbing teat cups. Yes, it’s relentless work, leaving the farmer saturated with sweat and manure. But it is that very same stench and ache that fills milk trucks and enriches breakfast tables across the country. As you know, there are short cuts in this labor of love: temptations stained with pride and vainglory. One of which I must speak of now: gluing teats.
As a lad with his prized dairy girls, I’m sure you’ve had dreams of winning at the big shows (and the young ladies’ furtive glances and meaningful smiles that the blue ribbons garner). And I’m also sure that you’ve gone home with the honorable, but ultimately unsatisfying red ribbon, knowing that if your cow was just a little more dairy or the udder a little more balanced, you may have left a champion. In those moments, an older fellow may have dropped a little hint about the power of super glue: with a little dab here and a little plug there, ol’ Bess could’ve had a fuller bag or a better inward turn to the rear tits. With the seed of temptation planted, you, like countless other competitors, lost sleep debating the psychic and spiritual consequences of virtuous means, versus the worldly gains of manipulated ends. In other words, you have already had to weigh the benefits of potentially losing – with honor, or a more certain chance of winning – with shame.
You may be wondering why a man of such baseball acumen is waxing philosophic about dairy shows. But it is just this moral dilemma that Pirates fans must be certain about: will our General Manager succumb to the temptations of personal wealth (both monetary and societal) at the cost of righteous helmsmanship, a cost that ultimately erodes the reason and clear thinking needed to walk a sustainable and durable path of victory.
In short Neal, are you gluing teats? Are you selling this team’s soul to simply create the illusion of a world class udder? Or are you walking the humble path of righteousness?
PS – Would you be so kind as to sign the enclosed 3 x 5 card and return in the pre-stamped envelope? The kids will love it! Also – please let Jung-Ho Kang know that he should be expecting a letter from me soon.