It’s the first day of practice for the Bears baseball team and Rudi Stein volunteers to pitch. Though he seemed quite eager to pitch, jumping off the bleachers to inform Buttermaker of his desire to be the team's ace, he was just that: a volunteer. No one else in the yellow and brown wanted to be the hurler that would inevitably give up 27 runs and take seven comebackers off the shins each game. No one wanted to be the face of that team, and my goodness did that team have some faces.
There just weren't many options on day one of spring camp:
* Engleberg is eating candy through the bars in his catcher's mask
* Lupus is getting hay fever out in RF
* Tanner Boyle falls down every time he does anything
* Ogilvie is in a windbreaker and jeans, didn't even bother to bring a glove
* Buttermaker is already nine beers in
* Kelly Leak is still weeks away from joining the team
* They've got a left-handed third baseman in a velvet jogging suit who is afraid of the ball
A mess of a first day of practice, and there's no one else to get on the mound and take the daily shellacking, so Stein was the guy. That’s fine for a non-serious little league where the kids and coaches are getting some fresh air, having fun and learning some baseball.
But this isn't that kind of little league. The players have a genuine hatred for each other. The coaches are either drunks or psychotic (I seriously was hoping they'd release a new Bad News Bears DVD with extras where in one of the deleted scenes the Bears come back and beat the Yankees and Ron Turner is shown having hung himself in the dugout while Cleveland sobs in front of the body).
Anyway, Stein of course gets lit up. He's historically bad - bouncing pitches, can't field his position, throwing to the wrong bases, accidentally swallowing whole the rosin bag while attempting to field a bunt.
The Bears struggle. But Buttermaker finds Amanda Whurlitzer in a lawn chair handing out maps and remembers "this kid's got a curve ball and I used to have sex with her mother. Maybe I can somehow get her t......." (passes out on the side of the road).
Soon the Bears have an ace: tons of innings, putting wear on her right arm, sure, but Amanda is dominant and the best pitcher in the league. The Bears pass everyone into second and get a shot at the Yankees. Unfortunately Whurlitzer gets hurt in the championship game.
Buttermaker has to go to the pen.
Who does he turn to?
He goes right back to Rudi Stein?! There's no one else?!
* At no time during the season, during practice, did he see if ANYONE ELSE could pitch? Ogilvie is the team statistician, refuses to play, he just wants to count foul balls and chart pitches. He couldn't at one point say "hey, Buttermaker, I know Amanda is pitching great, but let's say she gets hurt....you know, STEIN is the only other pitcher we have. Want to try to see if anyone else can pitch?
Maybe Ogilvie tried and Buttermaker was sunbathing nude in right field, who knows. But I still put this on Ogilvie - the young man should've done something.
And now we're in a tie championship game in the late innings, and Stein gets the ball again.
Ahmad Abdul Rahim?
Either of the Agular brothers?
The lefty they moved from 3rd to 1st? He can't give it a shot?! Sure, that might’ve meant Jose Agular: First Baseman Part 2, and we saw how poorly went Part 1, but they're not going to even see if the lefty can get some people out?
Hell, give Boyle a shot, Jesus. He may have been 3'4 and a horrible racist and bully, but he MUST'VE BEEN BETTER THAN RUDI STEIN.
If people are yelling out for anyone, EVEN THE RACIST, to pitch instead of the kid you currently have on the mound, you might have the wrong kid on the mound.
And what about Kelly Leak? He can't pitch?
He's the best athlete in the area and he can't pitch?! Why the hell not?! This kid is all-area and he's stuck in the outfield for the entire season?!
You know what? The Bears deserved that runner-up trophy.