Sometimes there are news stories we miss out on. The news waits for no one, often trundling past in the night like a truck full of packaged goods, but not just one truck; rather, three trucks stacked high in the air like a giant truck column, a column of news escaping loudly across the border. But that escape stops today. For the Pinstripe Alley news bed—why write from a news desk when being splayed out across a bed and typing on one’s laptop is, in fact, much more comfortable—has purchased a giant butterfly net for the express purpose of catching news. Come here, news.
It’s raining outside. But it’s not raining rain—it’s raining news.
If you could pick one word to describe what the news was like this week, what would it be? Never mind; I know your response: "eventful." And right you are. Teams and players avoided arbitration, dodging out of the way, all doing that lean-back thing from that Matrix movie. Elsewhere, a player coughed after swallowing water the wrong way. Oh, Nunez! The water goes down the esophagus, not the windpipe! That incident has sidelined the infielder for two months.
But while everyone was digging for their microphones in an attempt to get comments from players about things, other news was floating by like a cloud on speed. Urgent emails were emailed between the Pinstripe Alley staff. "Track down that news!" came shouts. And so we have, reaching out to agencies around the world. Our SABCBCTVIMIBC correspondent filed this fact-laden report.
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A-Rod plaque erected in place of Nelson Mandela in Monument Park mix-up
—Monogahaganan Jay, South Africa Broadcasting Corporation Broadcasting Corporation TV, Image, Movie, Internet, and Book Corporation
It was supposed to be a ceremony honoring a great man. It was supposed to be a ceremony showing the world how much one man could mean to the world. Instead it ended in confusion.
The ceremony held at Monument Park in Yankee Stadium would have enshrined South African President Nelson Mandela, leader of the movement against apartheid and a symbol for the unity of peoples across the world, into the New York Yankees Hall of Fame. He would take his place alongside other all-time great humans, like Roger Maris and Bill Dickey. Yet it took only seconds for the ceremony to go wronger than a debacle on concrete.
It was team President Randy Levine who arguably committed the crime. Even if he wasn’t the one responsible, he was the one who was there. When the miniature pinstriped tarpaulin covering Mandela’s supposed plaque was yanked off by Levine, it wasn’t Nelson Mandela’s face under there at all. Instead it was the eyes, nose, ears, stubble, neck, chin, and general face shape of embattled third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
The mood immediately turned to that of a very moist shock. To call the events upsetting would be to issue you a tremendous understatement. It was as if a giant God in the sky had grabbed a mixing bowl from his cupboard, whisked awkward silence and appalled feelings together using his little finger, and poured the gelatinous blend out all over the gallery.
In the press box, one could make out a quiet ripple of foot shuffling and collar adjusting and, indeed, general squirming once it was clear that it was not the face of Nelson Mandela embossed on the metal. Instead, Mr. Rodriguez had hijacked that small plate, his grin a statement not only to the observers gathered there, but to the entire world: "I can ruin this too," he was saying.
Adding to the surreal quality of this half-baked occasion was the blurb on the plaque. It belonged to Mr. Mandela, describing his accomplishments and his upstanding character, just as one would expect. Only the face did not match.
The Yankees brass immediately issued a statement denying the mistake was intentional. Hordes of Mandela supporters on Twitter, calling themselves ‘The Horde,’ disagreed. "Really when you’re dealing with the legacy of an individual like Mandela everything becomes intentional" wrote @lizzzzzy4everz. Flurries of fury have already been spotted on the streets of New York and other major American cities. Demonstrations are also being planned in some of the world’s many non-American territories.
Mr. Rodriguez’s camp made it clear that the star baseballer would not be made available for comment. Instead his lead attorney Joe Tacopina appeared before the press hours after the disaster occurred. "I believe the accomplishments of Alex more or less match those of Mandela," Tacopina said, the words coming out of his face. He continued: "For that reason no alternations should be made to the memorial." Anxious to pursue Mr. Tacopina on the minutiae of these statements, the press gallery leaned forward expectantly, but at that moment Mr. Tacopina received a call on his cellular phone, his ringtone a polyphonic reimagining of 'Two Princes' by the Spin Doctors. He left to take the call and never returned.
And so the day ended with the sounds of the hyper-repetitive 90s modern rock hit ricocheting off the walls, floor and ceiling of the Yankee Stadium shopping mall. The press repaired to their laptops, tapping their feet to the beat while typing up reports similar to this one. Other agencies would just pull a story from the wires. The SABCBCTVIMIBC holds itself to a higher standard.
Regardless, it is safe to say that on this day, Mr. Rodriguez certainly did make off with a princely racket.
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Pinstripe Alley also appealed to Australian correspondent Brett Grass for comment. He emailed us this response:
Grass: Yeah, hey Matt. Well, the feelings in Australia are strong. I think like the rest of the world the people here are shocked and scandalized that things can go wrong; that mistakes can be made. I went out onto the street and asked some people what they thought. One girl seemed to be concerned that Alex Rodriguez was trying to moonwalk his way into the role of Jesus; another man simply lay down prone on the sidewalk and did the worm, slowly shuffling away from me and on down the street. So it is very much a traumatic time here for us all.
Pinstripe Alley: And any word from the Australian parliament on this affair?
Grass: Well, Matt, in a word, no.
PSA: How is Nicole Kidman taking it?
Grass: Matt, I think she’s been hit quite hard.
PSA: And could you summarize the entirety of your ten page editorial on the matter in one sentence or shorter?
Grass: I think I’d say that while our keyboards haven’t been poisoned yet, the sky is very much charcoal green.
Many thanks to Australian correspondent Brett Grass.
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Just enough space left in this bulletin for some other headlines from the week’s news:
- "I sneezed and scratched my cornea": Ellsbury spills all on terrifying night in apartment;
- Accidental tragedy: Greg Bird eaten by bench coach’s tabby; and
- Man staunches wound with Phil Hughes jersey, quipping "Finally, Hughes had a use"
Yeah, we'll be back with more news next week.
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