HRBEK AT THE BAT

Based on a poem by Phil Bolsta

It looked brutal that season for the Klubber nine. Ventura lost his one and Klee began to whine. And so when losses mounted and far out-numbered wins reality wiped the smugness from the Paper GM's grin.

On the last day of the season, though, Klee was not depressed. For there's hope that springs eternal within a Klubber's breast. And he knew if mighty Hrbek could unleash his mighty swing, it would put a smile on his face, and he could gloat 'til Spring.

But it looked as if Klee's wounded pride would not be healed this day, The score stood four to six with but an inning left to play. And so when Bombo popped it up and Dung-Beatle hit it flat, there seemed but little chance of Hrbek getting to the bat.

But Robin cheesed a single off the fielding chart, and Gonzo lined a double that nearly left the park. A hush swept through Jim Bouton Field, for fate had surely beckoned, For there was Ventura safe at third and Gonzo hugging second.

And then the gleeful GM-For-Life cheered and screamed and squealed, it rattled off the scoreboard and the canvas in right field.  He gloated until he could gloat no more, for this was worth the wait, For Hrbek, mighty Hrbek, was advancing to the plate.

There was ease in Roland's manner and a twinkle in his eyes. There was grease on Roland's fingers as he polished off some fries. And when some popcorn spilled out as he lightly doffed his cap, no one in the FBN could doubt that Klee had Hrbek at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes watched Hrbek as the game ground to a halt. Five thousand tongues applauded as he drained a chocolate malt. And as the pitcher glared down, his hands upon his hips, the mighty Hrbek gestured for a hot dog and some chips.

Then the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air, and Hrbek clutched his stomach as if the ball had hit him there. The trainer started running out, but Hrbek shook his head. It's just some gas, burped Hrbie, "strike one", the Umpire said.

With a smile borne of confidence, he took some practice cuts, and stepped back in the batter's box while munching on some nuts. He signaled to the pitcher, and again the spheroid flew. "Got some salt?"; asked Hrbek, and the umpire said, "strike two!";

The smile's gone from Hrbek's lips. He mutters, "Time out, please", and joins his GM in the dugout for a Whopper, double cheese. And now the pitcher holds the ball and now he lets it go, and now the air is shattered by the force of Hrbek's blow.

Oh, somewhere there's a city where the GM is revered, where their team contends for its division and makes the playoffs every year. But there is no joy in Kleeville -- all is still and quiet. But just you wait til next year; ---  mighty Hrbek's on a diet!