“You called for me, Imperious Leader?”


“Indeed. Nice game against the Yanks last night.”


“Thank you.”


“Games like that restore our faith. Early on, you guys kept teasing us… getting those lead runners on but never quite plating them. I thought it would be a ball buster, myself, so I was happy to see you pull it through in the end.”


“Okay.”


“Anyway. Matters at hand. You remember Plan X-8334-Niner?”


“Yes. The invasion of Earth.”


“Correct. Well, the Army of Mike Lowell Clones is ready to roll. We’ve got our ships and our laser guns and we’re all set. So… we’re thinking Saturday. Maybe late afternoon. You know, after we’ve all had some lunch.”


“Actually… that’s not so good. We’re playing Texas.”


“Not so good? The Army of Mike Lowell Clones has little regard for what is ‘good’ when it comes to our Master Plan. We’re totally ready to crush some sh-t.”


“But I’ve been having a pretty good year, you know. So far, things are working nicely.”


“What’s going on here?”


“He’s not ready for the invasion.”


“The f–k? Need I remind you of the Plan progression? Step one: require that the Boston Red Sox sign Mike Lowell to get Josh Beckett. Step two: set Mike Lowell loose in front of the ravenous Boston fans. Step three: an angry Mike Lowell deflects the jeers of the crowd by activating his sub-pulsar electromagnetic transmogrifyer, collapsing the Earth’s atmosphere and destroying all life everywhere. Except us. Oh, and Jim Belushi.”


“I know the plan. And it’s a good plan, trust me. I just want, y’know… a little more time. Have you seen all the doubles I’m hitting? I’m on to something, man!”


“What’s this all about? The invasion is on hold?”


“Nothing is on hold unless I say that it is on hold. And the invasion is most definitely not on hold. Rather, it is incredibly on.”


“All I want is a little more time. Guys, I’m not crapping out like everyone thought. I’m making things happen. Christ, I’ve got a better average than Manny. They’ve been interviewing me on the post-game shows and everything.”


“That’s all well and good. But the invasion–”


“Screw the invasion! This could be my greatest year ever. I swear I’m this close to perpetuating my own cool nickname, too. Check this: ‘Double Down.’ Like in blackjack. Get it?”


::Starts setting phaser::


“You’ll never take me! Never!” ::Beams himself out of the ship::


“That was odd.”


“He’ll be back. It’s only a matter of time until he hits a dry spell. They’ll turn on him soon enough. Surely you remember what they did to Agent 26-5B.”


::Gasps:: “Agent 26-5B!”


“You called?”

* * * * * * * *

Brilliant game last night, and a reminder that if we played the Yankees every night, I’d last about six games before simply dissolving into a pile of dust. Seriously, I spent so much time screaming at the TV last night, I’m surprised the friggin’ set didn’t just dismount itself from the stand and waddle out the door, middle finger raised. Just so much drama and all kinds of bizarre subplots [Matsui going down and Schilling being whisked away to a medical facility for non-baseball related issues? How freakin' X-Files is that?]

But the one highlight for me was seeing Loretta going 4-for-6. After that godawful 2-for-234 or whatever stretch he’d been on, it’s nice to think that he may have refound his groove. I could blabber on about how if it hadn’t been for a couple Yankee miscues — most notably Cairo’s mishandling of Jeter’s throw in the seventh — it could have been another one of those Jaegrmeister-and-Wild-Turkey-chaser nights. Or how terrified I am at the prospects of New York landing Dontrelle Willis and Roger Clemens. But I’ll just close the book with this quote from the Papel-Bot: “Dreams are made of these games.”

Also, though we missed it at the time, last Friday represented a sort of milestone for SG: Our two-year anniversary. We started this goofy place on May 5, 2004 as a form of self-therapy and, as it turns out, we couldn’t have picked a better year. Sincere thanks and glad hands to all the folks who stop by here each day.

See you tonight at 7:05, weather permitting.