MILWAUKEE.Â Major league baseball commissioner Bud Selig today announced a bold plan to revitalize ailing teams by converting them into "fantasy" franchises, thereby avoiding big payroll costs for weaker clubs.
"We looked at the numbers and the fastest growing segment of our business is the fantasy leagues," Selig said from behindÂ a metalÂ desk at his car dealership.Â "Frankly,Â virtual baseballÂ is a helluva lot more exciting than a September game betweenÂ the Marlins and the Astros."
Bud Selig:Â "You know, Kansas City is no Milwaukee."
Under the plan, the Kansas City Royals andÂ Tampa Bay Devil RaysÂ would be the firstÂ underperforming franchises targeted for fantasy status.Â Each team's players would be released, and the league would track their stats at the Japanese, semipro, and company softball teams that picked them up.Â Fans would vote "American Idol"-style to select the teams' lineups going forward.
Milwaukee, the Venice of Wisconsin
"I don't see the Royals surviving in the real world," Selig said, his gaze wandering to a Pizza Hut on the horizon as he contemplated the future of the national pastime.Â "Kansas City isn't a world-classÂ destination like Milwaukee."
"Mighty fine lookin' heifer."
"People thinkÂ the Royals areÂ named afterÂ kings or something, " he continued, "but it's actually just a livestock show--the American Royal.Â Last year they had 2,167 head of cattle, 583 hogs, 636 lambsÂ and 156 goats at the damn thing," Selig said, a contemptuous smile forming across his lips.Â Â "Try to get the networks to cover a game in a city where Joe Buck has toÂ breathe the smell of three thousand barnyard animals across town.Â It ain't gonna happen."
Evan Milken, aÂ Tampa resident who admitted that he had once attended a Devil Rays' game, expressed surprise at the announcement.Â "That was major league baseball I was watching?" he asked.Â "Coulda fooled me."
Copyright 2007, Con Chapman