Welcome back, both of you! It’s Sunday, and it’s officially June! The kids are out of school, the daiquiris are flowing, and the sprinkler is on…no seriously, the sprinkler is running. Please, go shut it off. We can’t afford another monstrous water bill this month.
Anyways, we are just blazing through the baseball season like Snoop Dogg before a music festival performance. I can’t believe it’s June, and neither can Leslie Uggams!
When we last spoke, I promised both of my loyal readers Part 2 of the epic saga, Ervin Quixote de la Santana, aka a modern retelling of the 1964 hit musical Man of La Mancha. I don’t usually post on Sundays, but when I do, it’s sure to be utter nonsense. If you like what you see, give me a follow on Twitter @jakebridges03! If you’re totally lost, a big fan of Man of La Mancha, or just want to read part one again, click here! Without further adieu, I present to you….
ERVIN QUIXOTE DE LA SANTANA: PART TWO
When we last left our hero and his trusty, pudgy squire, they were relishing in their recent victory over the Golden Helmets of Oakland. Santana had let himself imagine a world where he, an old, seemingly washed up veteran, would be named the bravest knight in all the land. Could the elusive Cy Young Award finally be his by season’s end?? The possibilities were endless as the first act ended. But as we learned from poor Icarus, it is always dangerous to fly too close to the Sun.
We pick up the action in Act 2 as our brave knight and his trusty squire sleep at their campsite after a long day’s journey. A band of Irish brigands known as the Red Sock Gang from Boston spot the two and quickly conceal themselves behind a nearby hill.
“Seamus, should we knock ’em with our shillelaghs now, or wait until mornin?” asks a jumpy young ruffian known as Benny Baseball.
“Hold me Jameson…I’m the bravest knight here according to those who matter on such affairs,’ said the one they called Porcello. “Methinks I should have a say on what we do to the lads AND when.”
“That seems fair to me,” said the old, bearded Varitek. The others could not argue with Porcello, for he was named the Cy Young for bravery merely a year ago.
“I say we we wait here until daybreak. We let the old man sleep. Then we beat ’em senseless at his own game. I’ve heard them talkin’ back in Cork about this Santana fella. Weeeellll, we’ll see just how brave and strong the old man is when he gets a load of us lads.” said Porcello. The brigands cheer in agreement and quickly make camp.
As promised, the Red Sock gang rolls up to Santana’s camp bright and early. They challenge the two knights and their baseball team to a “friendly” game. The brave knight, though stunned, is eager to prove himself. However, the Red Sock gang, powered by their secret elixir they simply call “Dunkin,” absolutely crush Santana. The Boston gang scores 6 runs on 4 homers in a frenetic dance sequence known as “The Combat.”
The Irish brigands howl with laughter as they leave our hero and Mauer in a worthless heap.
“I guess I am an old, worthless donkey after all,” Santana sulks.
Mauer will not have this kind of talk. He suggests they immediately get back to it. He thinks the best medicine is to head straight to the Ohio Valley to challenge the Native American monster again. Mauer figures Santana could use a confidence boost, and the Native American has been practically incompetent all season. This should do the trick.
Mauer’s assumptions are correct. The Native American is no match for Santana even in his home forest of the Ohio Valley. 2 hits and zero runs later, and the monster is defeated once again by the knight.
“What care I?” said the monster. “Everyone in my village is already focused on the knights and jesters who play basketball. I am a sad, forgotten creature even though I was the mightiest foe a year ago.”
Santana and Mauer march off victorious once again into the distance humming “Knight of the Woeful Countenance” with glee. Santana once again lets himself imagine a world where he wins the Cy Young. He tells Mauer that he refuses to let one bad outing ruin his brilliant campaign. He’s not washed up. He’s merely a veteran. He once again sings “The Impossible Dream (Reprise).”
At this point, Santana and Mauer are interrupted in their story back in the jail cell. The inquisition has decided the fate of another prisoner. This one goes by the name of McCutch. He was once a marauding pirate on the high sees of the Allegheny but has now been reduced to a worthless shell of himself in the prison. The Grand Inquisitor Manfred calls out for McCutch to stand trial for his crimes of being a washout at far too young an age. The others bid farewell to the former star unaware of what is to befall him beyond the jail cell.
Santana and Mauer take a moment of silence with the other prisoners before jumping back into the story. They sing “Man of La Mancha (Reprise).”
They are right back into their story. As Santana and his pudgy, beat-up squire arrive back to their home in the great Northern woods of Minnesota, spirits are running high. Word has gotten out about the old knight and his squire defeating opponents in surprising fashion. As they sit repairing their armor one day, the two are greeted by an out-of-breath messenger sent from a far away land in the east.
“Good sires,” the young messenger says. “The Orange Birds of the East challenge you to a game of base! They hear of your greatness and would like to see it for themselves. Accept if you dare, and arrive in the kingdom of Camden in a fortnight.”
Santana and Mauer hastily accept the challenge for this is a real opportunity to prove themselves. The Orange Birds are a mighty foe and a great challenger for the old knight and his squire. The pair set off at once before sundown. However, because Santana truly is an old donkey who’s not as sharp as he once was…hell neither is Mauer for that matter let’s be real…they start off on the wrong path and head West by accident. As they approach the great Rocky Mountains, they realize their mistake. They panic as they know they have crossed into the land of the Gypsies and the feared Coors Creatures in Purple.
Before they even have time to go back from whence they came, they find themselves trapped in a baseball game with the feared Rocky Gypsies and Coors Creatures. The gypsies explode for 5 runs as they defeat Santana in a frantic dance sequence (Moorish Dance). The air is thin and dangerous for an old pitcher like Santana, and it is all too much for the old knight. Though embarrassed by the vagabonds, the two heroes head off still determined to make it to the East to face the Orange Birds. They must repair their reputation by any means necessary.
After a grueling journey and still reeling from their encounter with the gypsies, the pair finally make it to the east. The Orange Birds think they will have an easy time with a seemingly broken Santana and his band of misfits. Mauer tells the taunting Orange Birds that the rumors of Santana’s demise have been greatly exaggerated and are nothing but “A Little Gossip.” The Orange Birds eat their words and are stymied by a brilliant pitching performance by Santana. He twirls a complete game and strikes out 6 while allowing a mere two hits. Santana has done it again, but he is very weak and tired after the effort. He is breaking down.
Mauer helps the limping Santana onto his horse as they head back to the Great Northern Woods of Minnesota. As they return, Mauer knows that Santana may not have much left in the tank. How can they go on pretending Santana is a competent, productive athlete? The entire brigade knows he is nothing more than the 4th or 5th best knight on the team and yet he continues to perform well.
Mauer gathers the rest of the baseball team together and explains to them that he feels sorry for the old man. He cannot bear to see his master suffer when reality comes crashing down. The others agree. One of the baseball players tells of a cousin who plays for a band of space explorers in the South. “I’m sure we could get them to come and pretend to lose against him,’ he says.
The others agree to go along with the ruse, and arrangements are made for the Astros of Houston to throw a game against Santana. The game goes off as planned as Santana pitches 7 solid innings against the mighty Astros. One Astro dwarf, the one they call Altuve, is upset that this is happening and did not go along with the others. He hits a homerun out of spite, but he is quickly stuffed into a sack and removed from the premises. Santana, who is unaware of the setup, is thrilled with the victory.
As the others leave Santana to his thoughts that evening, the feared Knight of the Mirrors appears to Santana. The Knight of the Mirrors often appears to players before a massive regression in skills. He forces those who look upon him to come to grips with reality, and so Santana quivers when faced with his presence.
“You are the one they call Ervin Santana?!” the Knight of the Mirrors bellows.
“I am.” replies Santana.
“You. You have performed well this year. But it is just an aberration! You know this!” said the knight.
“But…but I am young again! I feel fine!” quivers Santana.
“You are no young man! You are pitching above your head. You know it. We all know it.” the knight continues. “A 1.75 ERA when you’re a lifetime 4.01 pitcher. A WHIP at 0.84??? Why, you’ve got a career mark of 1.26. You’ve also got a 6.55 K/9, which is the worst of your career. AND THE WALKS! DON’T GET ME STARTED ON YOUR 3.39 BB/9 MARK THIS SEASON.”
“No…no more, feared Knight of the Mirrors! I cannot bear it.” Santana crumples in a heap as the knight continues to read him like a silly boy.
“Your BABIP is an unsustainable .143. You insist on allowing more fly balls this year as well, which can only lead to bad things. Your luck will run out, Ervin! Eventually, you will be the same old pitcher we all know. You are merely Ervin Santana. You’re no Cy Young! Look upon your image!”
The knight flashes the mirror on Santana as he is forced to see his own image. The knight continues…
“Behold yourself! You are no young stud pitcher. You’re an old donkey with inflated stats due to mere luck! It’s cold as hell in Minnesota until the summer. Batters cannot feel their fingers. Why do you think you did so well in April and May! BUT…There is still time to be honest with yourself and save your fantasy owners. It is just now June. There are still 4 months left in the season. If you pitch the way we expect, you may be spared with your dignity. If not, a horrible fate awaits you, Sir Santana.”
And with that, the knight vanishes. Santana is left alone. At this point, Paul Sporer and Eno Sarris return to find a broken man collapsed on the floor. They feel pity and are soon joined by Mauer and the rest of the team. They know Santana has taken all he can handle. It has finally happened. They decide they would rather have a happy Santana living in a fantasy world than one broken in reality. They beseech the fantasy community to come along and encourage Santana to continue his journey this season.
They all take pity on him and come to support him. As the crowd helps Santana to his feet, the old pitcher vows to continue on and finish the season as best he can. They all leap with joy.
“So you see. That is how we came to be here today. Soon after this, we were captured by the Inquisition and halted in our 2017 journey,” Santana explains to the prisoners listening intently.
The dungeon door flings open as we are snapped back to reality. We are back in Manfred’s prison. The time has come for Santana and his squire Mauer to be judged by the Inquisition and answer for their inflated stats.
As the pair begin their ascension up the dungeon stairs, the man who assumed the role of Paul Sporer in the hero’s story begins singing “The Impossible Dream (Reprise).” He is soon joined by the man who played Eno Sarris. The fantasy community next joins in the song. They all stand united and moved by the story of Ervin Santana’s 2017 season. They cannot explain it, but they believe. They believe in the old veteran. They are inspired.
Next, we notice that all of Santana’s vanquished opponents have joined in the singing. The Native American. Kenny Williams. The Golden Helmets. The Texas Ranger. Even the gypsies and Red Sock brigade. They all believe. They have all been touched. Santana and Mauer turn to face the prisoners one last time. They tip their caps to the masses. They turn and enter the Inquisition chamber of Commissioner Manfred as the show ends.
And that, my friends, is how the epic re-telling of Wasserman’s Man of La Mancha ended. I got to the end of it a changed man. I wasn’t sure whether to scream in anger, curl up in the fetal position or sell all my possessions and move to Glendale. All I was sure of was that this script warranted a blog post, which I have gifted the masses here. I only hope that one day this brilliant work becomes a fully-staged, fully-realized musical. I think Wasserman would have wanted it that way.
Give me a follow on Twitter @JakeBridges03!