Presidential candidate Donald Trump is no fan of the Ricketts family, which owns the Chicago Cubs. Now, we here at Baseball Essential maintain a strict political neutrality, so we are not going to address Trump’s politics or his chances of becoming president. Instead, we will imagine a scenario where the Cubs, in an attempt to make nice with Trump, invite him to read the team’s starting lineup before a game at Wrigley Field. (Please note that we are imagining, which means this didn’t really happen.)
Let’s go down to the field, where Mr. Trump is holding a microphone and ready to go. Take it away, Donald:
“Batting first is the center fielder who told the Baltimore Orioles he would come play for them, but he lied, and that’s what these weak baseball players do, they lie. I mean, I might be tempted to lie too if the alternative was playing in Baltimore, but you ask anyone, I am smart enough not to commit to the Orioles in the first place. And I have the best outfield range of anyone, all the experts say so. But I don’t play for the Cubs, so they are stuck with Dexter Fowler.
“Batting second, speaking of traitors, the Cubs have a right fielder who is the biggest flip-flopper in baseball history. If you ask me, the St. Louis Cardinals are lucky this guy treated them like dogs and left for their division rivals. The guy hit 13 homers last year, and you’re going to give him $184 million? Some financial genius you are, Little Theo. Go bankrupt for Jason Heyward.
“Batting third is first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Is he the best Italy had to offer? I mean, is Italy sending us their best baseball players? This is a guy who was traded before he ever got to the big leagues and again right after. What did the Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres know that these losers in Chicago didn’t know? Is Rizzo one of those Italians who, all my advisors tell me this, came over here to play baseball and join the mafia? These are the questions that no one can answer, but I will answer them.
“Batting cleanup is a guy whose hands and fingers are almost as beautiful as mine: third baseman Kris Bryant.
“Batting fifth is a guy who hasn’t proven anything. He couldn’t cut it as a catcher, so they had to move him to left field. If I played baseball, I would be a catcher, because the catcher has to be the smartest and the toughest, and when you think smart and tough, everyone thinks of me. Tough on immigration. Tough on our enemies. Tough on a slider in the dirt. Look at this chest. How many wild pitches do you think this chest could block? This guy can’t even decide which hand to use. Bat left-handed and throw right-handed? What’s that all about? I pick one hand and stick with it, because the way to be great is to focus. Maybe left fielder Kyle Schwarber will learn that someday.
“Speaking of guys who can’t focus on one thing long enough to become great, the sixth hitter is a guy who I guess is going to play second base today, but sometimes he plays the outfield or pretty much anywhere else. That’s no way to become great, just ask anyone how I did it, I didn’t do it by bouncing around from position to position. When I decided to become president, I quit doing my number-one television show ‘The Apprentice,’ which every expert will tell you was the highest-rated show in the history of television and it’s not even close. But I didn’t try to run for president one day, then do ‘The Apprentice’ the next day, then go back to running for president, because the only way to be the best at everything like I am is to focus on one thing at a time. Second baseman Ben Zobrist could learn a thing or two from me. He also better be careful about sharing a Twitter account with his wife, because she will take that from him in the divorce.
“Batting seventh is a guy from Venezuela. This sounds bad already. And just like Schwarber, this guy can’t decide if he’s right-handed or left-handed. So we have a guy from a communist country who is a lefty sometimes and a righty sometimes. Am I the only one smart enough to see the problem here? Of course I am. Because I see problems where everyone else has their politically correct blind spots. Is Miguel Montero really the best catcher Venezuela had available? What about the Molina brothers? Why didn’t Theo get one of those Molinas? I don’t settle for the second-best Venezuelan catcher when there are three better options in one family.
“Now, a lot of people are saying I don’t know the difference between Puerto Rico and Venezuela. Guess what? I am the world’s leading expert on Latin America. I have a PhD in differentiating between little islands where they speak Spanish. They say I said the Molinas were from Venezuela, but I never said that. What’s going on with Yadier Molina, anyway? That guy looks exactly the same today as he did ten years ago. You can’t trust a guy like that. Take me, for example. I don’t look the same as I did ten years ago — I look younger! Ask my wife, she’ll tell you how young I look. All my wives have loved how young I look.
“Batting eighth is a kid from Pensacola, Florida. They love me down there in Pensacola. The people of Florida know how much they owe to me. Pensacola was a dump, a real garbage town, until I gave it my stamp of approval. Now it is booming. Ask any expert and they will tell you that Pensacola is the best city in the United States and that I am the reason. Little Marco couldn’t beat me in Pensacola or anywhere else in Florida, because Floridians are the smartest people in the country. The Cubs got this Pensacola shortstop in a trade for Jeff Samardzija, who went to Notre Dame, and I don’t have to tell you how I feel about Notre Dame. The only smart thing Theo Epstein has ever done is trade that pope-lover for the Pensacola Kid, Addison Russell.
“What do we really know about Theo Epstein, anyway? Can we trust that guy?
“Batting ninth is the pitcher. The Cubs are so poorly run that they let their pitcher hit. I have owned seven hundred of the most successful companies in the world, and no one who ever worked for me got to hit when he was pitching. But the Cubs think, ‘Hey, this guy won the Cy Young Award last year, I bet he can hit, too!’ That’s the problem here in Chicago — you have this Joe Maddon loser running the team. Joe Maddon? He never made the big leagues as a player, so how is he supposed to manage big leaguers? I like guys who were actually successful. No wonder he thinks Jake Arrieta is the best hitter in baseball. I know Jake Arrieta is not the best hitter in baseball, all my top pepple agree that he’s a pretty good pitcher but he just doesn’t hit well at all. But Joe Maddon keeps running him out there, thinking he knows better than all my top people.
“Why was Arrieta so bad in Baltimore, by the way? Even when he first came to the Cubs he was terrible. Just awful. I tried to watch him pitch and it was embarrassing. But then he became eligible for arbitration and suddenly he knows how to pitch? It makes sense, you know? I mean, I’ve never had a problem with performance of any kind — ask all my experts and all my wives, if you know what I mean — but I also get paid what I am worth. Good for Arrieta, saving the good stuff for when he was actually going to get paid. If you have a limited amount of greatness — something I cannot relate to — it makes sense to save it for when it counts.
“There’s your starting lineup for the Cubs. It’s embarrassing, it really is. All the polls agree that this is just a historically bad team. There are no stars on this team. In fact, my first act as president will be to deport every Cubs player whose citizenship we can’t verify. That includes Joe Maddon, who a very reliable source tells me was actually born in one of those European countries with the funny names.
“They call the Cubs the ‘Lovable Losers.’ There’s nothing lovable about a loser. These guys can’t even keep the ivy from growing all over the walls. You losers think gardeners are expensive now? Just wait until my immigration plan kicks in. If a winner like Donald J. Trump owned the Cubs, we’d have a big, beautiful wall with no ivy on it, and we’d make the Cardinals pay for it!
“Let’s make Wrigley Field great again!”