During the 1996 Series of the World, the lifelong covenant between Tino Martinez and his kingly bat fell into sickness and disrepute. After many fevered swishings and empty half-swings, the great and earnest keeper of First appeared unto Joe and spake:
Joe placed his healing hand upon the citizen slugger and spake:
“Hear this, o, Tino!
“The gritted teeth of stress hath slowed thy swiftly swung sword. Until ye learns to relax, the good wood of thy bat shall torment only air.
“Ye must swaddle thy nerves in silken robes, then pleasure them in the light of candle and music of Mancini mood.
“Ye must take seedpipe in hand, floss clean thy fear and fling sacrifice.
“Whence ye hath achieved this, thy drives again shall pierce outfield foreskins, and blood-red rivers of runs shall flow down the hosed thigh of thy boxscore.”
But, alas, on the morrow, Tino could not summon the birdsong of self-snoggle.
Nor on the next morrow, or the next morrow, or the next.
Finally, without more morrows, Joe appeareth unto Tino and did spake:
“Hear me, o, Tino!
“Until ye drinketh from the well of self-flog, the cob of thy batting corn shall remain mealy and without taste.
“Until thy stroketh returns, the Yankee order shall be inscribed henceforth without thy good name.
“Until the end of this Series of the World, my card of score shall bear in thy stead the mark of the Behemoth: Cecil Fielder. This I do decree.”
On the morrow, Cecil Fielder occupied the base of First.
And though Tino’s humiliation was shrieked a million times by the hounds of back page, he rejoiced when the House of George – with Cecil Fielder – bested the tribe from Atlanta in the Series of the World.
And in summers to follow, Tino learned to soothe his twitchery by drawing man-milk from the spiggot of self-shag.
And Tino led the Yanks to great victories, which were celebrated with parades, merriment and slaughter of animals across the Canyon of Heroes.
And because he laid grasp upon Joe's vision, Tino became a saint in the House of George, until its trust of brains gave ditch to him, as anyone would, so they could sign the mittless brute, Jason Giambi, son of Balco.