“Hi there baseball fans. Welcome to the start of the 2112 Major League Baseball season. I’m Cashin Carey from Boston, Massachusetts getting set to bring you this year’s opener. Today, April 1st, marks Fenway Park’s 200th anniversary. And what a beautiful day it is for baseball. No chilling sea breezes. No heavy overcoats. It’s shirt-sleeve weather here in Beantown. Temps are in the 80s. I guess you can blame it all on global warming.
“So much has changed in the two centuries since Fenway was first built. Tom Yawkey and the early Sox owners would hardly recognize “The Grand Dame of Kenmore Square.” Gone are “the Green Monster” in left and “Pesky’s Pole” in right. Several years ago, the city of Boston took Lansdowne Street, behind the leftfield wall by eminent domain. The city, in turn, sold the rights to the land to the Red Sox.
“Now, instead of the “Green Monster,” there’s a two-tiered grandstand. The upper half sports a hotel complex called “Fenway Fanfare.” The bullpens are gone in right-center. Relief pitchers now warm up in air-conditioned rooms deep beneath the stands.
Today, Fenway’s dimensions are a far cry from what they were one hundred years ago. The park is now symmetrical. It’s 350' down the left and rightfield lines, 400' to straightaway center, and 380' to the power alleys in left- and right-center.
“The players in today’s game have changed, as well. Not only are they bigger and stronger, but we now have clones. The first crop came along about ten years ago. There were some ethical considerations, but those matters have been since worked out. Clones are a lot like a younger identical twin of the original version. In fact, we’ve got a Babe Ruth clone out on the field, today. To think that “the Babe” would come back to his old stomping grounds two hundred years later. We’ve also got a Ty Cobb, a Rogers Hornsby and a Honus Wagner. The Commissioner has limited the number of clones per team to four. It’s not unlike the limits that were set for American major leaguers when they played over in Japan.
“Yet, not all is perfect when it comes to the clones. Yes, scientists have come a long way from the days when they first cloned “Dolly, the sheep” and “Little Nicky, the kitten.” However, despite the biotech advances, today’s cloned players still remain vulnerable to microbes and antigens. They’re also prone to injuries. Thus far, their playing careers have been limited.
“I might also mention that after much legal wrangling, a Ted Williams clone is now in the works. You may remember that shortly after Williams’ death, his body was frozen in an Arizona cryogenics lab. Well, many are hopeful that we’ll soon see a Ted Williams facsimile.
“Today, we also have several artificially-inseminated “designer” ballplayers. One of the “designers” on the field today is nicknamed “the Brain.” I’ve heard that after his playing days are over, they’re going to groom him for a front-office job. “The Brain” has an outstanding pedigree. His father was a three-sport athlete at Harvard. The “Brain’s” dad graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude. His father’s sperm had been “mated up” with the ovum of a Russian Olympic weightlifter.
“Yet, with all the advances, there have come problems. You may remember the long-past bidding wars for players like A-Rod and Dice-K. Well, the same is true today; only it’s not so much about players, but the quest for reproductive tissue. Tens of millions of dollars have already been spent to either gain access to genetic material from exhumed bodies, or to acquire sperm and/or ova from healthy professional athletes. Several conflicting claims have resulted in lawsuits. The press has labeled these struggles: “The DNA Wars.”
“Speaking of biology, today’s players’ lockers are less about uniforms, gloves and bats and more about “meds.” Formerly banned substances like ‘roids are now legal. So too are a whole array of performance-enhancing drugs, including human growth hormones.
“Players are not the only ones who are “juiced”; the baseballs are too. It’s a far cry from the hard-as-a-rock, lifeless balls of baseball’s “dead ball” era. Today’s baseballs remind one of the old “atom balls.” It would be fair to say that today’s game resembles All-Star Game home-run hitting contests.
“Oh yeah, instead of the old wooden bats, players are now using aluminum bats. The ball rockets off those bats with so much velocity that pitchers must wear protective body armor underneath their uniforms. Some infielders are also using body armor, especially at first and third. In fact, today’s baseballs are being hit so hard that shatterproof glass has been installed throughout the box seats areas and the lower grandstand areas..
“Oh, another thing that has escalated are players’ salaries. With inflation rampant and gas costing $10 a gallon, we recently saw the first billion, yes billion with a “B” multi-year deal. We’ve heard that the cash has been spread out over the life of the contract to avoid the tax crunch. Even utility players are making ten million dollars a year.
“At for ballparks, security is stringent. Not only are there metal detectors, but also facial identification cameras and retina identifiers. The whole process can take so long that some fans have become discouraged. Many are staying at home to watch baseball on “the tube.” In this day and age, most households have wide-screen, room-length, 3-D, surround-sound HD TVs. Today, you can watch what many are calling: “Virtual Baseball.” You can click a button on your remote and sit in any seat in the house. Want to sit behind home plate? Click. Presto. Want to sit in the bleachers? Click. How ‘bout the sky boxes? Click. And everything’s interactive. You can chat with fellow fans. You can even suggest plays to the manager.
“As for umpires, there aren’t any. At least, not on the field. Everything’s instantaneous. Electronic. High-tech. Bases are wired. As is home plate. Even the baseballs and players’ gloves have built-in sensors. The balls and strikes are called by “Quest Tec.” If there’s a controversy, or a ruling is needed, three “eye-in-the-sky” umpires sit in a glass-enclosed booth high atop the stadium. They have at their disposal the latest in electronic surveillance equipment. When they’ve made their decision, they simply press a button. The scoreboard will flash “green” for safe; “red” for out.
“Well, that’ll do it for our pre-game show. Thanks for listening. Oh, by the way — April Fools! Then again...”