John Wayne Ratzinger made his first appearance at storied Yankee Stadium today.
Working in front of a standing-room-only crowd, the Pontiff used a mix of mostly off-speed pitches to baffle a barnstorming team of evangelical Lutherans from Brainerd, Minnesota. The Pope ended the day with six strikeouts and two walks, while giving up just one hit in eight scoreless innings. Father Neil O'Hagin came on in the ninth and retired all three men that he faced, to preserve the win.
"I didn't have my good fastball today, so I had to try to keep them off balance with my off-speed stuff," the crafty old hurler said at the post-game news conference.
The Pope was only threatened once. He walked the Lutheran's lead off man, Sven Johansen, in the sixth. Babe Johnson followed with a sharp liner to left, moving Johansen to second with no outs. Karl Olson then hit a wicked grounder to the sure-handed Monsignor Liam O'Malley, who fielded it cleanly and forced Johansen at third. The Pope settled down and struck out both Einer Olsen and Ed Tolleruud to end the inning, and really the last hope for the outmatched Lutheran squad.
The Pope describes how far outside the nasty curveball he threw to clean up hitter Ollie Olson was. The Pope struck out Olson to end the fifth frame.
The Pope proved that naysayers wrong who said that he was too old to be a number one starter for a major religious organization. He said after the game that even though he's eighty-one, he has the arm strength of a seventy-five year-old. He said his youthfulness is due to a good diet and the guidance of a personal trainer.
Whatever his age, on this day he was masterful on the mound.
Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said that it was gratifying to see the Pope back on top of his game after his shelling earlier this week in Washington, D.C.
In that Tuesday afternoon affair, the Pope lasted only two innings, giving up six earned runs and nine hits to the Seventh Day Adventist All Stars, before being pulled for up and coming young fireballer, Father Lou Moritz.
The Tri-managers of the Vatican team blamed the Pope's poor performance on jet lag and possible signal stealing by the Adventist team. They don't anticipate any carryover to the upcoming Italian season, which begins next week. The Vatican Warriors of God club is expected to contend for the league title, behind the strong-armed Pope and several young hitting prospects brought up from their Triple A franchise.
Things in this blog represented to be fact, may or may not actually be true. The writer is frequently wrong, sometimes just full of it, but always judgmental and cranky