Friday, March 25, 2011
THE BONIFACIO SAGA: EPISODE I
It happened slowly, without anyone in the organization noticing, without a fan suspecting a thing. Today, we'll all go about our usual baseball business, jerking off to Mike Stanton's monster dongs and laughing at Logan Morrison's Twitter feed. And maybe, for six minutes or so, we'll wonder what the hell to do about the third base position now that Matt Dominguez has been sent back down, but only long enough to momentarily distract us from the stark realization that there's nothing defrosting for dinner.
You see, this plan was perfect and it started long before Thursday morning.
On April 6, 2009, Emilio Bonifacio and his blazing speed raced into our hearts with an inside-the-park home run on Opening Day. We were smitten. What we didn't know was that that lone, magnificent play was just Phase I in what could be a diabolical plot to destroy our lovable superhero, Mike Stanton, and perhaps the entire Florida Marlins organization, as well.
It was all too perfect
The new guy, the scrawny nobody we knew nothing about, stood at the plate, stared down by Washington Nationals ace, John Lannan. It's hard to pinpoint the motives behind Lannan's involvement in this carefully orchestrated scheme, but make no mistake, that fastball to Bonifacio was just a little too slow and a little too grooved. And if you paid close attention, Emilio, at one point, tapped his bat against the dirt and looked up at Lannan, who nodded back, ever so slightly.
Bonifacio swung his bat and made contact, a fly ball to center field, a routine out in the world of baseball. Or so we thought.
Enter Lastings Milledge, once thought to be a five-tool player by New York Mets' scouts (for whatever that's worth), now finding himself stuck in the vast wasteland that is the Washington Nationals. A fragile young man desperate to find himself, in search of a greater purpose. An easy target of devious manipulation.
Milledge sees the ball perfectly, yet takes an inexplicable route toward it. It's now over his head. There are no seats in the center field bleachers, so nobody can see his face as he chases ball, but some eye-witness reports suggest that after Milledge picked up the ball and threw it back into the infield, he was laughing. Maniacally. We'll never know if the rest of the Nationals were in on this sinister plot, as well. We'll never know if Adam Dunn would've somehow allowed the same thing to happen, or if Scott Olsen would've warned us, but it's of little importance now. Bonifacio, Lannan and Milledge were the only ones needed that day. The plan was in motion.
Get ready for Phase II
You can go back and listen to the tapes. Talk show hosts and callers around South Florida were enamored with Bonifacio. All he needed to do was get in somehow. He did.
The plan has been slow to hatch, but it has been happening, and it's been happening right before our eyes. Surreptitiously endearing himself to the fan base. Sending an anonymous note to the front office, falsely implicating Jorge Cantu in a Cuban facial hair-smuggling scandal that forced the organization to trade him. Paying media members for positive press. Secretly convincing Edwin Rodriguez to send Matt Dominguez back to the minors. All of these isolated instances, these seemingly trivial occurrences, were just part of Phase I.
And now, after biding his time, Emilio Bonifacio could finally be in position to start at third base, something no Marlins fan or player thought would ever become a possibility. Phase II can now begin.
Questions still linger
With all of this information, there are still a number of questions that need to be answered. How were Milledge and Lannan repaid for their part? Is Edwin Rodriguez a part of this sinister plot? Is it possible that Hanley is in on this as well, purposely causing the rift between manager and star player that ultimately led to the firing of Fredi Gonzalez and the promotion of Edwin Rodriguez to a position of power? And if that is the case, is Emilio even the mastermind behind this whole plan or is he simply a pawn, like Milledge and the rest? What is the ultimate goal?
Keep your eyes and ears open, Marlins fans, because Phase II is underway, and I'm scared. You should be, too.