An NBA story this week caught my eye. Apparently, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge (a former major-league baseball player for the Toronto Blue Jays, by the way) was sitting in the stands during the Celtics recent playoff game against Cleveland, tossing up a towel trying to distract a Cavaliers’ free-throw shooter.
Ainge was fined $25,000 by the NBA, but maybe he was onto something. Maybe the next trend in sports will be for executives to pro-actively work for the benefit of their team during the game.
The floundering Mariners certainly could use some help these days. So maybe it’s time for Jack Zduriencik to spring into action, Ainge-style, to try to get them some much-needed victories. As a public service — and to (hopefully) inject some levity into a very trying week for the Mariners — here are some suggestions to start him off:
–Remember the classic Mariner commercial from 1999 in which Jay Buhner stood in the outfield, took off his hat and positioned his bald head so the sun reflected in the hitters’ eyes? Well, what’s to keep Zduriencik from taking a seat in the outfield and using his own shiny dome to blind the opposing hitters, Buhner style?
–Zduriencik could instruct Rick the Peanut Man to get a little wild with his tosses, if you catch my drift.
–Jackie Z has a booming voice. A spirited rendition of the timeless, “We want a pitcher, not a belly itcher!” when the opposing hurler is on the mound can work wonders.
–For years, there has been a suspicion that MLB uses some juiced-up baseballs to enliven the Home Run Derby during the All-Star Game. Let’s go, Jack: Time to import those derby baseballs and sneak them into play when the Mariners come to bat.
–Speaking of which, how about employing some giant oscillating fans to take those warning track fly balls by Mariner hitters and blow them out of the ballpark?
–The Mariner Moose nearly ran over Boston’s Coco Crisp on his ATV a few years back. All it would take would be a whisper from Zduriencik to the Moose, and the opposing star hitter could go down in an unfortunate “accident.”
–A nice dose of laxatives in the opposing team’s Gatorade dispenser could work wonders. I’m just sayin’…
–When the other team is on the field, sneak in a new resin bag. But this one isn’t filled with resin. No sir. Two words: Itching powder!
–Remember Morganna the Kissing Bandit? Time for Zduriencik to make a few calls, get her out of retirement, and set her loose to distract the top players on opposing teams.
–Zduriencik could instruct the visiting bat boy to replace the other team’s bats with already broken ones.
–To get an edge, Zduriencik could instruct the grounds crew to alter the batter’s box, making it longer so hitters could move up and hit the curve ball before it breaks. Oh, wait, M’s manager Maury Wills already tried that in 1981. Didn’t work so well. Billy Martin caught him dead to rights, and Wills was suspended.
–If all else fails, he could always toss a towel in the air. And then cry into it.
(Danny Ainge photo by Associated Press)