I have made a lot of bad decisions in my life, some of which are so unadulteratedly stupid that it’s a wonder I’m alive at all, let alone still in position of all my extremities. I’m not talking Lawrence Phillips bad here, think more your run-of-the-mill brainless choices. One such poor choice came in the form of a sophomoric stunt that occurred, coincidentally enough, during my sophomore year of college.
It was a boring Sunday night so a couple of my fraternity brothers and I got the bright idea to put together a Works bomb. For those of you unfamiliar with such backyard chemistry experiments, this isn’t the type of incendiary device found in the Anarchist’s Cookbook. Rather, a combination of aluminum foil and hydrochloric acid-based bathroom cleaner is placed inside a plastic two-liter and the gas from the reaction of the ingredients causes the bottle to explode.
Just mix, place, walk away, and wait for a big bang. Pretty simple, right? Well, unless you’re impatient. Or really dumb. Or both. We sat there watching this thing doing a whole lot of nothing; the bottle wasn’t even distended after 5 mintues, then after 10. Maybe we didn’t use enough foil, maybe we had added too little Works. Never one to just leave litter lying around, I went to retrieve the failed experiment.
As I was carrying the bottle back — IN MY HAND — a deafening noise erased what little rational thought remained in my mind and sent me into a drunken, looping sprint back to my house. I was actually sober as a judge, but the temporary obliteration of my equilibrium made it look and feel as though I had tied one on. My initial assumption was that I was short a few fingers, but I looked down to see that the bottle was still in my hand; all the force had blown down, straight out of the bottom.
I was lucky, but I still can’t help but think about how stupid it would have been to have lost part of my hand just because I got impatient and didn’t want to wait just a little bit longer. Thank goodness the guys running my beloved Cubs are not similarly governed by immature and unwise impulses. Or so I thought…
Theo says club might consider Bryant sooner than later if La Stella (ribs), Olt (wrist) issues linger.
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) April 13, 2015
Exsqueeze me? A baking powder? The word “troll” gets thrown around a lot and has become nearly as overexposed as Seth Rogen or Paris Hilton, so I want to be careful not to just throw it out there. Besides, I can’t tell if this is a case of the media trying to get a rise out of fans or Theo Epstein simply tweaking the media. If forced to lay a bet one way or the other, I’d take the latter.
In reading between the lines of Epstein’s quotes in Wittenmyer’s subsequent column on the subject, it certainly seems that it’s much ado about nothing. When asked whether injuries to Mike Olt and Tommy La Stella could hasten the team’s decision to promote Bryant, the always cagey president of baseball operations replied, “Maybe, yeah. We’ll see. We’ll just weigh all the factors.”
Epstein got only slightly more effuse but no less vague as he continued.
“I said during spring training that his performance obviously last year and even during spring training showed that he’s really close and that we’re probably more likely to get him sooner rather than later. [The season] just started though.
“But we’ll see. Obviously, his development is a hugely important factor and the needs of the big-league team as well.”
As I read this, “sooner” refers not to either a call-up that jeopardizes the year of service time we’ve discussed ad nauseam or Oklahoma University, but rather to the proximity of said promotion to the earliest possible date. Most have believed that the Cubs would be somewhat coy about bringing Bryant to Chicago so as not to be any more blatantly obvious about the reasons for his time in AAA than they already are. But a few dings and dents to current Cubs might force the team’s hand a bit.
Also, while no one ever wants to see them, the injuries do serve to provide another thin veneer of excuse when it comes to how the team is painting this whole situation. Recent words from union executive board member, and former Cub, Carlos Villanueva seem to indicate that the threat of litigation may not come to pass after all, but it never hurts to pad your case.
So it does look as though Theo Epstein and his friends are a bit smarter than I was back in the day. Unlike me, their willing to wait on their exciting project, content to watch him to percolate from afar until the proper allotment of time has run its course. And when that happens, we’re all going to fear for the health of our hands as clap them violently in response to a never-ending series of deafening Bryant bombs.