Astros: the Ritual

Couple of moments after the Game 7 came to a complete stop and the crowds had gone crazy, Cardinals Manager Tony LaRussa and hitter So Taguchi engaged in a thanksgiving ritual seemingly praising the deities for standing by their side throughout the excruciating overtime in Game 6 and for giving their teammates enough firepower to overthrow Roger Clemens in Game 7.

It has been hinted, however, that there was more in this ritual than met the eye. The respectful gestures were allegedly a part of Taguchiís lobbying efforts to promote his "Hot Dog Preservation Project". If the rumor mill is to be trusted, So Taguchi inherited an old family recipe for embalming cured meats and had been hoping to preserve the rich taste and the natural plumpness of Ball Park Beef Franks for future generations. In his opinion, expressed in the October issue of "Sausages Monthly", hot dogs are such an integral part of the ball game experience that posterity would be inexcusably shortchanged if it didnít have a full sensual report of this culinary peculiarity. Our grandchildren's taste buddies would certainly be ticked off.

Unfortunately, according to our sources inside the Cardinals organization, the Board of Trustees is not favorably inclined to support the venture. Not only is it suspicious that Taguchiís embalming procedure involves liposuction and several layers of protective coating with 45 Sunblock Lotion, but the last phase of the project might also require a significant financial injection in order to build a giant stone pyramid that would house a sarcophagus housing the mummified sausages - the literal food pyramid.

As we learned from the unpublished minutes of the Board meeting, most of the tense discussion was focused on the pyramid's chimney structure and whether it could be used to smoke additional beef links. The impassioned debate was interrupted after three hours, when the secretary, Mr. Rogers, said he was tired of typing and went home.

Meanwhile in a basement apartment, Mrs. Rogers was in the middle of feeding her parrot a strand of well cooked spaghetti. When her husband's key rattled in the lock, she hung the uneaten portion of the spaghetti over a chair, quickly put on an overcoat and stepped into the hallway. There she first took off his hat and then she took the rest of him to an inexpensive Mexican restaurant, where they polished off a large platter of chorizo sausages and quaffed nine strawberry Margaritas. Having succesfully completed the swig drill exercise, they pulled two straws out of their glasses, slurped up all the remaining salsa from the bowl and, rather exhilarated, set out on throwing limes garnishing the rims all over the half-empty beanery. The waiter waiting casually in the corner saw everything: the red nails flicking the limes, the barbaric glint in their eyes, the bloodied straws, the warm aura of conspiracy. But he merely chuckled and didn't say anything to anyone, for certain rituals can only be confided in a piano.

© 2004† Jan Rehacek

The Book of Cardinals 2004

Part III.

Inning: 6

Tony LaRussa and So Taguchi in celebrating mode (Game 7).


AP Photo/Al Behrman

Prologue

Part I. Namesakes
1. Cardinal Stritch University
2. Cardinal, Virginia
3. Cardinal Systems
4. Vatican Cardinals
5. Tantoo Cardinal
6. Arizona Cardinals
7. Cardinal Numbers
8. Cardinal Bar
9. Cardinal Fish

Part II. 7th Inning Stretch of Imagination
1. What's In A Name?
2. Nine Amendments For Extreme Motorists
3. Better Butter For Bitter Batter
4. Infield Fly Rule For Dummies
5. How To Wash Red Socks Properly
6. My Kingdom For A Pitcher!
7. East St Louis Vacations Inc
8. Are You A Cardinals Fan?
9. Banbury Cross

Part III. Three Dreams
1. Dodgers: The Robbery
2. Dodgers: The Handshake
3. Dodgers: The Shower
4. Astros: The Flight
5. Astros: The Homer
6. Astros: The Ritual
7. Red Sox: The Comedy
8. Red Sox: The Drama
9. Red Sox: The Heartbreak

Epilogue