As it turns out, the Cubs didn’t think of everything when they decided to go young. About half of the 25-man roster suddenly departed on Thursday after being hunted down and returned to high school by truant officers, leaving the Cubs unable to field a team or even send out a pitcher.
“These guys came in and handed me a list of kids they were looking for,” said manager Dale Sveum. “I’d never even heard of them. Blake Parker? Brooks Raley? But when I walked into the dugout before the game it was nearly abandoned. I haven’t felt so alone since Volstad’s last start.”
Joe Mather eventually volunteered to bring his 73 mph fastball to the mound once again, but there were no takers for the positions of right-center field or first-and-second baseman. The bullpen was also completely empty, save Carlos Marmol, who arranged the stools into a bed and fell asleep.
The Cubs barely escaped forfeiture by sending out three ball boys and putting pitching coach Chris Bosio behind the plate. If anybody noticed, nobody said a word.
“I thought we might go back to the old way of doing things,” said Cubs owner Tom Ricketts. “So I made some calls. But Dusty Baker just couldn’t get over the fact that Neifi Perez was out of baseball and Jim Hendry wouldn’t stop laughing.”
“It’s not all bad,” said Brooks Raley via email. “Maybe I can learn about guys like Derek Jeter in history class.”