Plague of the Yankees

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A-Rod, looking lonely in Detroit Saturday night. Photo: AP

The signs, at first, were subtle. Moments after the final out found the back of the first-baseman's glove in Detroit, eliminating the Yankees forever from the 2006 playoffs, meteorologists reported a slight dip in atmospheric pressure over the Eastern Seaboard. Old men across the Bronx sat up suddenly in bed, complaining of strange dreams and aching joints. Dogs across the city started to bark in shrill inexplicable waves. At 9 p.m., apparently realizing that the greatest offense in the history of human sport had been vanquished, the moon turned black and plunged into the sea. The Hudson River reversed its flow, ejecting Atlantic-bound eels and sharks and whales onto the West Side Highway, where they writhed and gnashed at each other in agony over yet another failed season.

Shortly after midnight, the Chrysler building was struck by a bolt of blood-red lightning. The New York sports media wailed and rent their trench coats, searching in vain for Joe Torre. Earthquakes and lightning storms rolled across South Florida. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, beginning and end," saith the George, who likewise sought Torre, in order to smite him. "We shall win in the seventh fallow year." And executives in designer hairshirts fell down before his throne, casting their wallets before them. For the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand? A stratospheric drain swirl opened over the Bronx, and Yankee Stadium became a gushing blood geyser, belching shots of fetid waste as far south as Staten Island. On his drive home from the stadium, A-Rod neglected to use his blinker and caused a 346-car pileup that snarled every road in the tri-state area. When he tried to light a flare, he accidentally derailed three oncoming trains. Several hundred airplanes, mistaking the conflagration for a landing strip, crashed onto the blazing pile. (Astronauts later reported that the flames were visible from space.) "What can I say?" Rodriguez later told emergency crews. "You just put your head down and hope you drive better next time." Another October, another end of the world. Total damage was estimated at $213 million.

Meanwhile, apparently unaware of the carnage back home, the Mets reportedly swept the Dodgers. (We know that sounds unlikely — we'll check it out as soon as the power comes back on.)

Sam Anderson