July 11, 2007
It’s been so hot the past couple of weeks out here in the west that Los Angeles Dodger baseball bats, long known as some of the coldest examples of tooled ash and maple in the hemisphere, have been out-selling both air conditioners and swamp coolers 10-1. They flat-out can’t keep them on the shelves.
The word is that all one needs to do is keep a Dodger bat anywhere in the house and the temperature, depending upon placement, will drop as much as 30-degrees Fahrenheit. And, if it’s one of those bats that have come to the plate with men on base, well, in that case, with its "sweet spot" having never been abused, they recommend you keep a faucet running throughout the night. Frigid is as frigid does.
Scuttlebutt has it that several hundred of the bats were shipped to Peter Hillary and Jamling Tenzing Norgay to aid in their efforts to stabilize the quickly receding glaciers on Mt. Everest. Base Camp, they say, is now 40-meters lower than it was back when their surnames first achieved prominence.
Fifty-four years after their fathers, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, became the first to summit the mountain they call "Qomolangma," their sons warned that the highest peak on the planet is being ravaged by climate change to the point it is almost unrecognizable.
Not that there’s any cause for alarm, but there has been a bit of banter within the climatology community that, at the current rate of meltdown, the "Mother of the "World" could well be barren rock by 2050. The total impact of such a calamity would go well beyond its effect upon climbing routes within the Himalayan mountaineering community.
Aside from the billions of people who rely upon these glaciers for drinking water, there is the matter of the huge new lakes forming from the melting ice and the resultant devastation upon the 40,000 Sherpas residing below if they should, for any reason, decide to burst. This certainly sounds like a job for Dodger bats.
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Actually, heading into the All-Star break, the lads are currently hitting .271, the second best team batting average in the National league. That, however, is not to say that the bats in question are not "ice cold" when it matters most with runners in scoring position.
For example, during a game just a week or so back, they thrice loaded the bases with no one out and came up empty each and every time. Not once did the runner on third find his way home before he was required to locate his glove and take to the field. Of course, with two-out and nobody on, they very seldom make an out.
It is just such selective ability to "go cold" that makes Dodger bats so valuable in places such as where Montana ranchlands abut the Rockies and oppressive temperatures turn hay crops to dust. Although forecasts call for little change, ranchers are able to maintain the confidence of bank loan officers solely by showing-off their "hardwood" stash.
Those without a connection have little choice but to try and get their hay up before it gets crispy and falls apart. As would be expected, a "black market" of sorts in Dodger bats is rumored to have developed in response to what is nothing short of an agricultural crisis throughout the west.
Dealers usually associated with illegal firearms, "hot" cars, and forged documents now find themselves consorting with cattle ranchers in out-of-the-way back rooms cutting deals for, of all things, baseball bats. Rumor has it that it’s the, excuse the expression, Dodger hitting coach, who is the middle man.
As far as the "transubstantiation" involved in turning a machine-lathed "Louisville Slugger" into the miraculous temperature manipulator it has become, all it seems to take is the "laying upon of hands" by anyone currently on the Dodger roster. And, not unlike the biblical story of the "fishes and the loaves," somehow supply is meeting demand.
According to records obtained under the "Freedom of Information Act," even high-profile atheists such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins have come into possession of Dodger bats, which by now, it must be admitted, have become nothing less than religious icons. Neither would comment on the disclosure.
Perhaps the most significant environmental change associated with the Dodger bat brouhaha, however, is its effect upon the baseball experience at Chavez Ravine as a whole. Bats have recently shown-up in areas not normally associated with the box score. They’ve even turned up performing "cooling-off" periods for ticket holders competing for the same stall in the parking lot.
Although no higher-ups in the concessionaire organization at Dodger Stadium are accepting responsibility, the word coming out of the old ballpark is that not only the bats, but also, after all these years, even the beer is cold. No doubt about it, this state of affairs will require further investigation.
What is heat, and what is it that the bats in question do to alter its essence. It would seem that, in a manner similar to the non-aggression pact it has with the pitched baseball, the bat must first recognize that, in these particular instances, the agitated atoms radiating through space need to be calmed.
And that brings us to the business at hand, the immense fires currently scorching rural Utah. Admittedly, with the normal roles played by ignition and fuel in these affairs, bringing wooden bats to a fire might seem a bit absurd. Ah contraire!
Not these babies! They are "cold" itself. They would mistake the firefighters for men on base and freeze out the flames in no time. Dodger bats are the answer! But you’d best hurry and get them to the fire lines before the end of the All-Star break. Because after that, they’re going to heat back up in no time. Yeah, right!