Chad Finn’s Sports Machine!

(Originally broadcast March 7, 2014)

Voice-over: It’s “Chad Finn’s Sports Machine”, the sports trivia show for the real fan. And now, here’s your quizmaster, sportswriter, Chad Finn.

Chad Finn: Good evening. “Sports, say the ancient Greeks, is morally serious because mankind’s noblest aim, is the loving contemplation of worthy things,” and I’d say it’s particularly a propos in light of today’s spring training split-squad game. [ audience issues a blank, sluggish stare ] Joining me today are two gentlemen who would no doubt agree. First, former pitcher for the Red Sox, Tim Wakefield. Good day, Tim. Tell us, what do you miss most since retiring from baseball?

Tim Wakefield: Well, Chad, I guess I miss going to the ballpark every day.

Chad Finn: Ah yes, ballparks. In humanity there exists a vestigial memory of an enclosed green space as a place of freedom or play.

Tim Wakefield: [ confused ] Yeah. I guess.

Chad Finn: Excellent. Competing with Timmy today is skillful practitioner of the managerial arts – from the Twins, Ron Gardenhire. Salutations, Ron.

Ron Gardenhire [ slaps his stomach ] Good to see you, Chad. I’m ready to play!

Chad Finn: Well, the manager’s role is one of both hector and helper, naysayer and nexus. Around his circumference lies the full measure of the game.

Ron Gardenhire I.. uh.. well, I’m ready to play!

Chad Finn: Very well. Let us engage the sports machine. Gentlemen, as always, the questions will focus exclusively on baseball, the only game that transcends the boundary between fury and repose. All right, hands on buzzers. [ he hits several buttons on the machine, which spits out a quiz card that Chad reads ] “The precarious balance between infield and outfield suggests a perfect symmetry. For $500, identify the effect of that symmetry.”

[ the contestants stare cluelessly, as the buzzer sounds ]

Chad Finn: Sorry. The answer is: “The exhilarating tension between being and becoming.” Being and becoming. Next question: [ hits several buttons, dispensing another card ] “In 1954, Willie Mays, in an emphatic stroke of Byzantine whimsy, made his over-the-shoulder catch off of Vic Wertz. What was it not unlike?” [ no answers ] Take it? Anyone?

Tim Wakefield: The.. uh.. that catch by Brunansky.. [ buzzer sounds ]

Chad Finn: Sorry. “It was not unlike watching Atlantis rise again from the sea, the bones of its kings new-covered with flesh.” [ audience members stare blankly in awe ] Well, gentlemen, no score as of yet, but the night is young. Perhaps what you gentlemen need is a little incentive, so here to tell you about today’s prizes is our own Peter Abraham.

Peter Abraham: Thank you, Chad. Thank you. Today’s winner will receive a box set of Springsteen’s entire musical catalog! Plus every album and concert review of The Boss from the Boston Globe silkscreened onto a lovely quilt handmade in Maine!

Chad Finn: Bruce must be so proud.

Peter Abraham: Oh, I’m sure he is.

Chad Finn: We’ll continue this spirited discussion later. As for now, it’s time we moved on to the Big Board. And the categories are: “Baseball as Narrative”, “Aristotle and Comiskey”, “Doris Kearns Goodwin”, “Left Field: Myth or Monopeia?”, “Pitch Patch Potch”, “Comstock and Bostock”, and “Pot Luck”. Tim, choose a category.

Tim Wakefield: [ contemplating ] Uh.. “Pot Luck”.

Chad Finn: Very well. [ $1000 card under category is removed, revealing question ] “Like freedom, baseball is that stake where energy and order merge, and all complexity is purified into a simple coherence.” Piffle, or not piffle?

Tim Wakefield: Uh.. piffle.

[ bell sounds ]

Chad Finn: That is correct, it’s absolute piffle. It’s baseball’s complexity, not its purity, that instills in us our freedom, and you have $1000.

Ron Gardenhire: Hey, wait a minute! What’s this piffle crap? What kind of question is that?

Chad Finn: I’m sorry, Ron, but this is not a forum here for debating the merits..

Ron Gardenhire: Oh, no, no, this isn’t a joke. I’m playing for a bunch of Jimmy Fund kids, you’re making me look like a chump!

Tim Wakefield: I feel kind of stupid too!

Chad Finn: Everything in good time, gentlemen. We certainly need to..

Ron Gardenhire: Let me ask you something: you ever play baseball?

Chad Finn: If, by play, you mean drink deep the aura of the game, then..

Ron Gardenhire: No no, I mean play the game.. in the field.. in the field. Here. [takes out a baseball and throws it to Chad ] Throw this ball.

Chad Finn: I’m sorry, Mr. Gardenhire, but my duties as quizmaster compel me to move the game along.

Peter Abraham: Throw the ball, Chad! Throw the ball.

Chad Finn: Shut up, PeteAbe! Now then, next question. Tim, you have control of the board..

Tim Wakefield: Throw the ball! Come on, throw the ball!

Ron Gardenhire: Throw the ball! Throw the ball!

[ audience joins in chants of “Throw the ball!”, as Chad, confusedly, tries to think of what to do. Overcome by the crowd, he releases the ball weakly, landing only a few feet in front of him. Everyone laughs, and Chad, embarrassed, breaks into a slow run and leaves the studio. ]

Peter Abraham: [ pointing ] He’s getting away!

[ Ron Gardenhire and Tim Wakefield chase Chad, leaving the Studio and running into the hallway. Superimposed title and music plays. ]

Peter Abraham Voice-over: That’s all for today’s “Chad Finn’s Sports Machine” this week. Good night.

Chad Finn: [distantly] Football barbarians!
[ fade out ]

(hat tip to the original Saturday Night Live ‘George F. Will’s Sports Machine’ writers.)


Author: scartsybjbsj

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