Pirates Impressed with Crystal, Sign Comedian to Multi-Year Contract

 Pirates sign a Yankees legend (image via  Bob Bekian ).

Pirates sign a Yankees legend (image via Bob Bekian).

From the Archives: I wrote this satirical piece in March 2008 after the Yankees signed Billy Crystal and played him in a spring training game against the Pirates. I remembered thinking that Crystal could have made Pittsburgh's active roster. Considering some of the stiffs they've had in the last few years (Jeromy Burnitz, Matt Morris, Derek "Operation Shutdown" Bell), Crystal couldn't have been any worse.

Bradenton, FL. -- The Yankees thought they were giving superfan Billy Crystal a nice gift for his 60th birthday. A one-day contract. A uniform with the number “60″ on it. A spot in the lineup as a Designated Hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates. However what started out as a one-shot publicity stunt has turned into something much more.

Billy Crystal showed that he belonged in the majors. Unfortunately for him, he showed that he belonged with the Pirates, not the Yankees. Pirates officials were so impressed with Crystal’s performance (0-for-2, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 1 reached base on error, 2 runs scored) that they signed him to a 5 year deal worth $25 million. The Pirates’ first-year manager, John Russell, raved about Crystal. “His plate discipline was extraordinary. I was impressed with the way he grinded out that walk. It was like he knew that our pitchers weren’t going to able to hit the strike zone at all. His bat never even left his shoulder. Clearly, he has a great eye.”

Russell continued to praise Crystal and brought up a play where the comedian hit a sharp liner into the gap between 2nd and 3rd. Jack Wilson bobbled the ball and threw wide to first, allowing Crystal to move to second on the overthrow. “He showed a real knack for getting on base. He ran hard out of the box after grounding to shortstop because he knew our guy wouldn’t be able to field it cleanly. He’s a natural ball player and we need guys like that in our dugout.”

Similarly, Pirates GM Neal Huntington complimented Crystal while proudly announcing the signing. “He should fit right in with the culture of this team,” Huntington beamed while handing Crystal his own “No. 60″ Pirates jersey. “We are a never-say-die team that doesn’t let things like low offensive numbers, lack of talent, or poor fundamentals get in the way. If you can play, then you’ll have a spot with us.”

When asked for comment, several Pirates players were excited about playing with Crystal. “He definitely played well today,” Jason Bay said. “His power and speed are about on par with the rest of our team. He should fit right in.”

“Obviously, his strike zone judgment is better than mine,” Freddy Sanchez, a former batting champion whose career on-base percentage is mere percentage points higher than his lifetime batting average. “Maybe he can teach me a few things.”

Yankees players were said to be amused at the notion of Billy Crystal as an everyday player in the Major Leagues. However, one Yankee was relieved that Crystal would not be on the roster to take playing time away from him. “I’m fortunate that the team didn’t sign him,” Johnny Damon said. “I was worried I’d lose playing time if we platooned together in the outfield. He has a much better arm than I do. After all, he doesn’t need a cutoff man to get the ball to second base.”

Crystal had no comment however, his agent didn’t hide his disappointment that his client signed with the Pirates instead of the Yankees. “Billy wanted to be a Yankee. He wanted to take his place alongside such other Yankees of comparable stature like Kevin Maas, Brien Taylor, and Andy Hawkins,” Crystal’s agent said. “Then again, Billy is so excited to be a major leaguer that it doesn’t matter what team it’s with. Plus, let’s be honest. It wasn’t like his film career was going so well. What has he done since ‘Analyze This?’ Now, he won’t have to do ‘My Giant 2,’ ‘Analyze Anything,’ or ‘Forget Paris Again.’ Billy could use the money.”

Originally posted at Lamesports.net

Victor Li

chicago, il