Once upon a time there was a pitcher named Kyle Lohse. Kyle lived in the Flyover Kingdom with his overbearing father Tony and his four wicked, vain stepbrothers, Chris, Adam, Jaime, and Brad. Each one of his stepbrothers was beloved by the townsfolk and showered with adoration. They spoke of the great riches and medals Chris had won, and those that they believed had been stolen from him by the feared giant near the sea, Baron Lincecum. They told tales of Adam’s fearsome curveball, which was said to turn great warriors into stone statues. Jaime was praised for his youth and his good fortune. Brad, unlike the others, was a portly man of little talent, but he had slept with Alyssa Milano, so he was revered without question.
Kyle had none of those things, and found himself teased and taunted by his father and stepbrothers. He was forced to do all the housework, including helping Chris bathe because everyone was afraid he would slip in the shower and break something. They called him “Lohse-erella” because his name was spelled vaguely like “lose” and, as professional athletes, they were not well-read beyond childrens stories. He took this punishment, accepted it even, because he was of such good temper. Also because he was part Native American and used to being oppressed by the white man.
One day, the Phillies invited all the baseball players in the Flyover Kingdom to the ballpark, to put on a show for their people. The four wicked stepbrothers were sent invitations, and delighted in planning their trip, especially in front of poor Kyle who was not on the guest list.
“I’m going to show off my awards,” said Chris and started to pack his suitcase. This effort quickly tired him and later he would decide to stay home to recover.
“I’m going to freeze Ryan Howard with my curveball,” boasted Adam. “And I will bring glory to the Flyover Kingdom.”
“I will beguile them with my good luck,” crowed Jaime. “They have never seen me and I will dazzle them with surprise.”
“I have slept with Alyssa Milano,” said Brad. And that was enough.
Kyle assisted them in getting ready to go to Philadelphia, and dreamed of joining them, but they taunted him and told him that a pitcher like him could never attend the ballpark. “You,” they laughed. “You wish to join us at the ballpark? You have neither skill nor luck, you cannot pitch!”
As his stepbrothers flew off to the kingdom of Philadelphia, Kyle cried in despair, feeling as if he would never prove himself and earn the respect of the townsfolk. He watched from afar, as each of his stepbrothers made their grand appearances at the ballpark.
First, Jaime appeared, and wowed the Phillies with his youthful exhuberance. They had never seen him before, and could barely hit him, and so he brought glory to Flyover Kingdom.
Next, Adam walked to the mound, and he struck out many batters, but grew weary. He brought in some of his finest friends to assist him, but because he was vain and wicked he did not have any friends of worth and they embarrassed him.
Finally, Brad took center stage at the ballpark. “I have slept with Alyssa Milano,” he said, but that did not impress the Phillies, for they knew her to be a woman of questionable repute, and again the Flyover Kingdom was distraught.
Chris, who remained at home in bed, could not join his brothers at the ballpark, and it looked as if his family had failed to show that they were of any noble standing to the Phillies. Kyle wished he could go and help them, but he remembered their harsh words and he knew that they were right. Then, as he was drowning his sorrows in firewater, his fairy godfather, Dave Duncan, appeared to him in a mystical cloud of rosin. “So you want to go to the ballpark?” he asked, and Kyle nodded enthusiastically. “Well then, be a good boy and run to the mound and throw a fastball.”
Kyle could not imagine how this would help him, as his fastball was quite terrible, but he agreed and hurried to throw the finest four-seamer he could muster. His fairy godfather waved his waned, and suddenly turned the fastball into a sinker. “There,” he said. “That will help you get ground balls.”
“But ground balls are not enough! They result in base hits, which just drive home the runners I have walked beforehand.”
The fairy godfather sighed. “Then run out to the mound and throw a slider.”
Once again, Kyle did not know how this would help him, because his slider was wild and unpredictable. But he did as the fairy godfather asked and watched in amazement as his errant throw turned into a strike. “This is amazing! Now I can go to the ballpark!”
Dave Duncan nodded. “Be careful,” he said. “And do not stay past midnight, not one minute later, for if you do your sinker will turn into a fastball and your slider will turn into a wild pitch.”
Kyle promised and hurried to join the festivities at the ballpark. There, a handsome prince by the name of Roy went out to receive him as he arrived. Roy motioned to him and led him into the grand stadium to meet the Phillies and all the spectators in the kingdom.
“Would you like to dance?” the prince asked. Kyle could hardly contain his joy as he walked towards the center of the ballpark. He was here. This was his day. He had arrived.
Then Roy and the Phillies kicked his fucking ass.