LOS ANGELES - Pitcher Pope Benedict XVI has signed with the Los Angeles Angels for the remainder of the 2010 Major League Baseball season.
The 83-year-old pitcher looked ecstatic after signing his one-year contract. The Angels have now loaded up their pitching rotation by adding the Holy Father, a highly praised righthander, to their staff.
The move isn’t the first time that the Vatican has broken with tradition, but Pope Benedict wants to reach out to Catholics in America and there’s no better way than pitching for his favorite team. The St. Louis Cardinals were disappointed, they thought their team was Pope Benedict’s favorite, but as the Pope said, “Angels are holier than Cardinals.”
Vatican sources were concerned that the Pope would not be able to wear his traditional gold cross while pitching, but Bud Selig, the Commissioner of MLB, said he will allow the Holy Father to keep it on. “Bless Bud, ” said the Pope.
The Angels were going to acquire Dan Haren from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Joe Saunders, but at the last minute they decided instead to trade Joe Saunders to the Vatican for the Pope and two bishops to be named later.
The Angels will not only have one of the best starting rotations in the American League, but they will have God on their side. “We really feel good about adding the Pope to our starting rotation,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “This is a huge opportunity for us to upgrade not only now, but for eternity. To have real Angels rooting for us… that’s worth gold. Hallelujah.”
Some baseball insiders are skeptical. “An 83-year-old on the mound, are you kidding me? He’s gonna have to rely on a screwball, a change-up and a lot of prayers,” a laughing Bob Geren, the Manager of the Oakland Athletics said. Angels pitching coach, Mike Butcher said in response, “Geren can laugh all he wants, but PB has some pitches no major league player has ever seen. He’s got a lot of movement on the ball. We call one of his pitches “The Pope Popper.” It just pops into the catcher’s mitt without PB ever moving a muscle. Hallelujah.”
Non-Catholics, atheists and sinners in MLB are concerned that the Pope may favor Catholic batters, especially those named Jesus. However, Scioscia said the Pope will be “charitable” to all.
Batters are forewarned. It’s not a good idea to hit a homerun off the Pope. There can be serious soul consequences.
Pope Benedict will be starting at The Big A on Friday against the Mariners. Bat Boy will be… the batboy.