Realm of Red: Redhead of the Week

March 02, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Each leap year or so, I will profile various redheads who paved the way for our own Thunder Matt. These men and women opened doors (often times kicking them in due to their fiery tempers) that would have otherwise kept Thunder Matt toiling in Independent Baseball leagues, shagging fly balls in Newark and frequenting seedy hotels. We tip our Cubs hats to these fair-skinned pioneers.

Today's Redhead (punching a wall and collapsing into a heap, sobbing uncontrollably): Mark McGwire

Mark McGwire was a prolific power hitter throughout the 1990's. Put another way, he was on steroids. Mark would like you to believe that he was born big. In fact, he'll tell anyone that will listen that when he was born, he was already 2 feet tall and 86 pounds of muscle. Truth be told, 'Big Red' was of average birth weight and contrary to popular belief, was not born with a bat in his hand or acne scars.

Mark began his career as an Oakland Athletic, a scrawny redhead much like the namesake of our humble site. As one half of the feared 'Bash Brothers', he and Jose Canseco struck fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers, much like the lesser known *Jose Bream Brothers, a team made up of then Pittsburgh Pirates Jose Lind and Sid Bream.

Mark won Rookie of the Year in 1987, smacking a whopping 49 home runs (coincidentally the same number of women that his Bash Brother, Jose, smacked that year). Things were looking up for Mark. His hair was red and often time tousled by his teammates, he could afford some of Oakland's finest drive thru's and he had opened a free checking account. But by 1991 he had bottomed out with a .201 batting average. Mark would toss and turn at night and have horrible dreams. These dreams usually involved Rob Deer and Dave Kingman, boxing without gloves for the rights to Mark's soul. Oddly enough, Dave Kingman always got beat in a controversial 12 round decision.

Then something magical happened. Mark was walking through an abandoned science lab when he was bitten by a radioactive ladybug. Mark thought nothing of it at the time and continued wandering through the lab, rifling through old beakers and test tubes.

Mark awoke the next morning and took a shower, naked. (This sentence does nothing to advance the story, I just thought it would be nice visual for our lady and/or gay readers). Then he looked in the mirror. Why did he have these zits on his face? "I knew I shouldn't have ordered the 'Death By Chocolate' at Friday's", he cursed, kicking his dog into the wall. Removing his towel, he then noticed that his testicles were much smaller than normal. "I knew I should have fixed our hot water heater", he cursed, crushing his pet bird in his hands. But then Mark looked down and noticed how big his arms were. He felt more powerful than he had ever felt in his life. Forgoing the door, Mark ran through the bathroom wall, tipped over his snake cage and slid headfirst down the stairs and into the weight room. After a few nude and spirited lat pulls, he got online and ordered a bunch of ladybugs. "Those bugs are fucking awesome."

In 1998, Mark McGwire made Major League Baseball history by hitting 70 home runs and along with Sammy Sosa, brought baseball 'back to life'. 1998 was also fondly remembered as 'The Year of the Homerun Montage'. In 1999 he actually had 147 RBI with only 145 hits. Ricockulous. He even had a cameo on The Simpsons (though to be fair, he was also on Mad About You). He was a national hero. People naturally gravitated towards Mark. He was white, strong and hairy, three traits Americans have always been able to get behind.

Privately though, Mark was torn. He was surly and the attention all seemed like too much. He would sit at his locker, trying to do Sudoku and these pesky reporters...well it's just more than one man could take. Mark finally decided that he needed to get rid of these ladybugs. They had brought him luck, but it was like he had sold his soul to the devil. Not only did he still have the zits and shrunken testicles, but now none of his hats fit. What's up with that? Stupid bugs.

Mark immediately listed his bug collection on Craigslist, where he began an email correspondence with someone who just identified himself by his email address, Once Mark got rid of the ladybugs to, his production began to lag and he began to miss his old pets. Mark could not catch up to the fastballs like he once could. He was losing playing time to John Mabry and Bobby Bonilla. "Fuck this," he snapped, much to the shock of the underprivileged children on the set of his 'United Way' commercial. Realizing his mistake, he blushed and corrected himself. "No, no. Not fuck you kids. Fuck baseball. Not you guys. Don't fuck yourselves." The children were relieved to hear this.

Mark retired from baseball in 2001 and lived a rather anonymous life until March 17, 2005 when he was summoned from a golf course to testify on steroids in front of a House Committee. There, his lawyer advised him to wear glasses. "But I can see fine", Mark complained. His lawyer countered sternly,"They make you appear more sympathetic."

During the hearing, Mark refused to answer several questions regarding his steroid use. "I'm not here to talk about the past. But what I will tell you about is my new instructional baseball video, available on my website, as well as a new energy drink I'm developing with my brother, former Seahawk quarterback Dan McGwire."

Mark was denied induction into the Hall of Fame this year, receiving only 23.5% of the vote. He now fronts the heavy metal outfit Metallica.

*The 'Jose Bream Brothers' label was the brainchild of season ticket holder Cory Griffin, who thought it was a clever way of combining not only the two players names, but also 'Jose Cuervo' and 'Jim Beam'. It was a stretch and he knew it, but none-the-less, for the better part of 2.5 seasons Cory would clap enthusiastically and try to start a chant of 'Gimme a shot of Jose Beam!' For obvious reasons, this failed.

Yep kids. He really did get that big from drinking milk.