"And the Phantoms are no-shows, again?"
"You know they can only play home games, sir."
"Well have somebody conduct a séance or something, Johnson! We go live in fifteen!
"What about Seattle?"
"Their pitcher was caught without a valid inspection sticker. Big scandal, I've heard."
"Damn it. Somebody wire the Tampa Bay shortstop five virgin souls! I was sure that I would win that bet…"
"On it, sir. We're ready to air, on your signal."
"Are the blast shields up?"
"Way ahead of you, sir."
"That's what I like to hear, Johnson! All right, everyone, you know the drill. Helmets on, guns loaded, microphones one and two broadcasting…"
He hated this stupid job. But nobody had quite the face for radio like he did, and he needed the bribe money to put bread on the table. It was just so boring, he believed. The same fifty innings described in gory detail from each game of the official teams, and then another two hundred games from the "official" teams.
Who cared about baseball, anymore, anyway? Ratings had gone down ever since the NBA began installing flamethrowers. No blood oath or demigod in the league could top those. Maybe they could persuade some Martians to substitute for Anaheim, again. That brought listeners. Well, it brought them until the entire team was abducted, anyway.
Someone in a different room whistled, and he began to read the summaries and charts that were covering his desk.
"The Whales capsized the Flounders today in Arizona, where record-high temperatures were sweeping the state. Tragically, though, their first baseman was the victim of a harpoon attack committed by a Mr. Ahab. Please contact the Coast Guard if you have any information related to the incident.
"Now in its seventieth inning, the game between the Colt .45's and the Wolverines shows no signs of ending soon, even though Houston players have begun to research the legality of nuclear weapons in baseball. Authorities are recommending that any spectators retreat to their stadium's fallout shelter until the matter is resolved.
"In other news, his holiness of the Cardinals is offering to forgive sins at a discounted price of 899.99. Credit not accepted.
"And that's today's baseball news! Tune in tomorrow for live coverage of Oakland! It'll be a game you won't forget!"
As soon as Johnson gave him the thumbs-up, he buried his face in both hands and sighed. It just never was any easier.
"Do you think there's some poor sap in some other place, doing the same thing?"
"It's likely, sir… though I doubt their sports are as predictable as ours."