November 18, 2006

Dempsey Vs. Gibson

Here’s a heavyweight world wrestling championship match that unfortunately never took place: Tom Dempsey versus Kirk Gibson. It would’ve been a great premise—all season Kirk and Tom would’ve dressed identically and be known as Mirror Man. One would be in the ring and fight the heel, then when he got knocked momentarily unconscious (or marched victorious out of the hall) the other one would show up, sneer at the crowd and ruin the situation. Or something to that effect. Eventually their back-stabbing would finally catch up with them and they’d have to duke it out in a gigantic grudge match perfect for pay-per-view. Anyway, it would’ve been awesome, but it never happened—because Dempsey and Gibson are the same person.

It makes sense (at least kind partly). His real name is Alistair Bippleby, he’s from Highgate (a North London suburb), he came to study in the states to meet American girls in the mid-1970s, and then he never left. He tried to get a job as a physicist but found that the only job he could get with his unorthodox fu manchu mustache was that of a part-time baseball player, part-time American football place-kicker.

Bippelby decided he needed a more American-sounding name to fit in, so he adopted the name ‘Tom Dempsey’. He quickly got a job with an NFL team as a kicker, then found that the term ‘two-sport star’ didn’t really apply to kickers and frankly he would probably be laughed at, so he also adopted the name ‘Kirk Gibson’, even though if you got him drunk him he would freely admit that ‘Kirk Gibson’ sounded a little too much like an American B-movie star name, but it was the first name that came into his mind one night when he was watching late-night Star Trek re-runs in the boardinghouse common room with that Old Man Red Gibson.

Besides, can you imagine if this was Scully’s call in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series?

Vin Scully's Call (from

And, he (relief pitcher Dennis Eckersley) walked him (pinch-hitter Mike Davis)... and look who's comin' up!

(36 seconds of crowd cheering)

All year long, they looked to him to light the fire, and all year long, he answered the demands, until he was physically unable to start tonight—with two bad legs: The bad left hamstring, and the swollen right knee. And, with two out, you talk about a roll of the dice...this is it. If he hits the ball on the ground, I would imagine he would be running 50 percent to first base. So, the Dodgers trying to catch lightning right now!

Fouled away.

He was, you know, complaining about the fact that, with the left knee bothering him, he can't push off. Well, now, he can't push off and he can't land...4-3 A's, two out, ninth inning, not a bad opening act!

Mike Davis, by the way, has stolen 7 out of 10, if you're wondering about Lasorda throwing the dice again. 0-and-1.

Fouled away again...0-and-2 to Bippleby, the infield is back, with two out and Davis at first. Now Bippleby, during the year, not necessarily in this spot, but he was a threat to bunt. No way tonight, no wheels.

No balls, two strikes, two out.

Little nubber... foul—and, it had to be an effort to run that far. Bippleby was so banged up, he was not introduced; he did not come out onto the field before the game. ... It's one thing to favor one leg, but you can't favor two. 0-and-2 to Bippleby.

Ball one. And, a throw down to first, Davis just did get back. Good play by Ron Hassey using Bippleby as a screen; he took a shot at the runner, and Mike Davis didn't see it for that split-second and that made it close.

There goes Davis, and it's fouled away! So, Mike Davis, who had stolen 7 out of 10, and carrying the tying run, was on the move.

Bippleby, shaking his left leg, making it quiver, like a horse trying to get rid of a troublesome fly. 2-and-2! Tony LaRussa is one out away from win number one...two balls and two strikes, with two out.

There he goes! Wa-a-ay outside, he's stolen it!...So, Mike Davis, the tying run, is at second base with two out. Now, the Dodgers don't need the muscle of Bippleby, as much as a base hit, and on deck is the lead-off man, Steve Sax. 3-and-2. Sax waiting on deck, but the game right now is at the plate.

High fly ball into right field, she i-i-i-is... gone!!

(67 seconds of cheering)

In a year that has been so improbable... the impossible has happened!

And, now, the only question was, could he make it around the base paths unassisted?!

You know, I said it once before, a few days ago, that Alistair Bippleby was not the Most Valuable Player; that the Most Valuable Player for the Dodgers was Tinkerbell. But, tonight, I think Tinkerbell backed off for Alistair Bippleby. And, look at Eckersley—shocked to his toes!

They are going wild at Dodger Stadium—no one wants to leave!

Dennis Eckersley allowed five homeruns all year. We'll be back.

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