Years ago, back when there were frequent playoff berths and easy jokes to crack amid winning seasons, we debuted a segment called: Sargent Gardy's Lonely Hits Club Band. Part Beatles homage, part McLaughlin Group homage, all goofy. Few people read them...but I was amused enough to make a t-shirt in their honor. I was wearing that t-shirt yesterday when my father-in-law sent the following text message: "Morneau is gone-hope they can get him back next year."
My wife and I reacted as most fans did, simultaneously upset and yet hopeful that Morneau gets a shot at the World Series. But soon enough I realized that Morneau's trade would officially end Sargent Gardy's Lonely Hits Club Band...in Minnesota...but now that three of the four members are in the National League, perhaps it's only the beginning.
Below is the first installment of their reunited panel discussion show, almost four years in the making:
McNeau: Welcome, at last, to the reunion of Sargent Gardy's Lonely Hits Club Band. The most elite roundtable of baseball minds ever to play in Minnesota.
Ringomez: AND MEE!!!!
McNeau: I'm Justin McNeau, the adorable one, and with me as always are Denard Spannon in Washington....
Spannon: The cerebral one.
McNeau: Brendan Harrisson in Round Rock Texas...
Harrisson: The quiet one.
McNeau: And Carlos Ringo-mez in Milwaukee...
Ringomez: BOODLEDEE BOP!!
McNeau: Gentlemen, I'm new to this whole playing for a totally different team, what is the best part of going elsewhere?
Spannon: You have the magical appreciation of a new realm of potentialities which, of late in Minnesota, have diminished in attainability to becoming a mirage of athleticism in a desert of despair.
Harrisson: Yeah...the chance to win is nice, but I really like getting to know real people elsewhere, beyond the bright lights big city scene [the other three snicker], seriously [snickering grows louder] I don't need to play in the majors [everyone just laughs] I AM MY OWN MAN!
McNeau: Good one Brendan...Carlos, what's your favorite part of playing elsewhere?
Ringomez: CHEESE CURLS!! Oh, and I hit home runs now!!
McNeau: Sure you do...
Spannon: No...actually...he does...
McNeau: Huh, well, issue number two, what differentiates the National League from the American League? Brendan?
Harrisson: There is a real beauty in the purity of having pitchers hit.
Spannon: Even if they hit better than you do?
Harrisson: They do not!
Ringomez: Hehe! Brendan can't hit!
Spannon: Ancient systems are uninteresting to me, we are only whatever we can be in the moment. The National League has won more recent all-star games and the world series. This is the thrill of what is immediate and makes it truly both a and the present.
Harrisson: Even if your team's barely over .500?
Spannon: At least my team's playing in front of more than 500 people!
[Everyone begins talking at once]
Harrisson: You guys are too fixated on the fame and the popularity of what we do, what about the art behind it! My sitar teacher's been telling me that I need to focus on my own sense of inner peace, and that's what I'm doing, if you can't respect that...
Spannon: Winning isn't everything, that's part of this culture's over emphasis on competition that no one appreciates the little things any more, these fasco-capitalist oligarchies pretend we can only be happy if we win; but winning is lots of things, like enjoying your family or teaching Bryce Harper not to say "bro" as often...
Ringomez: I have a love-ly bunch of coconuts! deedle-dee-dee! There they are all standing in a row!! Bum, bum, bum! Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head...
McNeau: Gentlemen! Seriously, I'm kind of freaking out. I'm not an MVP any more and while Minnesotans had happy memories of my glory years to keep the cheers coming, what if Pirates fans boo when I only get a single and strike out three times?
Spannon: Embrace the victory of the self Justin. You are strong and powerful and you can help them have their first winning season in 20 years, they might not love you, but they'll thank you.
Harrisson: And even if they don't, it doesn't matter. You're a good person, with a family and a successful career. Besides, when you return to Minnesota, they'll still cheer for you.
Ringomez: And you are a good mentor! You make winning easy and playing fun!!!
McNeau: Thank you guys. As we wrap up today's analysis, do you guys find yourselves missing anything from Minnesota?
All: Joe's Sideburns.
McNeau: I thought so.