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Riots Shut Down All-Star Game

SEATTLE, July 10, 2001 -- In this city that has become synonymous with civil disobedience, widespread rioting broke out once again here tonight, shutting down Major League Baseball's All-Star Game. An estimated 80,000 demonstrators descended upon Safeco Field, where the 72nd annual midsummer classic was scheduled to take place, but the peaceful protest soon erupted into violence. At least 61 people were killed and another 733 seriously injured, and 40 were placed on the 21-day disabled list.

"I very much frowning at dishonorable conflict," said Seattle outfielder Ichiro Suzuki. "Thank you."

The clash began late this afternoon as protesters blocked entrances to Safeco Field, keeping out the 60 delegate-players chosen from 28 major North American cities to participate in the event. Also denied entry were the game's 45,000 ticket-holders, who traveled to Seattle from various points around the globe.

One group of demonstrators from New York chanted "No Justice, no peace," referring to the game's omission of Yankee designated hitter David Justice. Nearby, a group of animal rights activists protested the alleged use of beef in Mariner Dogs. One man, dressed in a homemade sea-turtle costume, held a placard with the slogan, "No blood for oil!"

The standoff quickly turned violent when Arizona pitcher Randy Johnson (11-5, 2.71) threw a 98-mph folding chair at the demonstrators, after which Chicago Cub outfielder Sammy Sosa demonstrated his powerful home-run swing on several protesters' heads. Yankee pitcher Roger Clemens aggravated a pulled hamstring while strangling New York Met catcher Mike Piazza to death, and is expected to miss his next start.

Clad in riot gear, Major League umpires and Seattle police officers fired rubber bullets and teargas in an attempt to disperse the unruly crowd, which set 16 police cars ablaze. Police made 1,284 arrests, and several players will likely be fined by the commissioner's office for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Seattle Mayor Paul Schell urged for calm in the midst of the melee, before he was hit in the face with 12 megaphones and several hot dogs. Officials estimate that between 80 and 100 hot dogs were thrown at Schell.

In addition to the violence, there was much vandalism outside the stadium, spilling over into the downtown area. Among the targeted businesses were Niketown, Planet Hollywood and Volume Shoe Source. Windows were shattered and dumpsters overturned, and a group of black-clad anarchists looted souvenir stands. All 261 Starbucks locations in the greater Seattle area were burned to the ground.

The protesters are generally characterized as former fans of professional baseball who have become alienated by the sport. Chief among their complaints are high player salaries that lead to high ticket prices, excluding many would-be fans from attending games.

A small local group, wearing foam-rubber Ms on their heads, burned an effigy of Alex Rodriguez, the Texas shortstop who recently signed a 10-year, $252 million contract. Then Rodriguez himself was burned at the stake.

Many other demonstrators contend that baseball collectibles have also become inaccessible to the average fan.

"Gone are the days when a kid can buy a 10-cent pack of bubblegum cards at the corner market," said one unidentified rioter, wearing a gas mask and batting helmet. "Instead, investors have ruined it for everybody. Just last week, one of [Yankee] Derek Jeter's game-worn protective cups sold on eBay for $3,100."

Furthermore, there are lingering charges of massive election fraud in choosing the representatives for the game. Without any system of voter registration, ballot boxes were likely stuffed at baseball stadiums around the country, as well as at grocery stores and other participating retail outlets.

International online balloting may have further skewed the election, raising concerns related to the game's increasing globalization.

"Imperialistic American trade practices are diminishing the quality of the sport in Southeast Asia," said activist Ralph Nader, referring to the recent losses of star Japanese players to American teams. "First NAFTA, now this!"

The riot ended about two hours after it began, when San Francisco outfielder Barry Bonds tearfully pleaded with the mob: "Can't we all just get along?"

At that instant, the violence abruptly stopped. Everyone involved then shook hands and apologized to one another, before cleaning up the big mess they made and going home.

Ticket-holders were issued riot checks for the game, which has been rescheduled for Wednesday night. Gates open at 4pm.

Christ Escapes

JERUSALEM, April 15, A.D. 33 -- Roman governor Pontius Pilate today called for an empire-wide manhunt following the mysterious disappearance of Jesus H. Christ from His resting place in a cave outside town. Gov. Pilate ordered a roadblock be placed in a 50,000-cubit radius around the city.

Christ, the self-proclaimed "King of the Jews," was last seen Friday evening when His dead body was laid in the cave, which was then sealed shut by a large stone. Authorities believe that, sometime during the weekend, Christ managed to come back to life, roll away the stone, let Himself out, and then push the stone back into place.

The 33-year-old Christ is described as a Caucasian of medium height and gaunt build. He was most recently seen with long, brown hair and unkempt beard, wearing only a loincloth and a crown of thorns. His back was covered with open sores from repeated lashings, and He also had gaping wounds in both His hands and feet.

This latest turn of events caps off a busy week for Christ. After one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, turned Him in to Roman authorities, He was arrested on charges of impersonating the Messiah. Then, under pressure from constituents, Gov. Pilate sentenced Him to death by crucifixion. Roman soldiers forced Him to carry a large wooden cross up the hill of Calvalry. There they then nailed Him to the cross and left Him for dead.

When reached for comment, the astonished governor could only repeat what he last heard Christ say: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Hippies March on Nation's Capitol

WASHINGTON, April 20, 2001 -- In a campaign to legalize marijuana, a large contingent of counter-culture bohemians today descended on the Mall in Washington, D.C., where an ensuing rally was held. The group called the event "The Million-Hippie March."

"I had a dream, man, where like all these freaky space aliens abdicated me," said keynote speaker Pauly Shore, the popular comedian and admitted marijuana user. "Then they started probing me and shit, and I was all, 'whoah.' Hey, can I bum some Chee-tos off you guys?"

Shore had been addressing the crowd for fifteen minutes before anybody realized that his microphone wasn't turned on.

"George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Walter Cronkite, George Washington -- all them dudes smoke pot," Shore continued. "Like, after that one guy shot Lincoln? I bet ol' Abe wanted nothing more than to toke down a fat Thai stick."

"Clinton totally digs the herb," said Dave, a barefoot, long-haired demonstrator. Gesturing towards the White House, he added, "He's probably in there smoking some primo weed right now."

When informed that Bill Clinton is no longer the president, Dave simply said, "That's cool." He then began playing Hacky-Sack.

Another young man, who called himself "Dr. Doobie," remarked: "It's so totally lame that medicinal cheeb is illegal, man, 'cause it can cure cancer and stuff. You can make rope with it too."

The event was apparently organized by the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML), although the large banner behind the stage read "NOLRM."

District police made several arrests on charges of drug possession, selling falafel without a license, and urinating in the Washington Monument's Reflecting Pool.

However, the crowd was mostly well-behaved. Some demonstrators formed a massive drum circle, others bathed nude in the Potomac River, and one dreadlocked woman spent the entire afternoon staring at her reflection in the Tidal Basin.

Other speakers included celebrities Woody Harrelson, Peter Fonda, and Cheech and Chong, and there were musical performances by Willie Nelson, Blues Traveler, the Black Crowes, and some guy playing a didgeridoo. The proceedings weren't attended by any lawmakers.

Despite the campaign's stated goal of assembling one million demonstrators for the event, National Park Service officials estimated the crowd to be only 12,000 strong.

"Twelve million?", asked one young woman named Pigeon, clad in a tie-dye T-shirt and hemp chinos. "Right fucking on! Wanna spark a bowl?"

Wrapping up his two-hour address, Shore concluded: "So like, I just wanna say, don't bogart our country, alright?"

Rosie O'Donnell Goes Nuts

NEW YORK, April 30, 2001 -- In recognition of the National Day of Honesty, Rosie O'Donnell today revealed her true feelings about various matters on her popular syndicated talk show. During an interview segment with actress Julia Roberts, O'Donnell suddenly yelled: "I fucking hate Spy Kids! What a vile piece of shit! I can't believe I lost two hours of my life watching that wretched waste of the human spirit!"

Roberts appeared stunned, and the studio audience suddenly became quiet.

O'Donnell climbed on top of her desk and continued: "You know what? I hate all kids! Those adopted kids I got? That's just for show! I don't give a flying crap about those goddamn little monsters -- they're nothing but whiny, spoiled brats! Cutie-patootie my ass!"

She then looked directly into the camera, screaming: "You! At home! You're a sorry bunch of fudge-gobbling losers! Don't you pathetic sheep have anything better to do with your afternoons than to sit on your fat asses watching my fat ass? I hate you! You have absolutely nothing to contribute to society! Jesus Christ, you people make me sick! I hope you all get breast cancer!"

Roberts then stormed off the set while the program's director quickly cut to an unscheduled commercial break. However, O'Donnell's harangue went on for another five minutes.

"You think I'm outspoken, huh? Well, how about this: Oprah can suck my dick! So can Penny Marshall! Regis too! Ha! And I'd love nothing more than to blow Tom Selleck's head clean off!"

Some members of the studio audience began booing, while others gathered their belongings and started to leave. A few began crying.

"I mean, this whole show is a crock! If you mindless lemmings listen to anything I say, you're a goddamn retard!"

O'Donnell fell silent for a few seconds, breathing heavily, and then concluded her tirade with a final blast of invectives: "Then again, I'm getting rich off of your miserable little lives! And I'm laughing all the way to the bank! Eat me, you bastards! Waaah!"

She then shot several Koosh Balls around the studio and spontaneously broke into "Oklahoma."

All pieces written April-July 2001.

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