added 10/13/2014 by Mike Tauser
I recently published a short story/novella entitled The Gamble - The Season the Local Brewer Bet Against the Dukes. The Gamble is about a fictitious baseball team, the Dukes, attempting to avoid losing 100 games in order to win free beer for their fans. Admittedly, the launching point of the premise of my story was found during the 2014 season of the Houston Astros, specifically Mattress Mac's bet against the club. However, the over-all origins of The Gamble are found long before 2014.
I became aware that the The Dukes were playing baseball within the friendly confines of my cranium shortly before the beginning of the 2008 season. I was so entertained by their exploits that I decided to share the world of the Dukes once a year with those who read my blog, Farmstros. This tradition continued throughout the six-year existence of Farmstros.
I thought the Dukes only inhabited my head because I was so focused on the Astros' farm system. However, this year, after having declared free agency from that system, the Dukes continued to inhabit my thoughts on a regular basis. This is the seventh poem I have posted about the Dukes:
A slight breeze was blowing on opening day
The foul lines were chalked, the field ready for play
The Dukes had a cutting edge plan for the year
Their strategy I will now try to make clear
Their GM, an egghead, (he'd say, "I'm a geek.")
Had cobbled a roster completely unique
Each player he'd signed up to don a Dukes' hat
Each one was a robot who could throw and bat
"I programmed our players precisely to be
A fantasy team for all our fans to see.
I can't wait to watch them perform for this town
My formulas show the team won't let us down"
The crowds came to watch, and those robots WERE great
They outplayed their rivals both early AND late
They won almost always and lost just a few
Their "A" League opponents knew not what to do
The Dukes were the toast of the nation by June
They had their fans singing a robotic tune:
"We love to watch our Dukes each night,
Inhuman though they are
They win so much we truly call
Each one a superstar
Go robot players, robot players
Round and round to home
You make each play like clockwork
From you our hearts will not roam
We love to watch our cyborg nine
The Masters of The Game
Our love of baseball and the Dukes
Will never be the same"
The cheers reached a crescendo
In the last week of July
Then August came and in the heat
The Dukes' plan went awry
Most people think the circuits overheated in the sun
Whate'er the reason they went south quite quickly one by one
Some ran the bases backwards
Some swung on 3 and 2
The robots were a clinic of the
Things you should not do
They ran through stop signs, balked
And lost some ground balls in the light
They missed the cut-off man on throws
From left field and from right
The final straw was broken when
The robots seized the day
And voted that the GM
Should be sent to Triple A.
Of course, that never happened
As the GM was too smart
To let some robots he’d created
Force him to depart
Before the players had a chance
To shove him on that train
He used a gizmo he’d designed
To shut down all their brains
Those cyborgs were demoted then
Before they could do harm
Then quickly were replaced by robots
Called up from the farm.
c2014 by Mike Tauser
As the 2014 season progressed, it struck me that I had never written anything that explored the history of the Dukes. Given the importance that the past plays in the enjoyment of baseball, I felt that describing some of the club's history would be a beneficial addition to the Dukes fictional story. To this end, The Gamble describes the Dukes' 1982 season.
It was a fun challenge to imagine original yet plausible stories to add to the history of the Dukes. However, it was even more fulfilling to discover ways to smoothly intertwine some of my memories growing up as a baseball fan into this other world that I have created.
Please consider visiting the world of the Dukes. I think you will be glad you came.
For more information or to purchase The Gamble - The Season the Local Brewer Bet Against the Dukes, visit Royal Worm Creative Enterprises.