The New York Yankees, this week, culminated their recent string of high-profile, high-priced off-season signings by brokering a deal with Jesus Christ's agent, Pope Benedict XVI, to pull the Prince of Peace out of retirement, down from Heaven and into the Bronx, for an eight year, $477 million contract.
It's unclear what position Jesus will play, as the Good Book documents no diamond experience of His, but Yankees owner George Steinbrenner seems eager for the Son of Man to contribute in a variety of ways.
"Of course he'll lead the league in homeruns and win the Cy Young. The guy turned water into friggin' wine! What are you, Jewish?" Steinbrenner answered one reporter.
If he does take the mound, many wonder if Jesus will need the customary four days' rest given to less divine starting pitchers. "Sure, we'll give him four when he needs four," said the owner. "But if he pulls this forty days, forty nights garbage, I'll fine him up to his beard."
Speaking of which, when asked if the team would maintain their stringent grooming policy, making Jesus cut his trademark long locks and facial hair, Steinbrenner bluntly replied, "Savior or no Savior, we're professionals. If he wants to look like a mechanic, he can make two-hundred and seventy-seven million with the Red Sox."
Those players from other clubs who'd always been sure to credit the Almighty for their on-field successes seem uncertain about how to deal with this development, as Jesus represents one third of the Holy Trinity -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
"If we beat the Yankees, yeah, I'll still thank God," one opposing slugger said. "I mean, it's obvious that Jesus and the Big Guy had a falling out. JC is around two thousand years old, right? So, in terms of cosmic years, He's probably just about a teenager. He's running away from home to rebel against His old man. And dads don't take that lightly. Hell, I moved in with my mom after my folks split up, and my father still heckles me from the stands every time we play in Milwaukee. One time, he actually threw up in a water balloon and chucked it at me. He's an alcoholic."
Another rival had a different take: "No sé. If I am against God, I am with el Diablo. Maybe I sit out against Los Yankees."
Less religious players don't seem as anxious. One noted, "Honestly, I'm not sweatin' it. I saw that Mel Gibson movie. Ugh. That may get you holidays and country songs and shit, but it ain't gonna get you to Cooperstown. It's like Superman II, where my man shed his powers to fit in. And we all know how that played out. Dude chased around some bony bitch that talked too much and got his ass beat in a diner."
Yankee fans, however, appear optimistic -- without entirely shedding their notorious cynicism. One enthusiast, a Suffolk County lifeguard and part-time lawyer who requested to be cited simply as "Fio", summed it up nicely: "Well, with Boston smacking us around the past few years, it did feel like the Apocalypse there for a little bit. So this makes sense. This is good. New Stadium. God's kid. Can't complain. We'll see, though, you know? Could end up like Favre."
Despite the excitement (however tempered) of their countless supporters, it's no secret that the Yankees' deep pockets have also garnered them the distinction of most loathed franchise in all of professional sports. And Steinbrenner views this latest move, snatching the Son of God away from His Father's right hand, out of the long flowing robes and into pinstripes, as sweet vindication: "What do all those fans and journalists arguing in favor of a salary cap have to say now? That's what I thought. The Savior's back. And He's a Yankee. Have fun in Hell."
Curt Schilling, one of the league's most outspoken Christians -- and Yankee haters -- in response to his rival's acquisition of his Savior, said, "I'll believe that when I see it."