Dr. Who Addresses the Phillies’ Lineup Problems

Posted by Mike Frohwirth

Dr. Who, courtesy of BBC America

The 1950s-style London police box materialized suddenly, disrupting the practicing Phillies. The Phillies were accustomed to interruptions, particularly during these informal practice sessions. The typical interruption was a mascot on an out-of-control ATV, careening throughout the field of play. Or a rogue saberist, who had infiltrated Citizens Bank Park in the continuing effort to educate Phillies' Manager Charlie Manuel on bullpen use. Obsolete British technology parking itself behind home plate, under the backstop? This was about as typical as an effective outing by Phillies' reliever Scott Mathieson.

Several players observe the scene, from behind the covered backstop. Dane Sardinha stands up from his crouch, confused by the activity behind him. A focused Cole Hamels hurls a cutter towards the plate, narrowly missing the burly catcher, but one-hopping the door of the police box. As if responding to the knock on the door, a dapperly-dressed man peeks out from the police box. He emerges, dressed in a jacket, a bow tie, and a straw hat. Seemingly oblivious to his surroundings, the man drops to a knee behind home plate, examines a handful of dirt, and flips it into the air.

BEN FRANCISCO: Who are you?

PETE ORR: What are you doing here?

DANE SARDINHA: What are you wearing on your head?

The stranger pulls a small brush from his jacket pocket, and wipes the dirt off of home plate. He turns and responds to the Phillies players.

STRANGER: Yes, I'm here to help, and it's a straw hat. Straw hats are cool.

The stranger hurries out to the pitcher's mound. He glances at Cole Hamels, picks up the rosin bag, and with an overexagerrated windup, throws the rosin bag into centerfield.

COLE HAMELS: That's not really how that works.

The stranger ambles up to Hamels, stopping inches from Hamels' face. He pulls a magnifying glass from his pocket, and stares at Hamels' face.

STRANGER(to Hamels): Don't worry, I'm a Doctor. (continues to hold the magnifying glass to Hamels' face) Just like the statue. (tilts the magnifying glass upward, directing it at Hamels' hat) That is the wrong letter.

Manager Charlie Manuel approaches the mound.

MANUEL: Is there something we can help you with?

DOCTOR: I'm here to help you. But first, what are you doing here?

MANUEL: Baseball?

DOCTOR: Yes. Baseball. Bo Belinsky. Cesar Geronimo. Six strikes and you're out! (raises his right arm in a spastic approximation of an umpire calling a strike)

MANUEL: Ok, then. What are you here to help us with?

DOCTOR: Of course. No time to dilly-dally. (The Doctor pulls a sonic screwdriver from his pocket, and begins to scan the air. The tool squeals loudly, and the Doctor sprints towards the Phillies' dugout. Manuel follows behind.)

DOCTOR: (swings the screwdriver around the dugout) How does everyone fit in here?

MANUEL: It's bigger on the inside.

DOCTOR: (nods knowingly, strides towards the Phillies' lineup card, which is posted on the wall, and scans it with the screwdriver) This. This is why I'm here. There is a rift here, a crack in the fabric of time. It's making the future and the past all wibbly-wobbly.

MANUEL: The bottom of the order is a bit of a black hole, but there's not much we can do about it.

DOCTOR: Make the bottom the top! (flips the lineup card)

MANUEL: That would make the rift even bigger.

DOCTOR: Separate the weak links! (Writes Orr into the second spot, Sardinha into the sixth spot)

MANUEL: The lineup is an infinite loop. We're better off with a strong part and weak part. Until we can change the players, there's gonna be a strong part and a weak part.

DOCTOR (yells, racing to the police box): DISREGARD ALL MY PREVIOUS THEORIES! (enters the police box, which disappears)

***

The 1950s-style London police box materialized suddenly, disrupting the practicing Phillies. The Phillies were accustomed to interruptions, particularly during these informal practice sessions. The typical interruption was one of the mascots on an out-of-control hovercraft, careening throughout the field of play. Or a rogue saberist, infiltrating Ashburn Field in the effort to find gainful employment with MLB's most progressive organization. Obsolete British technology parking itself behind home plate, under the backstop? This was about as typical as an ineffective outing by Phillies' reliever Craig Kimbrel.

Several players observe the scene, from behind the covered backstop. Brian Schneider stands up from his crouch, confused by the activity behind him. A focused Cole Hamels hurls a cutter towards the plate, narrowly missing the athletic catcher, but one-hopping the door of the police box. As if responding to the knock on the door, a dapperly-dressed man peeks out from the police box. He emerges, dressed in a jacket, a bow tie, and a red fez with the Phillies' logo. Seemingly oblivious to his surroundings, the man drops to a knee behind home plate, examines a handful of dirt, and flips it into the air.

DOMONIC BROWN: Who are you?

CHASE UTLEY: What are you doing here?

BRIAN SCHNEIDER: What are you wearing on your head?

The stranger races to the pitcher's mound, confronting Cole Hamels.

STRANGER (examines Hamels' hat with a magnifying glass): The letter "P."

The stranger hurls his flailing body to the Phillies' dugout, and begins scanning the posted Phillies' lineup with a sonic screwdriver. He smiles contently.

Manager Charlie Manuel lands several feet from the dugout, and switches his jet-pack to the off position.

MANUEL: Can I help you? And how did you keep that Phillies fez from the 1970s in such good condition?

STRANGER: I'm looking for Pete Orr.

MANUEL: Pete Orr? Well, you're looking in the wrong place. Try Washington.

STRANGER: In that case, I'm here for the ballgame! (awkwardly mimicks a swing of the bat)

MANUEL: Well, we've been sold out since before the team wore that fez, but if you get that thing off the field, I'll see what…

The door to the police box opens, and an individual wearing catcher's gear sticks his head out.

DANE SARDINHA: Doc! We have to go, it's the Cybermen!

STRANGER: Bugger.

The stranger races to the police box, entering just behind Phillies' starter Roy Halladay. The police box disappears.

MANUEL: Guess I'll be starting Lincecum on short rest again…