Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Devil in Disguise

Chris Truby, an itinerant third baseman who played with four major league teams from 2000 to 2003 and has been hanging on with various minor league teams ever since then, announced his retirement from baseball today. Most of you guys don't actually know this, but despite all of my celebrated endeavors, the one thing I am probably most famous for is something I wrote and posted in the Usenet newsgroup back in April of 2001. Someone had written a post deriding Gary Sheffield, Frank Thomas and Albert Belle for complaining about the size of their paychecks, and I responded -- quite fairly, I think:

When did Albert Belle ever complain about how much he was getting paid? Talk about a lightning rod for fans' complaints.

If somebody like Chris Truby was accused of satanic dismemberment, it would take about a week before people started saying, "I'm so sick of all these ballplayers like Chris Truby and Albert Belle with all their satanic rituals and the dismemberment and everything."

Ever since, among the baseball/Internet cognoscenti, any mention of Chris Truby is met with snickers about his diabolical nature and how his Dark Masters would help whatever team he was joining. Baseball Primer, probably the most popular baseball discussion site on the Internet, has a whole page up on this controversy, including a link to the original discussion. If you search for mentions of Chris Truby on Usenet, not even just on the group, you will find that nearly all of them reference his satanic connections. I thought my little joke would remain comfortably ensconced among the few hundred baseball nerds who frequented rsbb, and I guess it mostly has, but I cringed when someone posted that they had met Chris Truby, and came very close to mentioning the whole dismemberment thing to him.

So let me take a moment here to apologize to Mr. Truby, whom I singled out because he seemed like a completely random, not very well-known player who would serve to make the point. It wasn't because his name was an anagram for "Bury Christ," or because there was also a bass played named Chris Truby for a Christian rock band called Living Sacrifice.

Sorry, Chris. I'm sure you're a hell of a guy.

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