Kansas City, Mo--A gaggle of reporters surrounds Ned Yost at his desk and waits for him to reply to Jeff Foxworthy's text message. Yost puts down his phone, sits down, and says, "Well, let's get this over with." A reporter asks, "Why did your team use the substance?" Yost begins his reply: "First, barbecue sauce is not on the banned substance list..."
Well, baseball fans, that might just change.
In April of 2013, a product called 'Billy Butler's Hit It a Ton Barbecue Sauce' made its way onto store shelves in the Kansas City area. The metropolitan area, renowned for a deep love of barbecue cuisine, is also a hotbed for sports fandom. The inviting, plump face of 2012 All-Star Billy Butler on the front of the packaging proved a smash hit in focus groups, and the general public gobbled it up. Sauce flew off the shelves into the awaiting gloves of the barbecue faithful, where it was used in everything from country breakfast to urban dinner.
Unfortunately, all was not well with the sauce.
The investigation colloquially referred to as the 'Mitch Report' outlined substance abuse of the barbecue sauce by a half dozen current and former Royals players who were content to consume its delicious spicy sauceness with complete disregard for the mounting side effects. Simply put, consumption of the barbecue sauce causes secondary effects such as an inhibited power stroke, a decrease in plate discipline, and an increase in uncontrollable flatulence.
From the Major League Baseball substance abuse handbook:
Under the policy, all players are prohibited from using, possessing, selling, facilitating the sale of, distributing, or facilitating the distribution of any Drug of Abuse and/or Steroid.
Butler's barbecue sauce seems to fall under the 'Drug of Abuse' category. In 2013, the entire Kansas City Royals baseball team participated in a celebration of the sauce, parroting it as a paragon of their resilience and their will to win. However, the entire team did not fall into sauce abuse; a half a dozen Royals were indicted in the Mitch Report: Elliot Johnson, Chris Getz, Eric Hosmer, Johnny Giavotella, Justin Maxwell, and, unnervingly, Billy Butler himself.
"I had no idea," Butler tells reporters. "I loved the sauce so much that I put it on everything, you know, and, you know, before I realized it I, you know, began feeling the ill effects." Butler looks around, embarrassed. A reporter asks him to clarify. "I just couldn't hit it a ton anymore," Butler laments. "You know, it was just the little things, not being able to turn on a fastball, you know, and then all of a sudden I'm just not hitting the home runs."
Of the six Royals who gorged themselves on the substance, two of them are not with the organization, two are in AAA Omaha, and two are having significantly worse seasons. Though it is an unfortunate scandal for the Royals organization, it is a case that will blaze trails for other organizations and warn them of the dangers of sauce and food abuse. The Boston Red Sox and their struggle with fried chicken comes into greater focus, though the current group of Royals hope to avoid the fate of the Red Sox, who missed the playoffs.
"All I can say is that I'm confident in our team, sauce or no sauce," Yost says. "And that's all that I'm saying on this matter." Yost proceeded to explain why Raul Ibanez was hitting 3rd in the upcoming lineup for the entirety of the rest of the interview.