What is this? Click here for an explanation of bibliomancy.
Today's lesson comes from The Realm of Prester John, a 1972 work of medieval history by Robert Silverberg. During the Middle Ages, Prester John was a mythical king of great wealth and power who ruled a Christian kingdom somewhere outside of Europe or the Near East. Letters and communiques occasionally reached Europe, often with great excitement. His legend seems to have heated up around the 12th century. Just as Europe began to open her eyes to the rest of the world and come to realize that the boundaries of Christendom were shrinking and threatened, it gave great solace to imagine another hotbed of Christianity, out there somewhere, in Central Asia or China or India or Africa or wherever.
As Silverberg writes, "Where was his kingdom? How long had his nation existed? For the next five hundred years men would seek answers to these questions. The quest for the realm of Prester John would become one of the great romantic enterprises of the middle ages, a geographical adventure akin to the search for El Dorado, for King Solomon's mines, for the fountain of youth, for the Holy Grail, for the Seven Cities of Cibola..."
But of course you care little for that. All that matters is what Silverberg's book can tell us about the Royals. And so, let us open randomly to page 171.
"Ethiopia, where the quest for Prester John would be centered from the middle of the fourteenth century onward was then and remains one of the most extraordinary nations of Africa: a Christian land whose royal dynasty claims to trace its ancestry to King Solomon, and whose inhabitants are a proud, cultured, and vigorous people, a curious and fascinating mixture of barbarism and sophistication." (171)
No Major Leaguer has ever been born in Ethiopia. The closest location I can see is Craig Stansberry, who was born in Saudi Arabia. Stansberry was a 5th round pick of the Pirates back in 2003, and has seen some random playing time for the Padres. He is currently playing for the Blue Jays' AAA squad. Implications for the Royals? Obviously, remember the 2011 Pirates. Miracles can happen!
"Bounded on one side by a burning desert and on the other by steaming tropical lowland jungles, Ethiopia stands on a lofty plateau, six to seven feet above sea level; its climate is relatively cool and pleasant, and there is ample rainfall to stimulate agriculture." (171)
This evokes Mike Moustakas to me. Or maybe the glories of our young stars. At another point in the Prester John book there's a passage about sleeping with beautiful women four times a year (they were chaste in his kingdom but needed to procreate) on beds of sapphire. Probably looks ok, but sounds painful. Like a Sleep Number bed with a number of 10,000.
So we have Hosmer on one side, Wil Myers there somewhere else, in the steamy jungles, generally being annoying as all get out because he spells his name "Wil" but he's a rich young jock so he can get away with inserting that little screw you at anyone who ever must type his name. No, it is "Wil" with one L because I'm different. And there there are our luminous pitching brights and between them all is Moustakas.
"These natural advantages allowed a fairly advanced civilization to develop there at an early date." (171-2)
Billy Butler has played 639 career games already. He is 25 years old. Will the Royals be able to contend in 2012? Yes, they are Ethiopia, they are close to Saudi Arabia, and that's where that Pirate guy who probably grew up in the strip malls of Texas was kinda sorta from. And the Pirates aren't good, but they're kinda around .500 and their division sucks so yay.