The real mastermind behind the months-long Owner’s Lockout has finally been revealed and it turns out that the people who blamed the owners are almost as wrong as the ones who blamed the players.
I can tell you now, for the first time, that reports that Eric Bieniemy had had it written into his contract that he had the final say on the contents of the CBA are also entirely incorrect. According to sources familiar with the situation, Bieniemy’s contract doesn’t actually have any language related to MLB in it.
However, in a unique twist, it turns out that when the Royals promoted J. J. Picollo to the role of General Manager, he took his mandate to field a competitive team a bit too far. He engaged in a quest to locate the mythical Dragon Balls.
For those of you who are unaware, there are seven mysterious, translucent, orange orbs hidden around the globe. Each contains a number of stars ranging from one to seven. Once all seven balls are collected, the holder can summon the great dragon Shenron and make any wish. If it is within his power, and most things are, he will grant it.
It took months of searching in the remotest parts of the world, but Picollo finally found all seven Dragon Balls. When he finally summoned the great Shenron, however, things began to go wrong. Picollo didn’t want to be greedy. He thought the roster had a chance to really compete if they could just avoid digging themselves into an early hole. So when the massive dragon asked him for his wish, Picollo responded only, “Just help the Kansas City Royals avoid a losing record by the end of April!”
Shenron, powerful as he is, apparently couldn’t make the Royals win more games than they lost as the schedule was written up. So instead he forced MLB to fritter away time by tricking them into not meeting with players for more than a month after the lockout started. Then he planted thoughts in the minds of their negotiators so that every time it seemed like an agreement might be close, the owners would tack on some other stupid requirement to the deal and force more delays.
Thursday, as you all know by now, a CBA deal was finally agreed upon. It is unclear at this time whether Shenron underestimated his own abilities and was unable to prevent the owners and players from coming to an agreement or if he will be able to get the Royals over .500 at the end of April with fewer games played.
What is clear is that GM Picollo has learned his lesson. In a recent, exclusive interview he swore to me that he will not seek out the Dragon Balls again and will instead build a winner the old-fashioned way.
With that decision made, Picollo apparently made an effort to sign some of the allies he made while searching for the Dragon Ball. Goku rejected him out of hand, citing a need to keep training. Krillin offered to play for free but Picollo pretended not to hear him. Yamcha, frustratingly, was all set to play but found himself confused by the mutual option in the offer and also decided to pass.
In the end, Picollo’s early efforts appear to have been in vain when they didn’t backfire instead. Here’s hoping he’ll get the hang of the job as he continues on.