Even Mascots Get the Blues: Baseball's Opening-Week Anxieties

Michael Murray currently lives and works in Toronto. He has an extensive wardrobe and is a dominant and intimidating presence on the Bocce Ball field...

For many, Major League Baseball’s opening day is a breath of fresh air, a relaxing time of hope and optimism, but for others it can be very stressful. As the year’s first full weekend of games approaches, here is a selection of anxiety dreams as told by some players, major or otherwise:

Roger Clemens
Seven-time Cy Young Award winner
“I never cheated. Everything I accomplished in baseball I achieved through hard work and God-given talent, so that’s what makes this dream so frigging weird. I’m just about to run out onto the field for the opening pitch when a bunch of nerd guys in lab coats surround me and start chattering like little mice. They’re accusing me of steroids, which is crazy, and as I start punching them and bulling through them Texas-style, they just keep multiplying and it’s like they’re nerd quicksand and I’m sinking in them.”

Prince Fielder
Detroit Tigers 1st baseman
“My agent calls me into his office and tells me that there was a problem with our contract and that I have to pay $40 million back to the organization. I freak out and rip his head off, but somehow he’s not dead and he just keeps talking, insisting that I have to return all of my money. “

Rob Ford
Mayor of Toronto
“I really love the Jays. They’ve got a great team this year and I think that they could go all the way, but just like every season my opening-day nightmare comes back to haunt me. I’m sitting at the Rogers Centre watching the game and I’m up on the Jumbotron waving to the crowd. Everything’s great, and then that old video of my brother Doug and me beating a dachshund to death with some rocks replaces me waving on the Jumbotron, and I have this awful feeling of helplessness. I can feel the crowd turning on me and I don’t know what to do or who to punch.”

Rodney “Cool Breeze” Scott
Montreal Expos 1979-1982
“I’m stealing second base I can tell that it’s going to be really close, so I’m just giving it everything that I have. I’m safe, I know I’m safe, but the umpire calls me out. I start screaming at him, and then I notice that the ump is actually my mother. In front of all my teammates and the entire crowd she begins tearing into me, ‘Rodney, you’re just a no-good thief and masturbator! Always trying to get away with it you are, well, not on my watch, you won’t!’ And as I walk back to the dugout everybody in the stadium is laughing.”

Carl Fowler
Actor who plays the mascot Mr. Met
“In my dream I get trapped inside of Mr. Met. It’s like he’s assimilated me, and although I have no control of his actions I feel completely responsible for them. From inside his body my brain is screaming at him to stop, but he won’t. Again and again he pummels spectators to death with his baseball bat and as the blood’s splattering I begin to throw up, but I’m still trapped within this horrible, murderous mascot skin, so I’m vomiting on myself.”

Felix Hernandez
Picher with the Seattle Mariners
“I am on the mound pitching a perfect game when a spaceship appears overhead. I get caught in a tractor beam that begins to lift me toward a flying saucer. I’m yelling, ‘Stop, stop, I am pitching a perfect game!!’ but it doesn’t matter, and when I am inside the ship it is full of my teammates—only now they’re aliens. They begin to touch and probe me, like during my rookie hazing, and I am frozen and curious and can do nothing but accept their hands even though it is a great offence to me.”

José Bautista
Outfielder with the Toronto Blue Jays
“I am in the outfield and the ball is hit really hard over my head. I’m chasing it, but I can never catch up, it just rolls and rolls. I keep sprinting after it—the known world now receding behind me—and then I finally come to a shore and I see that the ball is gone. It’s at this moment that I know I’ve reached the end of my days. And then I wake up in a lonely, cold sweat.”

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Michael Murray currently lives and works in Toronto. He has an extensive wardrobe and is a dominant and intimidating presence on the Bocce Ball field. He won the New Yorker Cartoon Caption contest and dislikes Cuba. He works as a creative writer, copywriter, blogger and “journalist” and as he is modest, he feels awkward talking about his genius, which he recently found out does not translate into IQ tests. His work has appeared in the Toronto Standard, Slant Magazine, the Ottawa Citizen and Pajiba.com.