2008 Cinematic Interlude #2: Chavvy and the Athletic Factory, Chapter One

*UPDATED: Now with poll!*

[Prefatory note: Big thanks to JediLeroy, who lent his kreepy Photoshop skilz to the illustrations, and to FreeSeatUpgrade, who inspired me to do this with his latest installment of Peanutball.]

Chavvy and the Athletic Factory

Chapter One: "I've Got a Green and Gold Contract"

Over a SICKENING MONTAGE OF OUT-MAKING—T-Long and Melhuse taking called third strikes, Jeremy’s Jetered jeté, Tejada and Byrnes Knoblauching their way into infamy, Big Hurt popping out against the Tigers—the opening credits roll:

CHAVVY AND THE ATHLETIC FACTORY

Directed by Billy Beane. Written by Billy Beane. From the novel by Billy Beane. Produced by Lew Wolff. Edited by David Forst. A Crywolffisher Production.

We hear the TOLLING OF A BELL. Fade up on a CLOCK TOWER striking four o’clock:

Oakland-tribune-bldg_medium

[Click on the jump for the rest of the Cinematic Interlude.]

Close in on a tracking shot of MANY WHITE-CLEATED FEET RUNNING over cobblestones.

An establishing shot shows that the feet belong to a team of BALLPLAYERS in white double-knits, who are running pell-mell through the streets of Oakland, California:

174986013_24eb49fde3_medium

The ballplayers all stream into a small CANDY STORE

Sees_medium

… where a CLERK doles out a BILLY BONKERS® brand confection to each ballplayer by name. Each player DROPS the candy bar as the Clerk tries to hand it to him.

CLERK
A Golden Sombrero for Mister Cust—a Slippery Slider for Bobby—a Sizzler for Aaron C.—and listen! Bonkers has got a new one today—this is called a SomehollidayOPS Bat.

BOBBY
How does he do it?

The Clerk smiles patronizingly.

CLERK
My dear boy—do you ask A-Rod how he swings? Or Omar Vizquel how he fields? No sir, you don’t! They do it because they were born to do it! Just like Billy Bonkers was born to be a Moneyball Man—

The Clerk leans over the counter and LEERS at the short-panted Crosby’s legs.

CLERK
—and you look like you were born to sell jeans …

The Clerk ducks out from behind the counter, doffs a green and gold "A’s" cap, and breaks into song:

 

[Original lyrics here.]

CLERK (singing)
Who can take a sunk cost
On limited revenue
Trade it for a prospect
and a LOOGY or two?

The Moneyball Man
The Moneyball Man can
The Moneyball Man can cause he mixes scouts with stats and finds what’s undervalued

Who can take a roster
Stock it with Rule Fives
Or sign a minor-league FA
And make a submarine setup guy?

CHILDREN
The Moneyball Man?

CLERK (singing)
The Moneyball Man
The Moneyball Man can
The Moneyball Man can cause he mixes scouts with stats and finds what’s undervalued

Billy Bonkers makes
Every risk he takes
Satisficing and judicious
Works around low payroll riches
He can even count the pitches

Who can beg and borrow
Sign a Latin teen
Draft a teammate of Brandon Morrow
And rework his pitching regime?

The Moneyball Man

CHILDREN
Billy Bonkers can!

CLERK (singing)
The Moneyball Man can
The Moneyball Man can cause he mixes scouts with stats
And finds what’s undervalued
And they’re undervalued ’cause the Moneyball Man thinks they’re good

As the song ends, we pull back to see one forlorn little ballplayer standing alone, outside the window of the candy store looking in. This is CHAVVY BACKHURT. He wears a tattered gray "away" uniform that’s covered in mud and grass stains.

He looks in the window at the other ballplayers stuffing their faces with candy—then looks down at his own hands, pulling his empty pockets inside-out. He shrugs, hoists a hobo’s pack on the end of a baseball bat over his shoulder, and trudges down the street away from the candy store.

A slow montage of cross-fades as Chavvy walks the mean post-industrial streets of Oakland—rusting container ships, mouldering junkyards, a flea market, body shops, etc. Deeper into the twilight Chavvy walks—

—finally, he ends up on Hegenberger Road, outside the Coliseum parking lot. The entry to the lot is barred by a thick length of chain secured by a rusty padlock.

Chavvy looks up. High in the gloaming, he can just make out the letters on the green tarps covering the third deck of the Coliseum

Oakland_coliseum_070801_medium

Chavvy’s crepuscular reverie is broken by a JINGLE-JANGLE CLINKETY-CLANK SQUEE-SQUAWK. Chavvy turns his head—

—approaching the parking lot gate is a raggedy BART-BRIDGE COUNTERFEIT MERCHANDISE VENDOR. The Vendor pushes a rickety, squeaking cart laden with unlicensed MLB knickknacks—"Stamper" dolls with small Indian-elephant ears, "Oakland Athletes" jerseys, $5 BART Bridge Caps, "The Town" At-At crane t-shirts, surplus prison hotdogs steamed in their own feculent juices.

The Vendor stops, gives Chavvy the evil eye, and points a shaky finger accusingly up at the now nearly invisible third-deck tarp. He croaks at Chavvy in meter:

BART BRIDGE VENDOR
Up Al Davis’ Mountain
Down the disgusting slough
We dare not go a-signing
For fear of attendance falling off
You see—nobody ever goes in … nobody ever comes out!

Chavvy stares wide-eyed as the Vendor slowly turns his cart around—and then Chavvy sprints east away from the Coliseum, up and over the BART bridge, down the stairs, through the tunnel, out into the BART lot—and up to and in the front door of a ramshackle house. Painted on the side of the house in massive, crude block letters: JESUS SAVES/FROM HELL.

Inside, Chavvy bursts in through the front door. The first floor of the house is taken up by one room, filled almost entirely by one massive bed. In the bed are four doddering seniors. Chavvy excitedly greets them all by name:

CHAVVY
Hi there, Grampa Art, Grandmacha, Grampa Wash, and Grandma Bob! I’ve got dinner!

Chavvy lays his hobo sack down on a rickety wooden table, opens the sack, and begins doling out portions of sauerkraut, relish, ketchup, mustard, and chopped onions for his grandparents.

Grampa Wash, an elderly man working a toothpick around his mouth, pipes up in a slight New Orleans accent:

GRAMPA WASH
You work too hard for a little boy! You should have some time to play!

CHAVVY
Grampa Wash, today I saw the strangest man by the Coliseum—he said that no one ever goes to see A’s games there anymore.

GRAMPA WASH
And right he was, Chavvy—not since the tragic day Billy Bonkers tarped it.

CHAVVY
Why’d he tarp it?

GRAMPA WASH
Because all the other prospect makers in the world were sending spies dressed as workers to steal Billy Bonkers’ secret recipes. Especially Selugworth. Oh, that Selugworth, he was the worst! Finally Billy Bonkers shouted, "I shall be ruined! Tarp the upper deck!" And that’s just what he did. He tarped the upper deck and vanished completely. And then, suddenly, about three years later, the most amazing thing happened—the farm system started working again, full blast! And more productive prospects were coming out than ever before. But the upper deck stayed tarped, so that no one, not even Mr. Selugworth, could steal them.

CHAVVY
But Grampa, someone must be helping Billy Bonkers work the farm system.

GRAMPA WASH
Thousands must be helping him

CHAVVY
But who? Who are they?

GRAMPA WASH
That is the biggest mystery of them all …

The conversation is interrupted as Grandmacha ZAPS an old black and white TV to life with an antiquated remote control.

On the TV, we see that we’re right in the middle of ESPN’s Sunday night game. Some pretentious git perorates into the camera:

Tx_joemorgan_all_medium

JOE MORGAN
… and that’s how computers brought us Enron and prevented the youth of America from learning how to bunt properly!

There’s an off-camera cacophony, and the other broadcaster suddenly cuts in.

JON MILLER
Sorry to cut in, Joe, but we’ve just found out that Billy Bonkers is opening his farm system! He’s going to let people in! He’s giving away five green and gold lifetime contracts, each hidden inside a Billy Bonkers wrapper!

JOE MORGAN
A lifetime contract? That’s it. I’m outta here.

Joe Morgan pulls his earpiece out and dashes out of the broadcast booth.

We pull back to the Backhurt family, sitting stupefied in front of the TV.

GRAMPA WASH
The man’s a genius! He’ll sell a million season tickets!

CHAVVY
Grampa—do you think I’ve got a chance to find one?

GRAMPA WASH
One? I’m counting on you to find all 5!

We then see a montage of MAYHEM—people from all walks of life overrunning candy shops and dugout stores, and freezing up the MLB.com servers, all trying to stockpile Billy Bonkers bars in hopes of attaining one of the green and gold contracts.

And we return to the following Sunday’s ESPN broadcast. Jon Miller rambles excitedly into the camera as Joe Morgan sits next to him silently stuffing his face with candy.

JON MILLER
And we have our first winner! The first person to find a green and gold contract is from the sleepy hamlet of West Covina, California. We now go to FOX Sports’ Jeannie Zelasko with a live report. Jeannie?

In West Covina, we see Zelasko standing in the middle of a sweltering gym, filled with half-naked musclemen grunting and sweating at various exercise machines. Zelasko is wearing some white fur robe that looks like P Diddy outfitted the White Witch of Narnia.

ZELASKO
Thanks, Jon. I’m here with young Giambus Gloop, the first winner. Giambus, what do you have to say for yourself?

The camera pans over to a small table next to Zelasko. Seated there is a corpulent little brat who is stuffing his face:

Giambus_medium


He is flanked by his equally corpulent parents. His father wears a dark blue baseball cap with an intertwined "N" and "Y."

Through a mouthful of candy and bratwurst, Gloops spits out:

GIAMBUS GLOOP
Party like a rock star, hammer like a porn star, eat like an All-Star.

Zelasko giggles like a schoolgirl and fans herself.

ZELASKO
Oh, my! Tee-hee! Back to you, Jon.

Next to Zelasko, just before we cut away, we see a gaunt, greasy man with a grim, greasy grimace sidle up to Giambus and whisper in his ear …

We cut to an exterior shot of a massive, foreboding industrial structure. Thousands of workers in chains drag rocks from a huge pile in through the front doors. Above the door is a sign: SAY, INC. GRIT FACTORY.

Inside, half the space is occupied by more workers in chains using pickaxes to break the rocks into grit, which they deposit onto a conveyor belt that disappears at the back of the factory.

In the other half, chained workers are frantically ripping open thousands upon thousands of Billy Bonkers candy bars.

In an office high above the factory floor, we meet the owner of the factory and his charming progeny, Verukot Say:

Verukotsay_medium

VERUKOT SAY
Daddy, why aren’t they working harder? I deserve that contract more than anyone!

Suddenly, from the factory floor, a commotion: one worker stands up, waving a bright green and gold contract. Verukot Say rushes down to the floor to snatch it from the worker. As Verukot Say’s eyes light up and he greedily paws at the contract, the same greasy grimacing goon sidles up to Verukot Say and whispers in his ear …

Back in the ESPN booth, Joe Morgan is passed out in his chair, the front of his suit covered in candy wrappers. Jon Miller babbles into the camera, holding one finger to his ear to listen to his producer.

JON MILLER
And now I’m getting word from my producer that we’ve—yes, we’ve confirmed the third winner! We now go to Ray Fosse, who is in sunny San Diego. Ray?

And, indeed, we go to sunny San Diego, where Ray Fosse stands next to the third winner, little LEFTYVET BARRYGARD:

Barrygard_medium

RAY FOSSE
Thanks, Jon. I’m here with Leftyvet Barrygard—may I call you "Barry"?

Leftyvet Barrygard, indolently chewing gum, shrugs noncommittally.

LEFTYVET BARRYGARD
Sure, man. That’s cool. Do your thing.

RAY FOSSE
Barry, how awesome is it to be the third winner of the green and gold contract?

Before Leftyvet Barrygard can answer, he is approached by the same glum, greasy guy, who whispers in his ear …

JON MILLER
Sorry, Ray, but these updates are coming fast and furious! I think we have our fourth winner! We’re going to switch you to Frank Caliendo—oh, you gotta be kidding me! We hired this clown? Jesus. Oh, ok. Anyway—Frank Caliendo, reporting live from Vancouver …

We cut to Frank Caliendo—dressed as Jon Miller. He launches into an unfunny, unconvincing Jon Miller impersonation as he introduces the next winner.

FRANK CALIENDO
Thanks, Jon. I’m Jon Miller! Look at me, all old and bald and roly-poly! Ho ho ho!

JON MILLER
Frank …

FRANK CALIENDO
Uh, sorry. Oh, yeah—I’m here with young Rich Dee Ell, who is the fourth winner of the whatsadoddle. Thing. Um, hiya, Rich.

Behind Frank, we see Rich Dee Ell:

Richdeel_medium

Rich Dee Ell ignores Frank, and concentrates on playing video games. Which is difficult, as he has both arms in casts with struts holding his arms out at his sides.

RICH DEE ELL
Aw, geez, I’ll never get a high score with all this racket going on. Ow! Hey, tubby, watch out for my arms! I’m gonna have to get Tommy John surgery now!

Rich Dee Ell’s dad looks on indulgently.

RICH’S DAD
Not until you’re 12, son.

And once again, the greasy eminence grise sidles up to the contact winner and whispers in his ear …

JON MILLER
That’s it! It’s all over, folks! We have the final winner! Our scouts in South America say that this man—

A STILL PHOTO flashes up on the screen:

610x_medium

JON MILLER
—has found the fifth and final green and gold contract! It’s all over! Joe! Wake up, Joe!

Back in the Backhurt family’s room, Chavvy shrugs hopelessly.

CHAVVY
Aw, I was never gonna win anyway.

GRAMPA WASH
Chavvy, you deserved it more than any of those guys.

Chavvy stands up and walks toward the door.

CHAVVY
I’m gonna go and try to scavenge some more kraut for dinner.

Outside, Chavvy walks through the tunnel from the BART lot to the station. A BUSINESSMAN with a rolling suitcase and a Southwest Airlines ticket protruding out of his breast pocket pushes past Chavvy in a hurry.

After the businessman passes, something catches Chavvy’s eye—he bends down to see—

—it’s a BART ticket, with exactly $3 on it. Chavvy looks around, then guiltily pockets the ticket. He runs down the tunnel, jumps the station turnstiles, up the escalator, and hops on a Richmond train—

—we then jump to Lake Merritt station, where Chavvy disembarks, runs up to street level—

—and back into the candy store. It’s a mess—but completely devoid of customers. The Clerk idly pushes a broom as he half-watches Baseball Tonight on the wall-mounted flat-screen.

CHAVVY
Excuse me, sir.

CLERK
Hm? Oh, what do you want?

CHAVVY
I know this isn’t ordinarily what you—I mean, I guess—

CLERK
What? What is it?

CHAVVY
Would you … would you let me buy a Billy Bonkers bar with this $3 BART ticket?

The Clerk shrugs.

CLERK
Eh, nobody buys this stuff anymore since the contest ended. Here ya go, kid—

The Clerk tosses Chavvy a candy bar,

CLERK
It’s on the house.

CHAVVY
Thank you!

Chavvy just stares at the candy bar in his hand.

On the TV, John Kruk is screaming.

JOHN KRUK
This is unbelievable! The fifth contract winner was a fake! A fake!!!

STEVE PHILLIPS
Can you imagine the nerve of that guy, trying to fool the whole world?

The Clerk drops his broom, and slowly turns to face Chavvy—who has the candy bar torn halfway open. A glint of green and gold shimmering light passes across Chavvy’s face. He shreds the last of the wrapper—and pulls out THE FIFTH GREEN AND GOLD CONTRACT!

CLERK
You did it, Chavvy! Run, before that mob outside finds you—

Outside, a mob. Pitchforks, torches, etc.

CLERK
Here, through the back!

The Clerk hustles Chavvy out into the alley. Chavvy scampers off in the direction of home.

As he sprints through the tunnel from the BART station to the BART lot, he is suddenly accosted by the greasy ghostly ghoul who whispered to all the other winners:

Selug_medium

SELUGWORTH
I congratulate you, little boy. Well done. You’ve found the fifth golden ticket, may I introduce myself. Alan Selugworth. President of Selugworth Chocolates and Used Cars, Incorporated. Now listen carefully, because I’m going to make you very rich indeed. Billy Bonkers is at this moment working on a fantastic invention—the NEVERTESTING BATFASTER. If he succeeds he’ll ruin me. So all I want you to do is to get hold of one Nevertesting Batfaster and bring it to me so that I can find the secret formula. Your reward will be one hundred million of these.

Selugworth waves a wad of cash in Chavvy’s face.

SELUGWORTH
Think it over, will you? A new house for your family. And good food and comfort for the rest of their lives. And don’t forget the name: NEVERTESTING BATFASTER.

Chavvy backs slowly away from Selugworth—then scoots around him and out of the tunnel.

Chavvy bursts into the Backhurt house.

CHAVVY
I did it! I found the last green and gold contract! I did it!

His grandparents celebrate with a chorus of HUZZAHS and cane-waving.\

GRAMPA WASH
We know, Chavvy! We know! We saw it on SportsCenter! Let’s see that contract!

Chavvy hands the green and gold contract to Grampa Wash. It’s almost iridescent, but we can make out the wording:

THE BEARER OF THIS GREEN AND GOLD CONTRACT IS HEREBY GRANTED IN PERPETUITY, SUBJECT TO ALL WHIMSICAL CONDITIONS OF MR. BILLY BONKERS, A LIFETIME CONTRACT WITH THE OAKLAND ATHLETICS BASE-BALL CLUB. PRESENT THIS CONTRACT AT GATE A OF THE OAKLAND COLISEUM PRECISELY AT NOON ON SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2008, OR ALL OFFERS SHALL BE NULL AND VOID. YOU MAY BRING ONE FAMILY MEMBER WITH YOU.

GRAMPA WASH
It says you have to be at the Coliseum … today!

CHAVVY
Today! Grampa Wash, I couldn’t have done it without you—will you come with me?

GRAMPA WASH
I’d be honored, Chavvy!

Grampa Wash leaps from bed and begins to dance around the room in his "Oakland" nightshirt. He breaks into song:

 

[Original lyrics here.]

GRAMPA WASH (singing)
I never thought your career could be anything but hideous injuries
But suddenly I begin to see a bit of good luck for thee
Cause you've got a green and gold contract
You've got a Golden Glove to win that prize

You’ve never been in the starting nine, never a Maple bat to swing,
But suddenly now with the A’s you’ll sign, what an amazing thing
Cause you've got a green and gold contract.

It's yours, Chavvy!

You’ll score some golden runs and RBI.

Chavvy joins in with him:

GRAMPA WASH AND CHAVVY (singing)
I never thought I'd see the day when I would face MLB pitchers and say,
"Fair warning: I’ll score some runs."
I never thought that I would be slapping some hits the other way
Cause I have said it couldn't be done
But it can be done.

I never dreamed that I would climb into seats to catch pop flies,
But nevertheless it's there that I'm shortly about to be
Cause I've got a green and gold contract
I've got a golden chance to win some games
And with the green and gold contract I’m a golden A.

Fair warning: I’ll score some runs!
Cause I have said, "It couldn't be done"
But it can be done.

Grampa Wash dances a little jig and finishes his song:

GRAMPA WASH (singing)
I never dreamed that you would pick balls out of the dirt over at third
But nevertheless it's there that you’re shortly about to be
Cause you've got a green and gold contract.
Cause you've got a green and gold contract.
You've got a golden chance to win some games
And with a green and gold contract you’re a golden A.

Chavvy and Grampa Wash embrace—and then Grampa Wash looks at his watch.

GRAMPA WASH
Holy cats, Chavvy—look at the time!

Grampa Wash pulls a union suit and then a tweed overcoat on over his nightshirt, jams a cap on his head, and trundles Chavvy out the door.

Walking together up the BART ramp to the Coliseum, they encounter a massive crowd gathering for the noon ceremony:

166654980_c831be1621_medium

ESPN commentators are there. Blimps float overhead. Bands play. Children laugh. Mothers cry.

Chavvy and Grampa Wash are escorted to the front of the crowd at the mouth of the chicken wire cage where the BART bridge meets the Coliseum plaza, where they meet the other contract winners—Rich Dee Ell, Leftyvet Barrygard, Giambus Gloop, and Verukot Say—along with their parent companions.

Far away in downtown Oakland, the Trib clock chimes noon.

A hush falls over the crowd.

As the clock continues to chime, a door on the side of the Coliseum CREEEEEEAAAAAAAAKS open.

The crowd gasps, and leans forward as one.

We see one sandal-clad foot, at the end of a shorts-clad leg, start to take one step out the door—

—TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK IN CHAPTER TWO—

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