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09 April 2005

Vleeptron Sports Report! :-)

(cue JINGLE:)

It's Sports Time on Vleeptron!
All the Sports from Vleeptron!
We've got the latest Qx'ii scores!
All the games from the Dwingeloo League!
Bear-baiting, dwarf-tossing, cockfighting too!
Bare-knuckle boxing from 1902!
A fifth of our Sports all take place in the Zoo!
Get your Sports on Vleeptron!
Get your Sports on Vleeptron!


Hi, this is ART KENNEDY, welcome to Vleeptron Sports!

Okay, now this is just a partial score: 4

Sports on Vleeptron are a little different from Sports on Earth. Vleeptron has baseball just like Earth, but you have players like Mickey Mantle, Joe Dimaggio, Ted Williams, and that 8-foot-tall guy who hit 93 home runs last year, and then ate a Volvo and grew a very attractive set of breasts.

But we have the greatest pitcher who ever lived in the Melkweg, Dwingeloo 2, or Dwingeloo 1.

He used to play on Earth. One day a sportswriter was asking him the 14 Standard Cliche Questions which all sportswriters ask all baseball players.

SPORTSWRITER: Which do you like better, grass or Astroturf?

BILL LEE: I don't know. I've never smoked Astroturf.

Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn determined that to have been $500 worth of The Wrong Answer.

So anyway, here's the latest scoop on No. 337!

But first, before we roll film, stand on your head.

(roll FILM:)


The Toronto Globe and Mail (Canada, Earth)
Saturday 9 April 2005
Page A9

Ballplayer's field of dreams
Former Red Sox pitcher seeks
to recreate Fenway Park
on Vancouver Island

VICTORIA -- The retired baseball player accepted an invitation to visit a pasture set in a natural bowl surrounded by a forest of hemlock and Douglas fir. In the distance, a glacier offered a spectacular backdrop. Deer frolicked nearby.

The player surveyed this land of plenty and saw that it was good.

He had a vision. One day he would return to play baseball here in a replica of his former workplace.

"I see the most beautiful little place," Bill Lee says with the enthusiasm of an evangelist.
"A gem of a ballpark, a jewel on Earth."

On a farm facing Highway 19 just south of sleepy Black Creek on Vancouver Island, Mr. Lee plans to build a replica of Boston's Fenway Park.

He toiled for 10 years on the mound at Fenway for the hard-luck Red Sox, before pitching four more years for the Montreal Expos. He was unofficially banished from professional baseball after tearing his Expos uniform in half in 1982 to protest against the club's release of
slick-fielding infielder Rodney Scott.

Mr. Lee is known in baseball circles as the Spaceman. He jogged to the ballpark on days he was scheduled to pitch, admitted to sprinkling marijuana leaves on his breakfast pancakes and once asked Montreal for uniform No. 337 so that when he stood on his head fans could read his name.

[VLEEPTRON SPORTS EXTRA: Another sportswriter once asked him what his Greatest Day In Baseball Was, and he replied: The day I was jogging to the stadium, and I got hit by a car, and I lived.]

Fenway West, as he calls his dream park, will be built to the dimensions of the original, at 310 feet down the left-field line, 390 to centre and 302 down the right-field line.

"I might make them 10 feet shorter, though," he said, "so we can think we're hitting them out of the park."

Mr. Lee, 58, will also build a replica of the famous Green Monster, a wall painted green that looms over left field in Boston. He plans to construct Fenway West's Monster from wood available on the farm.

"We'll cut down the trees, cut them into lengths and we'll build it to the exact same height, 37 feet," he said. "I'm a carpenter, built my own home, and those guys are all loggers. I'm sure we can bang it out with a little sweat equity."

The pitcher, who still plays for old-timer teams and on barnstorming tours, began visiting British Columbia a few years ago after being tracked down by Sy Pederson. The bearded Black Creek logger was drinking with some baseball buddies when he bet he could get the notorious Bill Lee on the phone within four telephone calls. Three calls later, he had
won a bottle of whisky and the friendship of an old pitcher who liked his moxie.

Mr. Pederson, a former president of the local woodworkers union, later invited Mr. Lee to accompany him on a baseball tour of Cuba. The pair have differing opinions about politics on the Caribbean island -- Mr. Pederson ran three times for Parliament as a Communist candidate in Comox-Powell River, once winning 314 votes, while Mr. Lee says, "I preach socialism fluently until the time comes when I actually have to participate in it."

What they share is a love for baseball. Mr. Pederson watched Mr. Lee play on the Cuban tour. His local amateur baseball club owns the rights to Mr. Lee's pitching talent in the Comox Valley.

Mr. Pederson is catcher for the Fishermen's Lodge Cubs of the Komoux Masters Real Baseball League, which counts among its seven teams Happy's Source for Sports Indians and the Smith & Gordon Drywall Giants.

The owner of the farm on which the park will be built is Andrew Androsoff, a 47-year-old third baseman for the Field Sawmill Yankees. He has a herd of 50 fallow deer on his acreage, which includes a nine-hole golf course he marked out -- "no greens, just dug some holes" -- to
entertain his teammates.

Mr. Androsoff will need to get approval from the Comox-Strathcona Regional District to have his property removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

"There's a lot of hoops to go through," he said. "I still have to convince the neighbours."
Still, with the local forest industry struggling as mills close and raw logs are shipped for export, "tourism is where it's at on the island," he said.

Mr. Lee, who recorded 119 wins and 90 losses in his major-league career, wants to live half the year in the Comox Valley. He now lives in Craftsbury, Vt., just south of the Canadian border, in what he describes in his recent memoir Have Glove, Will Travel (Crown Publishing Group) as a halfway house -- halfway between the bars in Montreal and the bars in Boston.
He describes his replica park as a bucolic playground for a timeless game. Spectators will eat picnic lunches on a berm surrounding the field, no advertising will be permitted, and when the action gets too slow, fans can admire the glacial beauty of Forbidden Plateau in the distance.

"People will die and go to heaven to come out and play with us," Mr. Lee said.

"Remember, if you build it, they will come."

- 30 -


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