What a joke.
Like, well, pretty much everybody, I was stunned to hear bullpen coach Louie Isaac had been fired. I’m out here in Anaheim covering the ALDS, so I wasn’t at Eric Wedge’s press conference yesterday.
But from everything I’ve heard and read, this was Wedge’s call, and the only explanation given for Isaac’s firing was the rather lame claim that the “dynamic” of the bullpen needed to change. I’m not smart enough to know what that means, and Wedge didn’t elaborate enough to explain what it means.
Anyway, the point of this posting is not necessarily to rip what I believe to be a ridiculous move. It’s to send a salute to Isaac, a truly enjoyable “baseball guy” to be around. And boy, was he around. He had been with the Indians’ organization for 44 years — four more years than Wedge has been alive.
Two things will stand out in my mind about Isaac — his horseracing handicapping expertise and his jokes. In fact, Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon Journal began compiling all of Isaac’s jokes during Spring Training this year, knowing full well Isaac had enough of them to fill a book.
So as we bid farewell to the sacrificial lamb, here is my favorite (well, not so much my favorite, but my favorite that can be repeated in this forum) of Louie’s jokes that helped pass the time in the dog days of spring (and keep in mind, all of Louie’s jokes are much better with his delivery)…
An old man is walking through the desert. He’s exhausted and dehydrated. He’s dying for some water.
He comes upon a tent. Outside is a stern-looking man, standing with his arms crossed.
“Water!” the old man gasps. “Do you have water?”
The man shakes his head. “No,” he says, “we don’t have water here. We just sell ties here. But I tell you what… My brother, he has a tent two miles to the west. He has a restaurant there. Go to him. He has tap water, spring water, moutain water. He’ll get you all the water you want.”
The old man heads west.
Hours later, he returns. By this point, he’s crawling. He is near death. He is completely exhausted.
“What happened?” the man at the tent says. “Did you get the water?”
“No,” the old man replies. “They wouldn’t let me in because I didn’t have a tie.”