September is upon us. Put the kids on the bus, set the TiVo for a new season of "Desperate Housewives," and get ready for the major-league call-ups.
Every team in the bigs will be adding parts now, some looking for the key ingredient to a pennant run, some looking for a ray of sunshine in what has otherwise been a dark, gloomy campaign.
Traditionally, clubs stick to calling up only players in their own organization. But here at Page 2, we believe some teams ought to be thinking a bit further outside the box.
Here now, in no particular order, are some suggested Sept. 1 call-ups:
Ian Stewart (3B), the deer that took out Clint Barmes and parting-gift plane tickets for all 16 members of the pitching staff. The experiment is 10 years old now. I think we have the results: You can't pitch at Coors. So replace the staff with a Field-Master Pitching Machine" and spend the money you save on other things you need -- like a big bat, a major-league center fielder and a full-time stylist to keep Todd Helton's hair trimmed.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Joel Guzman (SS), James Loney (1B), Tom Emanski's "Baseball World's Defensive Drill" videos for everyone on the roster, a clubhouse Holstein for Brad Penny and, just like every other year, whatever Vin Scully wants.
TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS
B.J. Upton (SS), Delmon Young (RF) and Howard Cunningham of "Happy Days" fame. The club needs an owner who gives a damn.
Joel Zumaya (SP) and, for Pudge Rodriguez, a little Big Bill Broonzy doing "Getting Older Every Day":
Now when you get so old, you can't work at no mill
Yeah, when you get so old, Lord, boy you can't work at no mill
Now don't you make no date, oh Lord, buddy that you can't fill
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Billy Butler (LF) and Rob Neyer (GM).
Bobby Madritsch (SP), Rupert Jones Bobblehead Day and Lou Pineilla 2.0. You just slip down to Tampa and swap him out for Hargrove in the middle of the night. It'll be weeks before anyone notices.
The Adrian Gonzalez (1B) move was nice; but on this late-season roster, we'd like to see the bug-eyed, paranoid little hamster that runs on the wheels in Mark Buehrle's brain. You just can't put a price tag on Crazy Eddie energy like that.
We feel bad about it. We know it ain't right. But ... after Zach Duke, the very, very faint echo of Willie Stargell and Dave Parker and the lovely stroll across the bridge to PNC, we don't know enough about this team to come up with a joke here. It's the old "If a Pirate strikes out in the woods..." situation. Seriously, is Craig Wilson still growing his hair long? Do they still bat a guy named Tike in the leadoff spot? Has Lloyd McLendon gone all Hal McRae in his underwear in the office yet? We have no idea.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Justin Knoedler (C), Merkin Valdez (RP), comfortable vibrating clubhouse chairs for the rest of their over-the-hill gang, an "I Am My Co-Pilot" T-shirt for Barry, and a uniform, cap and spikes for our colleague Pedro Gomez, who, let's be honest, has worked harder and been more consistently productive than any other member of the squad this year.