Nine plans from outer space
Wednesday marks the unofficial 50th anniversary of Ed Wood's iconic F-movie "Plan 9 From Outer Space". (While it was released in the summer of '59, it didn't have -- not so surprisingly -- a full-fledged movie premiere. The 9/09/59 release date in Tim Burton's "Ed Wood" was fictionalized.) It is regarded as the worst movie of all time, and rightfully so: The acting is atrocious, the production values are worse than anything on public-access TV (flying saucers are painted paper plates hanging from strings), and the plot hinges on a group of aliens who create zombies in an attempt to stop humans from creating a doomsday weapon. Or something like that. Most of the film is incomprehensible, hence the "worst movie ever" title.
In honor of that pivotal moment in film history -- a medium cannot progress until it first finds its low point, which "Plan 9" most definitely did -- we have nine of our own sci fi-centric plans (from outer space!) to help some of the lesser sports franchises currently in existence.
Vampire-werewolves descend from the Planet Nepcon and immediately get signed by the Bengals. Once given about a week or so to catch up (i.e., learn everything about the sport of football), they use their odd combination of powers (ability to live forever, barring a stake to the heart; transform into massive wolves, barring a silver bullet) to dismantle the rest of the AFC North, quite literally. However, their dominance lasts only a year, because in the offseason commissioner Roger Goodell asks for and is granted a rule change that strictly forbids dining on an opponent's blood during the game.
An alien race of giant spiders abduct the entire Lions organization with their powerful webs and take them back to their home planet. Before the public can panic about the loss, they return and use a complicated spinning technique to reverse the planet's rotation, turning back time and wiping the existence of the franchise from Earth's collective memory. After last season's ignominious 0-16 disaster, this is really the best possible outcome for the organization.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
The collective anger of Royals fans upon hearing the news that GM Dayton Moore has been signed to a five-year contract extension creates a tear in the space-time continuum. (Don't ask us to show our work here. You'll have to trust us.) Luckily, this allows the franchise to travel back to the pivotal year 1999, when the outfield consisted of young sluggers Johnny Damon (25 years old), Carlos Beltran (22) and Jermaine Dye (25). The Royals utilize the next few years to develop an infield and some decent starting pitching around this core instead of, you know, doing everything else the Royals actually did.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
Step 1: Introduce new mascot Bitey, the motorcycle-riding piranha who comes from the magma-laden depths of the San Gabriel fault. (His backstory is detailed in a free comic the team hands out before the season.) This will appeal to the sensibilities of the massive contingent of L.A. citizens who want to unclog the freeways, while giving the Clippers an example of how teamwork can help them achieve their goals. (A school of piranhas can strip a cow to the bone in less than a minute!) Step 2: Buy a tank's worth of real piranhas to use for various promotional events. Step 3: "Accidentally" leave a bunch of mascots in the Staple Center's hot tubs without telling their co-habitants, the Lakers. Whoops. Guess that leaves only one basketball team for L.A. to root for.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
For the most valuable team in the NHL, they sure haven't used their money wisely, not making the playoffs since 2004 and not hoisting the Stanley Cup since 1967. Obviously, this calls for using their massive profits to acquire not-yet-illegal performance enhancements for their players. Stuff like heat-vision, a third arm, the ability to bend light particles, and mixing their DNA with that of a radioactively-enhanced gorilla. Wins should start coming in bunches.
NEW YORK KNICKS
A franchise that has, smartly or not, been built specifically around signing LeBron James next offseason, they better do all they can to ensure that result occurs. This means hiring a bunch of mad scientists to genetically engineer a race of man-eating rats to be shipped to Cleveland, creating many rabies-caused casualties, mass confusion and the mobilization of the national guard. How can LeBron even think about staying there amidst that chaos?
Since no amount of sci-fi trickery can turn the Raiders into an actual respectable franchise, it wouldn't hurt to create some goodwill with the fans by finally admitting owner Al Davis has been a zombie for the past 20 years, which explains the odd free-agent signings: All he truly cares about is who has the best-looking and most tender brains. (How people haven't caught onto this yet, with photographic evidence like this floating around is beyond us.)
The team recently lost its 82nd game of the year, meaning they've clinched an unprecedented streak of 17 straight losing seasons. That kind of futility can only be solved by giving away free X-ray specs to everyone who would agree to still call themselves Pirates fans. However, much like those who bought them from comic books decades ago, they'll soon discover glasses are just another fraud -- like the Pirates.
Since our nation's capital has some kind of direct communication pipeline to nearby flying saucers -- if all of those B-movie government conspiracies are to be believed, at least -- the team should send out a distress call to any nearby aliens to participate in a nightly fly-over above Nationals Park. If this isn't enough to rattle the competition, have a PR person imply that, since the team got the aliens to perform this duty, what's not to say the organization doesn't have pull when it comes to other extraterrestrial extracurricular activities. For instance, who they probe.
Rick Paulas is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles who has previously written for ESPN The Magazine, McSweeney's and Vice Magazine. He can be contacted through his Web site, rickpaulas.com.