(Editors’ note: The recap below is purely fictional inspired by “The Naked Gun” screenwriters Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Pat Proft detailing the most fantastical Angels game never played in baseball history).
LOS ANGELES, August 6, 1988 — The Angels game with the Mariners on Saturday afternoon ended early amid controversy. The shortened game was a concert of absolute chaos, and the star soloist in the entire affair was Enrico Pallazzo, the internationally renowned opera star turned from home plate umpire to hero.
The game ended in a 4-4 tie in a seventh-inning brawl that was both started and ended by Pallazzo, a last-minute fill in for the umpiring crew chief. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Sunday.
The madness ensued when, after reaching on a botched pop fly that brought home the tying run, the Mariners’ Armando Creshone was cut in a run down between first and second base, but with the umpires, specifically Pallazzo and first base umpire Louie Demps. Creshone was ruled safe at first base by Pallazzo, but Demps called him out for running out of the baseline. The two umpires got into a scuffle that included chest bumping, and Pallazzo ejected both Demps and third base umpire Joe West, believed to be the first time an umpire has ejected another umpire in the major leagues.
“It was horseshit,” West said to a pool reporter after the game.
The argument got even more heated with Pallazzo pulled out a gun, then ran to tackle Angels right fielder Reggie Jackson in the infield. That incited a massive brawl that resulted in several injuries.
“I could hear a player yell, ‘Kick him in the balls’ from the stands,” Mayor Barkley said of the brawl after the game.
Angels starter Dave Spiwack entered with a personal four-game losing streak but pitched six strong innings, allowing three runs in a no-decision. It was amazing that he lasted even that long.
“I thought for sure I was a goner,” Spiwack said, referring to a fourth-inning mound visit from Pallazzo. “I thought I’d be fine once he found the sandpaper and the power sander, but when Pallazzo uncovered the Vaseline in my cap, I was expected to get ejected. I guess it pays to have an opera singer as the home plate umpire.”
It’s unclear if the American League will crack down on Spiwack despite the lack of ejection. Last year, Twins pitcher Joe Niekro was suspended 10 games for using an emery board to scuff the baseball during a game. But, AL president Bobby Brown might be busy doling out other punishment from this game.
Like attempted regicide.
Jackson during the seventh-inning stretch brawl uprooted second base to reveal a hidden gun, then marched over to the field boxes and pointed it directly at Queen Elizabeth II. Before Jackson could fire the gun, a woman fell from the reserve level directly onto him, knocking the weapon away.
“I honestly have no idea how I got in that situation. I don’t know anything about the gun,” a stunned Jackson said after the game. “All I remember is seeing the brawl from right field, then the next thing I remembered was lying in the dugout in tremendous pain.”
Jackson, on crutches afterwards, was questioned by police but not arrested. Even if he is able to avoid legal troubles, Jackson is unlikely to play the rest of the season. An MRI is scheduled for today, but team officials fear he has a torn right ACL and possibly a dislocated hip.
Millionaire shipping magnate Vincent Ludwig was believed to be involved in the attempted murder of the Queen, but won’t be taken in for questioning. Ludwig was in an armed standoff in the stadium concourse with Pallazzo, who shot Ludwig with a tranquilizer dart, causing Ludwig to fall several stories to his death.
The game was called after that incident, though the Angels believe they should have won.
In addition to the massive brawl that will surely result in suspensions, three separate incidents of gunplay, the death of an influential businessman, and the further maiming of an already disabled police officer, the game had even more controversy.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Halos’ Pat Proft hit a grand slam to left field, what would have been his 17th home run of the season. But in a stunning decision, third base umpire Joe West overturned the call, saying the ball was foul.
Proft, after raucously celebrating with his teammates, grounded out to end the frame, keeping the Angels off the board in the inning.
“It was a ridiculous call,” Angels manager Moose Stubing said of West overturning the home run. “I’m just glad it didn’t cost us in the end.”
In the end, Pallazzo was hailed by the sellout crowd as a hero for saving the Queen, but this was a game with no winners.