swiftboat veterans for ichiro

In an upcoming spot, veteran Roy F. Hoffman says that Oakland Athletics staff ace Mark Mulder is a shady tax-and-spend liberal who once rolled over his own foot with a lawnmower so that he wouldn’t have the face the New York Yankees…”

 

by dennie wendt

 

Seattle Mariners general manager Richard Sumpflee has hired the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to appear in an ad campaign designed to boost M’s rightfielder Ichiro Suzuki’s chances of being selected as the American League’s 2004 Most Valuable Player.

“We felt we needed persuasive spokesmen willing to say just about anything for the right price,” said Sumpflee. “I figured if a few bucks were enough to get them to tell the American people that the U.S. Navy is full of it, they’d probably take our money. And believe you me, they took it.” Sumpflee tells us that the Mariners “want these vets to help get the word out about what a great hitter Ichiro is. It’s not unheard of for a player from a last-place team to win the MVP, but it is unusual—so we felt we needed to tell people about the kind of season Ichiro’s having. Recent history tell us that he Vets know how to get attention.”

Ichiro leads the American League with a .369 batting average, and he’s batting a torrid .483 since the All-Star break. He has a shot at George Sisler’s 84-year-old American League record for 257 hits in a season.

Kenneth Cordier, one of the Swift Boat Veterans who appeared in a series of ads condemning the Viet Nam record of presidential nominee John Kerry, said he was honored to shill for Ichiro for a decent payday. In the ad, Cordier says, “I served with Ichiro in the Mariners’ outfield for four months in 1993, so I know that he has the courage and strength to lead. If I was going to be stuck in any American League outfield, I would want it to be Ichiro’s.” Cordier has never played any professional baseball, and Ichiro was still playing in Japan in 1993. But recent polling indicates that 67% of sportswriters with an MVP vote believe Cordier’s claim. “He said it,” said Reno Nevadan columnist Juan Shanzano. “And I have to believe it until the other side makes a more convincing case. I’m voting for Ichiro.”

Another Swift Boat Vet, former Nixon attack dog John O’Neill, says in the Mariners’ ad that people who suggest that Boston’s Manny Ramirez or Anaheim’s Vladimir Guerrero should win the award are “not being honest with the American people.” “Guerrero’s and Ramirez’s averages are considerably lower than Ichiro’s, and both men have consistently lied about their slugging percentages and RBI stats. Ramirez and Guerrero are misrepresenting themselves to get ahead, and that’s wrong.” O’Neill’s charges surprised both ballplayers—both Guerrero and Ramirez deny even knowing their slugging numbers or exactly how many RBIs they have, and there is no indication that either has claimed otherwise. But the charges seem to have stuck.

“I will not vote for Vladimir Guerrero or Manny Ramirez,” says Ronaldo “Dwight” James of the Omaha Tribune. “Look, one day Guerrero’s batting .328, the next he’s at .325. Well, which is it, Vladimir? And Ramirez isn’t any better. They’re flip-floppers. We need consistency from our MVP. I will vote for Ichiro.”

Edward Shananahee, of the University of Oregon’s Graduate School of Marketing, praises the Mariners’ gambit. “There is no hotter marketing commodity right now than the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. They say it, America talks about it. Whether the truth is on their side or not, if the money’s there, these guys can get a message out. I think it’s a great move by the Mariners—and the Vets.”

In an upcoming spot, veteran Roy F. Hoffman says that Oakland Athletics staff ace Mark Mulder is a shady tax-and-spend liberal who once rolled over his own foot with a lawnmower so that he wouldn’t have the face the New York Yankees. “Mulder should not be an MVP candidate. He lacks the capacity to face difficult opponents. Besides, I myself once hit two home runs off of him while I was barnstorming with a team of college all-stars.” When asked when he hit his homers off of Mulder, Hoffman says that his remarks were taken out of context. “I once hit a single off a guy named Eddie Molder when I was in high school,” he told said, “but that doesn’t make Mark Mulder a good, honorable man. In fact, the Seattle Mariners have paid me to tell you that he is a war criminal.”

Larry Thurlow, another member of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, says that his group has a few more campaigns in them. “We’re basically following the money—this has turned into a real windfall for us. That’s why you can look forward to ‘Swift Boat Veterans for Vanilla Coke’ and ‘Swift Boat Veterans for The Last Shot,’ the hot new Buena Vista film starring Matt Damon, Jude Law and Lindsay Lohan. It’s a hoot and a holler, and it will be in theaters nationwide on October 1.” When confronted with the fact that the movie actually stars Matthew Broderick, Alec Baldwin and Calista Flockhart and opens on September 24, Thurlow became angry and had to be restrained. “You probably think Baltimore’s Melvin Mora should be the MVP,” he said. “Well, that’s not what I think and neither does Sean Hannity.”

 

Originally published:
Issue Thirty-Three
October 2004

 

(art : troy dockins)


Dennie B. Wendt is an Oregon man whose work can also be found on the web journals Sweet Fancy Moses , Über , as well as in Portland Magazine.

 

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