Expos Bought By Kin of Hussein, Qaddafi
MONTREAL, PQ (SP) — A consortium of middle eastern businessmen, led by Uday Hussein and Al-Saadi Qaddafi[*], has signed a letter of intent to purchase the Montreal Expos.
Hussein, 38, is the eldest son of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Qaddafi, 28, is the youngest son of Libyan leader Muammar Al-Qaddafi. Neither of the Expos’ new managing partners has any prior baseball-related experience, although they each have extensive backgrounds in the administration of other sports.
Hussein is the head of Iraq’s National Olympic Committee. The I.O.C. recently investigated allegations that Hussein tortured and murdered athletes who did not live up to his lofty expectations.
Qaddafi is the head of Libya’s soccer federation, and plays for the country’s top team. In 1996, he had 20 fans of an opposing team put to death for cheering against Qaddafi’s team a bit too enthusiastically.
The Expos had been without an owner since 2001, when New York art dealer Jeffrey Loria sold the team to Major League Baseball. The new owners announced their intention to relocate the team to northern Virginia, in close proximity to Washington, D.C., for what Hussein called "strategic reasons". They also announced that the team would be renamed the Virginia Jihad.
Despite the fact that the franchise has not qualified for post-season play since 1981, Qaddafi boldly predicted that they would win the World Series this year. He believes that the team will benefit from the total absence of booing or heckling when they’re on the road. The last time that Qaddafi’s soccer team was heckled by fans of an opposing team, Qaddafi saw to it that the other team’s stadium was demolished.
Hussein is also excited about the Jihad’s chances. "This team can hurt you in a lot of different ways because it has so many weapons, whether it be hitting, pitching or defence," he said. "Aid if that doesn’t work, we’ve also got biological, chemical and even nuclear weapons."
The new owners intend to take a very hands-on approach, with Hussein becoming the new manager of the ballclub, and Qaddafi serving as the General Manager. Qaddafi will also be the team’s new starting first baseman, despite the fact that he’s never played organized baseball at any level. He said that he prepared for the job by watching hundreds of hours of baseball on television. "As far as I can tell, the first baseman spends most of his time spitting tobacco juice and scratching his private areas," Qaddafi said. "I have practiced a great deal, and believe that I have become very proficient in both activities."
Hussein is not intimidated by the fact that today’s ballplayers generally have a reputation for being lazy and egotistical. "I’m confident that I can find new ways to motivate them and whip them into shape," he said. In fact, whipping is only one of many forms of motivation that he has used in the past on Iraqi athletes, along with scalding water, blow torches, solitary confinement and starvation. Hussein has also promised that those players who survive the entire season will be handsomely rewarded.
Although Uday Hussein has never played baseball before, his father was actually one of Iraq’s top amateur players in the late 1950s, such that he had a tryout with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1958. Branch Rickey, the Dodgers’ GM at the time, once described the young Saddam as a "crafty southpaw" who could change speeds well and throw strikes to both sides of the plate. However, the Dodgers elected not to sign him because his fastball topped out at 86 miles per hour, below average by major league standards. As a result, Hussein’s dream of playing baseball in America ended, and he chose instead to pursue a political career in Iraq, where he has ruled with an iron fist for the past 25 years. However, he now has the chance to live that dream vicariously through his son, assuming that he is in fact still alive.
Some people have raised concerns about Hussein and Qaddafi’s suitability as owners, in light of the fact that they both have lengthy records of human rights violations. Particularly, Hussein, who in addition to having tortured and killed countless Iraqi athletes, also spent time in jail for beating a man to death with a night stick, and had one of his former mistresses stripped, covered with honey, and devoured by a pack of Doberman pinschers.
Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, the Iraqi Minister of Information, denied that Uday Hussein committed any of these atrocities. He also denied that the 1919 White Sox threw the World Series and that Mickey Mantle was an alcoholic. He points to the fact that Uday is one of Iraq’s most decorated citizens, having awarded himself the country’s Medal of Honour and an academic distinction described as one degree above a doctorate.
NBC Sports broadcaster Bob Costas doesn’t see why Hussein and Qaddafi should not be welcomed into Major League Baseball with open arms. "Since when does one have to be a paragon of virtue in order to be accepted within the baseball fraternity?", asked Costas. "After all, Ty Cobb is alleged to have killed a guy, and he’s in the Hall of Fame. Even if Hussein and Qaddafi may have committed a few crimes against humanity, it’s not as if they ever bet on baseball."
[* Please note: In order to avoid confusion, SP has chosen to use only one of the 23 officially sanctioned spellings of Qaddafi’s surname]