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Yankee Pitcher Wells Suspended For Cliché-Abuse

NEW YORK, NY (SP) — New York Yankee Pitcher David "Boomer" Wells has been suspended 10 games by Major League Baseball for violating the league’s anti-cliché policy.

The veteran left-hander’s illicit use of idioms occurred in a media scrum around his locker after his most recent start, a brilliant three-hit shutout against the Boston Red Sox. During the scrum, Wells asserted that he gave 110%, stayed within himself, and took his game to a different level in the late innings. He added that he felt like he was in a zone, had a new lease on life, and was ready to set the world on fire.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced the suspension shortly after being apprised of Wells’s comments. Selig is concerned that cliché use has become so rampant throughout baseball that it threatens to tarnish the image of America's national pastime. "Some of the most frequently used clichés are completely nonsensical," said Selig. "What does it mean to give 110%? It’s mathematically impossible to ever give more than 100%. Not to mention the inherent contradiction in simultaneously giving 110% and staying within oneself. It's really quite ridiculous!"

Selig believes that A. Bartlett Giamatti, who had been a Professor of English Literature at Yale University before becoming Baseball Commissioner in the late 1980s, would also have regarded the widespread use of clichés in the game to be a serious crisis. "I’m certain that Bart would have considered the cliché-abuse problem to be a much more serious threat to the integrity of the game than the Pete Rose scandal ever was," said Selig.

Don Fehr, head of the Major League Baseball Players’ Association, disputes Selig's dire assessment of the situation, and has flatly rejected Selig’s proposal to introduce a league-wide program of random cliché-testing. "I think it's quite understandable that when a player is asked variations on the same question hundreds, if not thousands, of times, he’s going to resort to using the occasional cliché," said Fehr. "I mean, if Cal Ripken didn’t have a few clichés to fall back on when answering questions about his attempt to pass Lou Gehrig’s record of consecutive games played, I’m sure he would’ve ended the iron man streak years earlier due to sheer mental exhaustion."

This was not the first time that Wells’s outspoken nature has landed him in hot water. The recent publication of his autobiography, "Perfect I'm Not! Boomer on Beer, Brawls, Backaches and Baseball" generated a great deal of controversy because it contained many outrageous allegations, including his estimate that up to 40% of major leaguers make regular use of performance-enhancing clichés. The Commissioner's office did not punish Wells for these comments, but the Yankees fined him $100,000 for tarnishing the team's image.

Wells’s teammates stood behind him yesterday, despite his flagrant and habitual cliché-abuse. "That’s just Boomer being Boomer," said the team’s all-star shortstop Derek Jeter. "You can’t say enough about him. He brings a lot to the table, and he's a leader both on the field and in the dressing room."

"He’s a tremendous competitor," said centre fielder Bernie Williams. "He always has his game-face on, and knows what it takes to win. He thrives under pressure, and always comes through in the clutch."

"He's got great stuff, as well as a great feel for the game," said fellow starting pitcher Roger Clemens. "He’s the workhorse of our rotation, an inning-eater with a rubber arm. He can flat-out play."

Wells is confident that the Yankees will not falter in his absence. "This team has a lot of depth, and a strong supporting cast," he said. "They also got a lot of mental toughness and intestinal fortitude."

Manager Joe Torre also believes that the Yankees won’t be unduly affected by the suspension. "This team has overcome a lot of adversity, and it always seems to find a way to win," he said. "The team is really starting to gel. The players have bought into the system, and everyone is on the same page."

Even when he returns from his suspension, Wells realizes that at 39 years old, he may be close to the end of the line. "I know that before spring training last year, many people were ready to stick a fork in me, ‘cause they thought I was done like dinner," he said. "Well, I guess they were just a day late and a dollar short. Like the old saying goes, it ain’t over ‘til the fat lefty sings, and I ain’t singin’ yet!"

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