This week, the Rockies world was reintroduced to Scott Oberg, a reliever with live stuff in his arm but an inability to keep the ball from getting hit very far, which is a key part of being a good pitcher. In 58⅔ innings for the Rockies, Oberg has allowed 11 home runs and sports a very unsexy 5.22 ERA. Overall, Scott Oberg is bad.
But what if Scott Oberg was in popular stories? How would he act? How would he affect the plot? I've recast several popular novels and written passages replacing main characters or adding Scott to the scene.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
"The little evening breeze blew over the clearing and the leaves rustled and the wind waves flowed up the green pool. And the shouts of men sounded again, this time much closer than before.
George took off his hat. He said, shakily, 'Take off your hat Lenny. The air feels fine.'
Lenny removed his hat dutifully and laid it on the ground in front of him. The shadow in the valley was bluer, and the evening came fast. On the wind the sound of crashing in the brush came to them.
Lenny said 'Tell me how it's gonna be.'
George had been listening to the distant sounds. For a moment he was business-like. 'Look acrost the river, Lenny. An' I'll tell you so you can almost see it.'
Lenny turned his head and looked off across the pool and up the darkening slopes of the Gabilans. 'We gonna get a little place,' George began. He reached in his side pocket and brought out Carlson's Luger; he snapped off the safety, and the hand and gun lay on the ground behind Lenny's back. He looked at the back of Lenny's head, at the place where the spine and skull were joined.
A man's voice called from up the river, and another man answered.
'Go on,' said Lenny.
George raised the gun and his hand shook.
Scott Oberg, standing miles away, gave up a three-run home run to Matt Joyce of the Pittsburgh Pirates with the Rockies down only 2-0, effectively killing his team's hopes of winning. It was the first batter he had faced all season in the majors."
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
"It seemed to take Sirius an age to fall. His body curved in a graceful arc as he sank backward through the ragged veil hanging from the arch. . . .And Harry saw the look of mingled fear and surprise on his godfather's wasted, once-handsome face as he fell through the ancient doorway and disappeared behind the veil, which fluttered for a moment as though in a high wind and then fell back into place.
Harry heard Scott Oberg's triumphant scream, but knew it meant nothing, Sirius had only just fallen through the archway, he would reappear from the other side any second. . . . But Sirius did not reappear.
'SIRIUS!' Harry yelled, 'SIRIUS!'
He had reached the floor, his breath coming in searing gasps. Sirius must be just behind the curtain, he, Harry, would pull him back out again. . . But as he reached the ground and sprinted toward the dais, Lupin grabbed Harry around the chest, holding him back.
'There's nothing you can do, Harry.'
'Get him, save him, he's only just gone through!'
'It's too late, Harry.'
'We can still reach him.'
Harry turned to Scott Oberg, murderer of Sirius Black.
'This is only the second worst thing you've done!' Harry shouted. 'The first being you giving up a three-run home run to Matt Joyce of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 7th inning with the Rockies trailing only 2-0.'
'I effectively ruined the Rockies' chances of a comeback,' Scott said. 'And also I murdered Sirius Black.'"
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
"A thousand voices were screaming, but Arya never heard them. Prince Oberg . . . no, King Oberg . . . stepped out from behind the shields of his Kingsguard. 'My mother bids me let Lord Eddard take the black, and Lady Sansa has begged mercy for her father.' He looked straight at Sansa then, and smiled, and for a moment Arya thought that the gods had heard her prayer, until Oberg turned back to the crowd and said, 'But they have the soft hearts of women. So long as I am your king, treason shall never go unpunished. Ser Ilyn, bring me his head!'
Arya stormed into the crowd, shouting at King Oberg through the cheers of the crowd.
'I can't believe this,' she thought. 'First he gives up a three-run home run to Matt Joyce, the first batter he faced in the regular season, and now he's going to kill my father and start a civil war across the Seven Kingdoms.'
'I killed the Rockies chances at a comeback! And now I'm going to kill a Stark!' King Oberg shouted, the crowd erupted."
Animal Farm by George Orwell
"But they had not gone twenty yards when they stopped short. An uproar of voices was coming from the farmhouse. They rushed back and looked through the window again. Yes, a violent quarrel was in progress. There were shoutings, bangings on the table, sharp suspicious glances, furious denials. The source of the trouble appeared to be that Napoleon and Mr. Pilkington had each played an ace of spades simultaneously.
Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.
Miles away, Scott Oberg gave up a three-run home run to Matt Joyce in the seventh inning, effectively killing the Rockies' chances at a comeback. It was the first batter he faced this season."
★ ★ ★
It seems, as the old cliche goes, life often imitates art.