The legend of Chris SheltonWritten by Matt Sussman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember when Tigers first baseman Chris Shelton got off to a hot start? His batting average was .700 after five games. He collected a league-leading nine home runs through the first two weeks of the season. It was at this point ESPN began gushing over the newest name in baseball with his own highlight montage on ”SportsCenter.”
Since then, he’s cooled off considerably. In the past week, he has no homers and a couple of hits. In the weekend series against the Mariners he went 0-for-9. So let’s pretend this column was written a week ago when he wasn’t in such a slump. It makes the embellished story of his legendary upbringing a lot funnier.
When Shelton was born he weighed 30 pounds. He grew up playing with 10-foot tree logs and primarily ate red meat for dinner. For snacks he would eat poultry. Never McNuggets, though - we’re talking whole chickens.
On his first day of school, the school bully tried to steal Shelton’s lunch money, but he promptly took out a Wiffle bat and knocked the bully 450 feet out of the playground. Later he said he was just trying to make contact and wasn’t aiming for the fences.
In high school, he tried out for the football team and became an offensive lineman. Since he already had the strength of five men, he was the entire offensive line, allowing his team to win the state championship with an unprecedented formation featuring eight wide receivers.
That spring during baseball season, he would take batting practice while eating entire steaks. He’d hit a homer, eat a steak. Hit another homer, eat another steak. Made him the most feared hitter in Utah, it did.
After high school, he lured a 10-foot giant out of a cave that was scaring the town, where they proceeded to walk together to Spectre, Alabama. No, wait, that was from ”Big Fish.”
When Shelton played at the University of Utah, he abandoned his steak-eating habits and began to engulf wild boars to maintain his strength. Legend has it in one game he hit 142 home runs, although he humbly says he was just trying to put the ball in play.
After that historic game, he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates. While ESPN will tell you he was shipped to the Tigers in the Rule 5 draft, urban legend says he traveled from Pittsburgh to Detroit by riding a giant blue ox.
While playing for the Mud Hens, Shelton showed teammate Jason Grilli how to throw a curveball. When he was called up to the majors, he said, ”Jason, if you ever make it to the bigs, I’ll teach you the changeup.”
For a while he was rumored to replace Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer on ”24,” but producers decided it was too realistic to have Shelton save the world.
Some say had Shelton lived in the late 1800s and worked on the railroad, he, not John Henry, would have been the Steel Drivin’ Man.
Some say his current slump is due to lack of wild boar in the state of Michigan. Others say it’s just because baseball is a streaky sport. Either way, The Legend of Chris Shelton is a story that must be told to our grandchildren.