Sportsman's Daily


Last Man on Tampa Rays’ Depth Chart was Also Picked Last in Gym Class

Emotional Scars Run Deep



It’s a No-Shitter! This steaming pile of horse shit awaits Rays pitcher J.P. Howell in his personal parking spot. It’s just another friendly “how do you do?” from teammates.

TAMPA, FL (Sportsman’s Daily Wire Service) Choosing sides in gym class could often be a lesson in reality. Small, uncoordinated kids or slow, heavyset kids frequently take the brunt of cruel jokes or just plain neglect. Either way, deciding on teams for Whiffle Ball or Dodge Ball separates the haves from the have-nots. In the case of pitcher J.P. Howell, who’s currently vying for the fifth spot in the Tampa Rays rotation, apparently one singular moment defined him.

“In sixth grade I dropped a crucial pass in a mini-football game, and nobody forgot it. I was a decent athlete, but you get labeled I guess.” said Howell. “Yeah, I was generally picked after the girls if we were doing the co-ed gym thing or after the slightly strange, quiet kid with the taped together eye glasses who used to wipe snot on his sleeve and had an innate knowledge of how the film projector worked.”

“I guess we weren’t very fair to J.P.,” said Kyle Muldoon, who was then the top athlete at Robert F. Kennedy Middle School in Carmichael, California and now drives a truck for a local beer distributor that mainly services country clubs. “We rode him pretty hard in those days. We always made sure he got picked last for everything. We even picked him after Poopy Pants Yakabovich. And I gotta confess; I was the number one culprit. I called J.P. all sorts of names – Butterfingers, Dr. Drops, Fumbles the Clown, and the wildly popular, Fuck Face. Of course now he’s entering his fourth year in the majors and I’m delivering Budweiser to Shriners – so I guess you can all imagine how I’m working that out in therapy.”

Howell, who currently ranks seventh on the Rays starting pitching depth chart, hopes to land a spot in the rotation, but has lately dealt with an onslaught on fresh abuse from his Rays teammates. “Seems between his therapy sessions my old pal Kyle Muldoon found the time to put in a call to the team and got word to some of the players that I dropped the pass in sixth grade,” said Howell. “So now I’m starting to hear about it from (Rays ace pitcher Scott) Kazmir and some of the other guys. I’m particularly fond of the stunt they pulled last week. Finding steaming piles of horse shit in my locker and parking spot and boogers in my macaroni and cheese after hitting the buffet table really says ‘welcome aboard’ doesn’t it?”

Still, Howell says he won’t let the treatment deter him from doing his level best to make the squad. “I’ve been picked last most of my life. Hearing how much of a loser I am from teammates as opposed to encouragement really takes me back to my childhood. I can’t imagine what the fans have in store. I can hardly wait for opening day.”

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