Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Paul Bako faces a great challenge

Chicago - When Paul Bako recently signed a contract with the Chicago Cubs, he knew that he would have a difficult road ahead of him.  In order to better prepare for his role of backup catcher, Bako pledged during a press conference this morning that he would soon start the most intense off-season regime of his career.

"It won't be easy," Bako said, "but I know I can win the hearts of Cub fans, and the respect of my pitchers."

Bako plans on making the transition an easy one by first getting himself incarcerated for the remainder of the winter.  He is not sure as to what he'll do to receive a month and a half of jailtime, but he has a short list of options, from petty larceny to barroom brawls.

"I know that (former Cubs backup catcher Henry Blanco) never actually went to prison," Bako said, "but have you seen that guy?  I guess that growing up in Venezuela gives you a toughness that a whitebread like me can't possibly understand."

Upon entering prison, Bako intends to toughen himself up by lifting weights during the morning, fighting off hoards of gangbangers in the afternoon, and covering his body in an elaborate tattoo that, if read properly, will help lead the Cubs to cracking the 54-year-old Goat Curse.

"I saw it on a TV show," Bako said.  "It looked cool, and besides, Blanco has sleeves like you wouldn't believe."

When Bako leaves the prison for spring training - assuming he is able to get out - his first order of business will be to start a fight with Carlos Zambrano in order to assert his dominance to the rest of the team.

"Prison is nothing compared to that guy," Bako said.  "If I can challenge and defeat him, then I will have established the same order that was in place when Henry was here.  After that, it should be cake."

While Bako may have a detailed plan to toughen up for the coming season, there is no question that it will be an even greater struggle for him to replace the awesome bat of Henry Blanco.  No amount of training will improve his stroke, but he hopes that through the power of intimidation, pitchers will go easy on him at the plate.

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