"I did not fall down the stairs, Carlos Zambrano. You hit me. Hard. With a baseball bat. Five times, to be exact. Knocked my plastic casing loose. And I've had it. The violence stops now.
Enough is enough.
I've kept my lid shut all season. Suffered in silence. No matter how bad it got -- no matter how many times Ryan Dempster carefully slugged me with his non-pitching hand -- I came back for more. Believed each time was the last time, that Lou Piniella would never hurt me again. I even blamed myself: was my lemon-lime too watered down? Were my contents not icy enough?
Cold refreshment, electrolyte replacement, another revenue stream, a chill theme song for Michael Jordan. All me. Do I look like a piñata? Sure, it's a thrill when somebody more important than a ballboy actually pays attention to me. But not when attention equals abuse. I've been thrown to the ground too often, made a scapegoat too many times.
Cut me, and I will bleed neon yellow.
From the start, I should have known better. Known I was never special, never treasured. Ever seen a Gatorade shower, everyone all happy and sticky and shivering? Here's the part you don't see: a lonely cooler, empty and forgotten, dumped and discarded on the turf. Used and used up.
I feel so cheap.
Perturbed gentlemen of the sports world, the time has come. Increase the peace. Treat abused inanimate sports objects with dignity. With respect. Help bring about a day when golf clubs and spectator cameras are no longer chucked into lakes, when basketball jerseys are no longer tossed against cinder block walls, when courtside TV monitors stay on the scorer's table, when coaches' clipboards are fastened to wrists with safety straps, when every last pro wrestling folding chair remains securely under someone's bottom.
Oh, and if you really need to hit something, go find Jose Canseco. He seems to need the money."
-- The Gatorade Cooler, as told to Patrick Hruby