Albert Almora and the Chamber of Prospects – A Cubs Story In Pictures

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We’re days away from the latest movie in the Harry Potter franchise, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.  A good number of us are Harry Potter fans, and my son has gone as Harry Potter with authentic robe and wand two Halloweens running.  After the last Cubs story in pictures, where the Cubs went around to bust goats, I thought it would be fun to do the same with the Harry Potter universe, and I’m very glad that Randall agreed to come along for the ride.  Truth be told, we all need a good laugh after the events that unfolded over the past week or so.

This entry obviously has to pull from several stories, as it would be time-consuming (and perhaps a bit pathetic) to do all seven books as individual volumes, but I hope you all enjoy it.  And without further ado…

World Series Dreaming Productions

Presents

ALBERT ALMORA AND THE CHAMBER OF PROSPECTS

Credit to Randall J. Sanders for taking my idea and running with it!
Credit to Randall J. Sanders for taking my idea and running with it!

Our story begins at Principal Park in Iowa, where poor Albert Almora was stuck shagging fly balls in the outfield under the watchful eye of Marty Pevey.  Suddenly, a deluge of Twitter birds came in, bringing the same tweet to Albert.  However, the Iowa brass kept hitting mute and block to keep the birds from getting to Albert:

Nothing like mail by Twitter bird! (By Randall)
Nothing like mail by Twitter bird! (By Randall)

Albert was unable to intercept the Tweets as Iowa kept hiring more interns to hit block and mute, and eventually the I-Cubs were able to shove him onto a bus towards Colorado Springs.  Albert kept wondering what the tweet said as the bus puttered along towards the next series.  Somewhere in Nebraska, the bus pulled into a rest stop and while checking the vending machines, Albert was met by a giant.

(Credit to Randall)
(Credit to Randall)

“I am Schwarbeus Hagrid!” bellowed the giant.  “And I’m here to tell you…yer a defensive wizard, Albert!”

Albert was very intrigued as he finally was able to read the Tweet, personally delivered by Hagrid.  It was an admissions letter to the world-renowned Wrigley School of Witchcraft and Defensive Wizardry, and somehow, Albert knew he belonged all along.

Hagrid took Albert to Dick’s Sporting Goods to get all his new books and gear, including a brand new Rawlings outfielder’s glove, perfect for a great seeker-in-the-making.  They then proceeded to the Des Moines Amtrak station (which is actually in Osceola, but wizards don’t care about trivial things like physical location), where Hagrid told Albert to get to Platform 9-3/4.

Solid work by Randall as usual.
Solid work by Randall as usual.

Hagrid had to leave in a hurry, leaving Albert all by himself.  Albert had a really difficult time finding 9-3/4, as mixed numbers don’t make sense and there were no actual platforms between 9 and 10.  However, he was saved from missing the Wrigley Express when Willson Contreras and his family happened along and showed him where to sneak into the hidden wizard platform.  Albert and Willson got along famously, and were soon joined in their train car by Carl Edwards Jr., who for some reason had really long hair.

Nifty touch by Randall
Nifty touch by Randall

As the train chugged along towards Wrigley, Albert thought about catching the Golden Snitch against the ivy and learning how to become versatile on defense.  Willson had already proved savvy in defensive versatility, and Carl was a developing master of relief pitching.  They all dreamed of getting sorted into Gloveindor, one of the most revered houses in all of Wrigley.

Amazing how they could fit all those people into that small concourse.
Amazing how they could fit all those people into that small concourse.

The new students finally arrived at Wrigley Station, where they were loaded onto Ubers and driven to historic Wrigley Field, home of the Wrigley School of Witchcraft and Defensive Wizardry.  Albert, Willson, and Carl were greeted by Professor Maddonagall, who would be their teacher in the art of defensive versatility.  “You will all be sorted into your new houses before you may sit at the tables for the feast,” Maddonagall told the rookies.  And with that, each of the rookies sat in the Sorting Chair, and took turns donning Clark the Hat.

The hat also doesn't wear pants (Credit to Randall)
The hat also doesn’t wear pants (Credit to Randall)

With Willson and Carl having been placed into Gloveindor, Maddonagall finally called:

“Albert Almora!”

Albert was nervous, as he did not wish to be sorted into STLytherin, which he heard was the least desirable house full of unsavory characters.  So he begged Clark the Hat, “Please not STLytherin…”

Clark the Hat pondered this for a moment, asking if Albert was sure.  After a long, uncomfortable pause, Clark finally bellowed: “GLOVEINDOR!”

Everyone at the Gloveindor table cheered, knowing full well the potential of Albert’s defensive wizardry.  Albert joined his new housemates at the table, adorned with Al’s Beef and Hot Doug’s.  Willson and Carl cheered, as did Willson’s siblings, the Bryzzo twins and Kyle Hendricks.

Credit to Randall
Credit to Randall, plus some of my own tweaks.
Buccopuff!
Buccopuff!

After the feast and Professor Dumblehoyer’s welcome speech, the students were sent off to their rooms.  Albert was able to meet Cutch Diggory, who was a Buccopuff, and a fairly friendly one at that.  Unfortunately, Albert also bumped into the STLytherins, led by Randal Grichuk, who had a chip on his shoulder because he didn’t really like Kris Bryant stealing all his thunder, and who was flanked by his goon squad, Aledmys Diaz and Kolten Wong.

Boo STLytherin...
Boo STLytherin…

After excusing himself from the unsavory STLytherins, Albert, Willson, and Carl finally made their way to the Gloveindor common room, and it was a spectacular sight:

2-6_gloveindorcommonroom

While Albert really wanted to use the new “party room” he had heard so much about from Bryzzo, he decided that it would be best to prepare for the next day’s classes, his first as a defensive wizard in training.

He looks pleased to be there. (Credit to Randall)
He looks pleased to be there. (Credit to Randall)

In the morning, after downing a delicious kale shake from Jake Arrieta’s bar, Albert went with his fellow Gloveindors to his first class, Defense Against Devil Magic.  It was led by a Redenclaw, one Professor Votto, who introduced them to a particularly intense exercise for a first-year defensive wizard.

Votto stood next to a large armoire, and ominously said, “In this piece of furniture, we have your greatest fear.  Your job is to repel your fear by turning it into something ridiculous, and laugh it away.”  He then opened the large front door, and out came Xander Bogaerts.

It's not a boggart, it's a Bogaerts! (Credit to Randall)
It’s not a boggart, it’s a Bogaerts! (Credit to Randall)

“Stay focused on the Bogaerts, and repeat after me…Riddikulus!

Indeed, it is ridiculous! (Credit to Randall)
Indeed, it is ridiculous! (Credit to Randall)

All of the students in the class cried “Riddikulus!” in unison, and the Bogaerts slunk away, transforming into Wally the Green Monster before fading into the moonlight.

The next class was Potions, with former Wrigley headmaster Hendryus James, who was a very good master scout but not a very good headmaster, unfortunately for him.  Thankfully, Hendryus was an excellent potion maker with his scouting prowess still top notch, and was very adept at explaining to the class how to reduce opponent BABIP and increase their LOB% while pitching.

Hendryus James with the Luck Dragons. (Credit to Randall)
Hendryus James with the Luck Dragons. (Credit to Randall)

The day ended with an exciting class, Transfiguration, or the ability to play any position on defense.  Albert couldn’t figure out how to play anything other than outfield, but Willson proved to be very adaptable at multiple positions, including left field, first base, and catcher.  Professor Maddonagall was very pleased with Albert’s ability to catch just about any fly ball, and Willson’s defensive versatility.  Both were recommended to Gloveindor’s Quidditch team, where Willson would block every ball in the dirt while Albert would be the seeker, doing his best to catch the Golden Snitch every game.  Both were very excited for the opportunity, but first, they would need to keep up with their studies to stay at Wrigley.

Teaching versatility.
Teaching versatility.

5-2_willsonstudiesThe season went very well initially for the Gloveindors, who were closing in on the defending House Championship Winners, the STLytherins.  Willson, Albert, and Carl all studied together in the library, the common room, and even in the new sensory deprivation tanks.  Willson, in particular, had to learn how to catch several new pitchers, including Carl, who had developed a magical fastball and breaking pitches, too.

As the season wore on, however, Albert started to get the sense that something was not quite right at Wrigley.  He brought this up to Professor Dumblehoyer, the headmaster, but Dumblehoyer preached patience, as he was not going to make any panic moves at the trade deadline and wanted to trust the process.  As the All-Star Break drew closer, Albert realized that he would not be able to stay at Wrigley for much longer, as he was sent back to Iowa with Marty Pevey.

This sucks!
This sucks!

Albert missed the spacious freedom of the Gloveindor common room at Wrigley, as he was thrown once again into the cramped spaces of his minor league home.  There was barely enough room for him to turn around without bumping into another locker or teammate, and he really missed his new friends and teachers, and even Dumblehoyer, who had believed in him from the beginning.

There was little Albert could do but wait for September call ups, but one night, something tapped on his window.  Albert looked up, and saw a flying car.

Willson popped his head out of the window and said, “Hey Albert, want to go back to Wrigley early?”

Back to Wrigley!
Back to Wrigley!

The Bryzzo twins were also there with Willson to help Albert pile all his belongings into the car before Marty Pevey could grab him to keep him at Iowa.  They drove/flew happily back to Wrigley, just in time for the last Quidditch match of the year.

7-1_rizzobeater
Rizzo as a beater! (Credit to Randall)

After receiving a howler from Grandpa Rossy for stealing his flying car to bust Albert out of Iowa, the Gloveindors got into their game robes and prepared to face off against their bitter rivals, the STLytherins.  While Randal Grichuk kept hitting inconceivable home runs (possibly aided by the illegal use of Devil Magic on the Quidditch field), Bryzzo matched his output with home runs of their own, and Willson kept too many balls from skipping past him to score for the STLytherins.

The game dragged on into extra innings, and both teams were getting tired and were down to their last relievers.  Finally, Albert spotted the Golden Snitch, slicing away from him and threatening to touch down on the field.  With a superhuman first step and a burst of speed, Albert chased after the snitch and read its trajectory perfectly as it nestled into his glove to end the game.

Gotcha! (Credit to Randall)
Gotcha! (Credit to Randall)
Couldn't resist.
Couldn’t resist.

Having won the most matches of the Quidditch season, the Gloveindors found themselves in the lead for the House Cup, with a 17.5 game lead over the STLytherins and the Redenclaws and Buccopuffs far behind.  After the exciting contest, Wrigley welcomed the visiting Brewers from Durmsdrunk, whose students gave a great show before Viktor Braun accidentally slapped Jean Segura with one of his flying bats.

He's traded in his cap for a turban! (Credit to Randall)
He’s traded in his cap for a turban! (Credit to Randall)

The party ended abruptly as strange noises emanated from the bowels of Wrigley.  Professor Dumblehoyer asked the students to return to their common rooms for safety.  However, Albert, Willson, and Carl went to investigate, as they had suspected Hendryus James earlier of bad trades and free agent deals that were disastrous for the Gloveindors.  They wanted to capture him in the act.  Albert got separated from the two and had to go into the inner dungeons of Wrigley on his own, where he encountered a shadowy figure.  He raised his wand and said “LUMOS!” and was surprised to see that it was…Professor Votto!

Albert was really stunned as he said, “I thought this was Hendryus James’ work!”

Votto laughed as he undid his turban to reveal the real mastermind of the shenanigans at Wrigley…it was Adam Wainwright, Dark Lord of the STLytherins!

He who must not be named... (Credit to Randall)
He who must not be named… (Credit to Randall)

“But…you’re supposed to be retired!” Albert cried as he backed away from the horrible sight.

Wainwright scoffed as he took over from Votto, speaking from the back of Votto’s head, “You foolish rookie, I am the Best Pitcher In Baseball, there is no stopping me now!”

Wainwright, using Votto’s body, threw fastballs and curveballs at Albert, who was only able to foul them off, staying alive in the box with two strikes against him.  Wainwright eventually grew weary, as he had expended too much energy possessing Votto’s body to keep up the onslaught, having rehabilitated a Tommy John surgery in his previous life.  He threw one high and tight to Albert, who took offense to the unwritten rules and fouled it away before it could take his head off.

Wainwright/Votto charged at Albert, who raised his hands instinctively in defense.  His hands started to scorch the flesh on Votto’s face as Wainwright screamed.

Away, ye Devil Magic! (Credit to Randall)
Away, ye Devil Magic! (Credit to Randall)

It appeared that Albert had a protective charm about him, augmented by the elimination of the Curse of the Billy Goat when the Gloveindors finally defeated the STLytherins at Quidditch.  The face of Wainwright melted away as Votto’s body also disintegrated, and the threat was over.

It seems we made some good acquisitions after all.
It seems we made some good acquisitions after all.

At the end-of-year celebratory feast, Professor Dumblehoyer praised the actions of the three Gloveindor rookies, who came up huge in the clutch.  Albert, Willson and Carl had saved Wrigley from the threat of Devil Magic, and for that, the Gloveindors clinched the House Cup and everlasting glory.

As Dumblehoyer gave his congratulatory speech, the banners hanging around Wrigley’s concourse changed into Gloveindor blue, marking the historic occasion and the start of the offseason.

Fly the W!
Fly the W!

As the Gloveindors and all the other students in Wrigley headed back to the train station, Addy the Elf showed up in front of Albert.  Addy told Albert that he had tried to help him all along in defeating Devil Magic.  Grateful for his assistance, Albert waved his wand.

Addy the Elf!
Addy the Elf!

“Accio Gold Glove!”

The Gold Glove award flew through the halls into Albert’s hand as he filched it from Brandon Crawford, and he in turn gave it to Addy.

Addy smiled, almost ready to cry, and said, “Albert Almora has given Addy a Gold Glove…Addy is a free elf!”

Addy happily spat out his large wad of elf tobacco into the nearby spittoon.  Then they both stepped ahead to board the train, ready for the next season and to defend the Gloveindor House Cup victory.

 

The End…?

10 points to Gloveindor! (Credit to Randall)
10 points to Gloveindor! (Credit to Randall)

 

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About Rice Cube

Rice Cube is the executive vice president of snark at World Series Dreaming. He loves all things Cubs, with notable exceptions (specifically, the part of Cubs fandom that pisses him off). Follow on Twitter at cubicsnarkonia

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