Thursday, April 17, 2003

Claude Mabillard Traded

The amusement industry was rocked today by a blockbuster deal between coaster manufacturers Bolliger & Mabillard and S&S-Arrow. Although minor transactions, primarily the firing of drug-addled sadists employed by Vekoma and Gertslauer, are almost daily news in the business, major players are rarely traded, due to both the salary cap and the relative lack of true quality designers on the planet. That this trade would involve Claude Mabillard, one of the legends of coastering, has thrown the league into an uproar. In recent memory, no off season deal has caused so much discussion.

Finalized at 11:35 PM this Wednesday, the deal sends the immensely talented eight-time All-Star Mabillard and a pair of second-round draft picks to S&S for wood division head Denise Dinn, four conditional first-round picks, one compression-air tank, and a structural engineer to be named later.

Mabillard, originally a Rule 5 draft pick by Intamin from the Baltimore Orioles, rapidly became a star in the industry when he helped create the dominant B&M franchise. His talent has never been questioned; clearly he is one of the top designers in history, arguably at a similar level to Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlin at the height of their careers. However, teammates have quietly grumbled about Mabillard’s big mouth and his lack of hustle on plays that do not directly involve him for the past several seasons.

“We know that many fans will be surprised that we let a player of the type skill level of ‘The Mabster’ go,“ explained B&M’s Walter Bolliger. “We simply felt that some of Claude’s…well…off the field antics were becoming too distracting. We at B&M like to have an image of class and team spirit, and we find these traits more important than a high average speed or good fielding percentage.”

Bolliger went on to discuss Mabillard’s recent distracting behavior. “Mabbie kept frustrating us by making the big design, but then acting like a fool and causing trouble for the team immediately thereafter. I’m sure everyone recalls when he test-rode Nitro, right? After the inaugural run, he could have bathed in the goodwill caused by our excellent design. But instead, he went sprinting to the Great American Scream Machine at midfield and spiked a chain dog right down on the Arrow logo. Additionally, all that muscle man posing, NBA-style chest bumping, raising the roof, and doing the Icky Shuffle after disembarking from his own rides is really just giving other design teams bulletin board fodder, rather than helping us perform better. And let’s not forget the incredibly offensive anti-enthusiast lyrics he sings on his latest Gangsta-rap album!”

Bolliger concluded by noting that “the final straw came just days ago. We were testing Superman at Six Flags Great Adventure. With all the press and our enthusiast fans watching, Mabillard couldn’t just be a class act. It was too tempting to show off in the spotlight. When the ride pulled into the station, he whipped a Sharpie out of his loafers and proceeded to autograph a seat belt extender, which he then flipped into the audience. And then he hopped out of his seat, grabbed some pompoms from a nearby cheerleader, and gave an impromptu can-can for those watching.”

Breakdancing on a bed of nails atop the Big Shot on Las Vegas’s Stratosphere Tower, S&S-Arrow head Stan Checketts yelled down to reporters, “we’ll take our chances with ‘The Mabinator.’ We like our designers to show their personality, even if it ticks off sissies and wusses at other companies! We look forward to showcasing his Chocolate Thunder Wham Bam I Am Thank You Ma’am Dunk at the earliest opportunity. Go get ‘em, Claude!”

Presumably, Bolliger & Mabillard will not retain its same name after this monumental trade. ARN&R was unable to confirm any name or logo change for the long-standing franchise, but it is rumored that the company may be simply called Bolliger & (abbreviated as B&).

--JCK

[Editor's Note: For other breaking trade news from the AbsolutelyReliable Sportsdesk, read here.]