illustrations by Samara Pearlstein
This is not, strictly speaking, a ‘superpower’. But it is a, um, unusual condition, and we do have precedents, so it will have to do.
Jeremy Bonderman is a zombie. He was dead (remember when the team had his jersey hanging in the dugout back in ’08) and gone for so long that he had time to be buried and to begin the process of bodily decomposition. Then he awoke to find that his corpse had been disinterred by a desperate Tigers front office, and Black Magic rituals had revived him somewhere deep in the bowels of Comerica.
Symbols of Great Evil were scrawled upon the walls in baseline paint (mostly Yankee and Wrong Sox symbols), opposed by Paws, dressed in the white home uni, representing the Forces of Good. The blood of a small goat was spilled, and the powder of a narwhal horn was mixed with pine tar. Mr. Ilitch presided over the ceremony. Jim Leyland chanted the spells. Dave Dombrowski parleyed with the powerful forces thus summoned. Bondo was restored to life, albeit in a slightly, er, altered form.
Naturally this will lead to some awkwardness around the rest of the non-zombie team. It is one thing for them to accept a properly superpowered pitcher, who after all is just born with his extra abilities. But Bondo was deliberately brought back from the dead to a cold, clammy parody of life, in a frantic attempt to find someone, anyone who would be able to make starts for the Tigers in 2010. That is going to lead to some awkwardness, especially among the more religious members of the team, who may not trust that Paws’ presence was enough to ward off the lingering taint of Evil that was necessary to reanimate Bondo. The smell isn’t going to help matters.
There are benefits to having a zombie on the team, however. There is the intimidation factor, of course. The fact that Bondo can no longer really feel hot and cold will mean that he is equally able to pitch in all weathers. He won’t get jet-lagged either, or tired from spending a night out on the town, since he will spend all of his time in an even-keeled zombie-daze, and the passage of time has ceased to hold real meaning for him.
Although he will in fact be difficult to kill now, his zombie status unfortunately does not preclude the possibility of injury. The Tigers will have to be extra careful with him, actually, because his already-partially-rotted body will be more prone to falling apart, and Bondo’s inability to properly feel pain means that he will not notice bodyparts falling off until someone points it out to him. This is not really any different from the usual state of affairs for Tigers pitchers, though, so we should not anticipate it being much of an issue.
Bondo is the only ‘superpowered’ pitcher who truly will not need any protection from Paws. Other teams will be incapable of telling the difference between an infectious zombie and a noninfectious one (since Bondo was brought back via Black Magic, he is noninfectious), and will assume he is held in check on the Tigers only through some sort of Ilitchian zombie mind control. Nobody will want to take the risk of kidnapping him and having him eat through their entire team. Hopefully this will play out well for the Tigers in the coming season.