illustrations by Samara Pearlstein
Thus far we have encountered Tigers pitchers who have some measure of control over light, or heat energy, or sound, or time, or, uh, dead flesh. But this is something different.
Armando Galarraga has amazing sonic powers. All those vowels and rollable Rs in his name make it a perfect weapon when shouted by someone who can control the power of sound. Do you doubt the things that may be done with the power of sound? Experience a sonic boom, and know the might of Armando.
His power is carefully monitored by the league, so that they may be sure that he is not secretly whistling behind the ball during games to give it some extra oomph. That would be illegal, obviously. And he is not supposed to amplify the voices of, say, opposing base coaches so that they inadvertently broadcast their verbal signals all over the infield. If he sometimes surreptitiously boosts Ozzie Guillen’s voice a little so that he gets in trouble for what he’s saying, though… well, nobody will hold that against him. Except for Ozzie Guillen. That’s OK, Verlander and his fireballs can offer some protection.
Armando’s sound-canceling abilities are really just as impressive as his sound-amplifying and offensive-sound-blasting abilities. Tempting as it may be, he is not supposed to use his powers to strip the sound from opposing managers, rendering them unable to scream orders at their own players. But the league does allow him to whistle a little white noise around himself, which is very useful when it comes to handling loud and irate opposing crowds. Yankee fan chants have no effect on Armando. He doesn’t have to waste brain cells trying to ignore them; he just tunes them out in the most literal sense.
The ability to hold forth at Team Karaoke Night without having to use the karaoke machine microphone? That’s just a bonus.