CLEVELAND, Feb. 18, 2014—The Cleveland Indians announced the resignation today of team president Hosni Mubarak. The team said that former president Mark Shapiro will resume the position once the front office determines his exact location and medical condition. GM Sam Khalifa said that, after inquiries, they have narrowed down the list of places Shapiro might now be to "only a few: Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gambia, Jordan, Kosovo, Libya, Lithuania, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Yemen or Zambia. Alphabetically speaking."
Mubarak, 86, had been the surprise choice of ownership to head the team three years ago after a disgruntled fan base demanded some off-season excitement. The move came with the added benefit of nearly $2 billion in U.S. aid annually. "I thought, man, now we can compete with the Yankees!" gushed Indian fan Sky "Skype" Schuyler, 24, of Bay Village. Initial euphoria in Cleveland ebbed when it was discovered that existing contracts with such companies as Raytheon, General Electric and General Dynamics would have to be honored, thus limiting the impact of the revenue boost on baseball operations, but Indian fans came to be proud of having the largest defense forces in the American League's Central Division.
The move prompted other franchises to seek out their own international autocrats, to middling success. Texas signed former strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, but was sorely disappointed to discover that the $49.7 million in gold he carried out of Tunisia had to be turned over to Alex Rodriguez under a clause in his original Rangers contract that granted him any bullion acquired by Texas through the 2020 season. Pittsburgh, which signed Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier to a personal services contract, unwittingly came under lien to a number of Swiss banks, and currently plays their home games in the Cayman Islands.
Sources close to the Indians front office say that signs had been pointing to a change in leadership. The rescinding of aid to the Indians by the U. S. Congress was passed overwhelmingly last year. "Mubarak had argued that the benefits of access for the U.S. Navy to Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River, and for the U.S. Air Force to Cleveland's airspace, justified continuation of the aid, but opponents pointed out that access was already granted under U.S. law and the military didn't use those access rights very much anyway," said Indians beat writer Paul Hoynes. "Though they had some great party cruises," he added.
Other events contributed to a sense of a downward spiral. Recent application of sharia law to the clubhouse Kangaroo Kourt rankled, as did placing reporters in cages during press conferences. The final straw may have been the successful "repatriation" of right-fielder Shin Soo Choo to the San Diego Padres under their new president, Kim Jong Il, which was accomplished in a daring pre-dawn raid on the Indians spring training facility in Goodyear, Arizona. "If you can't protect your elite assets with a billion dollar military force," wrote Rob Neyer, "what sort of value are you really offering your team?"
Mubarak was not available for comment.