The St. Louis Cardinals have chosen Saturday to announce to infielder Pete Kozma that he was briefly a member of their Major League roster, between May 18 and June 3. Kozma, who only remembered being told by a man in a melting Tony La Russa mask to stand in the on-deck circle while another manager announced which relief pitcher he would bring in, was surprised and relieved to learn that the bus on which he'd been kidnapped and blindfolded after an uneventful start at AAA Memphis was operated by the Cardinals organization and not, as he'd assumed, North Korean terrorists.
Shuttled between hotels and buses by a strongman identified tentatively as Cardinals first base coach Dave McKay, Kozma nevertheless doubled in his debut and walked three times without making an error. "The first place I was in looked kind of like Busch Stadium, but I know the Dear Leader [North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il] likes spectacle. After that I just kind of assumed I was playing in some spectacular imitation of Major League Baseball. I resented being made an instrument of Juche propaganda, but I felt like I was being handled better than I have since I was drafted, to be honest."
After demoting Kozma to AAA Memphis the Cardinals announced they would be creating a new minor league level, AAAA, and promoting Kozma to it immediately, despite his .220 start in the Pacific Coast League. Clubhouse sources suggested the primary reason for the promotion was ideological impurity.