I’ve got alot to blog about today …. you’ll be getting no less than four submissions from me during the course of this beautiful Friday. Last night, I attended the Orioles/Blue Jays game and had the absolute privilege of tagging along with WNST’S “man on the scene,” Mr. Casey Willett. My intentions for the evening we’re pretty clear; I wanted to observe the Camden Yards crowd, firsthand, and I wanted to learn a bit more about interviewing athletes.
A week from now, at this very time, the haulers will be pulling into Dover International Speedway, the most intricate and complex products on four wheels will be offloaded and nearly 40,000 collective horses will be rumbling to life. Katie Browne and I will be standing smack dab in the garage area when this happens, and when Tony Stewart strolls by with that morning scowl, I want to make sure I have the decorum and style down. Thus, I turned to Casey for some pointers, yesterday.
On my walk up to the ballpark, I passed the player’s parking lot, and noticed a half-dozen middle-aged guys, who really need to find a primary purpose in their daily lives. I’m not kidding …. I watched grown men clamor and run about the outer perimeter of the parking compound fencing, whenever a vehicle pulled up. They reminded me of the hyenas you could see running around a cage at the zoo. These guys were “geeked-up” to the max, with sharpies, photos and baseball cards. They were intent on getting any and every autograph …. and it was 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
Don’t these guys have jobs? Or, is this their job? No offense …. but, if they’re selling autographs on eBay, how much could they fetch on Jamie Walker, Chad Bradford or Greg Zaun? I can only imagine that if I stood in a player’s shoes for one day, I’d crack up at the site of a guy with his pants pulled up to the pectoral line, as he chased me around, crying …. “Mr. Snider, Mr. Snider, Mr. Snider …. can you sign my card?” What’s with “Mister” stuff, anyway?
Don’t despair, this pack of “hyenas” made it inside the ballpark, as well. They stood behind the dugouts and made their respective pleas, as the Blue Jays and Orioles took batting practice. What a freaking nuisance. By the way, the guy with the Villanova t-shirt, was one of the most pathetic. He drug his wife/girlfriend along for the “stalking event”. She had that “Embarrassed/Humiliated/I Wanna Crawl In A Hole” look the entire time. And, there were times she looked as enthused as the prospect of Nestor at a NASCAR race.
This was a topic that simmered in my brain throughout the game. I quizzed Casey and a few others about these guys, and they’re aware of them …. and harbor the same bewildered thoughts as I do. Casey was able to further confirm my suspicions – the same guys are out there everyday. I just knew I was going to write about this; it really peeked a peculiar interest.
But, I needed to enlist some opinions from a fan’s perspective. Thus, late in the game, I visited my buddy, Jubb, who was lounging down the first base line. I brought up the subject of “professional autograph hounds” …. we agreed they’re on the same moral plane as paparazzi. Jubb further reasoned, “how old is too old for an autograph?” This is a legitimate question. Thus, these players have gotta realize the same guys are not really interested in their autograph, from a collector’s perspective. Jay Gibbons must be thinking …. “wasn’t yesterday’s autograph good enough?”
I have lots of thoughts and observations from last night. I’ll be passing them along throughout the day. I gotta cut this short, though ….. The Oakland A’s are gonna be waking up in a few hours. I just wanna be there when they walk across the street to get some lunch at harborplace. I won’t have to look for Nick Swisher’s long hair or Danny Haren’s scruffy beard …. I’ll just look for a guy in a Villanova shirt.