Thursday, March 7, 2013

March 7- Eugene Emeralds

Well, once again I’m stuck in the library, trying to work on homework but instead I’m writing up the next installment to my blog. I kind of had a feeling that tonight would come to this, especially with about 11 days left to go before I graduate from the University of Oregon with two degrees in journalism and a third in English for good. Writing has always been my life; the best way for me to express my thoughts and feelings in an articulate manner. For anyone who as actually met me in person you kind of have a better understanding of what I mean by that. For example; when I sit in front of my computer I can diligently pen something well-researched, balanced and thoughtful for everyone to read, discuss and feel pretty good about. In person, I can be a bit of train wreck. I don’t really mean that in a bad way. By this I mean I get very animated with my body. Yes, I’m totally that guy that will act out my point or reason as if I’m in a one man Broadway show. I also fire out cuss words as if they were going out to style to help keep my thought process in motion as I pull a stat or story from out of my pocket. In a weird, but true way, I’m two different people when it comes to baseball.

I realize I’ve totally gotten off topic, but this blog has always been more than just talking about hats. It’s predominantly about how baseball has influenced my life and all the decisions I’ve made, whether good or bad. Baseball is more than game with me. It’s a livelihood. Since I was a wee lad baseball was always at the forefront of my mind. My great grandmother was a huge Brooklyn and eventual Los Angeles Dodgers fan. My grandparents, mother, father, uncles and even my brothers all followed the game closely. It was only fitting that I fell suit as well. We all played the game, but none of us ever made it past playing at the high school level. I probably had the best shot of ever making it far; however, after taking a 92 mile per hour fastball in the nose during a friendly practice it pretty much turned the lights out on any hopes I had of making it pro. My drive wasn’t there anymore. I became way too mental about things afterward, and I struggled to get comfortable in the batter’s box. It wouldn’t be until two years later that I found out I had suffered a concussion, which may or may not have played a part in me hanging up my spikes. Either way, had that accident not occurred, would I even be in front of my computer typing this up? Possibly not. I have no regrets over what happened, nor do I harbor any ill feelings toward my friend who rung my bell. If anything, I’m grateful for what he did. It helped me find my true calling as an ambassador of the game.

Today was one of those days where I put that to the test as the Eugene Emeralds, the short season-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, held a one day only sale on all of their new on-field caps for $20, just outside of The Webfoot Bar, a public house about a block from campus. Back in January the Emeralds staff had hooked me up with this...

the 2013 alternate cap, for free along with a pint glass with the new logo. I was truly honored by their generosity. When the news of this event came up I did my best to take to social media to help spread the word. I figured with all of the connections that I had developed over the last year I might be able to help them sell a few more hats than they originally had estimated. The thing I wasn’t expecting was that so many of my friends who didn’t live in Eugene would be more interested.

All day long I got texts, direct messages and a few tweets from friends at different corners of the globe who wanted one or three. Unfortunately, being in dire straights as I am, I couldn’t fulfill their request. Had I been flush with cash like I was last year, being able to hook a few people up with hats would have been an easy task to accomplish; something I would feel more than honored to do.

I know I’ll pick myself back up again, I just wish that day would come soon. I hate this feeling of being sidelined; not being able to go out and about like I did last season to take folks to games and talk about the sport we share a love for. The more I think about it I’m happy with the decision that was made which sent me packing from the MLB Fan Cave. Had it not been for that moment I wouldn’t have made such positive interactions with all of you and especially the Emeralds. Being back in Eugene, and being front row for their home opener last season was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, not just my summer. The Emeralds had hooked up my friends and me with tickets to the game, which was more than generous in my opinion. But that was just them getting started. Around the second inning the team’s mascot, Sluggo, spotted me in the crowd, came over and gave me a huge hug. I thanked him for everything as he was the person who had messaged me about the tickets. Being a mascot, he didn’t have much to say other than a shake of the head, which I totally understood. As I turned around to go back to my seat the gentleman sitting next to me tapped me on the shoulder and told me to turn back around. As I did, I saw this…

Sluggo had taken the t-shirt graphic my friend Adam Tamarkin and I had made for my Fan Cave campaign and turned it into a tattoo. I was smiling widely on the outside, but underneath my skin I was in tears. Aside from the Oakland Athletics, no one had done so much for me since I was let go from New York. I thanked him again and did my best not tremble as I took the photo on account of being of the verge of losing it emotionally on the exterior. Around the fourth inning the Emeralds had one more surprise for me. I looked over to the right and saw my face on the jumbotron in right-center field as they made an announcement that I was at the game. The public address announcer then went on to explain who I was and what I had done, at which the crowd gave me a round of applause. I was even more floored by the fact that my tattoos artist, Felix the Tat, was sitting three rows behind me. Without Felix doing such and amazing job with my tattoos, I doubt very many of you would know who I am. By the time the game had ended I was emotionally deflated. I don’t mean this in a bad way. It had been such a long time since I had felt so appreciated that all I could do was crash… but not before a walk-off RBI single by Clark Murphy, as seen here…

The Emeralds, the fans, the players and baseball in general has always been good to me. And I in return will always be good to it. On account of this being a new hat for the new season I have yet to mark it. Perhaps when the season starts up I’ll throw something on and update it then. But for now, I’ll just wear it proudly.

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