Thursday, September 26, 2013

July 22- Pittsburgh Pirates

This story takes place long before the date on the front-right panel of this Pittsburgh Pirates cap, and still stands as one of the most traumatic times in my life. In my Father’s Day post from June 16th I touched on bits and pieces of a relationship I was in while I lived in Eugene, Oregon and went to school at the University of Oregon. I’ll do my best to not give a longwinded explanation of how everything went down, but what I can tell you is that she and I met in June of 2008 about a week after I finished treatment for intestinal parasites that almost killed me a month prior. From then until the end of August of 2009 we were together, and in roughly 60% of that span we were at each other’s throats. In those dark moments I developed a deep depression and began cutting myself and heavily considered committing suicide. Obviously the easiest solution would have been to end the relationship; however, when the other party threatens to kill themselves if you go, it kind of makes things worse. The last thing I wanted was the self-inflicted death of someone who is clearly mentally disturbed on my conscience. The breakup finally came in early September a few days after her birthday and roughly two-and-a-half weeks after I helped pack up her belongings and drive her and everything she owned to Anchorage, Alaska from Eugene as she locked up a job to teach German at an immersion school. For those of you who don’t know how far that is it’s a tad over 4,000 miles away. It took as about four-and-a-half days to drive it and only four hours for me to fly back into Portland. Crazy. We had no plans on splitting up, but she ultimately dropped the hammer not too long after she got settled. She had been talking to someone else before she left. I should have been surprised, but this wasn’t exactly the first time such an act of distrust was brought up in our relationship.

I know I shouldn’t have been miserable or depressed, but when you give so much of your time and energy to someone you can’t help but feel that the world is out to get you. Not to mention the fact that most of my money was gone after helping her achieve her “ideal dream” of getting as close to her happy place as she had when she lived, went to school and worked in Munich, Germany. In the months that followed I fell apart. The typical high school drama between quarrelling lovers took place via Facebook and emails and it got so bad that my life spun out of control. I lost my job working as a morning room service waiter and evening bartender at the Hilton, my grades started to slip and I began drinking heavily and screwing every woman in sight. “This is it,” I thought. “I have nothing to live for.” The moment had come a few days after the 2009 fall term ended that I ultimately decided that I was going to take my own life. All of my hopes and dreams for 2010 seemed irrelevant. The biggest one of which was to go to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup, something I had been planning and saving for since 2006, but the money was all gone. All spent on trying to make the one person happy that I never could.

To make a long story short, I obviously didn’t hang myself as I had planned and I was immediately checked into counseling at the behest of my mother and the psychologists on the U of O’s campus. Things had gotten so bad in my recover process that I was given a choice: Go home for winter break with my parents OR be institutionalized. Needless to say, option one was the most appealing. For three weeks my other and stepfather kept a close watch on me. I did my best to contact the outside world to let my friends know that I was still alive and they in return sent me well-wishes and dropped by to see me when they paid a visit to Portland. A steady stream of Lithium and sleep aids was really all it took to help right what was going wrong in my brain. Never in my life had I felt so helpless and scared, but as I sit here today, writing this piece I can’t help but be ever so grateful that I finally accepted hitting bottom only to rebuild myself with the help of the people I love most.

After a few more counseling sessions my psychiatrist and therapist both felt that I was no longer a danger to myself and allowed me the chance to do things on my own again. Me being me, I did things to the extreme and drove down to Pasadena, California to surprise all of my friends as our Ducks were playing in the Rose Bowl against Ohio State. 

Maturity at its finest.

It was a bitter loss, but the overall experience of being with my friends was all that I needed to comfort me. The trip to Magic Mountain the next day really helped too.

When I returned to Eugene for the winter term a few days later I did it with a resilient stride. My grades improved. My writing became more profound, and much more detailed. I was reading more often and rediscovering all the things from my past that I held so dear growing up; things like video games, comic books, WWE and most important, baseball. Somehow I had disallowed myself to enjoy to goofier things in life after the responsibilities of life had kicked in when I moved out of my mom’s house. As I started dating all of those little things that make me who I am today had died out and become lost. I found myself trying to appeal to the person who I thought I wanted to be with as opposed to just being myself. If my hitting bottom taught me anything, it’s that the person that I was, the confused, scared shell of a man that I was evacuated itself from my body when I was going through recovery. The confident, life-loving adventurer is all that is left. I truly couldn’t be happier.

In February 2010, a few days after my 27th birthday, I discovered a strange financial loophole in my taxes and grant money which essential put $4,000 into my pocket shortly after I filed my taxes and started the spring term. Back in 2006 when I started planning my World Cup trip I had figured it would cost me roughly $10,000 to be able to live in Johannesburg, South Africa for a month and be able to attend a fair portion of the games being played, including my favorite squad: the English National Football Team.


I realize it’s a bit weird for me, an United Statesman (American is an ambiguous term), to cheer for the Three Lions, but there is a very good reason as to why I’m treasonous in my soccer fanhood. The very first game I ever saw on television took place in 1990 during the World Cup in Italy. The first round match in question took place on June 11th and pitted England against their political rival the Republic of Ireland. As a seven-year-old I didn’t really understand the impact the game would have in their respective countries, all I saw were two countries playing a game against one another. The other thing that I should point out is that I didn’t realize how much Irish blood coursed through my veins because as soon as Gary Lineker scored a goal to put England on top in the eighth minute I was sold. At that age, once you develop a kinship for something it’s hard to let it go over time. Kevin Sheedy scored for Ireland in the 73rd minute, bring the match to a draw, but I stuck with England all the way to their fourth place finish as they lost to the host country in the third place match. And like a good Irish boy, my disdain for the Italian National Team was born. 

This little story might also help explain why my first tattoos were the Irish flag and the Three Lions crest for the English National Team on each arm. As contradictory as it may seem the other part of this story is that my two favorite all-time players, Damien Duff (Ireland) and Joe Cole (England), both played together on my favorite club team, Chelsea, from 2003-2006. Yah, all of my tattoos are extremely deep-rooted.

Back to the story

With $4,000 in my pocket plus my new job at Max’s Tavern which I had started a few days after I got back from the Rose Bowl, the reality of being able to finally witness a World Cup was getting closer. The one downside of all of this, at the time, was that all of the tickets for England’s matches had all been scooped up do to the lottery system that had in place; however, for $80 I was able snag tickets for three games, the most notable of which was Ivory Coast vs. Portugal. What I didn’t count on was the fact that a roundtrip place ticket, even a few months out, was going to coast me $3,000. Then I still had to find a place to stay, eat, get around, etc. which meant that my original estimate of $10,000 wasn’t that far off. The reality of how much this trip was going to cost me set in, but didn’t really get me down. I did what I could to find a cheaper route, but nothing was available. After two weeks of intense research I had all but lost hope when an ingenious idea hatched. Rather than go to the country in which the matches are being held, why not go to the countries that are participating? I had gotten my passport a year prior to that realization and the idea of getting it marked up with multiple stamps on my first trip sounded awesome, so I went back to the computer and checked out flights into Europe. The cheapest I found was $1,300 roundtrip to Copenhagen, Denmark, and my travel timeline was good enough for two-and-a-half weeks as I still had to be back in Eugene for the start of summer term to receive more grant money so that I wouldn’t be dead broke when I got home. So, I bought the tickets, went to AAA and bought a month long Eurail pass (you can’t buy them in Europe), packed up enough clothes, my computer, my Ipod, a suit (classy), toiletries, a jar of peanut butter (no joke), my Waldo doll (seriously, no joke)… 

and a military utility blanket into a hiking backpack and flew 16 hours from Portland to Amsterdam to go through customs, and then finally landed in Copenhagen. 

The only time I'll ever see Greenland.

And boy, did I ever look marvelous when I got off the plane.

Key component: Mustache still in tact.

The most important thing to remember from this travel process is that I left sometime in the early morning on June 5th and arrived in the afternoon on June 6th. I bring this up because my time was limited in Demark as I was leaving for Amsterdam the next evening. Sooooooo… no sleep ‘til Amsterdam.

First bar I saw in the airport in Copenhagen. Seriously!?

Despite that fact that I didn’t speak Dane I somehow managed to find my way from the airport to the hostel which was tucked away behind an old church in a hard-to-find corner of town. And when I say it was hard to find I mean that it took meeting up with two other guys from the States, Steven and Richard from Pennsylvania, who were equally as perplexed in finding the hostel because there wasn’t a noticeable sign. But, we managed and checked in. I quickly unpacked and locked up my gear and hit the streets.

Of all the reasons why I wanted to visit Denmark, besides do some investigating on my dad’s side of the family…

I wanted to go to the brewery of my favorite beer company, Carlsberg. I developed a huge fascination for the lager years before at a bar in downtown Portland which no longer exists and there was only one bar in Eugene that carried it in bottle form called the Bier Stein, a world of beers sort of establishment. What I wasn’t expecting was that the brewery closed at 6:00 PM and that they were closed the next day, Tuesday. That part really confused me, but I guess Tuesday is some sort of form of Sunday in Denmark because everything was virtually closed the next day. Anyway, with a limited knowledge of the city, a few maps that I really couldn’t read and some shoddy directions I ventured out into Copenhagen to find my watering hole Mecca.

I wandered aimlessly for a solid two hours, taking in the sights, discovering a city that’s older than the country I live in… and getting lost.

But alas, I could sense that I was getting closer to my goal.

With about 45 minutes to spare and two quick photos because I’m clearly a 12-year-old at heart…

I found the correct path. However, I showed up right as the gates were closing. I was morose.

So, I did the next best thing; I found the closest bar and crushed about seven pints of Carlsberg. It was amazing. It was still a bit light out and I needed sustenance so I waltzed casually (drunkenly) into a pizza joint run by Turks and picked up a pepperoni pizza. Now, I said pepperoni pizza, but apparently that also means it comes with mushrooms. I don’t really understand the logic there, but I managed. The only problem from this point was walking all the way back to the hostel without getting lost.

I totally forgot that the official start of summer was upon us so it was ridiculously bright out around 9:00 PM as I arrived at my destination. I still had about half of my pizza left and Steven and Richard were both kicking it on the patio with a beer each. 

No, this isn't a concentration camp.

The two of them were on leave from the Navy and were doing a similar European tour during their free time, but neither cared much for the soccer that was about to go down. There was another girl, Kristi from Russia, and an Australian named Andrew who I ended up cruising around a small berg of Copenhagen called Christiania the next day with. As the sun set and the shift at the desk ended for the Swede named Elof, he brought us all out a round of Carlsberg dark and we shot the breeze. It was also around this time that I had a brief moment of clarity and retreated back to my room to retrieve my computer as the time was quickly approaching 1:00 PM in the States. What is this significance? Well…

6/7/10: World Cup was still only four days away and we all felt that something playing in the background would have made for an interesting conversation piece. This could have been music, a TV show or a sporting event. Remembering that the Chicago Cubs were hosting the Pirates in an early match I decided to kick on my and put the game on since I didn’t have to worry about blackout restrictions in Denmark.

Steven, as it turned out, was born and raised in Pittsburgh, and grew up watching the Pirates his whole life. Andrew, Elof and Kristi didn’t have any real understanding of what baseball was so the three of us Statesmen did our best to keep up with the others’ questions as we got drunker into the night. The game itself wasn’t all that thrilling with the exception of Marlon Byrd going 3-4 with two RBI, but the Pirates had a few moments like: Andrew McCutchen legging out a triple and former Oakland Athletics Bobby Crosby roped two doubles and Dana Eveland took to the hill and gave up three earned runs.

There was an unusual feeling that came over me in that I traveled across the planet, had a great day taking in another culture, but still found myself enjoying the one bit of American culture that I love the most, baseball. Whether my new friends really tried to understand the game wasn’t really the purpose of what we were doing. All of us had a special little thing to share with one another, and all of us got away from our respective countries to end up in this part of the world, even for just a night. As I get older and look back on the things I accomplished this trip is by far the one I am most proud of, and the one where I truly felt that, even for one day, I had become an ambassador of baseball. The MLB Fan Cave will always have a special place in my heart as it served as the platform to spread my love of the game to a larger audience, but this moment was the first time in which I was able to share it with multiple cultures and walks of life. 

22: I suppose I should talk about the hat first before I really get moving into another topic. The Pirates introduced this cap at the start of the 2009 season and has served as the team’s alternate cap when they’re not celebrating Military Days or Throwback Sundays. Everything about the cap is identical to their normal game cap with the exception of the white outline around the “P.”

One of the interesting theories that I’ve heard about the “P” itself, which was first used by the Pirates in 1948, is that it tells a bit about the city and the state. For instance, the bottom of the “P” is meant to look like a key as Pennsylvania is the Keystone state. The four points on the bubble of the “P” represent Point State Park (The Point, as it’s known) and the other three represent the three rivers. If that’s true, that’s ridiculously, mind-blowingly awesome.

Even though McCutchen only slapped a triple during that June 7th game in 2010, there is no doubt that if there was one guy to represent as the fact of this generation of the franchise, it would no doubt be McCutchen… or possibly Jason Kendall if anyone outside of Pittsburgh remembers him.

Attending Fort Meade Middle School in Florida, McCutchen was eligible to play varsity baseball as an eighth grader at Fort Meade High School. He batted .591 that year. During McCutchen's varsity career, he batted .474, with his average for his senior season over .700, with eight home runs, 40 RBI, 45 stolen bases, and four strikeouts. He also ran track and was one of the top football recruits in the state of Florida, but opted for a career in baseball. He was also a part of a state title winning 4x100m relay his freshman year of high school.

McCutchen, who had signed with the University of Florida, was drafted 11th overall by the Pirates in the 2005 MLB Draft and signed with them instead of becoming a Gator. He started for the South Atlantic League's All-Star team in 2006, his first full season as a professional. At the end of that year, the Pirates named him the organization's Minor League Player of the Year. McCutchen was consistently considered a top prospect, being ranked a top 50 prospect in all four of his minor league seasons by Baseball America, peaking at number 13 before the 2007 season.

On June 3, 2009, after the Pirates traded starting center fielder Nate McLouth to the Atlanta Braves, McCutchen was called up to the majors for the first time. He made his debut the next day, playing the now vacant center field spot and batting leadoff against the New York Mets. He singled in his first career at-bat, off starter Mike Pelfrey. He ended the day with two singles, one RBI, three runs scored and a stolen base in four at-bats He recorded his first career four-hit game five days later, against McLouth and the Braves, in a 7-6 Pirates loss. Two of his hits were triples, making him the first Pirate with two triples in a game since Tike Redman accomplished the feat in 2003. McCutchen was named the Baseball America Rookie of the Year for 2009, but finished in fourth place on the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) list behind the likes of Chris Coghlan, J.A. Happ and Tommy Hanson. Yah, ridiculous.

But McCutchen took it all in stride. He put up modest, similar numbers his sophomore season, but really turned it on in 2010 when he hit 23 home runs, 89 RBI and stole 23 bases on his way to making his first All-Star Game appearance. In 2012 he bested all of his previous career numbers by hitting .327 with 31 home runs and 96 RBI, his first Gold Glove, his second All-Star Game bid, his first Silver Slugger Award and a third place finish for the National League MVP. Oh! And he also led the NL with 194 hits on the season. His WAR was only 14 points lower that that of Buster Posey’s, but who’s really counting?

The timing of the introduction of this hat and McCutchen’s arrival into Major League Baseball couldn’t have been anymore perfect. The man is quickly on his way to changing the face of Pirates’ baseball and leading them back into the Glory Days much in the same way Ralph Kiner, Bill Mazeroski, Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell all led their Pirates teams to successful seasons. I for one am happy to say that I’ve been able to witness something special since Day 1.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

July 21- Portland Rockies

It’s time to get a little bit old school on y’all. Follow me as we whisk away back to the year 2000. Ok, so it’s not that far back, but it was certainly a life-changing time for me as I had just moved to the Pacific Northwest which I captured so beautifully in my first Portland Beavers post back on March 6th. It was a harsh reality coming face-to-face with the fact that the only professional baseball team within my proximity happened to be a short season-A club named the Portland Rockies. Portland’s population back in those days hovered in around 530,000 people; however, with Vancouver, Washington to the north (where I lived) there was an added 147,000 people, and another 137,000 people to the south in Oregon’s capital city, Salem. Mix that with all the surrounding towns within a 75-mile circumference and you could probably have over 1 million people. My point with this is that Portland was just too big of a city to be stuck with only a short season-A club, and they did it from 1995-2000.

Now, if you read my previous Beavers post you’d know that the former AAA Beavers were packed up and relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah by then-owner Joe Buzas at the end of the 1993 season. Luckily for Portland there was another team within the state that was having a difficult time drawing crowds and wins who was in the market for relocating themselves. So, at the end of the 1994 season the Bend Rockies, who had only been in existence since the 1992 season, made their way north and set up shop in the desperately-in-need-of-renovation Civic Stadium for the start of the 1995 season.

Had I moved up there prior to their final season I probably would have given a bit more care to the team; however, even in that final year I still made it to 10 games in which they went 4-6 and finished the year with a 32-44 record. For a city of over 500,000 people they were lucky to pull in 1,000 people per game. It was pathetic, especially considering the fact that the stadium is in downtown Portland and pretty easy to get to. Either way, I was one of the few to see the up and coming careers of the likes of Brad Hawpe, Garrett Atkins, Clint Barmes and Cory Vance before they all moved up and on to bigger and brighter futures. But this post isn’t really about them; it’s about the one year in which a team full of nobodies led by then-manager Jim Eppard did the unthinkable in 1997.

In the team’s third year in Portland, Eppard’s first, the Rockies had two players that would touch the Major Leagues even for just a few games, pitcher Justin Miller and first baseman Todd Sears. Sears’s Major League career would last only 40 games in two years with the Minnesota Twins and the San Diego Padres while Miller’s went seven years with Toronto Blue Jays, Florida Marlins San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers and a brief stint in Japan. Both of their minor league careers stretch for more than 11 years each and neither were that big of a factor for the Rockies in 1997; however, both were a part of the team that went 44-32 which was good enough for their first division title as they then went on to win their only Northwest League title. After that, the only bit of success the Rockies found was in their second division title in 1999 under then-manager Alan Cockrell.

This cap, which lasted all six years, is one of the last relics from a team that only exists through records and memorabilia. Like a lot of teams whose name is derived from their Major League affiliation, the Portland Rockies logo was designed in the same styling as the Colorado Rockies, but with a few personal touches. Obviously the “PR” is the same as the “CR,” but the added rose is a tribute to the city which is known as the City of Roses which got its name from the perfect climate to grow roses as displayed in the International Rose Test Garden, one of the city’s most famous attractions. The other added feature is the mountain backdrop which could be said is Mount Hood, which can easily be seen from Civic Stadium; however, it is the same pattern which has been featured in the Rockies logo since their inaugural season in 1993. The thing that is most interesting about the use of the mountain is that the Colorado Rockies have only used this graphic on their twice in the team’s history. The first came in 1999 on their Turn Ahead the Clock jerseys, which were used for one game on August 18th, which the second came this season with the team’s Diamond Era batting practice cap. The only time any team used the graphic before this came before the Colorado Rockies took the field for their first official game. That’s right, the 1992 Bend Rockies. 

Due to the fact that most of the people I listed above had mediocre careers with the Portland Rockies I decided to roll with two guys who actually had profound careers whose talents then translated to the Major League level. The only problem is that I can’t find any record of what jersey number they wore. And while I could assume that the first number they wore in the Majors was in fact their number in the minors, in this case that assumption doesn’t fly as they both played in Portland in 1998.

???- A fourth round draft pick by the Rockies out of Brandon High School in Brandon, Florida in 1997, Chone Figgins had the makings of being a superstar in the Major Leagues. Figgins only played one season in Portland and had a pretty successful season. In 69 games Figgins hit .283 with nine doubles, three triples, one home run, 26 RBI and 25 stolen bases. His three triples led the team and his 25 stolen bases were the second best. Figgins was traded to the Anaheim Angels in 2000 and made his Major League debut on August 25, 2002.

Contrary to popular belief Figgins is not a bust. While his time with the Seattle Mariners (three years) was rather lackluster, the eight years he spent with the Angels were incredibly productive. He made one All-Star Game appearance in his final season in Anaheim in 2009 when he led the league with 101 walks along with his .298 average, 30 doubles and 42 stolen bases. Figgins led the American League in stolen bases in 2005 with 62 and cracked the top-25 in AL MVP voting four times (2004-2005, 2007 and 2009). When Figgins made his debut he wore the #6 all the way through the end of the 2003 season.

???- The other mystery guest was drafted three times, twice by the Mariners in 1995 and 1996 in the lower rounds and then a third time by the Rockies in the 13th round in 1998 out of the University of South Alabama. 

Juan "Pornstache" Pierre’s first year as a professional came that season in Portland with Figgins, with Pierre having a borderline Hall of Fame first season… for the minors. In 64 games Pierre hit .352 with 93 hits, nine doubles, two triples, 30 RBI, 55 runs scored and a team-leading 38 stolen bases. How the Rockies didn’t win a NWL title that season as well is beyond me.

Pierre only spent two more successful seasons in the minors before getting called up on August 7, 2000 where he finished in sixth place for the National League Rookie of the Year Award batting .310. The following season Pierre would swipe a NL-leading 46 bases and hit .327 in 156 games, but get no love outside of that. Just wrong. Pierre’s Rockies career would only last until the end of the 2002 season as he and pitcher Mike Hampton were traded to the Florida Marlins right before the Winter Meetings. Pierre would end up leading the NL in stolen bases again with 65 while leading the Marlins to their second World Series victory in their 11-year history.

Pierre, somehow, has never made an All-Star team. His two best season came with the Marlins in 2003 and 2004 as he finished in the top-16 in NL MVP voting both of those years behind batting averages of .305 and .326 respectively, a lot of stolen bases and a ton of runs scored. Basically he was the prototypical leadoff hitter of the 2000s.

What’s really interesting about Pierre and Figgins is that they both elected to go with the #6 in their first year(s) in the Majors and then they both changed it to the #9 right afterward. I’d like to think that there is some kind of connection between the two of them to make them do that, but wouldn’t know unless I asked them. Until I get that opportunity, or until a reader has photos of either of them playing in Portland, I’ll have to keep this cap blank and update it accordingly.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

July 20- Cleveland Indians

I’m not even sure where to start with this cap, but I do know what I want to talk about when I look at it. Since 2007 there has been a rumor floating around that the Cleveland Indians have been trying to phase out the iconic, but racist logo that has been a staple of the team since 1947. The reason why I can only use the word theory is because there is no concrete evidence to support it, only speculation and conspiracy theories… or so we’re led to believe. Sportswriters have periodically alleged that the Cleveland Indians are gradually phasing out the logo. A sportswriter for the New York Times suggested this in 2007, noting that Chief Wahoo enjoyed a much-diminished presence in Cleveland's home stadium. Sportswriter Craig Calcaterra wrote about his suspicions of a phase-out when he observed that the team used an alternate logo on their scoreboard, and the Journal News of New York has alleged the team is "so embarrassed by their grinning Indian logo that they've all but banished it from Jacobs Field". Changes to the batting helmets in 2013 led to renewed speculation of a phase-out. Sportswriters have speculated that a slow phase-out allows the team to avoid a negative short-term reaction; however, Indians president Mark Shapiro and other team spokespeople have said there are no plans for a phase-out. No matter what your opinion of this matter is, here are a few facts which may persuade you that the phase out is all… well, I don’t know really.

One thing that I can attest for is that I am a huge fan of this logo from merely an artistic perspective. Yes, I will admit that it’s pretty racist; however, the connotations have a much more innocent background. Legend has it that the team honored Louis Sockalexis when it assumed its current name in 1915. Sockalexis, a Native American, had played in Cleveland 1897–99. Research indicates that this legend is mostly untrue, and that the new name was a play on the name of the Boston Braves, then known as the "Miracle Braves" after going from last place on July 4th to a sweep in the 1914 World Series. Proponents of the name acknowledged that the Cleveland Spiders of the National League had sometimes been informally called the "Indians" during Sockalexis' short career there, a fact which merely reinforced the new name. As time wore on the name just stuck. Changing it now would be a bit of an issue, kind of like with what happened when the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington, D.C. and became the Nationals. It’s just weird. But, for arguments sake, if I had a vote on choosing a team name I highly suggest going back to the Spiders. Because honestly, it’s an underutilized and badass mascot name.

So now that the history of the name has been established we have to go into detail about the logo. In 1947, Cleveland Indians owner Bill Veeck hired the J.F. Novak Company, designers of the patches worn by Cleveland’s police and firefighters, to create a new logo for his team. 17-year-old draftsman Walter Goldbach, an employee of the Novak Company, was asked to perform the job. Tasked with creating a mascot that "would convey a spirit of pure joy and unbridled enthusiasm", he created a smiling Indian face with yellow skin and a prominent nose. This one.

Goldbach has said that he had difficulty "figuring out how to make an Indian look like a cartoon", and that he was probably influenced by the cartoon style that was popular at the time. Sportswriters would eventually take to calling the unnamed character "Chief Wahoo". Goldbach has said that the logo's moniker is inaccurate. Quoting a child he met while talking at a school, Goldbach explained in a 2008 interview, "He’s not a chief, he’s a brave. He only has one feather. Chiefs have full headdresses.” A valid point.

In 1951, the mascot was redesigned with a smaller nose and red skin instead of yellow skin. This logo has remained in use ever since, with only minor changes to the design. In the 1950s, the logo had black outlines and red skin; today the logo has blue lines and red skin.

After its introduction, the face of the 1951 logo was incorporated into other, full-body depictions of the character, which is the style I decided to roll with for my tattoo.

Ohio sportswriter Terry Pluto has described comics of Chief Wahoo that would run on the front page of the Cleveland Plain Dealer in the 1950s, with the character's depiction signifying the outcome of yesterday's game. Wins were illustrated by Chief Wahoo holding a lantern in one hand and extending the index finger on his other. Losses were illustrated by a "battered" Chief Wahoo, complete with black eye, missing teeth, and crumpled feathers, because artists who do caricatures in sports and politics are borderline racist themselves. Kidding of course.

From then until the end of the 1985 season the Chief Wahoo logo was only featured on jerseys, memorabilia, jackets, posters and other novelties but it had yet to be put on a hat until the 1986 season. Prior to 1986 the caps all featured a variation of the “C” logo, but as soon as the Chief Wahoo logo was introduced as the cap logo, sales of the cap exploded. All throughout the late 1980s and into the early 2000s Indians caps were some of the best selling Major League Baseball caps on the market. Aside from them having a cool look it also helped that the Indians were World Series contenders for the majority of the stretch until the end of 2007, plus there was also that movie made about the Indians which people have come to know and love. Spaceballs?

But what happened in 2007 to cause the rumor about a phase out? In 2007, Shapiro signed veteran help for the bullpen and outfield in the offseason. Veterans Aaron Fultz, and Joe Borowski joined Rafael Betancourt in the Indians bullpen. The Indians improved significantly over the prior year and went into the All-Star break in second place. The team brought back Kenny Lofton for his third stint with the team in late July. The Indians finished with a 96–66 record tied with the Red Sox for best in baseball, their seventh Central Division title in 13 years and their first postseason trip since 2001.

The Indians began their playoff run by defeating the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series three games to one. This series will be most remembered for the swarm of bugs that overtook the field in the later innings of Game Two. They also jumped out to a three-games-to-one lead over the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series; however, the season ended in disappointment when Boston swept the final three games to advance to the 2007 World Series. Despite the loss, Cleveland players took home a number of awards. Grady Sizemore, who had a .995 fielding percentage and only two errors in 405 chances, won the Gold Glove award, Cleveland's first since 2001. Indians Pitcher CC Sabathia won the second Cy Young Award in team history with a 19–7 record, a 3.21 ERA and an MLB-leading 241 innings pitched. Eric Wedge was awarded the first Manager of the Year Award in team history. Shapiro was named to his second Executive of the Year in 2007. Now, I’m no fancy big city business tycoon, but from everything I just listed I would hardly say there’s any reason to shout conspiracy theories about a logo getting phased out, especially while a team is too busy winning. What is most interesting about the logo phase out theory are the hats that would introduced the following season, the one I’m wearing above.

I have yet to find or yet to hear any reasonable explanation as to why the Indians elected to shrink the size of the logo as dramatically as they did, but there is certainly one point chalked to the phase out theory. At the same time though, shrinking or making a slight modification to a log is also a really good way to boost merchandise sales. Take me, and other cap collectors for example. We all have the bigger logoed hats, so why not get the smaller logo as well? Some of you who aren’t keen on Indians caps might also not know that from 2003-2007 the Indians had brought out new caps in which the only change they made was a silver outline around the logo. I’m still looking for both of them.

I guess the only other thing to address is the theory that the Indians are using “alternate” logos on the scoreboard and around Progressive Field (The Jake!). Well, I was there last August, what do you think?

Even the employees still wear the Chief Wahoo logo on their shirts.

Can you spot me doing "The Shark?"

From everything I have researched, put together and seen in person I don’t see any evidence that the Indians are trying to phase it out. Yes, they certainly have introduced new hats which would also lead people to believe the theory, but they still use caps like this one as their road cap since 2008, and now as their alternate road cap since 2011. Wait a minute… alternate road cap!? They’re trying to phase it out! Damn you!!! ;)

In keeping with this oddity theme I am happy to say that I marked this cap up accordingly. Actually, prior to donning this cap in the photo I still had all of the stickers on it. Not even sure how I pulled that one off. Weird.

#48- Travis Hafner is one of the few people to make it to the big leagues having been born in the great state of North Dakota. Seriously, only 15 players, including Hafner, have come from The Flickertail State and the only other one you may have heard of is Rick Helling. Hafner attended college at Cowley County Community College in Arkansas City, Kansas (the town’s name doesn’t make sense to me either) where he was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 31st round of the 1996 Major League Baseball Draft. He hit his first career home run August 11, 2002 while playing for the Rangers against the Indians. In addition to the home run, he had two doubles and a single in five at-bats, driving in three runs and scoring two. He nearly hit for the cycle in this game, but was thrown out at third base while attempting the triple. Greedy!

In the winter of 2002, the Rangers traded Hafner to the Indians along with Aaron Myette for catcher Einar Diaz and right-handed pitcher Ryan Drese. Hafner enjoyed moderate success with the Indians in 2003, splitting time between first base and designated hitter. On August 14, he hit for the cycle in Minnesota, the first Indian to accomplish the feat since Andre Thornton in 1978. In 2004, Hafner had a breakout offensive season. As the primary DH he finished the season in the top-10 in the league in on-base percentage (.410, 3rd), slugging percentage (.583, 4th), doubles (41, 6th), extra base hits (72, 7th), RBI (109, 9th) and batting average (.311, 10th). He also hit 28 home runs (16th in the AL) and scored 96 runs (20th in the AL). He topped the .300 mark in batting average each month of the season except August–when he hit a respectable .274–and was particularly hot in July, hitting .360 with 8 home runs and 28 RBI. He hit his first career grand slam in the Indians' home opener on April 12 against Kyle Lohse of the Minnesota Twins.

At the beginning of the 2005 season, the Indians signed Hafner to a three-year contract through 2007 with a club option for 2008. He responded by exceeding his offensive production of 2004. He was again among the league-leaders in on-base percentage (3rd, .408), slugging percentage (3rd, .595), doubles (5th, 42), walks (7th, 79), extra base hits (8th, 75), batting average (9th, .305), home runs (9th, 33) and RBI (9th, 108). He also scored 94 runs. The American League named him Player of the Month for June, when he posted a .345 batting average with 10 doubles, 8 home runs, and 29 RBI in 24 games.
In the first full week of July he was named Player of the Week after hitting .480 with 4 home runs and 12 RBI in 8 games. On July 16, he was hit in the face by a pitch thrown by the Chicago White Sox's Mark Buehrle and was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 26. After returning from the DL on August 4, he hit .296 with 15 home runs and 45 RBI over the remaining 54 games of the season. To end the season, he hit home runs in six straight games from September 18–24, the second longest such streak in Cleveland history. After the season, the Cleveland chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) named him Indians Man of the Year and he finished fifth in the AL Most Valuable Player voting.

For the third straight season, in 2006, Hafner posted MVP-caliber numbers while anchoring the middle of one of the most potent offenses in baseball. On September 1, he was hit on the hand by Rangers’ pitcher C.J. Wilson. The Indians placed him on the disabled list for the rest of the season on September 9 after X-rays revealed a broken bone in his right hand. At the time of the injury, he led the league in slugging percentage (.659) and walks (100); was second in home runs (42), RBI (117), total bases (299), on-base percentage (.439) and extra-base hits (74); and was third in runs scored (100). He also batted over .300 (.308) for the third consecutive season. He finished 8th in the league MVP voting by the BBWAA.

On June 7, a section in the right field mezzanine at Jacobs Field was officially opened as "Pronkville." His nickname, "Pronk", was given to him by former teammate Bill Selby during spring training of 2001 when people sometimes referred to him as "The Project" and other times "Donkey" for the way he looked when running the bases. On July 7, Hafner became the first player in Major League history to hit five grand slams before the All-Star break and passed Al Rosen in the team's season record book when he homered off Kris Benson of the Baltimore Orioles. He joined Hall-of-Famer Ernie Banks of the 1955 Chicago Cubs, Jim Gentile of the 1961 Orioles and Don Mattingly of the 1987 Yankees as the only players to hit at least five grand slams in a season. A little more than a month later, on August 13, Hafner tied Mattingly's single-season record when he hit his sixth grand slam of the season off Luke Hudson of the Kansas City Royals. His league-leading 13 home runs and 30 RBI combined with his .361 average in the month of August earned him AL Player of the Month—the second time he has been honored as such in his career.

In 2007, Hafner had a down year as he batted .266 for the season, compared to .308 in 2006 and .305 in 2005. He hit 24 home runs and 100 runs batted in, his 4th straight season of 100+ RBI. Some critics point to Hafner's disappointing performance being due to unfinished contract negotiations, but Hafner denied this. The Indians signed Hafner to a four-year, $57 million contract extension during the All-Star break, keeping him in Cleveland through the 2012 season. Then the injuries came. From 2008-2012 Hafner played in 429 total games, only playing for over 100 games once in 2010 (118). He never hit for more than 16 home runs during this time, nor did he bat in more than 57 runs (2011). On April 5, 2012, Hafner became only the 12th player in Cleveland Indians history to make at least 10 starts on Opening Day in a Cleveland Indians uniform. On April 15, 2012, Hafner hit a home run off of Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Luis Mendoza that was estimated at 456 feet. It was the longest homer hit at Kauffman Stadium since 2001. When Hafner was placed on the injured list in May for surgery to repair an injured right knee, it was his sixth appearance on the list in the last five seasons. Against the Detroit Tigers on August 5, Hafner a solo home run in the 10th inning, his 200th home run of his career. He was again placed on the disabled list in August with lower back inflammation. On November 1, the Indians declined on his option, making him a free agent.

#55- Signed by the Indians as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2000, Fausto Carmona was the original name given by Roberto Hernandez, a sinker specialist who spent seven years in the minor leagues before making his MLB debut on April 15, 2006. His first season was terrible, 1-10 with a 5.42 ERA; however, his sophomore season was Cy Young worthy. In 2007, his best year, Hernandez went 19-8 with a 3.06 ERA and 137 strikeouts which was good enough for a fourth place finish for the AL Cy Young and 23rd place for the AL MVP. His teammate Sabathia took home the AL Cy Young that season.

In the years to follow Hernandez posted mediocre, bad and then solid numbers. In 2010 Hernandez went 13-14 with a 3.77 ERA and 124 strikeouts. That season he made the only All-Star Game appearance of his career thus far. In January 2012, Dominican police arrested Hernandez after he left the U.S. Consulate, accusing him of using a false identity to obtain a visa. Police reported his real name as Roberto Heredia Hernandez, and that he is three years older than he reported. The Indians placed Hernandez on the restricted list. Officials in both countries received assistance in the case by a woman in the Dominican Republic who claimed she falsified a birth certificate for Hernandez in exchange for $26,000, but when Hernandez's father failed to pay her, she contacted the authorities. The Indians brought Hernandez back for the 2012 season in which he lasted on three games, going 0-3 with a 7.53 ERA.

Monday, September 23, 2013

July 19- Chicago Cubs

I have no idea who the guy on the right is.

It was the fall of 1993. My older brother Adam and I had just been sent to live with our father after a lengthy and costly custody battle left my mother with no choice but to have us live on the other side of town. We were one week into the school year when I had to go from my Mrs. Carver’s fifth grade classroom at Leo B. Hart Elementary School to Mrs. Miller’s classroom at Discovery Elementary School. It was an awkward time. I had to leave behind all of my friends and start over from scratch. As weird as the transition was I am thankful for this time period as it taught me how to be an extrovert. I could have easily kept to myself and shied away from meeting new people, but ultimately that would have affected me for the rest of my life. One of the first friends I made was a kid I met on the playground during recess named Mike McBride. He was in the same grade as me, but was in a different classroom. As it turned out he had an older brother named Paul who was my brother Adam’s age and the four of us routinely hung out at the McBride house after school. As fate would have it, the McBride’s lived only two blocks down the street from our house on Feather River Road in Bakersfield, California.

The importance of this friendship laid the foundation for this post. On the first day my brother and I got together with the McBrides we took to the garage where the pool table resided. Their garage was completely white, as in there were no posters on the walls and a white carpet had been placed on the floor as it housed both the pool table and their father’s dark green convertible Jaguar which we weren’t allowed to touch. Even to this day I can’t help but wonder why their father thought it was a good idea to place such an expensive car next to a pool table and expect nothing to happen. Luckily nothing did happen, but still. Since we were the “visiting team” my brother and I were on racking duties while Paul took to the stereo to put on some jams. This was the first time I heard 10 by Pearl Jam.

Even though “Once” is the first track on the album Paul skipped it and started off with “Even Flow.” Even at the age of 10 I knew I was listening to something special. I asked Paul what he was playing and he, Brian and my brother all looked at me like I was crazy. Adam told me it was Pearl Jam and then added “dumbass” on the end. Needless to say, after that I never bothered to ask who a band was when I heard it, I conducted my own research. But that’s all beside the point. The point is that had I not made new friends, gone to their house and played pool it may have been a bit longer before I heard the amazing vocals of Eddie Vedder, sick licks of Mike McCready and Stone Gossard, tight bass of Jeff Ament and bitchin’ beats of Dave Krusen.

My girlfriend Angie Kinderman has been a massive Pearl Jam fan since she was 12-years-old. In her life she has attended 15 Pearl Jam shows and seven Eddie Vedder solo performances. In my lifetime I had yet to attend a Pearl Jam show, a fact that Angie routinely joked about why we could never be together. But, like the loving girlfriend/future wife that she is she made sure to fix that a few days after New Year’s of 2013 (this year). As a member of the Pearl Jam Fan Club Angie has the ability to enter a lottery for a chance to buy tickets to their shows. The one show in particular that she wanted to go to was the one that the band was most looking forward to this year, the Wrigley Field show. As luck would have it, Angie hit paydirt.

On the morning of Friday, July 19, 2013 Angie boarded a plane, leaving from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida while I boarded one from Portland, Oregon, both of us headed to Midway Airport in Chicago, Illinois. The two of us hadn’t seen each other since I had left Florida back in early May, so our reunion in the airport was especially satisfying. I’ll spare you the details of the heated make-out session in the terminal, but we walked hand-in-hand through the terminals and down to the L-train, headed to our hotel in downtown Chicago. The show was that night so we didn’t have a lot of time to hang around. We showered quickly, put on a change of clothes and met up with Angie’s friends Matt and Melissa from Minnesota.

We all chuttled together down about 10 blocks to the closest L-train station which took us directly to Addison. From there we headed straight to Wrigley Field to pick up our tickets before enjoying a plethora of adult beverages in the many bars, speakeasies and public houses that Wrigleyville had to offer. 

Since the three of them weren’t rookies to the Pearl Jam concert game there were a slew of friends that had acquired over the years from other shows, all of whom I was introduced to, but don’t exactly remember any of their names due to the amount of Old Style and Pabst Blue Ribbon I had consumed. The only time it seems that I didn’t have a beer in my hand was when Angie and I went and grabbed a slice of pizza from down the street. One of the coolest parts of that sojourn was that I wan into a guy with a pretty awesome Pearl Jam shirt from one of their gigs in Montreal.

As I’ve come to find out in the time that I’ve known Angie, and even in time before that, the members of Pearl Jam are all huge sports fans. All of their posters, patches, sticks, shirts and other swag over the years has in some way been reflective of the sports teams in whichever city they play in. When you get a free chance I highly recommend looking through some of the photos that show this. Most of their old stuff is pretty badass much like the Montreal Expos-style shirt above. But after our brief pizza-based intermission, it was back to drinking.

Hours passed, and the sun seemed to get brighter and hotter. It had been a while since I partook in day drinking before a big event and I was definitely unconditioned. With about an hour to go before the show I threw in the towel. Angie, born and raised in Wisconsin, showed me a thing or two about powering through. About a half hour before the show was slated to start we headed over. This was also about the time when everyone else had done their fair share of boozing on the streets and decided to take indoors. Our seats were ground level, which meant that we had to go in through the front entrance, make our way to the left field bleachers and head out through the ivy over to the third base side bullpen. Now, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to walk across the field at two ballparks, the Oakland Coliseum and Tropicana Field, but this was something special. Never in my life could I have ever dreamed to be standing on the field at Wrigley, and I made sure to document it as much as I possibly could.


The roadies were still setting things up so Angie and I chatted with a few of the folks around us. Then finally, around 8:45 PM, the show kicked off. They kicked everything off with “Release,” the 11th track off of Ten and then followed it up with “Nothingman,” “Present Tense,” “Hold On” and “Low Light.” It was around this time that we all started to notice clouds starting to creep in from behind the scoreboard in centerfield, but no one thought much of it at the time. 

It was also at this time that a girl in front of us who was too short to see over the person in front of her decided to stand up on her chair. It didn’t bother me as much as it did Angie and everyone else behind us, but we let it slide through the song “Come Back.” As Pearl Jam laid into their next song, “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” it was becoming apparent that the girl in front of us wasn’t going to budge. 

So rather than me being the “rude male” Angie took the lead and asked the girl to sit down because other people behind us couldn’t see. The girl then retorted, “No speak English,” you know, a total bitch move. What nobody expected was for Angie to say, “¿Puedes por favor siéntese? Todo el mundo detrás de usted no puede ver el espectáculo. Estás siendo muy grosero,” which translates to “Can you please sit down? Everyone behind you cannot see the show. You're being very rude.” At this point the girl just stood there, stunned that she had just been bested at her own game. Her boyfriend tried to come to the aid of his woman but was immediately halted by a “Now you’re just being rude” from the woman to my left and a “Shut the f--- up and sit down!” from behind me. For “not speaking English” the girl got down pretty fast after that. But more important out of all of this is the unanswered question of this show, or any show for that matter, which is: “Why the hell would you buy floor seats if you know you’re not going to be able to see over the person in front of you?” As “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” came to a close as did the show. Officials had informed the band that everything would need to be put on hold as the thunderstorm that had been brewing was about to take siege over Wrigley. Vedder took to the microphone and let everyone know what was going on and said that they would get back to things in “hopefully 45 minutes at most.” With little options and no desire to get struck by lightning, Angie and I retreated to the concourse areas.

45 minutes would have totally been fine; however, it ended up being a near three hour delay. Granted, this was of no fault of Wrigley Field or Pearl Jam, but it still sucked to be cooped up in borderline boiler room conditions, waiting for the show to commence. After two hours of waiting Angie and I said screw it to the floor seats and made our way to covered seats on the third base side so we could not only get a better view of the stage, but to be able to breathe clean air and sit in a chair, and not on the ever-disgusting walkways.

At about 10:45 PM security reopened the floor, and everyone who had general admission tickets for that section took off into a dead sprint to get their spots back. Angie and I were ever so grateful to not be mixed up in that crowd, except when the music started back up about 25 minutes after that. It’s a mystery as to whether it was Eddie Vedder’s intention to play this particular song next or if the weather had anything to do with it, but it was perfect for everything that we had all just been through.

In the history of songs that have been written about baseball there are few that can hold up to the test of time. Some are very dated like Natalie Cole’s “Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit that Ball” or “Catfish” by Bob Dylan, while others are eternal like John Fogerty’s “Centerfield” and Dr. John’s version of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” In keeping with this tradition Eddie Vedder wrote and sang an anthem about Chicago Cubs fans and Wrigley Field for Hall of Famer Ernie Banks. Do yourself a favor and just watch this. It’s the song, the creation of the song and appearance by a special guest.

I never really hung on to my affection with Pearl Jam as I got older, but I have enjoyed several of their songs over the years, but I never felt as much of a kinship with any of their songs until the first time I heard “All the Way.” Everything about it is perfect. Being able to hear and sing along with that song in its home with my sweetie was all I needed that night. Everything else they played was an added bonus in my eyes.

Pearl Jam played 16 more songs before leaving the stage, only to come back out to play nine more as the clock was quickly approaching 2 o’clock in the morning. Not wanting to push their luck and never be allowed to play at Wrigley again, they complied and ended the show after their cover of Neil Young’s classic “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World.” As the crowds took to the stairs and concourses I noticed that they were allowing people to leave through the exits in right field. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to take more photos on the field, let alone be able to touch the ivy, I quickly grabbed Angie’s hand and guided her down the steps and to the entrance just to the right of the dugout. Since we had wristbands for the floor seats I figured it wouldn’t be an issue to get back onto the field. As it turned out, I was correct. The security guard could have been a jerk about everything especially with as late as it was, instead he smile and told us “have a good night” as he let us through.

There was a memorabilia stand set up right where home plate would be so Angie made her way through the crowd to see of there was anything worth buying. Most of the cool stuff had all ready been pilfered through, so nice dice. Angie and I took a leisurely stroll from third to first base side, snapping a few photos on out way to the exit. 

This was the only exposed clump of grass from the night, which I made sure not pull out or damage. 

We had to get a photo in the visiting dugout.

I had heard that if you do the stadium tour you’re not allowed to touch the ivy. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, we both made sure to take advantage.

As we left the stadium we noticed the large line of people waiting to get back onto the L-train to head wherever. Rather than just stand there like a couple of suckers we made a break to the McDonald’s across the street for a snack before waiting for our chance to make our way back to the hotel. Because after all, it’s not like we were getting The Matterhorn or Space Mountain at Disneyland. Weak. Angie, her friends Matt and Melissa and I did hit a Chicago White Sox game the day after the show, but I pretty much covered all the best parts a few days ago.

Overall I have to say it was an amazing trip. It was the third time I’ve had the luxury of catching a concert inside of a baseball stadium with the other two being Third Eye Blind in Nationals Park and Bruce Springsteen at Fenway Park, but I’ll get into that story in another post. One of the more enjoyable, personal moments from the trip was when I was able to hit the New Era Flagship Store before Angie and I headed to the airport to fly home. It was great because we were able to meet up with two of my friends who I met in Buffalo during the #CrewEra13 trip, Chris Cornolo (@ccornolo) and Alex Mendoza (@Type1SXC). Chris happened to be in town for a three-day music fest put on by Phish and Alex lived just outside of the city. It had been a little less than month since we had all seen each other, but we all had stories to tell and hats to pick up. Actually for me, it was the one time I had ever walked into a New Era store and not purchased anything. Crazy, I know.

Onto the hat. The Cubs first used this cap, or at least a variation of it, in 1934 for home games, but it disappeared after that until 1957 when the Cubs introduced this cap which I wrote about on April 26th. The only difference between the one on my head and the 1957 cap is the white piping going down the sides. In 1958 the Cubs ditched the piping and left this beautiful cap which has served as the Cubs’ game cap every year until 1994 when they introduced the red-billed road cap. So, from 1994-2008 this cap only served as the home cap until the red-billed cap was discontinued following the 2008 which put reinstated the all-blue cap back to its original game style platform. An interesting little side note is that the Pearl Jam show was the first place I had ever worn this cap, even though I’ve owned it for well over a year. I suppose I just needed the perfect time, place and person to be with.

6/5/85: For this mark I direct you to the video. Seriously, it’s only like 100 seconds long and you’ll easily recognize it. If you didn’t watch it, this is the date in witch Alan Ruck, Mia Sara and Matthew Broderick attended the Cubs game versus the Atlanta Braves in the scene from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Now, what I didn’t know until February 6, 2011 is that no one, at least of note, had written about or discovered the particular date in which the cast and crew attended the game. Well, that’s not necessarily true. In fact, I had actually figured it out back in 2002 with little to work with other than box scores and the Harry Caray sound bites from the film. I was 19-years-old at the time when I solved it and did a brief write up in my old Gateway computer; however, that computer has since bit the dust along with anything that I write from my high school and junior college days. So, as a result of not backing up my files, Larry Granillo from Baseball Prospectus was given the distinction as the guy who figured it out… nine years after I did. Here’s his article if you want to give it a gander. 

As a kid "Ferris Bueller's..." was sort of my Catcher in the Rye. I still quote it like crazy and the philosophies are still dear to my heart, hence why you always find me running around, going on adventures. I've never lived life with regret, but I know that would if I never took the amount of chances as I have done. If there is any lesson I can teach to anyone it's that you should never limit yourself. Never tell yourself it's a bad time, or you can't afford it, etc. You always have the time. You can always afford it if you save and commit yourself to whatever you desire. There's nothing more depressing than keeping yourself from your wants and desires. I was fortunate enough to learn this at a very young age from my mother who would never let me settle for mediocrity. I challenge you to live by this creed as well.