Monday, June 23, 2008

The other side of the spectrum...

This time of the year is known for a number of things in the sports world, one of which is undoubtedly the overhyped and under watched NCAA Tournament finale known as the College World Series. With the College World Series also comes a cadre of second tier announcers employed by ESPN. One of these announcers is former MLB pitcher and world class douchebag Orel Hershiser. Now, you might be asking yourself, what could somebody possibly have against Orel Hershiser? Are you still bitter about the 1988 World Series? No, but my story does begin not long after Hershiser cemented his legacy by obliterating the vaunted Oakland Athletics steroid addled lineup.

Like many of my compatriots here at G:TB, I was an avid baseball fan in my youth. As often happens, this fandom led to me also being a voracious baseball card collector and autograph seeker. I grew up in Florida and spent much of my spring traveling to various Spring Training games as this was often my only chance to see my heroes up close and personal. The famed Dodgertown, located in Vero Beach, was just short of an hour south of my hometown and thus was my most frequent Spring Training haunt. Through my times at Dodgertown I met players such as Pedro Guerrero, Steve Garvey, John Wetteland and many, many more. Yet, none of these players' stature compared to that of Orel Hershiser during the Spring of 1989.

As an autograph hound, I knew all the tricks of the trade. Get to the games early, address the players by "Sir" or "Mr. (insert last name), and when the games are filled with nobodies go out and see if you can find a star or two off the beaten path like, say, watching some of the minor league players on the back fields. This last piece of strategy is exactly what led me to find Mr. Hershiser one fateful spring afternoon.

I couldn't believe my luck as I approached the World Series MVP standing by himself. With pen and ball in hand, I patiently waited for him to finish speaking with a Dodger coach and gently tapped him on the arm with my hands extended and asked if he would sign my ball. Hershiser turned around, looked down at me and said, "Sure, just let me run back to the clubhouse. Wait for me right here and I'll be back soon."

As a naive 5th grade student, I was ecstatic. This would be a day I'd remember forever. "Just wait until I get home and show my old man tonight", I thought. So I decided not to go back in the stadium and watch the game that had just begun, instead choosing to wait as I had been instructed. So I waited and waited and waited. It seemed like all afternoon that I stood out in the hot sun playing catch with one of my friends as we waited for one of baseball's brightest stars and (supposed) good guys. Finally, about 3 hours later, Orel emerged from the clubhouse and started walking in my direction. I excitedly held the ball out towards him and exclaimed, "Mr. Hershiser, I waited for you will you sign my ball now?". Sadly, it was not to be, this arrogant prick stopped in his tracks, looked at me and said, "Uh yeah, I've got somewhere to be right now ". With that, he turned towards the player's parking lot, jumped in his BMW and sped off.

I was crushed. I'd been turned down for autograph's before (Yogi Berra once shot me down three separate times in Spring when he was a coach for the Astros), that was part of the deal. However, I couldn't accept the fact that this asshole had told me to wait for him, and after I had waited all damn day would still not give me an autograph, even though he was no more than five feet from me after he had emerged from his extended stay in the clubhouse.

As I look back on it, this day was the last time I ever looked up to professional athletes. It was, in many ways, the end of my youth. Shortly after this, I stopped seeking autographs and actually gave up baseball altogether. (Though that had much more to do with my Mendoza-esque hitting ability). But there's one thing I'll never give up...and thats my complete and total hatred for Orel Hershiser. Some people like to use the phrase, "I wouldn't piss on him if he were on fire." Well, I hate Orel too much for that. I would piss on him if he were on fire. Then I'd grab some gas and a match and set his sorry ass on fire all over again.

Thanks a lot, fuckstick.

9 comments:

Geoff said...

Sisler has a great and similar story that revolves around asking another Dodger of note, Steve Sax, for an autograph. It went...not well...

I also have a killer tale about Pedro Guerrero shared wiht me by two journeyman MLB pitchers while caddying for them...which is unrelated...except that it involves inflicting pain...and some "signature" moves in a Cincinnati hotel room.

TJ said...

Has a longer version of that Pedro G story ever graced the Wheelhouse? Because if it hasn't, I think it's about time.

TJ said...

Oh, speaking of asshole pitchers, I'm real sad to see the news about rob's boy Curt Schilling. What a shame.

rob said...

careful, young man. karma's gonna get you.

Geoff said...

I probably should post the long version of the Pedro story on the interwebs...but I'll leave out the names of the two journeyman pitchers. The only clue I'll give you is that I'm pretty sure they both started on the hill for a WS game...one in the 80s and one in the 90s.

Mark said...

I remember some of that Pedro G. story. Specifically, a pitcher who won an ERA title with the Cardinals and a reference to "two cans of coke stacked on top of each other".

I'm all for reading the full tale on the 'house though.

Rhymenocerous said...

Nothing like some big dick stories to pass a Monday.

You stay classy, G:TB!

Rhymenocerous said...

One more thing: I'm sure that our old buddy Dr. Spector saw Otis Birdsong in a jockstrap when he was a kid.

Not a lie. Not a great story either.

Zoltan said...

Is that why he used to make the "Otis Birdsong" call when we played pickup hoops?