The Legend of Garfoose

 

 

 

I was introduced to a wild new character in the annuals of baseball this week by a couple of my Rays friends. Well, actually by a picture she had taken while attending the Toronto Blue Jays versus Team Canada game a few days ago. Christin and Pat Manfredo are also members of the Rays/Pepsi Fan Wall of Fame and are pretty well known around the Trop. for their signs and their  great relationships with some of the Rays players.  I have heard of such a character existed around the boundaries of baseball, but through their bond with the player that originated the myth. legend, or maybe the honest truth that is hidden by the bigwigs of baseball. 

 
The origin of this mystical character first graced the pages of Baseball America back in August 2008 and tells of the origin of the Garfoose, the hidden creature of baseball. There is not a lot known of Garfoose. If you try and find anything online or in the Wikipedia  you get a mumble and a jumble of words and locations, but nothing shows any type of concrete answers or even questions about this mythical animal. So is it so unusual that you would find the answers in a Toronto Blue Jays Bullpen during the Spring of 2009.
 

The teller of this tale is relief pitcher Dirk Hayhurst, who originally was drafted in the 2003 Major League Baseball Draft by the San Diego Padres. Hayhurst made his major league debut 17 days after this story was told in Baseball America, on August 23, 2008. In that contest he faced Barry Zito and the San Francisco giants in AT&T Park. But that season in San Diego did not end well for him as he was placed on waivers and claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays on October 6, 2008. Recently he was released by the Jays to make room for pitcher Matt bush on their roster. He was again brought back into the Jays fold via a minor league deal on February 13, 2008.


The following is the tale of the Garfoose told by Hayhurst in his Prospect Diary inside the pages of Baseball America. Be warned that small children and farm animals should not read this passage as it might incite nightmares and even odd sightings of the creature during both day and night games around the Toronto Blue Jays home during the Spring, Dunedin Stadium. Do not say I did not warn you in advance. So without further ado…………The Legend of the Garfoose:
 

                                    

 

The ball rolled all the way to the pen. Struck foul with no one to give chase, it made it’s way to us, the lazy pack of minute men sitting down the left field line. Nonchalantly, I stepped on it to catch it.

Immediately cheers erupted. Fans know fouls go into the stands and so they began petitioning for it.

Unfazed by their urgent, desperate pleas, I leisurely reached down to pluck the new ball from under foot.  It dawned on me, as I turned the ball in my hand, the balls in the catch bag were not as nice as this freshly foul pearl. I decided I would switch it out with a tarnished ball so we could extend the life of this good one. I started to walk away from ball suitors to make the exchange. The crowd let me have it. I expected as much, they assumed I wasn’t going to sacrifice to them, but they were wrong. I made my way back with a downgraded ball and tossed it into the maw of hungry hands. Before I could return to my seat a teenage boy in extra baggy clothes with choppy hair shooting out under a hat turned at that annoying half-cocked angle, bellowed at me with voice of rude expectation indicative of little punk,  “hey, why choo didn’t gib-me-dat ball? Gib-me da other one, the good one. I saw you switch it! You gotta whole bag dawg!”

“Are you really asking me why I switched it or why I didn’t give it to you?” I asked, in a slow, tired draw.

“Both, man. I come to like every game and stuff, like all the time. I deserve a ball.”

“Your a big fan then huh?”

“Yeah bro, I love da Beavers. I’m like the number one fan yo, you should give me a ball.”

“Ok, well, what’s my name then?” It was on my jersey, but my back was turned.

“I, uh…”

“Right. Biggest fan.”

“Still, I seen you had a bag full a dem, hook me up man?”

“I can’t do that. Sorry.”

“Yo, you suck then man, why you can’t? I mean, seriously, yall be millionaires and stuff.”

“Oh, If only that were the truth…”

“I had a buddy tell me you get those balls for free.”

“That’s not true at all. These balls are expensive. More expensive then you’ll ever know.”

“Whatchoo mean?”

“Well, it’s a long story, but since your such a big fan, I’ll tell you…”

“Every year, in the spring time, hopeful monks wishing to enter the sacred order of the Stitched Moon make a pilgrimage to a land deep in the Tibetan mountains. They take very few supplies with them, barely enough to make the journey, resting upon faith they will accomplish the task before them.

They travel night and day, rarely stopping to eat or rest. Some are over come with fatigue, others by starvation. Some are carried of by predators. Still, a select few fulfill the journey and find themselves in a paradise untouched by the poison of the modern world.

You see my friend, legend speaks of a valley in those mountains, a second Eden if you will, where beauty blossoms with out limit. It is a land of magic and fantasy.

They sky of this paradise is arrayed with exotic birds. The ground littered with precious gems. There is a sapphire blue lake where mermaids live, the water as sweet as ambrosia. There are fields of flowers, each bud more magnificent then the next, where unicorns frolic. Sometimes, when not singing to the sounds of their lutes and harps, the native elves ride the unicorns, though that may just be an old wives tale.

The journey is full of temptation, yet there is none greater then call of this paradise. “Stay,” it bades, “forget about the order of the Stitched Moon.” Many monks are seduced, and in their careless self indulgence, they fall victim to the lands only guardian, the dreaded Garfoose, a fire breathing half giraffe, half moose, whose only known prey is man.

Stealthily, so as not to alert the Garfoose, the monks travel into the heart of the paradise to an enchanted grove. It is within in this grove they find the treasure they so desperately seek. For the trees of this grove are baseball trees with limbs bursting with perfectly formed baseballs. The monks collect these baseballs and carry as many as they can back to their villages.

Upon return, the monks are met with celebration. Weeks of feasting are held in their honor before they are warmly excepted into the order of the Stitched Moon. The baseballs are proof of their commitment but they also serve another purpose. The collected baseball are sold to Major League baseball for a healthy profit to the monks. The money is then used to buy new initiates their robs and Sacred Moon text books.

Major League Baseball then takes the baseballs and sorts them. The best balls going to the major leagues, the next best to triple A, and so on. Over the years science has tried to replicate the the perfect harmony of a naturally created baseball from the enchanted, Garfoose guarded, groves of the legendary mountain paradise. But a real baseball player knows the difference. Don’t ask me how, but there is just something special that you can feel when you hold it…”

I finished the tale looking out into the distance, my hand extended as if pointing to some heavenly  paradise.

“That, my friend, is why these balls are so special, and why I can’t give them out to just anyone.”

“Man shut up, quit playing.” Said the boy.

“It’s all real man, I’m not playing.” I was stark serious, staring at him like it was all true, like he was a crazy person for doubting me.

He paused, looked left and right then leaned toward me and with a small, timid voice whispered, “You being for real about that?”

“Of course not, what kind of idiot would believe that story? The balls all say made in China on right on them! I’m not giving you a ball because your a lying little punk in need of a grammar lesson. Now get a hair cut and fix your freaking hat, you look like a two year old trying to wear his dads clothes.”

He made that tongue-tisk sound, and threw his chest out at me, “Man, you suck! Dat’s why you be in da minors, you ain’t never gonna make it, looser!”

“Thats alright, at least I’m not going to have nightmares about the Garfoose coming to get me.”

 

Thank you again to Christin and Pat Manfredo for letting me know about this awesome baseball story.
Photo credits for today’s blog go to: ChristinManfredo@Facebook.com, www.sportsvite.com, http://www.baseballamerica.com.
 
 
 

29 Comments

Afternoon Renegade! After watching the repatriation, taking my Spark Troop to camp, and being up for 29 hours (and counting)…I found out that the USA/CAN game is on tv up here!!! So i guess i’ll be up longer. (I swear I will never be up that long again! I’m too old for this!) Glad to hear you made it over to see Jane! btw, where do you hear these cool stories? Thanks for sharing them!
Canuck

haha That was hilarious! That kid did need a grammar lesson. I could barely understand anything he said! Good story.
Melissa
http://clemsongirlbaseball.mlblogs.com

That is just too funny! The Legend would be great with illustrations, like a children’s book. If I were artistic I’d try to draw some, but I’m not. Whoever drew the picture on the ball should give it a try!
Sue
Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

That story is hilarious! Good for Hayhurst, sounds like that kid needed a lesson in manners and grammar. This is why I read your blog, you share great stuff like this!
-Erin
http://plunking-gomez.mlblogs.com

What a great story! I’ll have to print it out – think it will be a good one for my boys to tell around the campfire at Boy Scout Camp!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Great picture of you and Jane! And it’s out – she’s told everyone that you are a sweetheart! I KNEW IT!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

I agree Julia – it is a good picture of them! Watch out, Renegade, the secret is out!
Canuck

Well Canuck,
I am sorry for the edn score of thet Team USA vs Team Canada game, but be glad you are not in the Dominican Republic locker room right now.
I have a few really good Rays friends who sometimes let me stumble upon wild things.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Well Lissi,

As Jane Heller can tell you I have a pretty unmistakeable Southern accent. I could not read it well because of the grammar either. Might just a northern thing………..lol

Seriously, I only repeated what the story had on it grammarically without changing a word.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

You are right,
I might have to consider doing the story again sometimes and doing some cartoon sketches as back-up.

I just thought it was so funny when I first read it years ago, then the picture came and it just worked out completely.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I will have to stroll over the Toronto Bullpen when they come here this year. I have to shake the hand of the guy who can come up with that great story.

I have a picture he took with someone and it looks like he is about to eat her head. I think he is just one of those players who just enjoys his job and treats it like a kid’s game ( but with maturity between the lines),

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

It almost remeinds me of the three-legged pink whompus stories they told us in camp as a kid. By the way, the three-legged pink whompus is a flying squirrel.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I am always the diplomat.
It is in my blood. She was also really gracious and made it easy to be nice.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

What secret would that be.
That I am getting older every day, or that baseball season is less than a month away?

Eother one is depressing because it is not Opening Day, or I am not 25 anymore. lol

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Ok. I admit it. I cheered for both teams. Really I did, you can ask everyone who was at my house today! I couldn’t bring myself to cheer against my favorite players on Team USA – and I can’t cheer against Team Canada. So I cheered for the home runs and good plays. I will be cheering on both again tomorrow, but I guess that will be different.
And it was great to be able to see JP Howell pitch for a bit!
Canuck

Well..let’s go over this Renegade…shall we?
Since it’s no secret that baseball season is less than a month away (you should be counting in hours by now! LOL!), it can’t be that. We are all getting older everyday (and further from 25!), so it’s not that either. Guess that just leaves the big secret, which thanks to Jane is no longer a secret, that you really are a sweetheart! Couldn’t hide that forever!
Canuck

Heard the Rays took care of the Red Sox. Guess that’s what you get when you forget to play defensively…
Canuck

Older then 25?? No – I don’t believe for a minute that you are older then 23 Rays Renegade! I mean – I’m only 19!!! (Oh – did I tell you I have a bridge for sale! lol! ;-D )

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

J P Howell has had such a revelation since going from a starter to a reliever. It is almost like a night and day transition for the pitcher. But also he has confidence in his pitching again, which might be more of the change than anything.

Just glad to see that J J Putz didn’t blow another one for Team USA

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I would really nor call myself a sweetheart.
And believe me, there are tons of people who would disagree with that.

I am just going to leave it at that.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

That game lacked pitching, defensive work and the Rays have discovered that knack again of scoring in bunches.

It was just not a attractive game by any sense of the word.
And the tee it up all over again in Fort Myers today again at the Chain of Lakes complex.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

That was definitely a great story! The Rays definitely strutted their stuff against the Red Sox. Everyone is talking about the Red Sox and Yankees (as usual), but the Rays will definitely have a say about the AL East crown. It should be a great season!

Scott
http://fotr.mlblogs.com

Are you at the Red Sox-Rays game today? Hey – are you planning on coming to Boston for Opening Day against the Rays? I have this crazy idea! Check it out! And please disregard all Scott’s comments about my Red Sox! ;-)

Oh – the Hot Dog Guy they had on NESN from Tampa is a RIOT!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Thank you,
I was lucky to fall upon that story. But the picture actually did it for me. Love the garfoose drawing on the signed ball….It made the story for me.

I am not worried about the A L East until August, then I will have my nightsweats and chills, until then, it is all good.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mblogs.com

I was not at the game today. Fort Myers is about 3 hours from my house, and without my guaranteed Rays tickets at Will Call, I do not have the funds to go to away games that I did not purchase in December.

That is part of not having a job, you have to scale back and only buy season tickets lol

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I was not at the game today. Fort Myers is about 3 hours from my house, and without my guaranteed Rays tickets at Will Call, I do not have the funds to go to away games that I did not purchase in December.

That is part of not having a job, you have to scale back and only buy season tickets lol

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

only season tickets this year! Poor baby! LOL!! I’m still jealous….
Canuck

Well, I usually am a big supporter of the Saturday auctions and buying extra tickets for friends and family, but his year i am going to have to scale back a bit.

They are predicting a 17-20 percent drop in attendance in 2009 because of the economy.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Thanks for posting! and for leaving it up. Now, I know the legend of Garfoose. I am humbled.

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