Legend of the Garfoose
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.
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
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.
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.
“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.”
“Well, it’s a long story, but since your such a big fan, I’ll tell you…”
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.