Rain Out Bring an Encore Performance of: “The Legend of the Garfoose”

DSC08295.JPG

Since the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red
Sox did not get to take the field today for their third game because
of liquid sunshine. The contest got postponed early enough (3 pm) for
the Rays to get on their charter flight, and possibly get in their
own beds in time for the later night news.


Because of the Rays/ Red Sox
cancellation, the good folks at the Sunsports/FSN Florida had to dig
into their massive vault to come up with instant programming to take
over the 3 hour segment originally slated for the Rays third game
against the Red Sox.


I decided also to bring a secondary bit
of blogging programming today to commemorate the Triple-A Charlotte
Knights and MLB rehabber Jake Peavy taking on the Rays Triple-A club,
the Durham Bulls and their “Garfoose” creator Dirk Hayhurst. You
can never get tired of “The Garfoose“.


I was introduced to a wild and new
character in the annuals of minor league baseball this week by a
couple of my Rays friends. I had heard that such a mythic character
existed around the darkened boundaries of baseball, especially within
the confines of that maddening place, the Bullpen.




The origin of this mystical character
first graced the pages of Baseball America back in August 2008, and
tells of the origin of one of the most colorful characters since Rays
reliever J P Howell to come out of the sometimes misunderstood
Bullpen region.


There is no historical reference of
when the “Garfoose” first entered the legends of baseball,
nothing in Wikipedia, MLB annuals do not even recognize its
existence, much like Bigfoot . But in Tampa Bay, we know the Garfoose
lives and breathes.


Dirk Hayhurst, the originator and
creator of all thing “‘Foose” was originally drafted by the San
Diego Padres back in 2003 and made his Major League Debut 17 days
after his tale of a particular Bullpen creature first appeared in
Baseball America. The following is the tale of the infamous
“Garfoose”.


Be warned, small children, people with
vivid imaginations and farm animals should not read this passage as
it will incite nightmares and possible sightings of this interesting
creature during both day and night games where ever Hayhurst hangs
his glove.

Garfooseville.jpg


Do not say I did not warn you in
advance about “The Garfoose”. 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.


182258_10150145667485850_613525849_8103263_5632004_n.jpgBefore
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 (insert your team name here). 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, y’all 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…”

thumbnail.jpg“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…”

distance, my hand extended as
if pointing to some heavenly  paradise. 

thumbnailCAC1O9XH.jpg“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, loser!

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

 By the way, Dirk Hayhurst, who started tonight for the Bulls went 6 innings and gave up 3 hits one earned run and 7 strikeouts to post his first victory as a Bull. Hayhurst is sporting a 1.64 ERA for the Bulls early in the 2011 International League season.  


 
 
 


4 Comments

Hope Hayhurst gets another shot at the bigs this season. I work for the Jays, and two years ago in Toronto I had a few chats with him about writing and he gave me some tips on how to break through and suggested a few writers’ memoirs to check out. Nice guy, great book.
http://letsplay162.mlblogs.com/

Jeremy,
Talked to Dirk a few times this Spring. His second book has about 500 pages completed, and he will talk about his departure from the Jays system, plus this Spring with the Rays.
Very articulate and dry humored guy. Not sure if he will get a call to :the Show” this season. I base that on the fact the Rays are using him as a starter in Triple-A for added depth, and not sure if the team sees him as a relief option right now.
But things change in a New York minute sometimes…Would love to see him in a Rays uniform in the dugout with old Kent State teammate RP Andy Sonnanstine planning some escapade.

Rays Renegade

The ‘Garfoose’ story is one of the best in baseball…ever. Nothing but the best for Hayhurst in Duham.
–Mike
‘Minoring In Baseball’
http://burrilltalksbaseball.mlblogs.com

Mike,
So far Hayhurst has been the perfect addition to the Durham Bulls. With the history of that franchise, it is only a matter of time before he recites the famous Crash Davis mantra “I Believe” into his own “Garfoose-induced” madness. Wish I had a front row for that awesome event.

Rays Renegade

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