Results tagged ‘ Garfoose ’

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

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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There is no historical reference of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.

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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.


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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.  


 
 
 


Who Wouldn’t Want the MLB Dream Job?

 

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I was pleasantly intrigued. extremely excited, and definitely interested when I got a friendly nudge from a few MLBlogs.com friends telling me I should apply for the MLB Dream Job position.

I gazed for what seemed like an eternity at the MLB.com page outlining the responsibilites and qualifications for this hallowed MLB position. Even the red boldfaced type headline prompting me to “Live Every Baseball Fan’s Dream Job” just kept my heart skipping and palpitating like Ricky Ricardo playing those Babalooon bongo drums.

This was the type of job within MLB hierarchy I had daydreamed about countless times in my 20’s usually while sitting at the copy clerk desk writing game summaries and doing proofreading duties for my human interest sports articles. But this 2011 MLB position had an exciting and grand social media twist. Certainly the technology aspects of the posts is not a roadblock for me.

I love trying to find 140-characters to describe or even condense an emotion or action. I instantly knew that I had to apply as soon as possible for the position I was born to hold. To say I was anxious when I began to input my information onto the MLB application would be an understatement.


This is definitely the type of job I would have gone solo into the Octagon, even against Chuck Norris and fought to the death in my 20’s. Heck possibly in my 30’s. The aspect of watching MLB games today has evolved into an alternative life form since my first taste of baseball back in the mid-60’s, but that evolution of technology only makes me salivate more, and want this position.

The almost surreal aspect that I could take into my blue eyes a possible 2,430 individual games, then gleefully dissect them into precious moments, then tell the baseball World about it blows even my vivid imagination. Even the first section on “Qualifications” just seemed like it was tailored to have someone like me jumping for joy at the opportunity. Let’s see if I can qualify for the position first:

* Strong writing skills

This one depends on who you ask, but I think I have some mad skills at times, plus I already have a blog reader base (thanks to the MLBlogs.com community & the Rays Republic). Ranking consistently in the Top 10 on the “Latest Leader List” has to be a cherry on top.

* Strong verbal communication skills

I think I can articulate and talk with the best of them, but I am not that “stat” driven baseball guy. Sure I like the quirky side notes and interesting factoids about MLB players or teams, but I can talk you ear off.

* Strong Organizational skills with the ability to give attention to multiple things at the same time

You kidding! I pride myself on having Media Guides, hand-outs and even a few personal tidbits at my side at the ready. Multi-tasking…when was the last time you saw someone outside the Press Box in the stands writing during a game and actually cheering…Check mark!

* Must be a baseball expert.

Here is a grey area. I have a good knowledge of the history and rules of the game, but I learn something new every day about baseball. I feel having an open mind or a varitable sponge at the ready makes me a stronger fan. I go into games and situations with a open objective. That translates into a more positive results, and a fresh pair of eyes. I actually think being a baseball expert limits you ability to adjust and flex your mind.

* Must be comfortable in front of the camera and be able to present a positive public image.

Well, I have been in photos, and videos for the Rays in the past, including a speaking role in “Braveknobs”. I have more of a face for radio, but I am all for the camera….Bring it on!

* Must have a witty and creative personality.

You are talking to the Rays fan who wants to print up “Garfoose Crossing” signs for the regular season. I love coming up with small interesting ideas or even venturing into small projects that tend to show my diverse range of story directions. I like to write myposts once,proofread them, then post.

* Must complete a background check to the satisfaction of MLB.

I have not even gotten a speeding ticket since 1999. Not saying I am as clean as Mr. Cleans white T-shirt, but there should not be anything in my past that would pop a huge red “X” upon my character…allegedly.


From there the position goes into specification of having to live within the Big Apple for the entire MLB season. Now even though I love my Rays within an inch of my own existence, a job like this only comes around once in a lifetime. I guess if selected I can have some sort of optimistic “Empire State of Mind”, but I will gaze upon the Rays from afar nightly ( I promise).

Who in their right baseball state of mind would not jump at the chance to see all MLB regular and postseason contests either by video or in person….No one! That bit in that paragraph about “must be present” at the games, if I had the MLB Dream Job position, stadium security might be the only ones keeping me away from a game. But then I always have MLB.TV if that happens (lol).



I would be as giddy as a school girl if I had the credentials and ability to cover, ask questions or even be a part of any press conference, media event. Imagine evn getting a opportunity to possibly sit on the grass at the 2011 All Star Game during the State Farm Home Run Derby and listen for that crack sound of the ball speeding off the bat from field level…Can you say once in a lifetime.

There is this funny sentence that states I “must share thoughts regarding games and topics of MLB interest via daily blogging, vlogging and through social media platforms. Do they know me? I am a budding social butterfly of the social networks. I currently post every day on MLBlogs.com, plus just past a huge plateau (1,000th post and 500,00 page views). Social media will not be a hindrance in any way. Heck, this position is a huge platform to get my overall baseball views out there. Count me in an that with a vengeance.

I think my writing has transformed a lot during my time at MLBlogs.com. I love to write about charity events, concerts and even the special little things that happen out of the usual fan’s eyesight. These thing intrigue me, and even if I am not selected, my style will not cease.

I enjoy my little patch within the MLB World, but sometimes you have to try and spread your wings and see if you can fly. Expanding my views, location and possibly my mind is an exhilarating thought, and one I would be eager to engage. Change is what keeps us out of the muck and mud of a stagnant existence.

I submitted a 500-word essay that started off with a personal experience that set my own MLB lifestyle in motion. It was about how as a young Little Leaguer I was playing the hot corner in a game and a ball hit a rock, clay, or maybe a boulder in front of me and the speeding ball took an extreme bad hop up into the bridge of my nose.

My Coach wanted me to come out of the game since blood was trickling down both of my cheeks, but I screamed at the top of my little lungs, “Brooks Robinson wouldn’t come out, neither am I!”  That is the basis behind my MLB Dream Job application. You only get one shot at this life, and if you balk, take a step back or falter for a moment….something gets by you and it is lost forever.

Maybe that is why I yearn for a chance at this position. I gave up my journalistic dream because of a family situation and I am reminded of it every day. But I found the strength again to write, to give my opinion, to seek out the unknown and known facts of the game to educate, entertain and hopefully inform people.

The act of competition can be a great motivator and a great equalizer. Hopefully MLB seethe strength, committment and stamina I have not only for writing, but in life itself to give me a shot at this position. Hopefully one day I will be posting from the MLB office in NYC telling you about my wild first day.

If not you can be sure I will be reading your first day’s adventures at the MLB Dream Job. Either way, I will comment, and live vicariously through your muses and writs during that entire year…You can count on it!

 

 

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Kid’s Get the Darndest Rays Things

 

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How cool is it that the 2011 Tampa Bay Rays home Opener is going to be on April Fool’s Day….and it’s a Friday! What a way to begin the 2011 season, with a banner raising and a few pranks, jokes and maybe even a Garfoose sighting. Even if all, or none of that happens on that first day of April, the Rays Republic will again have some nifty giveaways and promotions to fill our Fridays and Sundays.Now these are not the only days that giveaways will be dished out to the Rays faithful, but on Wednesday, June 29th and Thursday, August 4th, you know that the masses will be all carrying those famous Rays chertiest as the Rays bring back another great “Park & Recreation Day” environment within Tropicana Field. Too bad Zach Grienke went to Milwaukee. We all know how much he simply loves those banging monstrosities while pitching.


Longo2009GGA.jpgStarting with the traditional schedule magnet given out on that first night, really quickly the Rays promotions machine kicks into high gear, even during that first weekend. On the next day, Sat, April 2, the first 15,000 Rays Fans will receive an Evan Longoria Gold Glove replica presented by DEX Imaging. But the fun doesn’t stop there, on Sunday the Rays will distribute special American League East Banners provided by Rays sponsor Sweetbay Supermarkets.

But back again for another go-round is the popular T-shirt’s given out on Friday night games. In all a total of 12 different designed Rays inspired T-shirts will be given out to the first 10,000 lucky fans thanks to the good people at Captain Morgan’s , who presides over the Friday Fest festivities with glee. The only exception in the T-shirt promotion this season is that on May 13 and August 5, the first 10,000 women will receive the giveaway T-shirts.

Hopefully the Rays have inspired Rays starter James Shields to again design a special T-shirt with Rays fans in mind. The 2010 black T-shirt featuring a downward facing griffin was one of the most sought after T-shirts in the Tampa Bay area schools. Could the Rays have gone to the Shields well twice and come back with another gem? You will have to wait and see.


l_f2772f31a9c8493182fe4025f342b67b.jpgKid’s again play a significant part in the Rays promotional items as 12 items will be geared towards the younger Rays fans, with the last promotion on Sunday, September 25th being decided by a vote by the Rays kids. But in between The first week in April and the last weekend in September, there will be a very interesting assortment of promotional items just for those 14 and under. Kids will be able to get a Rays fire hat ( 9/11/11), or possibly a David Price Superhero Action Figure (8/21) or maybe they are more into linens, like a Raymond pillowcase (May15).

Also on tap for the kids will be a Joe Maddon Bank giveaway (5/1), A David Price Arm Sleeve (4/17) and the always popular Raymond’s Back-To-School Set (8/7). But it doesn’t stop there. Kids can also be the envy of their friends on Sunday July 3, when the Rays give out an exclusive DJ Kitty Puppet. But you didn’t think we would stop there did you? Riding on the heels of the best baseball promotion in 2010, the Rays have stepped up their game and will present kids with an Evan Longoria Cereal Bowl and Spoon set on September 4th.

But the hits just keep coming. Back again will be a grand assortment of bobble heads starting with a wobbly-headed doll of new Ray Manny Ramirez on May 29th followed three weeks later by a B J Upton bobble head (6./19). And it wouldn’t be the Rays if they did not also provide a little more, like a Johnny Damon Bobble head on July 17.

141414.JPGAgain, the Rays have stepped into the box and cracked the ball over the centerfield wall possibly again having some of the best promotions in baseball. Over the years we come to expect the unexpected from the Rays promotions department. Again they pulled a big white rabbit out of the hat and provided some great incentive for the Rays Republic.

From the T-shirts and bobble heads all the way to their unique variety of trinkets and toys for the younger crowd, the Rays Promotions team have delivered…just like you knew they would. Still patiently waiting for a vuvuzela promotion.

What? something has to freeze over before that is approved….okay I can wait. 

Tasty 2011 Fan Fest Morsels to Whet Your Rays Appetite

 

 

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By now most of the Tampa Bay Rays Republic members have either read the MLB.com blog post by fellow MLBlogs.com’s own Bill Chastain giving you a rough outline of some of the great events planned for the Rays 2011 Fan Fest. Or possibly you have heard a few more fantastic developments through the Rays “Sunshine Telegraph” on other Fan Fest revelations being thrown out into the Rays-verse.It has made more than a few of us hungry for baseball, and ready to consume some more Rays memories, but it is about to get even better. I got a few more really tasty morsels I have digested over the last few days, and want to divulge today hoping it will give the Tampa Bay community even more reasons for all baseball fans to flock to the Trop on February 19,2011 and touch and experience Tropicana Field’s NEW Astroturf II surface.

But that is just a small tapas plate of the new revelations currently getting me salivating and eager to be pressing my nose to the Trop’s Gate 1 window waiting for the Fan Hosts to throw open the doors. I know I will not be able to experience this one event, but the kid’s press conference with a actual Rays player still sounds like the thing of dreams to me. What I would give to be under 14 again and be able to ask any one of the Rays players a serious question about the game.

Just when you thought the Rays had outdone themselves in their 2010 Fan Fest, they go all “Raiders of the Lost Rays Gear” and provide a glimpse back into the Rays early past with a Rays Baseball Foundation Yard Sale that will showcase past items from as far back as the 1998 First Season. All proceeds of this Yard Sale will go to help organizations throughout Tampa Bay. Believe me, the items that have already been told to me have both my wallet and my mind excited and anxious for the doors to swing open.

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TBO.com

One of the items I am most excited is a chance to purchase an actual MLB authenticated piece of the Rays Clubhouse carpet that has seen champagne spilled upon it more than a few times. And if that doesn’t get your pocketbook spinning a bit, how about possibly purchasing your own slice of fabric from the Trop’s old FieldTurf surface for your very own. Think about that package for a moment, you can get two pieces of Rays history, both authenticated by MLB, and you get to help those in need in the Tampa Bay community. Definitely sounds like a “win-win” situation to me.The Yard Sale will also include the usual fare of game used equipment and jerseys. And the greatest thing about the 2011 Rays Fan Fest is that it is still FREE to enter and take in the magic, with only a few events possibly costing you anything out of your pocket. I will get more into this in the coming week as to the events that will cost you some money at Fan fest, but remember again, all proceeds will benefit the Rays Baseball Foundation.

The Rays have even added in the last 24 hours the incentive that a portion of the overall proceeds from Fan Fest will also go to the families of two recently deceased St. Petersburg police officers. Great to see the Rays reach out with a kind hand to help a pair of families in need right now.

There will be the always popular events like the complimentary Clubhouse Tour, and the Metro PCS “Call a Friend table with a revolving array of Rays players returning this season. A great addition to the Fan Fest fanatic pace is a unique reading section where an actual Rays player will spend time and read with the kids.

This is extra exciting to me especially since Dirk Hayhurst was signed by the team . We could have a live rendition of the “Legend of the Garfoose“. Got my fingers crossed that we also might be able to hear JP Howell or his wife Heather Hennessy-Howell possibly reading the children’s journey, “The Adventures of Dangles“. This one section of Fan Fest could turn into a virtual Home Run by the Rays promotional department with a overcrowded area filled with kids of all ages listening into the stories. (Heck, I might try and sneak within hearing distance).

These are just a few reasons to red-circle the date of Saturday, February 19th on your calendars or set a vocal cell phone alert to be in line at 10 am when the Tropicana Field doors open on that date. Possible treasures from the first Rays season, hearing a Rays player read with or to your child, and maybe having someone like Evan Longoria call your boss or best friend.


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This is one of those early moments of the season when finally you can breath and know that Spring is just around the corner and the sound of a bat on the ball is near. This season you can not only make Rays memories during Fan Fest with autographs, possibly get a high-5 from a Rays player as you cross Home Plate or take home a piece of Rays history for yourself.

So far the 2011 Rays Fan Fest is shaping up to be one of the most exciting in the team’s short history. Daily I am getting more and more tidbits of Fan Fest information and it just seems to escalate the excitement and the push for mid-February to get here faster.

 

 P.S.

 The profile photo was taken during my 2004 induction into the Tampa Bay Rays/Pepsi Fan Wall of Fame ceremony

 

Warning: Garfoose Is Loose in Tampa Bay!

 


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Photo by Pat Manfredo

Got to tell you, I am really excited about the possibilities of possibly having a right-handed half moose, half giraffe who will be given a fighting chance for a roster spot this Spring on our Tampa Bay Rays Bullpen staff. And no, I am not talking about the Tall Texan Jeff Niemann who resembles a World-wide toy store Giraffe either.

The animated and finely illustrated character I am referring to is the creature that first festered out of the mind of relief pitcher Dirk Hayhurst, the highly acclaimed Garfoose. If you have not read any of my past posts about this mystical character, please feel free to hit this link, which will get you more in tune with the Garfoose frame of mind.

What is extremely exciting is not only will Hayhurst get a fighting chance to win a spot in the Rays Bullpen, but his mire presence in the Bullpen even this Spring will have droves of kids of all ages clambering for a brief moment with an acclaimed author ( The Bullpen Gospels ) , bus also the originator of this highly addictive baseball eating melting pot.

Sure some of you might also be excited that Hayhurst is also a socially active baseball player who is known to post more than a few particularly mind-bending 140-character posts to his Twitter account, or even to his own website just to see if you are awake and thinking. But I like those kind of people.

The Rays Bullpen can use more guys like Bullpen Coach Bobby Ramos and his motorcycle dance and Salsa moves to cut the tension like a knife. For some odd reason, I think a Bullpen with Hayhurst on it will never be a boring place to view during a game. Not since John Rocker or Rusty Meacham has the Rays Bullpen had someone you knew had distraction written all over them, even before Spring Training starts.

But also it could be an amazing mind melting experience if you can get an artist/prankster like Rays long reliever Andy Sonnanstine and Hayhurst possibly together on the same bench….. Think for a moment at the amount of imagination and ability assembled just under those two Rays caps and it definitely should have you smiling.

It is not a ” sure thing” that Hayhurst will even get a legitimate shot at being on the Rays bench, but I am a glass half full kind of guy. With the Rays Bullpen in definite reloading mode, and the possibility that some of the recent additions to the Rays roster could find an early home at the Rays Triple-A affiliate, the Durham Bulls,

I find it highly probable with a great Spring the Garfoose will be on the new AstroTurf at Tropicana Field helping the Rays as they raise their 2010 American League East Championship banner to the rafters. And even if Hayhurst does spend some quality time at Durham, imagine the possibilities of a half-giraffe, half moose getting to know a snorting bull like Wool E Bully…up close.

I mean the idea instantly has me clicking and checking Hayhurst blog today as he introduced himself to the Rays Republic and was extremely excited about the future. With Fan Fest barely a month away, could the addition of the originator of the Garfoose to the Rays suddenly bring some extra incentive for kids to want to drag their personal chauffeurs ( parents) to the Trop on February 19th to meet Hayhurst in person, hoping for a Garfoose sighting or two….

l_ca1a807321074f9f979ca8c7a553dda4.jpg Photo by Pat Manfredo

You can bet between now and then I will be picking up the dusty covered “The Bullpen Gospels” still sitting on my coffee table and reading it from cover-to-cover in anticipation of the first time I get to chat with Hayhurst. Over the last several years I have met and talked with Hayhurst before, but never really talked about writing or his minor league odyssey..

For some reason I have the feeling Hayhurst would be an amazing guy to sit down and interview, or possibly just pick his brain for knowledge both on and off the pitching rubber. I love this signing.

More for the potential of greatness that Hayhurst could possibly achieve in 2011 than for the outer lying presence of his imaginary “friend”. Having Hayhurst in Tampa Bay will never be labeled “boring”.

But seriously, when was the last time you looked into the Bullpen before the 6th inning to see what madness might be occurring, lurking or possibly sighted with his antlers rising above the front row. Welcome to Tampa Bay Garfoose, I will keep a few baseballs handy especially for you.

 

 

Legend of the Garfoose

 

 



Christine Manfredo@Facebook.com
 


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:

 

                                    
                                     http://www.sportsvite.com

 

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.

 

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.
 
 
 
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