Results tagged ‘ The Bullpen Gospels ’

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.

 

 

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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