Monday, January 31, 2011

The 330 Relay Throw as it Relates to a Yelling Stripper Face

Even in the dark limo van the company hired to cart us around I could see this one coming. She kind of half stood as her eyes rolled around and she started yelling a flurry of fuck this and yous to me. For me, remarkably I kind of blew it off as I was enjoying talking with the only other sober person on the bus about how this is the set up of a lot of horror movies and we loosely came up with a beginning and a batting order for the death toll. A certain young lady (using the term loosely, my Ma used to get angry when I would refer to a stripper as a lady, “those aren’t ladies John”) just got bumped to lead off in our murder film. I had to ask myself why in the hell was I riding on the drunk bus back home when I had only had a beer?

Why in the fuck was this drunk girl who was only on her second day as I am heading into my second year telling me I am a mother fucking joke (an exact quote and one that I will remember). Why was I not home enjoying sorting baseball cards and drinking Coke Zero listening to tunes back from the day and the day being Hays circa 1997?

I feel like the world is passing by me and I am becoming more and more okay with that by the day. I have had a lot of time this week to be by myself and read, sort cards and daydream. A good bit of my Wednesday night in the moving drunk tank was spent pining for being back in the warm confines of the overpriced unit where I live, alone and at peace. The image for some reason that stuck in my head as I was hoping we would soon arrive back at work so various fellow employees could drunk drive their way home was the Topps 2010 Gabe Kapler Rays card.

I have this rule of trying not to research too much about a topic. I can have the tendency to learn I am interested in something and the next thing you know it is off to the races and I am researching on line and asking around. Recently I have re discovered my love of baseball cards. For years on an odd whim I would pick up a pack at Target over the last full years. Usually I would grab the Topps 206 as the beautiful portraits make even the most mediocre player seem majestic and important (as evident with my Todd Wellemeyer mini card that has been deemed top loader worthy). I would make an occasional stop in the local shop and I knew the value of cards had taken a hit. But the sage like wisdom of Terrence made me realize I could collect in my own way, “Just collect who you like and don’t worry about the get rich guys or hard core guys, just have fun”.

I often times have favorite cards because of the photo which leads me to being a fan of the player. I am not sure when I first pulled the Gabe Kapler card but I am happy to say I have multiples and I have bid on the rare silk backing one but decided my madness needed to stay under $25. So the 330 mark looms so large in this card, like a banner was unrolled for the 330th something… but what? The 330th save? Relay throw? Or maybe the 330th misplayed bloop hit? You can see the blurry outstretched hands of I think Aybar and Kapler does not seem to be that rushed or worried about the throw.
I wonder why Topps chose this picture out of all of the photos that were snapped during the year. Did a group of interns or indy rock type graphic designers get assigned a lower tiered group of players and wanted to put an arty spin on their cards? Did Gabe in his younger days seduce a Topps executive’s second wife after a Sox win and was being punished? Why would you hide a handsome ball player who has done some uhh male modeling (you may want to just trust me on this Google image search) with a 330 mark? I don’t want to know the back story I just enjoy the art of this card and hell it is more fun to speculate.
Looking at the back of his card you see Gabe pretty good numbers and a whole lot of teams. So many teams there isn’t a spot for the positive spin paragraph. So I partially broke my rule and did a Google search just to see where he was going for 2011 and hoping he would stick with the Rays who I am starting to enjoy. Well the sad news is he is heading to the dreaded Dodgers or at least their minor league system (even sadder to see was the banana hammock photos). The funny thing is on my bowling team at company loaded night on my team was a die hard Dodgers fan and I realized rational fans of any team even heated rivals can be fun to talk with about their respective clubs. So I am ok with Gabe going there, hell a guy has to work and because of this unique card I will probably get a small tinge of excitement when Gabe comes to the plate.

As I was exiting the bus I was looking forward to getting home and sorting my cards and placing my own values into top loaders to protect my 15 cent values and maybe looking for some other artistic gems like the Kapler card and I saw the gal swaying and half heartedly trying to get my attention again. I was told later she informed a friend she was waiting to apologize but the attention span of a drunk 24 year old is not too good, as opposed to a on the tail end of 30 his 30s German man child and I never received it.

I went on home to relax and congratulate myself for blowing it off and to wake up early feeling rested and ready. Several people asked me if I received an apology or what it was all about, I was told her being an ass sobered a few up but still no apology via IM, text or stripper like face to double chin face chat, but 2 days later I got a friend request on Facebook… let me off world I don’t understand you at all.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Crater, The Run Around, Brian Harper and a Pledge

Well it was about 24 hours ago that I hit what should be a tourist attraction for Northern California, either it was a pot hole or it could have been a gateway to hell opening up finally trying to swallow up the area’s Twittering speeding assholes. Either way it needs to be fixed or featured as a roadside attraction (as in you may never travel down the road again if you drive into this bad boy). I can now look back with a sense of relief of the last day and by morning I will be back to crackin’ wise and going over such important things in my head as baseball dice, Green Lantern story lines and wondering when Scrappers season two starts.

Now the picture may be misleading, but this post is not a strictly baseball one. I am wanting to rant, harangue and ramble about people. I would say humanity but I think that is a term we need to earn back much like when we were younger and had to earn toys back. If I do this right I may be able to tie up all my ideas of the past 24 hours that came to me.

Wednesday night I was driving home from picking up comics and groceries and was looking forward to getting home and reading the pilfered USA Sports Wed. Section and Doom Patrol. For some reason I strayed off my usual route and hit the freeway to get home a little bit sooner and as I was enjoying the chilly cracked window air I hit a crater and it felt like I was broadsided by a tank and my car immediately powered down.

And here is where my faith in people begins to be shot to shit. I am on a busy street close to the cop shop and at least 4 police officers drove past me and I had up my hood up and hazards flashing away. This was just the beginning of the journey in frustrations. I don’t want to get into the long boring details but maybe I should make a sort of flow chart for the incident and the frustration and close with my point, a quote and explanation of why Brian Harper is the accompanying picture.

1. Hit small crater, volcano or canyon= Strike 1 due to this broke ass rat bastard state not fixing a major problem that is in a well travelled location. I filed a report via Cal Trans and think it was well worded considering they give you a small amount of space.

2. Called home and relayed I am stuck and was asked if I needed a ride? Do you really need to ask? Strike 2 indeed. Seemingly kind of concerned but more annoyed by angry and frustrated with my doofus overreacting self on the line, the concerned party was asleep once I got back.

3. Call insurance which worked out well and fairly smooth… but tow truck driver takes forever and a day getting there and his English is not good. Strike 3= he has trouble finding me even with me giving him the exact address and other landmarks He gets there hooks up car and just nods when I ask questions and then watches me arms full of groceries start walking home.

4. Not a strike but a foul tip that dings someone, a weird old lady stops in a van to see if I am ok. I am finally relieved that someone has some compassion and I start feeling my getting out and helping people push stalled cars and opening the doors will pay off. She then hands me a tow truck card and tells me her boss is a mechanic. So the only person to give a shit is giving a shit about drumming up business?

5. A whole double header’s worth of outs between 3 companies and at least 4 people= Walked to work in the AM and got a single as sweet co worker and husband see me walking and pick me up. That was the last positive occurrence for some time. Tried calling my one man Click and Clack also known as my Dad and he was not home, called auto shop and was told they were going to look at the car and would call me, called auto shop back they could look at it at noon, called back they could not find the key, called insurance to get number for towing service I was on hold too long and hung up when I found it on line, called towing place who told me location of key, called auto and here is where it gets fucking deep. I was then told I needed to come in to talk to the owner…huh? They did not know me and I needed to sign papers before they could look at it. The 3 people I had talked to that day never told me this.

I kept feeling these waves of frustration and I could tell my face was getting flush and it was nothing personal but I found myself muttering under my breath as I was on hold that ‘why won’t anyone help me, I just need some help.’ I thought about just leveling with the guy at the auto shop on the phone and just saying look since this has happened I have had one disaster after another, I am not some rich white kid as you can tell by my car, I am in a bind and could you please just be decent and cut me a break? I am totally frustrated and just about to lose my shit. I vent to one of my co workers and she is listening and then starts checking her phone. Good lord I can’t even get an ear to bend for a minute? But…

6. Here is where the homer comes in= Dad calls and tells me of a fuel line switch to re set that may be the problem. The car hit so hard it registered that I was in an accident and shut off the fuel so I would not burn up (at this point that would have been preferred). A co worker takes me to the incompetent and shady auto place (when I asked if I could just talk to the owner as I had no way to get there I was told that he does not like to talk on phones) I sneak over to car find the switch pump it and my car comes to life and I instantly felt like pumping birds to the world and driving off to In and Out Burger with my old war damaged maroon buddy. Money of mine in their pocket= $0 I called pops on the way back to work and he was as thrilled as I was and even though he was almost 2,000 miles away and can be a grumpy guy I felt close to him. For all of my history and heat at times with him he was there to help out his son who often feels over his head in this world and very lonely. My Dad was Edgar Renteria on this day.

7. Conclusion, wrap, explanation and who am I kidding maybe there is no fargin’ point to all of this: After the relief of having a working car I started thinking about how we as people are so self centered and don’t do anything out of our wheel house to help someone. As I was walking to work this morning I had cars rushing up on me as I walked across the cross walk, they were in such a hurry. Wait a minute how about being considerate and at the same time appreciative that you are in a warm vehicle and will get to where you are going faster and let the person walk in peace.

Almost no one wanted to be put out to help me. I wasn’t asking for anyone to chauffeur me all around town I just wanted someone to help me get my car back on the road so I could go about my daily life. I am making a vow to be more aware of my surroundings and fellow man and to not be afraid to lend a hand. It is a simple rule that we learn on day one of school but just treat others as you would like to be treated. Several people in this whole ordeal just passed the buck on to someone else and no one really seemed too concerned.

So the picture is of Brian Harper the manager for the San Jose Giants Advanced A team. I normally don’t watch managers too much in a game but he was out there with a batting helmet on (one great thing about minor leagues the managers where helmets and usually stand by 1st base) he carried himself with class and I like how he always shook the hands and looked the pitcher in the eye when he came out of a game. But the capper was after they won the CA League in a classic four and half hour game he was interviewed and I am not one to be inspired often by quotes of the sporting nature but this is his quote:

"It was a great group of players from day one," said manager Brian Harper. "Our motto all year was to work hard, have fun and pick each other up. It was a special group of young men."

He also talked about how they made some errors and some guys hit slumps but they stayed positive and took care of one another. And in my own Hallmark moment this afternoon I thought about how impressed I was with his comment all the way back in September and I thought of how I wish the world operated the way Harp runs the Giants. I hear all the time at work how we are a team but really everyone just wants to get paid and out on time. You think about ideas like America patriotism and shouldn’t the philosophy of picking each other up and helping be in the bi laws? I am going to try to be better, in the grand scheme of things it will not be a ripple on a puddle but I feel it is something I need to be aware of. So tomorrow I am taping my Brian Harper manager baseball card to the dash of my car and every car from here on out to remind of the day when no one would help pick me up in so many ways and how that felt and vow to not do that to others.