First of all, I just want to tell you that my sister and I (lifelong Royals fans, thanks to our KC sports-crazy father) have become HUGE fans of the blog! Keep up the good work! For my question, I would like to know whether, as the top blogger/relief pitching prospect in the Royals organization, have you had a chance to visit Kansas City and sample our wonderful barbecue?? If not, WHEN you get called up, can my sister and I take you and Mrs. Disco out to dinner? It would make our year! Can’t wait to see you and your fantastic calves in KC!
Jessie F., Kansas City, MO
I have been to Kansas City, Jessie. And I have had the opportunity to try out the wonderful barbecue. So does this mean your offer for dinner is off the table?
After my first season in 2006 in the Royals Organization, I made a trip in September down to see “The K” and check out the city. I wanted to know what I had to look forward to, and I’m very glad I went. The only bad part about my trip was the fact I’m convinced MCI Airport is equally as far from Kauffman as where I was living in Chicago was from Kauffman. I spent a decent amount of money on my flight so I wouldn’t have to drive eight hours, yet when I landed, I had to rent a car and drive eight hours to get to the field. What city planner planned that one out? I’m convinced in the event the Indian Subcontinent breaks off and falls into the sea, all one-billion natives will be able to move to Kansas City and the airport will still be far enough out of town to not interrupt the new developments. I guess that’s a good thing; the more Royals fans, the merrier.
Mrs. Disco has also been to KC, though it was a very brief stop. On our way from Double-A Arkansas on the drive to Omaha (yes, after the famous poop story) we drove through KC and needed gas. So we went on a bit of a detour and drove by the field so I could see the renovations and she could see “The K” for the first time. It was after midnight, but turns out there were workers still there and one gate was open, so we went in to see the field in the pitch dark. We were so nervous we would get caught, we brought a copy of the Royals Gameday Magazine (my edition is, of course, the only one sold out) which had an article mentioning us and a picture of me as faux-ID. As in, “Sorry, yeah we probably shouldn’t be in here this late, but we hope to be here for real in the near future, look, I’m an employee…etc, look at me. Would you not arrest us if I signed this copy for you?”
But since you offered dinner only if we hadn’t been to KC before, it looks like I’m going to have to wait and have one of the transplants from India take me and Mrs. Disco out…but frankly, we’re not big fans of curry.
Please rank the following one-on-one contests with hypothetical opponents in order of increasing awesomeness. “Awesomeness” can be defined any way you like and assume your opponents are in their prime and that you are having a “good day.”
You pitching against Roy Hobbs
…playing chess against Bobby Fischer
…versus Forrest Gump at ping pong
…bowling against The Dude, Jeff Lebowski
…wrestling an alligator
…versus Marlon Brando and Sean Connery at Celebrity Jeopardy!
…boxing Ivan Drago
…in a stare-down with the “I Like Turtles” kid
…cooking against Iron Chef Chinese Chen Kenichi
…versus Jimmy from “The Wizard” at Super Mario Brothers 3
Jimmy M., Ann Arbor, Mich.
Jimmy, my answer in order of decreasing “awesomness”, with details on how the outcome comes about, as you have requested. Also, I would like to note I appreciate you recognizing that even with my opponents in their “prime” you had the foresight to recognize they would not be having a good day while at my mercy.
1. Disco v. Roy Hobbs
Fastball, sinks low and away at the knees, called strike. Roy yells “cut” and begins berating at the umpire for going “off script”. Before he knows it, I quick pitch another fastball, this one right down Broadway and he has no time to get the bat up to his shoulder, let alone back off it. Strike two. Roy steps out of the box and looks at the director and his agent and puts his hands up. They do the same in return. He steps back in the left handed batter’s box realizing he’s just going to have to hit a bomb off me on his own accord. I can tell he’s got “auto-swing” on so I throw a nasty slider that starts out over the heart of the plate. He takes a hellacious cut as the slider breaks directly into his groin. I match the single-greatest feat in my pitching career (I did this once in college on one other occasion, seriously, I have) by striking a player out and hitting him in the testicles at the same time. Annnnnnnd scene.
2. Disco v. The Dude
The Dude, known as a prolific member of a bowling team, has never actually bowled. It’s a little known fact that, while Donny rolled often, the Dude never actually bowls. In his first attempt at the sport, he abides to a strict diet of gutter balls. I, on the other hand, can throw a bowling ball 78mph and break 120 pins en route to a 300 game. Bummer man, 300-0 Disco.
3. Disco v. Turtles Kid
Two hours into the stare-down, a turtle begins to walk by. I reach to try to grab it and despite how slow my arm moves when close to the ground, the turtle walks slowly enough I’m able to catch it. I then proceed to throw the turtle slightly faster than it was crawling, and the boy, who seems to really like turtles, begins to cry. His tear ducts flood his eyes and force them to dispel the water with a quick blink. Disco wins in 2:02:24.
4. Disco v. Alligator
As a submariner, underwater battles are my specialty. Shallow water isn’t ideal for me, but regardless, one well-placed torpedo to the mouth is more than the alligator can chew. Disco in a TKO.
5. Disco v. Brando, Connor, et al
Jeopardy round categories: Blog Hilarity, Donuts, Shower Temps, “Eau” Two Counts, Lady Gaga, and Meatballs
Disco: $22,000 Brando: $3,000 Connor: $0.
Double Jeopardy round categories: Chess Masters, “Lo” Arm Slots, Donna Summer, Yoga “in structures”, Submarines, and Taming Cougars
Disco: $63,000 Brando: $2,000 Connor: $4,000.
Final Jeopardy: Unclogging Toilets
Disco: $1,200,001 Brando: $0 Connor: $0.
6. Disco v. Forrest Gump
Match begins with no warm ups, so Gump has no idea what he’s in store for. He serves first and I take a hellacious swing of my own, returning the ball at 78mph. Gump swings twice and misses both times only to see the ball yet to get to his side of the table. The insanely slow return baffles him for the balance of the match and his incredibly impressive quick return skills doom him. 21-0 Disco.
7. Disco v. Ivan Drago
One swift ground-up underhanded uppercut accidentally to the groin knocks Drago out. Disco, KO in fir
8. Disco v. Bobby Fischer
With an unfaltering sense of confidence after coming off a defeat of the kid who played the kid in “Searching for Bobby Fischer”, Max Pomeranc, I stroll into the match with no doubts of my superiority (I did actually beat Max Pomeranc in a national tournament in San Jose, CA in the mid 90s). The match begins, and no one can find Fischer. His clock ticks. Seconds before time expires, he runs into the room, hair disheveled and unkempt, he plays pawn to queen’s four. Disco smiles, plays knight to king’s bishop’s six, which surprises Fischer and causes him to pause, which causes his clock to run out. Disco wins.
9. Disco v. Chef Kenichi
The secret ingredient is chicken which is right up my alley, seeing as I eat it two meals per day. Three if you include it’s eggs. When the starting bell goes off, I use my engineering, problem solver skills to realize the letters to Chef Chen Kenichi spell Chief Hen Chicken. I then use my skills as a psychology minor to implant in the Chef’s head the thought that his long lost mother was actually a chicken and she named him accordingly to discreetly keep her legacy. He proceeds to cook a delicious meal, but refuses to use the chicken and I defeat him with my grilled chicken with Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce. 30-0, Iron Chef DQ’d for not using the ingredient.
10. Disco v. Jimmy
Jimmy would ask me a fan mail question, most likely in an effort to stump me, and I would give a number of perfect responses in which I go undefeated. The streak doesn’t change. Sorry Jimmy, but I win, 10-nil. Good thing your names are the same, ecause I suck at video games and would hate to go 9-1.
Times are rough, any good real estate or investment tips?
Lacy J., San Mateo, CA
In a roundabout way, here’s my answer. Lots of people think $.50 and .50¢ mean the same thing. Look at that sentence, let it marinate and then prepare to get upset about it the rest of your life. If you don’t believe me, just give it time and I guarantee if you truly grasp the difference, you will find signs or advertisements somewhere which confuse the two. Take a few weeks ago when I walked into Home Depot. I checked out, paid my bill, and then found they had small caribeeners on display at the counter on sale for .89¢. I handed the lady behind the counter a penny and said, I would like one of these caribeeners. She looked at me like I was crazy, and I only added to her stance when I said, “keep the change” and smiled. I didn’t want to make a scene or get charged with petty theft, so I let things be and returned the caribeener. I didn’t want it, but I also don’t like spare pennies jingling in my pocket.
“Home depot?” you say, “Really?” Oh yeah. Whether it’s .08¢ copies advertised at Kinkos or that “Life Alert” commercial which advertises service for .50¢ per day, big companies spending big bucks don’t even realize the mistake. It is all over grocery stores, TV, and print media; it’s commonplace.
So, to your question…I say find some property or a building for sale that wants around 50¢ per square foot. Wear a nice suit and sunglasses and walk in like you are a big deal and slam a contract on the table offering .99¢ per square foot. I assume you know where I’m going with this, but once you purchase the property, sell it immediately for half of what the original owner was asking and you are rich. Quick example: 1 million square foot warehouse property on sale for 50¢ per square foot. Agree to .99¢ per square foot and once the owner stops celebrating, pay him $9,900. Turn around tomorrow and sell it for 25¢ per square foot, or $250,000. Profit: $240,100, or 2425%. Let’s just hope AIG keeps reverse splitting before it gets back down below $1.00 again or else everyone may start to learn what a decimal really means. If this scares you, hedge my strategy by shorting AIG.
*Disclaimer: Don’t tell anyone you got this idea from me. And also, most importantly, don’t do it. That would be really mean.
**But if you do pull it off, please email me the numbers and every time I see .xx¢ displayed, I will no longer be upset, I will think of you.
***All I ask is 100% of your profit.
Showed up to the field today and found a brand new pair of nike running shoes in my locker. After a little detective work, I found out they were from Bruce Chen. When he was here in Omaha earlier in the hyear he had asked my shoe size and I wondered why. now 2 months later he’s in Kansas City and I have a brand new pair of shoes. So nice of him, I was smiling all day.
threw2 much better tonight too which was nice, so a greatmonday all around!
Did June’s blog rankings irk you as much as they irked me? 5th place?
Your awesomeness is insulted by any number greater than zero in an ascending ranking format. But, if we must speak in rankings for your blog (and mlblogs.mlblogs.com seems to insist on doing so) you should be ranked solely in rational numbers with enormous denominators. I can hear it now, “In three-one-millionth’s place, Disco Hayes. Way behind in 1st place was Reed Johnson, and congrats to Rick Ankiel for climbing way out of contention to 2nd.”
And as long as we’re on Rick Ankiel, what is going on? As your readers already know, Reed Johnson’s blog being ranked first for a second straight month is an insult Al Gore and those crazy Éclair-loving Ivy Leaguers that invented the internet with him. In case you’ve yet to read Reed, I’ll save you the trouble with an excerpt, nay, an entire blog post of his (entitled Monday Monday):
– – Reed
Forty-one people gave this two-word (is it three? Contraction faction, what’s your subtraction?) post an average of 4.74 stars out of 5. 41 people! On the other hand, Disco, your Poop Stick story literally changed my life–changed my life, yet was rated by only 25 people (for the expectedly perfect average of 5 out of 5, but we’re going for quantity, not quality here for the rankings…well, really not even that because the 4 guys ranked ahead of you posted a total of 13 times which is 2 less than the 15 posts in June you made on your blog alone). There’s something fundamentally wrong with this, and I can’t stand for it. I doubt you can either, right?
I’m not done with my question yet. Back to Ankiel, the guy posted twice in the month of June and passed you. If this were a golf tournament, he started out Sunday 60 strokes behind you and after 2 holes packed it in, but they counted the round and awarded him a 64-under 6 to pass you on the leader board. Well, that’s not a good analogy because we aren’t talking about golf at all, and we all know you went at least 4-under par on your round on Sunday–er June. And since you had a 60 stroke lead we would have to assume you teed off after him. This isn’t really working. Well, you know what I mean, right? Makes no sense? I’m Ron Burgundy?
See, the thing is, it’s not even that I hold anything against Reed or Ankiel or Hunter or Molina (Bengie! Chalk it up Berthiaume), it’s that the powers that be don’t respect the blog. If you visit mlblogs.mlblogs.com (and I’m sure you do), there’s a column on the right that lists the pro blogs in the mlblogosphere. Fourteen players are listed, three of whom are players ahead of you in the rankings. The other eleven players listed posted a combined total of ONE post in the month of June, 2009. Most of them have not posted at all in 2009. Yet they are advertised blogs and your genius goes unnoticed.
In another side note, how do they get off convincing all these really good players to blog? I mean like really good. Holliday, Papi, Hanley, Ankiel, Torii, Lowe. I take it Albert, Alex, and Manny were busy? Come on mlblogs and Sharp (we’ll get to you soon enough, Sharp, don’t think you’re getting off easy on this one), how do you expect a dorky un-drafted free agent in Nebraska to get any blog love? I can see how it went, “Hey Disco, come write a blog with some other players, it’ll be a blast, everyone will love you. [Pause] No, just some other guys, players, you know. [Pause] Oh, yeah, well, [Pause], if you have to know, it will be the Hall Of Fame classes of 2018-20 [Pause] and you, but I’m sure people will read your stuff. [Pause] No, keep your chin up, buck-o. You’ll be fine. So it’s a yes?” Perhaps it went like this, “Hey is this Zack Greinke? [Pause] [Pause] [Muffled voices in background with hand covering microphone] Alright, fine, can you blog anyway, Mr. Bannister? [Pause] Well, shoot, good thing we got a discount on URLs and server space. Whatever, go ahead and write, Charlie. [Pause] Not even Charlie Hayes? [Click] [Dial Tone]”
Sharp, it’s your turn; step on up to the table. Forget everything you’ve just read. This isn’t a conspiracy where mlblogs is trying to keep Disco under the radar for as long as possible to try to lock him up in arblogtration this off-season for an uber-discount. No, his blog is famous and it’s getting more and more famous by the post. What we have here is a situation where your marketing team has grossly misunderstood where the advertising market is and currently is barking up the wrong tree. You have invested in Ankiel, Holliday, Hunter, and Lowe. You probably spent decent money on them too. But you are missing the real cash cow here. You see, without any advertisement, without any help from anyone but his own fingertips and ego, Disco has carved out a decent piece of pie in the mlblog market. He has the most loyal followers (unless you tell me something crazy like Julia comments religiously on other players’ blogs too) and is expanding his fan-base around the globe, not just local markets along team lines. He appeals to the every man and woman, not just the baseball fan. He’s done some studies on his nickname alone, but with his blog as a whole, he kills the 60-80 demographic with his donut advice (OK, admittedly kill was a bad verb choice here, but I’m rolling, so backspace is out of the question) and mothers 25-40 can’t get enough of his feces…wait that came out wrong, too…and his 1 Minute Mondays appeal to, well, um, probably someone…aha! perhaps non-English speakers because it’s less to translate.
So, Sharp, if your own name could in any way be used to describe your marketing strategy, I suggest you jump on this bandwagon sooner than later. Jump on it, put billboards on the sides and fill it with loads of cash. I’ll ask you to think of this. What will happen when Disco makes the big leagues? Huh? Think of the blog then. Think of the Peter Gammons ESPN special about his fairytale story from college walk-on to big league phenom. “…aside from the fastball which resembles a local fair’s speed pitch booth, this kid is also a smart guy. He scored an 800 on the math section of the SATs, dabbles in sabrmetrics and he’s quite witty, check out his blog at discohayes.mlblogs.com. In Kansas City, Peter Gammons, [pause][wait][sneeze from Rachel Nichols][pause][chin nod][dramatic cough], E-S-P-N.” Think of the traffic his site will generate when mlblogs begins to pretend like it exists. Think of the possibility of Disco Music coming
back in vogue.
Perhaps don’t think of the last thought, but the first few are some legit points if you ask me. Which you aren’t because I’m asking a fan mail question. But seriously, Sharp, you should sponsor the guy. Besides, who needs money or a TV more, Torii Hunter or Disco Hayes? The guy tried cutting his own hair because he couldn’t afford a haircut. I get the impression he and his (hilarious, talented, well-written, independently famous, and beautiful) wife don’t have a house, so stick with cash instead of TVs. If you gave them a TV for every 100,000 hits to the site, he would probably start writing an Ethieresque blog to cut down on mounting storage costs. Stick with cash and he’ll actually have interesting things to blog about like “making it rain” and not just “making it flush”. Amazingly his blog is “on the verge” AND “off the heezay” at the same time. The snowball is in motion. Get behind it, or, as they say, die in the avalanche. Something like that.
So, Disco, my question is, do you ever think this stuff?
Disco H., Omaha, NE
We’re in ?Oklahoma City and yesterday one of our pitchers and I were in the outfield prior to BP and a bunch of the pother team’s guys kept coming up to say hi to my teammate. None of them said hi to me. Finally this older guy came running across the field, and came up to me first. He waslked over and said, “El Duque, nice to meet you,” and then hugged my teammat and started talking. I didn’t even have time to say, “El Disco, nic
After waiting in the clubhouse in Omaha for the rain to finally suspend our extra inning game and allow the fireworks to go off on July 3rd, we got home from the game around 11:30pm. The next morning we had to leave the house at 4am to get on a plane to fly to Oklahoma City via Dallas and play a 4th of July game in OKC again to a sold-out fireworks crowd. On about 3 hours of sleep and seemingly amidst a layover all day, I was dragging a bit in the clubhouse.
With the Royals we have a no facial hair policy in the minors, and prior to the game I went to shave. I don’t know if it was the lack of sleep or lack of decent shaving cream, but by the time I had finished shaving, I was bleeding from my Adam’s Apple, had 3 parallel horizontal cuts just below my right ear lobe, and was missing a piece of my cheek just to the left of my nose which was bleeding profusely. No facial hair though.
Much like Mother Nature did to the fireworks in Omaha, she rained on OKC’s parade as well and washed out the game on the 4th. Again, like Omaha, they set the fireworks off so the fans wouldn’t leave unhappy, but by 9pm we were dressed and out of the clubhouse. Right across the street from the field is a movie theater, so Mrs. Disco and I decided to utilize a rare night “free” to go see a movie. We walked over to find a movie we wanted to see that started at 9:15.
Due to the rain out, there was no post-game spread provided by the clubby, so I was starving. I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it through the movie without food, so I had Mrs. Disco go get the tickets and ran across the street to an Italian place that had calzones pre-made. I ordered mine To-Go and on the short walk back to the movie theater I ate as fast as I could to get as much nourishment, such as it was, before I entered the theater where no outside food or drinks were allowed. Between bites, I got a text from Mrs. Disco saying she went in to get us seats, but told the guy taking tickets I would be coming.
I walked into the theater but still had half my calzone left. I was late at this point, but figured the previews were still going on, and after all it was the Proposal we were seeing, so I wasn’t going to die if I missed the very beginning. Either way, I still rushed the food down my throat. The ticket-taker was watching me curiously, and I figured he knew I was the guy who was coming in late without a ticket. He seemed appauled at how fast I was eating my calzone, but once it was safely in my mouth, which no longer made it against the rules to bring in, I walked towards him to enter.
As I finished up chewing, I said to him, “Hi I’m Chris, my wife came in a minute ago, she showed you my ticket,” he smiled and acknowledged I need not go further with my story.
“Go ahead,” he said timidly. “Um, but sir.” I had started to walk towards theater 11, but turned back around.
“Um, I think you have a lot of sauce on your face.” He used his finger to mirror on his face the part of my upper cheek where he suspected I had sauce. I fist got the little bit of sauce I could feel on the corner of my mouth, and then felt across my cheek for the sauce he was pointing out. When my finger got to the right spot he nodded to show I had found it and I jumped a bit in pain as I was scraping across the open wound that was still healing.
Embarrassed, I said thanks and started to walk away. I heard him say, “Sir, sir, there’s more…” and he trailed off. I realized he must have thought I was an immense slob to get sauce on my left cheek, right ear lobe and Adam’s Apple and I sulked to the theater, blushing, bloated, and bloody.
I noticed you went to Northwestern and played for Windy City, are you from the Chicagoland area?
Alex S., Chicago, IL
Yes. I was born in the Northwest Suburbs, but then moved to the Detroit area for a few years. My family moved back and we lived up North near the Wisconsin border near lake Michigan. So, I’ve lived north, when I played for the Windy City Thunderbolts I lived south, I’ve spent time in the west suburbs near Aurora and most recently lived not too far from Wrigley. So, I’ve been all over the Chicago area.
I was wondering if you have considered wearing a number in the 70’s to represent your Fastball when you make it to the big team for good. I would love to see you freeze the likes of A-Rod or Teixeira on a called third strike on the corner from your 3/8″ off of the ground release point and the camera show you as you’re walking back to the mound with a big 78 on your back. My son and I have gotten to see you pitch a lot when you were in NWA, but for the sake of your spreading fan base…
Jake F., Mossburn, New Zealand
Well, crikey dick! My first Kiwi fan mail question. I’m a box of birds after hearing from one of my bugalugs from the South Island. Not many people know I used to play for the New Plymouth/Wellington/Auckland (NWA) Naturals. Glad we could have a yak about it, though. It was a fun year of baseball, but practice got pretty boring because we had no teams to play. I mean, being on an island makes it tough to find competition, but then they had to combine the teams from New Plymouth, Wellington, and Auckland and only then realized there weren’t any other teams around. When Christchurch had to fold due to lack of support, it really put a damper on our season. What it did do, though, was leave for plenty of time for me to think about things like which number I’d fancy on the back of my cardy.
I have to say, I like your suggestion of 78. Despite the fact those high numbers in the 70’s are usually saved for guys on the gridiron who are probably two sammies short of a picnic, I like sticking with the Disco theme. Nothing would show a batter it was merely a piece of piss to strike them out like having them look back at me on the mound and see me wearing the speed of my feeble fastball on my back. I did fancy another step in your thinking, though. If Chad Johnson can legally change his last name to Ocho Cinco, why couldn’t I change my last name to Fastball. Then, we blow it by somebody on the inner half and as they walk to the dugout, in their peripheral, they’ll see:
Hooray and cheerio.
What is Yabuta like in the clubhouse? To whom does he talk to? You should be his friend.
Will G., Omaha, NE
He talks mostly to his interpreter, but he can surprise you with some English here and there too. More than anything, he is witty and hilarious so it doesn’t matter what language he’s speaking, he’ll make you laugh. The best part is the steps that need to take place when someone in our bullpen wants to ask him a serious question because his translator doesn’t accompany him in the bullpen. One of our other pitchers is from the Dominican but played 4 years in Japan, so he is pretty much fluent in Japanese. So, to ask a lengthy question, one of the English speaking players has to ask me the question, which I then translate into Spanish, which then gets translated into Japanese and then gets asked of Yabuta. Then the answer comes backwards down the chain and we have our response. Just the other day in the first inning we wanted to know if Yabuta missed any family from Japan and if he missed eating Japanese food while he was in the states all summer. By the top of the fourth we found out that he only eats the grown-up octopuses and doesn’t like the baby ones and that on occasion he has gone bowling but never had the honor of catching a turkey.
On a serious note, we did find out the Japanese word for “comb-over” is the same as their word for “bar code”, which if you think about it is pretty hilarious. I’ve never played with a foreign player who’s native language wasn’t Spanish, so this is the first time there’s a real language barrier for me with a teammate. He and his translator have been teaching me some Japanese and we do pretty well communicating. I haven’t been here long, but without hesitation I would call him a friend.
To give you a closer look at how funny and personable he is, I’ll tell you this quick story.
My very first day with the team in Triple-A I didn’t really know many guys on the team. I walked into the locker room in Iowa and sat down at my locker, which was next to Yabuta’s. He introduced himself and I went about unpacking my baseball stuff. After getting settled, I sat down and took my phone out to send Mrs. Disco a text to tell her how exciting Triple-A life was. As soon as my fingers started tapping away at the phone. Yabuta said something to his interpreter in Japanese. The interpreter walked up to me and pointed at the phone with a smile and said, “He wants to know if you’re posting to your blog.”
My hair had gotten too long and I wanted to make it shorter. You see, we have been on the road for…well…ever it seems. Yesterday was only my third home game in the entire month of june. And hair cuts are expensive, so I just hadn’t gotten one in a few months. I usually have Mrs. Disco cut it, but it’s hard to do on the road and we didn’t have the clippers anyway. So today I decided to cut it myself. but I was only half way done when i realize
I haven’t written as much for a week or so now and I feel the need to explain why.
With the Royals’ Double-A Affiliate, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the travel isn’t that bad because you play 116 out of the 140 games within a three hour radius. But when you play outside the radius, it’s way outside. Like Corpus Christi or Midland, TX which are 16 and 13 hours away respectively.
Two weeks ago, the Naturals were at the end of a week long trip to Texas. At the very end of this trip, I got the exciting call up to Triple-A Omaha. On the day the O-Royals embarked on a 17-day road trip (to make room for the CWS in Omaha), Mrs. Disco and I drove up from Arkansas to meet them. So, despite not having a real home, we haven’t even been to our psuedo-home since June 1st and we won’t get to our new one until June 27th. Not that I need to be at home to post a blog, but I’ve had some bad luck with the Internet in hotels and most of our mornings seem to be spent at airports now, so it’s been tough to get stuff out. Don’t lose hope in life in general, though. These are extenuating circumstances and I will continue to do what I can to make your day as often as possible.
Any time you get called up, it’s an exciting time, so I’d like to share the story of my recent promotion to Triple-A with you. Depending on how much a fan you are, you may have a preconceived notion of what a promotion is like for the player. This story is 100% true and hopefully will make you laugh and make you realize, it’s not always as glamorous as it seems.
In Arkansas, Mrs. Disco found a host family for us to live with and the people were amazing. I’m not just saying this because they are probably reading (Hi guys, we miss you, btw!), but honestly, they were perfect hosts for us. They had a gorgeous house, were there enough that we got to know them, but were gone enough that we got to enjoy the house like it was ours. They made us feel comfortable and completely at home. They were generous, thoughtful, and perfect. Oh, yeah, and did I mention they had a pristine pool in the back?
It was a perfect set-up and Mrs. Disco and I thoroughly enjoyed it our entire stay. We loved every minute there and loved every square inch of that house…except for one single incident about a month ago.
Another bonus of the house was the neighbors had three adorable little kids (twins, age four, and a 14-month old). One day we were playing with the kids and 4-year-old Connor told me he had to go potty. Our host parents were not home, so I brought Connor in and asked him if he knew which bathroom he was supposed to go in. He said yes and walked directly to one of the two guest bathrooms downstairs just off the kitchen. I didn’t know how much involvement I would have, so I stayed within ear shot just down the hall. I heard the seat go up and then heard the sound of a tiny stream going into the toilet. I was proud of the little guy and was impressed. I didn’t know how big a deal it was for him, so didn’t want to make it one, but he was doing great. Kids are so easy, I thought.
“Yeah, buddy, I’m here.”
“I need to go poopy.”
“OK, do you need help?”
Unsure what was going to happen, I walked into the bathroom to find a tiny person with his bathing suit down around his ankles looking at me. I put the toilet seat down and he picked up his hands in a motion I knew meant he wanted help getting up on the toilet. I obliged and soon, we were in business again. Ha, kids are so easy.
“Yeah, buddy, I’m right here.”
“Mommy wipes me cause I don’t know how to yet.”
I walked back into the bathroom to find the little guy still sitting on the toilet. I didn’t know what was about to happen, but didn’t want to seem confused. I knew I would need toilet paper at some point, so I wrapped my hand and upper arm in toilet paper, took a deep breath and was ready for action. I looked at him and he looked at me. He didn’t move.
“Yup.” He took a quick look back at his bottom as if to say, “It’s still there, isn’t it?”
If you wake up in the middle of the night and the room is pitch black, your familiarity with the room is key. If it’s your bedroom and you’ve lived there for years, you can get around without even a hint of a light on. If it’s a hotel room and you just checked in late that night, odds are you’re going to walk into a wall.
I sighed and reached behind him. I was 100% in a foreign hotel room and walked smack into a wall. As a complete novice, my hand had no idea where it was going or what it was doing and before I knew it, I realized it was under water. “Poopy” water. I had gone too deep, overshot the target I was unfamiliar with, and dunked my hand in kid-poop-water. It was mostly cold. I made eye contact with Connor. He was smiling. His feet were dangling off the edges of the toilet, his little bathing suit resting on the ground below.
I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, dry heave, or play poop-a-boo with my little potty buddy sitting there inches from my face. He seemed to be enjoying this thoroughly.
By the time this charade was over, Connor probably had some remnants between his cheeks, but I can guarantee you I had more between my knuckles after dunking my hand on two (and a half) occasions. Connor threw his bathing suit back on and ran outside to go play some more. I threw up in my mouth and ran to the sink to find some bleach for my hand. My right hand, no less! It took close to a week for me stop getting nauseous when I was half-way into brushing my teeth and something would trigger the poop soup memory. With every flashback, I would condemn that one toilet as being the only part of the house I would have a bad taste for when we left. I cursed at it and grew a disliking for the room every time I passed it on the way to the kitchen.
I told you that story to tell you this one:
It was a normal day at our host family’s house; the first one in a long time, for that matter, as we had just gotten back late that night from our road swing in Texas. After a nice breakfast with Mrs. Disco, we were sitting in the kitchen catching up with the real world and the on-line world on our computers. I don’t know if it was the granola or the yogurt or the eggs, but I got the urge to go to the bathroom and had the foresight to know I wasn’t going to have time to get upstairs. So, for the first time since we had moved in two months prior, the same bathroom I had cursed for weeks was my only salvation.
The gravity of my bathroom choice went unnoticed at first because it was out of such necessity. But once I was settled and the situation was under control, I started to ponder the implications of being in the very bathroom I had shunned my entire stay. It was a weird feeling to be in Connor’s shoes this time around. After a while, perhaps my fears had subsided some, but I began to notice all my hatred had perhaps been unfounded as the bathroom really wasn’t that bad. It was decorated with soft colors and an interesting decor that made it surprisingly pleasant. I had hated this room for weeks, but now began to think it was all for naught. The entire house was amazing, why would I think this one room was out to get me. I shouldn’t let one bad experience ruin this room, right?
I stood up with a feeling of
a new sense of appreciation for the bathroom and flushed. I felt in-touch with my fears and emotions and for this I was grateful and proud. As I stood up, I felt taller than when I walked in.
I pushed the lever down and the normal flushing sound was absent. Instead, I heard the sound coming from the toilet that makes your heart sink. The sound is disheartening enough when you are in your own home, but as a guest, it can cause panic. Thankfully this morning our host family was out of town on vacation for a week, so I didn’t have that embarrassment to endure, but regardless, it’s never a good feeling to see the level of water rise around your own waste instead of flushing the slate clean. It had taken weeks, but eventually the bathroom had it’s revenge! I gave it the opportunity and it did not waste any time in getting back at me for all the bad things I had to say about it.
Revenge is a stinky cologne.
My heart began to beat quickly and my mind raced to come up with a solution. Sadly, a quick scan of my memory told me our host family had not outlined where to find a plunger. A second and third attempt to flush did nothing, so I decided there was nothing I could do and I returned to my computer to see if Father Time could work some magic for me.
I collected myself, after all, though the situation was not improving, thankfully it was not getting any worse, so I returned to the kitchen. As I sat at the my computer, the phone rang and our manager broke the great news I would be moving up to Triple-A! Just like that the course of my morning took a 180-degree turn and everything sprung into action as the cheers and happy phone calls and hugs led to packing up and loading of the car to go to Omaha! The clogged toilet of doom could not be further from my giddy mind. Over the course of the next few hours Mrs. Disco and I happily skipped around the house packing our belongings and removing any fingerprints to leave the house looking the way it did the day we moved in. After all, with our host family out of town, we wouldn’t even be able to say goodbye to them, we had to leave the house as nice as we found it. Estimated Time of Departure: 3:00pm.
As the afternoon wore on and we got closer and closer to being ready to make the drive to Omaha, I ran a checklist in my head to make sure we had gotten everything out of the house. Man, it was a big house. ETD: 4:00pm. As I gave mental clearance to the beautiful rooms on the first floor, I got past the kitchen and my eyes settled on the bathroom from hell. It was far from fingerprint-free. It immediately earned it’s way out of my good graces. What a short-lived stay.
Now, I debated not sharing this story at all because social norms would suggest it’s a bit “too much information” and an over-the-top embarrassment. There was a point for close to a week where I had actually convinced myself not to tell the tale.
But I began to think, “why do they sell plungers?” If, in this story, I was the first guy EVER to plug a toilet, plungers would not be mass-produced. There’s a number of Plunger CEO’s somewhere who have very nice houses that have been built by clogged toilets. This eased my inhibitions a bit. And not to get into too much detail, but I will add this disclaimer. I am of the impression this toilet of doom is predisposed to clogs due to a small intake. True, I have based this on one incident, but I can tell you my offering did not seem overly over-bearing.
Despite my reasoning that plungers are mass-produced, I was still apprehensive about posting this. What finally made up my mind in favor posting was when I reminisced about the time in college when I ran into a girl I knew from class as I was checking out of Walmart at 11pm with only a plunger in my hand. Nothing says, “I eat a lot of fiber and bran and have healthy bowels and stay very regular, and as a result, may or may not have my own feces seeping across my bathroom floor as we speak,” like being caught buying a plunger. I felt terrible for myself and wanted to crawl into a hole (though, with my luck, I probably would not have fit), but had to feel even worse for the girl. She had to make small talk with me as we waited in line at the only open register. “Come here often?” Doesn’t really work in that situation. I think she went with, “what do you normally buy here?” to try to change the subject but I brought everything full circle when I started talking about the knock-off Grape Nuts I had just discovered earlier that morning. It was a traumatic experience for me, and my classmate as well. But, if I can survive 5 minutes holding a plunger in line with my classmate, I can survive telling this story. I just hope my audience can fully enjoy my embarrassment this time. So don’t feel bad for me, besides, admit it, you’ve been here before!
Remembering the mess in the bathroom prior to leaving was bittersweet; I was grateful I remembered because I don’t know how to describe what it would have been like to be half-way to Omaha and remember I had left a toilet clogged for our amazing host family who would not find it for another week. “Thanks for letting us stay in your amazing house for two months, guys, we left a little floating token of our appreciation in the toilet just off the kitchen…” On the other hand, I had no desire to go in to the war zone and make amends. ETD: 5:00pm.
I entered the bathroom with much the same approach I had weeks before with Connor: I didn’t really know what I needed to do next, but I knew it wasn’t going to be fun. I had no idea where a plunger was in the house and didn’t want to spend the time or money to go buy one at the store. I tried flushing again; again to no avail. I wanted to rip the toilet out of the wall. It seemed to be smiling at me, thrilled to have gotten it’s payback.
I stood over the toilet weighing my options. No plunger. Flushing was doing nothing, but thankfully didn’t cause the water level to rise so I decide to try flushing a few more times. The water level stayed the same, but none of the problem went away. I had been packing all day and this was not the way I wanted my call-up to go. I was so excited to get to Omaha, but this clog was standing in my way. It had taken a year of success at the Double-A level to get to Omaha, did I really need this one road block?
Twenty-four hours later, I approached the mound in Des Moines, IA as the bases were loaded with no one out and the heart of the Iowa Cubs order coming up. “Tough situation” our manager said and handed me the ball. As the catcher walked back to the plate to receive my warm up tosses, I had a second to reflect on the statement and couldn’t help but think back…I couldn’t help but smile as I thought, “if only these eight thousand people could have seen me just a day ago.”
The pool looked as pristine and perfect as ever as I walked past it to the bushes in the back yard. Within seconds of arriving at the bushes, I found the perfect stick. Moments before, while embarrassingly weighing my options with Mrs. Disco, she suggested the “poop stick” method of breaking up the blockage. It seemed to be the best option available at the time. So I went in the back yard and found a stick about two feet long and about as thick as my pinky in the back yard and walked back into the house. My day had gone from the penthouse to…well you know where this saying goes. For Mrs. Disco, however, the day was looking up. She had to spend several arduous hours (ETD: 6:00pm, btw) packing her pretty little heart
out, but now she was able to reap the reward of watching her husband use a poop stick. She was laughing hysterically in the kitchen as I walked by, scowling.
In the bathroom, I shoved the stick into the toilet and started moving it around (ETD: 6:30) to break up what needed to be broken. I was thrilled to have a tool to aid me this time, but I couldn’t help but be upset at the toilet of doom. Mrs. Disco couldn’t help but be doubled over at the waist slapping her knees. In a sick, karmic kind of way, though, it was a beautiful closure of our stay in the house. As the sweat started to form on my brow, I did my best to effectively execute the PS method, all whilst not picturing what was taking place at the other end of the stick. After what seemed like an hour (ETD: 7:00pm), a beautiful, resounding flush was successful!
I stood, Rocky-esque, with my hands up over my head (I left the stick sitting in the toilet to minimize drippage), victorious. Mrs. Disco caught her breath and rubbed her sore abdominal muscles, which had been convulsing for the length of the procedure.
I washed the poop stick in the now-clean toilet and carried it outside to dispose of it where I found it. As I walked to the bushes to lay the stick to rest, Connor came running up to me from next door, “Mr. Chris, what are you doing with that stick?”
I didn’t know where to start. The same smiley eyes that I had been inches from weeks before had no idea what I was doing with the stick. Connor seemed genuinely confused as to why we had said goodbye just after lunchtime
and yet were still here playing with a
(poop) stick in the back yard past his bedtime. I debated telling him the story, but looked at the clock and saw it was close to 8:00pm. He wouldn’t get it even if I did tell him, I thought.
So instead, we said goodbye and Mrs. Disco and I were finally able to get on our way to Omaha and tackle the next “tough situation”.
Had an “off” day today in which we traveled from Albuquerque to Memphis. Spent most of the day in the airport which was a bit frustrating, but by the end of the night, it turned out to a nice off day.
We arrived in Memphis and Sidney Ponson, who is rehabbing with us, invited everyone on our team out to dinner at a Brazilian Steakhouse in town. It was the best meal I’ve ha
A lot of firsts this monday. first flight with a pro team. first travel in AAA hence the first flight. first time i can remember going through securtiy without my trusty backoack. first time ever on a plane with a tucked in dress shirt. wore somthing called “slacks” which are like pants.
Mrs. disco was able to find a ticket to new orleans that happened to be the same flight so we got to travel together. she got bumped from second leg of trip, so i had to carry my glove instead of hiding it in her bag which caused for a lot of “rookie” comments from teammat