Other day on the trip to the ballpark we’re swapping stories. Somehow, my buddy tells me about the time that George Foster came and spoke to the college baseball team that he was the pitching coach of. This team was Marietta, and they won the Division III national title that year (2006).
They made the mistake of inviting Reds legend George Foster to be the guest speaker at their end of the year banquet. I’ve read enough books about baseball to know that George Foster was as odd as they come. It was detailed in The Bad Guys Won by my boy Jeff Pearlman. I met him one day when he was signing autographs in the diamond seats and the guy was nothing short of a certified space-cadet.
So as you’d imagine, this guy as a guest speaker would be nothing short of nightmare fuel. And he did not disappoint.
As the story goes, Foster spoke for about 45 minutes, mostly about himself and his times as a big leaguer. My buddy is going in and out of a trance because Foster isn’t making any coherent points but rather rambling on and pulling jumbled sentences out of his ass.
All of the sudden, he caught my buddy and another coaches attention.
“So there I am in the big leagues and I’m up the plate and BOOM! George Foster sovenir”.
My buddy didn’t think he heard it correct until another few sentences came out.
“Guy decides to throw me a curve, BOOM! There go another Foster sovenir.”
All the while my buddy is just wondering what in the hell place this speech has in a bunch of young men’s lives who have just won a national title. These are college kids, some about to graduate and embark on lives as young professionals.
“So we’re in the pennant race, Big Red Machine and BOOM! George Foster sovenir out to right field.”
Again and again, he pounded his audience into submission with tales of his Foster sovenirs. And then George put a big bow on his masterpiece of a speech.
As my buddy tells it, Foster went on for ten minutes at the speech’s apex about how ‘you never know who could be sitting in this room’. He was talking about the members of the Division III Collegiate champions. Foster said ‘there could be an NHL hockey player in here, there could be a guys in here that learn a new sport and play whatever pro sport they want.’
Moral of the story is Foster forgot where he was at. He addressed a room full of National Champions like a bunch of fucking little leaguers. Like my buddy said when re-telling the tale, chances are none of those guys were headed towards the NHL, George. They’re Division III ballplayers and that’s it. They’ll go on to have a respectable desk job or maybe even grad-school. Either way, please get a clue.
Foster Souvenir! BOOM!