I was at lunch the other day with some co-workers and we were swapping some stories. My co-worker knows I’m a baseball fan and that I back the Reds. He asks me if I remember John Smiley. Of course I remember John Smiley. He won 20 games for the Pirates back in 1991 and then headed over to the Reds after his best stuff was gone and he relied largely on guile. Never want to be a pitcher relying too much on guile. Guile will screw you. It’s a funny thing. It can only get you so far.
My co-worker is only a casual baseball fan. But when he was a kid he liked the Reds quite a bit and one weekend his father took him and his little brother to Cincinnati to see the Reds play. The night before the game they were staying at the Radison or the Embassy Suites or one of those fancy downtown hotels that the Reds played at. He said that they heard word some Reds players were at the hotel and so he and his brother headed down to the lobby to get some autographs.
They scanned the lobby and no one was around. They were completely bummed out and climbed back on the elevator to head up to their room and go to bed.
Just then, three big gentleman hop on the elevator at the last minute. So last minute that; an arm came through the doors as they were closing and nearly swallowed the arm that came through. The men were wrestling and acting wild, laughing with each other. While they were wrestling, one of them slammed into my co-worker’s little brother and knocked him into the walls of the elevator. Apparently they did not see my co-worker or his brother and kept apologizing over and over.
They asked what the kids were up to and they said they were trying to get autographs of Reds players but couldn’t find any. Wouldn’t you know that one of these gentleman on the elevator just happened to be a Reds player.
“I’m John Smiley. I’m a pitcher for the Reds.”
They didn’t believe him. Now–I’m told that they didn’t know who John Smiley was exactly–but they didn’t believe that this drunken guy who had just been power bombed into them on the moving elevator was John Smiley, Reds pitcher.
It took some convincing, but finally Smiley has them enticed in a John Smiley autograph. He signs notebook paper for them and sends them on their way. Smiley probably goes back to body slamming until the elevator goes back to the lobby and heads to the hotel bar to down some more gin & tonics.
When my co-worker gets back to the room, he’s thrilled to tell his father that he met a Reds player and landed a prized autograph. Just as he finishes his story, he looks to see his brother with the notebook paper on the hotel table. He’s got a crayon and he’s tracing over top of the cursive J0hn Smiley signature. Autograph ruined forever.
Big-splashed by drunken John Smiley, all for naught.