Category Archives: Famous Encounters

Our buddy, with Bunny

So the other night our buddy Dave went out tipping a few bottles with Bunny Arroyo and Ryan Hanigan. I wanted to wait until I got the whole story straight from the horse’s mouth before posting the photo, but I haven’t been able to yet.

Only word I got via text that night: “Hanigan is awesome. Bronson is kind of a dick. There’s 19 year olds flocking to these guys, crawling out of every crack. We didn’t have to wait in the 2 hour line to enter the club. God I wish I was a pro.”

I asked him where Bruce and Phillips were.

His response (at 3:58 AM): “at home eating pudding”.

Still not sure what that means.

Meeting the Godfather


The style of this post reminds of an old post we read
on Deadspin many moons ago. But it would never have been a complete trip to Redsfest without getting to meet our boy Jay Bruce.

So another blogger stumbles into the daylight. The man behind the curtain if you will. And yes that’s really Jay Bruce, despite the cheap looking Redsfest background that they put in the photo. We’ll take it.


Jay is first rate all the way. Thus why he is the Godfather of Diamond Hoggers.

Cole Hamels drinks Hoegaarden



We’ll always feel a certain connection with Cole Hamels. He was pleasant to us when we had a conversation with us after one of his initial career nights in Cincinnati in 2007. In that conversation we specifically remember him mentioning having a few cold ones after the game. Now it’s confirmed that Hamels at least enjoys good beer.

Last night, my wife took me to Butcher & Singer, and guess who comes and sits in the booth across from us? [Ed Note: Cole Hamels?]

Holly-fucking-World-fucking-Series-M-V-fucking-P-Wood Hamels [Ed Note: First try!], and the lovely Heidi. Also in tow looked like the lefty’s sister and mom(?).

I am a tool but not enough of one to bug a man during a nice dinner (had it been Jim’s Steaks or something I would have sat in his lap), but I had to do something. I decided to buy my hero a beer; sending over my waiter for the ballin-est, “Ah, excuse me sir” moment of my life. I told him not to point me out or anything like that, just please enjoy. The waiter came back with Cole’s warm regards.

I watched him drink the beer and get more animated in his conversation, and couldn’t help but think that I was somehow contributing — you know, helping in some small way — my hero to enjoy his night out.

It was just the coolest damn thing.

Now the only interesting piece of info I really have for you: the beer of WFCs? Hoegaarden. Who knew? Hoegaarden… no shit.

So there you have it. Cole Hamels beer of choice is Hoegaarden. It’s quality beer. We really don’t drink much anymore, but when we did we frequented a Winking Lizard Tavern down the street that had specials on that beer. It’s that good. You’ll never drink Blue Moon again if you try it.


Athlete Encounters: Buying a beer for Cole Hamels [The Fightins]

Eddie Taubensee was a nice fellow

One of the nicest guys we ever met (aside from Sean Casey) was without a doubt Eddie Taubensee. We were big fans of Eddie when he was with the Reds but this was during his final season while with Cleveland.

Eddie didn’t just sign every piece of memoribilia we had (how anoying to do to a guy) but insisted on us setting down our things and posing with our ugly mugs that day outside of Jacobs Field at the players parking lot.

If baseball was full of Eddie Taubensee’s, the media would have a very boring and easy job.

Once upon a time; before Bartolo Colon was girthed

This story is about former Cleveland Indians ace pitcher and current Anaheim Angel Bartolo Colon. The facts of the story may be disputed, but the story itself is completely true.

Back in August of 2001, my ballpark-going buddy Justin and I traveled to Cleveland to see the Indians play. The kicker of the deal was that the night before we were going to stay with my uncle Peter Veneziano in Lodi, who would spend the better part of the evening being awkward and telling us about his movies he has ‘starred in with Redford’. Although demensia and Alzheimers had eaten away at his brain by that point, the old fart wasn’t lying, he was just stretching the truth. He really had been in movies with Redford, probably even seen him first hand, maybe he even made eye contact. Later the whole truth would leak out from my mother that Uncle Pete had been an extra and a guard in the background of some old Redford film. Who gives a shit, that’s good tender in my book.

We arrive in Lodi at Uncle Pete’s on a friday night, ready to relax and see our Indians play the next evening. It was around 9 p.m. when we arrived, but not late. Uncle Pete and his darling old wife Aunt Barb were sitting and waiting on us. It had been several centuries since they’d had any guests. When we arrived an awkward conversation followed about how we liked the Cleveland Browns.

“Oh yeah, the Browns. We like the Browns too, and Tim Couch. You know, Couch–the Quarterback?” said Uncle Pete.

“Yeah, I know who he is, like I said; we’re Browns fans too,” it didn’t register with him.

What also didn’t register is that around the holidays all through my youth, Uncle Pete had told me many times about his endeavors in Hollywood, and his movie spots with Redford. He started in again and it was about that time that I realized it’s not worth your energy to try and communicate normally with someone with Alzheimers. After I told him that he’d told me that before, he began to freak out entirely only to be calmed down by Aunt Barbara. My buddy gave me a look like ‘I just wanna get outta here’ but I pressed on and knew that at least we had a warm place to rest our heads that night, soak in some rays at their retirement home pool the next day and get downtown for plenty of time for autographs.

Uncle Pete next anounced that he was headed to bed for the night. I told him goodnight and thanks for letting us stay with him; and what a great idea it was for my mom to make this placement for my buddy and I. I told him we’d probably just watch some television until we got tired and then head to bed ourselves.

“I’ll show you to your room then,” Uncle Pete said–almost as if he didn’t even hear me about the whole watching television bit.

With that he showed us to our chambers for the evening, shutting the door behind us. That meant it was time for us to go to sleep too, because he turned off all the lights in the house. In the middle of the night it crept to around 115 degrees, causing Justin and I to toss and turn in the twin bed. Finally he convinced me to sneak and turn on the air conditioning. I did and about 10 minutes later I heard either Pete or Barb sneak into the same hallway with the thermostat and flip the air off. I got back up after I figured they went to sleep, flipped the air back on and headed back for my prison cell. Barb or Pete, most likely, again got up ten minutes later and turned it back off, just before any air hit our flesh. I agreed to try one last time for our sanity to turn the air back on. Again I failed and lost out to the old folks. Finally we drifted off to sleep in a pool of our own sweat.

At 7 am, I briefly opened my eyes to see Uncle Pete hawking overtop of me. I jumped back for a second because there he was with a stare and a gaze, no telling how long he’d been overtop of me and waiting for me to open my eyes.

“Barbara made breakfast!” he declared.

“Oh, great. I’ll be out in just a minute, let me get dressed,” I was just pissed. Old guy keeps me up all damn night now he’s waking me up at the ass crack of dawn. I don’t eat breakfast, Pete. I’d rather sleep.

“Oh alright,” He said as he appeared to back up one foot or so. I was amazed that he seemed to understand.

I was wrong. He didn’t understand. He wasn’t going to leave the room until we were up and out of bed. Just a couple feet from me, he stood there with the same gaze right at us. Finally I pryed myself from the sticky sheets and awoke Justin for breakfast.

Now not only was I not hungry, but I was just detested as the food that Aunt Barb shoved in front of us that morning. It tasted like cardboard, and as their little Yorkie, ‘Muffin’, licked and clawed at my damn feet, I either left most of it on my plate or shoveled it underneath to the mutt. It was on ESPN that Korey Stringer had died from heat exhaustion that morning, and being a former Ohio State Buckeye Justin and I struck up conversation about the only thing we could with Pete.

“Wow, he was a Buckeye, and now he’s dead. That’s sad.” I said to Pete.

“Yeah he died yesterday,” said Peter Hollywood.

“Yeah I know, I just mentioned that to you,” I told him again.

“Died of heat exhaustion, last night,” signaling to me that he didn’t care, didn’t hear me, or just had too much Alzheimers to digest what I said. I gave up.


style=”font-family:arial;font-size:85%;”>Just as I had finished scraping my breakfast in the trashcan, Pete anounced some bad news.

“Aunt Barb and I are headed out for the day. The whole day.”

“Oh that’s alright, we’ll probably just head to the pool–we brought our swim suits and we’ll be there or we’ll watch some TV until we leave for the game tonight.” Then it happened.

A look of concern came over Pete and Barb’s aged faces. I knew right then we were fucked.

“Oh, Muffin doesn’t like strangers.” Uncle Pete said.

Murmuring right after him, Aunt Barb echoed the same words and same sentiments.

“Yes, Muffin can’t stand strangers,” repeated Barb.

I hesitated badly. They had to be fucking kidding. What did you want us to do? Leave and head to the mean streets of Cleveland at 8 am, with no food, water, or toilet for the day and $20 to our name? This isn’t what we planned. This was disaster. I realized I had just one chance left to save us from being street hoodlums the rest of the day.

“Well……….I……………….guess we can………….pack our bags and get out of here……..if you really need us to???” hoping that by some chance they’d realize how fucking insane the idea sounded. Keep in mind the game was to be played at 7 pm that night.

“Sounds great, thanks for coming by.” Uncle Pete said, as he and Barbara rushed out to get more pills from the funny-farm.

By this time me and Justin were both disgusted, cursing and cussing Pete under our breath.

Fuckin’ Redford. I’ll show you Redford motherfucker,” under my breath.

Muffin doesn’t like strangers,” I mocked. It has became a running joke amongst our friends, along with the fact Justin swears 75 year old ancient Aunt Barb was wearing a push-up bra.

We packed our bags and headed out, wishing that Alzheimers would finally do the old hollywood actor in. We were going to get to see the City of Cleveland. See it we did, ever nook, cranny, crevice, crack. Every bum, every ounce. We were there from 8:30 am onwards. All because my mom set us up to stay with these two old whackos; and of course because ‘muffin didn’t like strangers’.

Around 3:30 or 4 in the afternoon, we decided to walk our blistered feet to the players parking lot at Jacobs field. Some yokul told us that the players would be arriving, and we wanted to see some guys and really just rest our heads. We were hungry, tired, and exhausted by the heat. Still, nothing could eliminate the fact we got to see some baseball that night, when what happened next when we arrived at the player’s parking lot outside the Jake amazed us both.

We were standing there and I had a Bartolo Colon t-shirt on. Colon was my kind of pitcher, a butterball who couldn’t speak shit for english and threw the ball as hard as he could. He was the fireballer the Indians needed to win the World Series that year in my opinion. Up from behind us came a strange man.

“You a Colon fan?” he said.

“Yeah I sure am, he’s my favorite Indians player!” I was excited to converse with someone.

“Come over here. You, and your friend. Yeah, come over here behind the car,” he said to us.

We walked for about 20 feet. We approached the man who had a laundry basket full of various shit. He pulled out a photo album.

“Yeah I know him. I know Colon. I know him well. He was a family member,” said the mysterious man from the Dominican.

After that he flipped through page after page of photos with himself, Bartolo Colon, Colon’s wife, and Colon’s kid. The guy kept showing us picture after picture. He was holding Colon’s baby, then he was cutting a pie with Colon’s wife. There he was again sharing a cuban cigar with Bartolo. He also in the photo album had signed contracts for several different things from Colon. He had a copy of Colon’s old drivers liscense. Colon’s passport. He worked to cover up the SS# but I could see the address, Colon lived in Westlake, Ohio. This guy was legit, for some very strange reason though.

“Ok man, so you wanna tell us how you got all this shit, what is your story,” I said with amusement. This was the most action we’d had all day and we were both amazed and amused.

“I was his guy when he came over here to the states. I known him since he was a boy. He’s my guy, he’s a little mad at me now, he thinks I screwed him for some money. He thinks that I fucked him and he told the other guys I know on the Indians that I fucked him now they’re black-balling me,” he talked so fast I could barely take it all in.

Aparently this guy who was a con artist indeed, had fooled Colon into thinking it was a good decision to be his agent. This guy most likely took too large of a cut after he was trusted by Colon and even other ballplayers (all Dominican born).

We walked back towards the fence surrounding the players lot. The man followed. He asked me to go get him a snapple at the nearby gas station and I told him no way. The players were starting to arrive. One by one, strange events surrounded this man and his relationship to the players.

Robbie Alomar pulled up and signed a few autographs. The guy said hello and Alomar scowled at him and was immediately done signing. He said something to him in native tongue that I know was a cuss word. Something nasty. Alomar quickly walked away after that.

“What did he say to
you just now?” I asked him.

“Don’t worry about it. It wasn’t nice. He’s just mad, he’ll get over it.”

Next up was Omar Vizquel, same thing. As soon as he saw this guy, he split and headed for the Indians clubhouse.

Next up, Juan Gonzalez. Gonzalez signed my used baseball, that the guy sold to me for $20, the only money I had in my pocket. It was old and dirty and the autograph faded years ago. Still, Juan Gone signed my ball. As soon as he saw the Dominican man who knew way too much about Colon, he split as well. It was very odd.

Next a black honda pimped out to the extent a Honda can be pulls up and the guy goes batshit.

“There he is!” he shouted.

“Is that Colon!?!?” I asked with excitement.

“That’s him. That’s Bartolo.” he said walking away.

“You think you can get me his autograph?” he didn’t hear me.

Clearly this guy had been showing up here every day, trying to make contact with Colon the only way he knew how to do it. Colon got out of his car, and the Dominican man who screwed him over called out some kind of nickname, I can’t remember it exactly but I think it was something to the effect of ‘Bartolito’ or something endearing or ensuing that he knew Bartolo since his youth.

Bartolo saw him. Looked at him. Shook his head and walked away as if he’d done it every day of the season. The guy came back, visibly shaken, sweaty, pissed off.

“I’ll show him. I’ll show him. He thinks he is too good for me? He’s going to turn everyone against me with his lies? I’m going to fix him. You boys want to know how I’m going to fix him? I already did it, so I tell you how I fix him. I took his baseball card and ripped it in half, I placed it in a cloth with honey and ashes and other seasonings. I tied up that cloth and I burnt it. You watch, he is cursed. He will be cursed. A witchcraft curse will be brought against him. He will not succeed again,” the guy said with such certainty.

We were scared now. We just wanted to run. He started showing us photos of Bartolo’s black honda in his garage before he’d helped Bart soup the ride up. He had everything, the papers and deeds to the car–feeling as if he had to prove to us even more that he knew Bartolo so intimately. We didn’t need to hear anymore. He wasn’t done yet.

“Yeah, you guys know something, I know all those Dominican players. Some of them still like me.” he said.

“Who else do you know?” I said to him.

“Manny Ramirez, I know Manny really well,” he said back.

“Holy shit, Manny is one of my favorite players ever. I was heartbroke that he left.”

Then he said something I’ll never forget, neither will Justin:

“Yeah well I know him well. He had a guy whacked over in the Dominican Republic last offseason. Had the guy killed. No one knows about it because he is like the President over there, he has much money and no one will find out about it, but he told me he had someone killed,”

Now this was unreal to me. This man was evil. Witchcraft, the family photos, the deeds to cars, the way the players all scowled at him like he’d fucked them. Now he was telling secrets about one of the greatest hitters in the game’s history. We told the guy we had to go. We entered the stadium not knowing if we were dreaming or not about what we’d just heard.

All because of Hollywood Uncle Pete and Muffin, who didn’t like strangers.

We met Mitch Albom's ears! Mitch Albom was there too!

We were at Philadelphia International Airport yesterday, when we stumbled upon some of the finest ears in show-biz. There we were, patiently waiting for our flight to arrive and carry us back to the boring world of Ohio life, ordering a turkey pita from Bassett’s that was less than fabulous but less heart attacks then Burger King right next to it; and there they were.

“Tuna Salad! Tu-na Sa-lad.”

We’re not sure what made us turn our head, but then suddenly it all seemed worthwhile. The award-winning author of Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom, and his ears; with wifey in full-tow. We looked, collected our wits, and looked again, this time imagining that we were only imagining things. We weren’t. Those flap-jacks on the side of Albom’s head were even more breathtaking in person as they are on his weekly show Mike Lupica’s weekly show, The Sports Reporters on ESPN.

I just had to do something. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I decided to scramble through my wallett at the cash register to allow Mr. Albom time to catch up with me. When he was finally done with the chore of ordering for he, and Mrs. Albom, I got my big chance.

“No I didn’t mean a sandwich, I meant TU-NA salad. I mean on lettuce. Put extra tuna on the lettuce. I’ll also have two bottled waters,” said Mitch’s Ears and Mitch

“Are we going to have time to eat it or will we eat it on the plane?” asked a puzzled Mrs. Albom as I was picking my spots.

“No honey, we’ve got time. We’ve got time to sit and enjoy the salads here,” said Albom to his wife, dressed very hip in his TEVA sandals and khaki shorts, tucked in shirt, monster calves exploding from his 5’6″ body.

I finished paying, and getting napkins, and really just meandering around, when there they were, right next to me. Mitch, and his ears.

“I’m a big fan of yours. I watch your show each week, I even watched it this morning,” I said, lying and hoping like hell he was on the show this week.

In a passing glance, he was obviously more concerned with the Tuna salad for he and the Mrs. so I allowed him to take time to formulate his response.

“Really.” he said. Notice that’s with a period, not a question mark. There was no emphasis on the ‘really’, it was more like a ‘I give a fuck’ really, which was half what I was expecting, and totally what I wanted.

“Yeah, I really am, is there anyway we could get a picture?” I decided to push my luck early on.

“Look we’re in a hurry, and I’m trying to eat (these tuna salads), we’ve got a flight.”

I understood his tough situation; so I decided to go another direction.

“What’s it like to work with Mike Lupica so often?”

He pondered for a moment and I thought I’d crossed the line. Usually, that’s just a normal question. When you’re talking about a person working alongside a dickwad the size of Lupica, the person is automatically going to go on the defensive.

“What kind of question is that; how do you mean, ‘How is it to work with Mike Lupica?’. I’m a professional, Mike is a professional and a friend of mine, and so I’ll give you a professional answer, it’s great I enjoy working with him.”

“Ok I was just wondering, I’m a big fan of his too. Have a nice day.”

I went back to my dry turkey pita, and Mitch and his ears attacked that tuna salad with ferocity. The lesson to be had here, is if you’re going to New Jersey, or out east anywhere anytime soon, don’t fly into Newark, use Philadelphia and you will be rewarded as I was, with the best ears on sports television.

Edwin Encarnacion enjoys the international flavor of Benihana

Yesterday we attended the Cardinals-Reds game in Cincinnati, later today you will get coverage and photos of the game. However, after the game we were treated to Benihana–which is the new king of all Hibachi joints. We sat down next to Edwin Encarnacion and his comrades & family during this meal. It was quite a thrill to see him gobble down lobster tail after lobster tail and tip the lucky Hibachi chef, who was not authentically Japanese (his name was Juan). We never thought that 1 man could eat that many lobster tails, but we were wrong. Aparently he worked up quite an appetite during the Reds’ 11-7 loss against the Cardinals. And here we thought we were styling because we got 2 extra shrimp appetizers. Then Lobster boy came in, and stole the show.

Benihana, from the pictures on the wall that we saw, is quite a big attraction for ballplayers. Ichiro Suzuki and Jose Canseco are shown affectionately hugging a small japanese man, with other big time athletes like John Elway and Dan Marino doing the same. We’re glad we got to have dinner with the quiet 3rd baseman of the Redlegs.

We have reason to believe…..

Well Hoggers, we have reason to believe that Seattle Mariner’s 3rd baseman Andre Adrian Beltre is a reader of the blog. It’s not really that he enjoys the content here; either. At least not yet he doesn’t. We certainly hope he’ll return and stay a while next time.

You see, Adrian was doing a random Google search yesterday before his game in Anaheim. He was searching for articles about his son. You’ll remember earlier this month we did an opinion piece dealing with Beltre as part of the ‘Steroid Witch-hunt’ series. Apparently during his Google search, Adrian came across our blog post about him which was about the 7th thing down the page when you search Google.com for ‘Adrian Beltre’s son’; by the way Adrian, congrats on the kid.

Adrian then made this comment after reading about him and us saying that he’s most likely guilty:

It’s obvious you have nothing better to write about. Who are you to assume this? There is nothing about his physique or testing that says he’s been juiced. Get a life and stop passing judgement and criticizing great talent. If you don’t have any proof just shut up. Write about facts not assumptions.

Well now Adrian, we do have better things to write about; believe me. My memory isn’t perfect, but if it serves me correctly I believe that the day I wrote it I was bored and couldn’t stand to talk about the scores from the night before one minute longer. That’s when you came in handy.

Isn’t the whole steroids scandal just one big assumption anyways? We’ve said this many times on this very blog. Sure, even Barry Bonds is just speculation right? Even though everyone knows he made a deal with the devil to run down Hank Aaron.

All of your comments were well received Adrian; until you starting telling us to get a life (and ‘stop criticizing great talent’). Get a life huh? You mean like; take our already gawdy physique and mix in a few deca-cocktails so we can have superstar years and sign huge contracts that bring unfulfilled promises and much disappointment? That kind of life?

I’m so sorry that we’re not good enough for you. We try our best here to provide the best baseball commentary, coverage, and news on the net. We just want our little shot at life Adrian. Afterall, you’re right. His physique is just one that is big-boned. He’s not going to win any body building contests. Also, sure, he’s never tested positive. Like I’m stupid enough to believe that a.) you’ve never been able to use your quad-zillion dollars to find something that would mask the stuff, or b.) just take something that isn’t/wasn’t tested for in 2004 when you went off.

So no, other than you’ve been mediocre to decent in your entire career, other than 2004 when you were superhuman; I don’t have any proof. I never injected your posterior with any syringes and I never heard you say to anyone you did it or anything like that. I think you coming onto a blog and defending yourself is guilt enough in it’s own, other than a baseball fan can sniff that shit out like a rat’s cheese at the end of a maze. Just look at those number spikes from year to year. You ever have anything close to 2004 numbers again, I’ll eat my words. Until then, you remain speculated guilty here at Diamond Hoggers.

Details of Adrian’s little visit:

Domain Name pacbell.net ? (Network)

IP Address 69.237.56.# (ADRIAN BELTRE-050128030430)

ISP SBC Internet Services

Location

Continent : North America

Country : United States

State : California

City : Irvine

Search Engine google.com

Search Words adrian beltre’s son

Out Click 2 comments

I checked out to see what big league team plays near Irvine, California. The Anaheim Angels. Who played the Anaheim Angels last night? Adrian’s Seattle Mariners of course. Coincidence, nah.

My Brian Jordan story

Look at that street thug. Like Razor Ramon, he just oozes machismo. I’ve been saving this one for a rainy day, and even though the sun is shining it’s friday and in the spirit of the weekly holiday that friday provides us with, I’m gonna go ahead and let you have it with this little dingle-berry of baseball tale.

That guy is Brian Jordan, Brian O’neal Jordan. 1999 All-Star, and also he played Defensive back out of college for the Atlanta Falcons after graduating from University of Richmond. This isn’t a biographical post. Just setting the mood for my tale about this dipshit.

The year was 2005 and the Braves were in town playing my Redlegs. George had come to town and we had decided we were going to try and put enough alcohol down that would make John Daly cringe. We did just that and one evening we obtained some rather close seats by the Atlanta Braves dugout. The Braves were busy putting a series-long ass whupping on my boys, and I didn’t appreciate it too much; especially after editor George bought me a couple stiff Jack and Cokes.

Now I’m not a huge proponent of heckling ballplayers; anymore. I know it’s childish but when you’re at the ballpark as much as me, sometime you just can’t help it. I’ve knocked that stuff off pretty well, because in my old age I just don’t have the energy for it anymore. I’m just a tried old man. Every once in a while a spark lights inside me and I’ve just gotta fuck with someone. When this ‘spark’ is aided and abedded by alcohol, well you better look out. No one’s safe, unless you’re one of my boys. Brian Jordan was not one of my boys.

Now if you’re gonna heckle you better come strong. You better not bring any lame shit. You gotta ask Kevin Mitchell if his thighs chafe. You gotta call out Jason Werth for being a hound-dog and checking out women during the game. You gotta make fun of how much candy Jose Mesa eats and let him know how he made you feel in game 7 of the World Series, 1997. You gotta have something that will strike a nerve, if you’re going to be a true pest.
On this day, and I don’t know what made me do it, I just kind of got annoyed with the Reds losing, all weekend. I just got sick of looking at Brian Fucking Jordan. I remember it clear as day. He was hitting .233 right then.


Brian struck out, and it wasn’t just a K in which he went down looking on a full count. It was one of those at-bats which makes you ponder the record of the quickest fucking strikeout in the history of baseball type of at bat. STRIKE 1! STRIKE 2! STRIKE 3! All three with monstrous hacks, you know? Like he was swinging a sword, very Dunn-esque.

Mr. Jordan returned to the dugout looking rather confused and pissed off, staring down anything in his tracks. Don’t look at me like that, shit-dick, it’s not my fault you can’t hit anymore. It started off rather innocently:

“Hit your weight Brian. Jeese, hit your weight. Is it that hard?”

This gained some chagrin from Brian O’neal Jordan. He turned around and gave me another stare/scowl. I stared right back, you know, being the hardass that I’m not. That’s the best medicine for a ballplayer, just stare at them, don’t say anything, just stare. Like Nicky Santuro would say, ‘fuck em. they wanna watch me I’ll watch them right back.’

An inning or so passed and I noticed that Brian Jordan had actually been pulled from the game after his fabulous at-bat. Seemingly on this day everyone was joining in the fucking hit parade on the Braves. I think Eddie Matthews crawled out of his grave to hit a ground rule double. Rafael Belliard hit for the cycle.

Everyone but Brian O. Jordan that is.

What I said next completely floored Jordan and a few of his comrades.

“Hey Brian, you should go back to football. You’re hitting .233, you’re done dude. Go back to football.”

This really, and I mean really fucking hit a nerve with this guy. Aparently baseball is his favorite sport. He turned around, glared me down and said:
“You want me to come up there and kick your ass?”

Uh-oh, now the shit was on. I had said something that reminded him of his days of being led to glory by Jerry Glanville, and those old Red Atlanta Falcons uniforms that they wore when they sucked every year.

“Well Brian, at least when you got toasted by wide receivers you wouldn’t have shit heads like me fucking with you, go on- go back to football, you can’t hit anymore,”

That was it. I have never been so certain that a ballplayer was coming to join me in the stands to kick my ass. He almost, like, made a move but he wasn’t smart enough to figure out how to climb over the dugout, so he just kept staring–naturally.

As he stared I became startled. The words were flying out of my mouth as editor George began to laugh and say ‘this guy’s going to blow up if you don’t stop.’

“Yeah, go back to football. You aren’t even hitting your weight.” I just laughed at him in his face. Then Brian Jordan did exactly what you expect a guy with the middle name, “O’Neal” to do. He tattle-taled on me.

“Mr. Security guard, if you don’t shut this kid up, I’m going up there and kicking his ass,”

It was the same african american security guard that has been watch-dogging the visitors dugout in Cincinnati since a was a kid. He’s not a bad guy, but when it comes to doing his job, he’s all fuckin’ business. I guess I was messing with his business that day, I’d be in a much fouler mood if I wasn’t a real cop though, so I understand.

The “cop” came over to the railing. He told me if I didn’t stop, not only would he throw me out of the stadium but before he did he’d let Brian O’Neal Jordan come up and kick my ass. I guess that’s justice for you.

I gave up, for an inning or so. No “cop” in sight. It was time to give Brian a few parting shots, afterall, he fucking told on me. Dick.

“Brian, the Falcons just cut Ray Buchanan. You might have a shot at making their team out of training camp,”

Then Terry Pendleton and Pat Corrales (who managed the Tribe to a 102 loss season in 1985) began to come to the aid of their friend, Mr. Jordan. They started to stare down and I just looked back at them both. “Yo, Tee-Pee! Whattup man?”

He just looked back at me and answered with “That’s enough. That’s enough. Enough.”

Alright Terry, you can suck a dick too. Let Brian fight his own battles dickwad. I’m sorry that I hurt his feelings but all I was trying to do is help your team really if you think about it. If you don’t want my help, fine.

I was bored with making Brian Jordan cry and question his own athletic abilities. It was time to move on. I slid behind Pat Corrales and started to whisper, like a drunk would, every so quietly.

“Corrales. Coooorallles. Co-Rales. Cooo-raleighs” in a mexican voice, kind oflike Eddie Guerrero, or your standard mexican would.
He turned around, in a flash. In that same Mexican voice I just spoke of, he went off.

“What the fuck is wrong with you man? You got something wrong with your head? What the fuck is your deal?”

I just stared back. That’s my Brian Jordan story.

Famous Encounter: Luis Pineda

This week is famous encounters week at Diamond Hoggers. We will post what we’ve got each day in the way of a famous encounter with a figure in major league baseball along with any reader submissions we receive. Today, our famous encounter was with former Tigers and Reds Pitcher, Luis Pineda:

The year was 2002. The editors of this blog were freshman in college and life was simple. We had recently discovered the vast new world of dip, and we had taken an immediate liking to Skoal Mint in particular. I promised George a trip to Cincinnati after we became friends to see the Reds play, and on this spring day we had no baseball game or practice, we climbed into my Ford Exploder and set sail towards Cincinnati.

On this day the Cincinnati Reds were taking on the San Francisco Giants. We wanted to see Adam Dunn and Barry Bonds play, we took off early enough on this saturday afternoon to see batting practice. Jose Rijo was starting for the Reds this day, which was an extra special treat. Rijo ended up dominating that day and getting the win, Bonds doubled, and Dunn homered (as well as Corky Miller) but that was not the story we took away from this day, and it was not our famous encounter.

The famous encounter was with Reds reliever Luis Pineda, he was a 6 foot 1, 160 pound right hander that threw absolute gas. Seriously, this guy could throw as hard as any pitcher I’ve ever seen, and it was probably just arm problems that are the reason for him being out of the league at this point, because man could be bring the heat.

We were down the right field line in old Riverfront Stadium, and the players were walking by one by one, just shooting the shit with the fans and such. George and I decided we wanted to “christen” the field, this is where we insert a giant hog, let it hang out a while, and spit onto the major league turf, to you know, christen it. Just after we did so Luis Pineda came strolling down the line, signing autographs and he himself had a giant dip in. Enormous. To this day I don’t know how he packed an entire tin in his Dominican mouth. He said not one word to anyone, but like I said, he was signing autographs.

When he got down to us, he had a sharpie in hand, ready to sign at will. George and I were starstruck, not because he was a major leaguer, but obviously was a proud hogger, sporting his slobby chubby in his front lip. He was too professional to spit, and I could tell that either he couldn’t speak English or was just being a pro hogger and holding in about an hours worth of spit until he was out of eyesight of the adoring fans.

I quickly said “Hey, Luis! Hey Pineda!” and pointed toward my own dip of Skoal Mint I had in, and George’s fat lip. Pineda grinned at us and reached forward for a baseball card, or a program, possibly a baseball to sign for us. It was all his pleasure, he was ready. On this day, I had nothing in my pockets but a ticket stub, and that tin of Skoal Mint. I decided I had enough signed ticket stubs. I thought it would be a lot cooler to have a signed skoal mint tin on my dresser of memorabilia then another ticket stub. I pulled out that tin of skoal mint very quickly and stuck it in front of his small Dominican hands to sign.

At an instant he eye balled it, and started to get startled. You would have though he was the devil and I was holding a cross in his face. Remember, he wasn’t talking to anyone, and to this day I don’t know if it’s because he couldn’t speak English, or because he had to spit and refused to do so in front of his fans or what, but he started to back away and shake his head no. He left it up to us to figure out exactly why he was not going to sign that tin of skoal mint he was basically endorsing like Joe Camel in front of our very eyes.

George and I began to panic and try and figure out this puzzling situation. “What, you won’t sign tin?” we asked. He shook his head defiantly, and began to walk away, he simply pointed at the tin and shook his head very deliberately “no”. Puzzled, I went down the line a little ways and tried to sneak it in front of him again, to see if he’d do a quick sign of it and just let us walk away. Again, Pineda kind of didn’t say anything, and shook his head no and walked away. He would not sign the tin.

George guessed that maybe he was told by his agent or someone in baseball he couldn’t endorse tobacco products by signing them, no matter how much he liked them. In some strange way, we understood and left him alone after that. Pineda never pitched in the big leagues again after that 2002 season with the Reds, and that I am sorry for. Still, his significance on that fateful April Saturday afternoon will live on in the memories of Diamond Hoggers forever.

Diamond Hoggers Reader Submissions!

Hey that looks like Kenny Rogers doesn’t it? It sure does. In fact, that is him, with a girlfriend. This is your chance fellow Hoggers. We’d like to involve some of our readers’ content on the blog. We want to hear your stories of encounters with anyone having to do with baseball. E-mail me at mevins31@hotmail.com or editor George at Geop15@aol.com, and tell us your story. We’ll select a few of the good ones and throw them up on the blog. You can also post some of your stories in the ‘comments’ section of this post. We’ll post a few of our own, as next week’s theme is famous baseball encounters week. Look for some of our own as well.

Here’s a few from the past:

Bobby Valentine and me

Reds manager Jerry Narron and his Grey Goose

Adam Dunn donates his lipper for the good of my buddies

Felix Hernandez and my cousins on his throne

Gramps Piniella

Friends of the Blog

Ryan Howard doesn't smile


Upon coming into this season, I was a pretty big fan of Ryan Howard. After this past saturday, I’m not really a fan any longer. I’m convinced that the reigning NL MVP is a big fucko. It wasn’t that he refused to look at me for a picture, or acknowledge ANYTHING. It was that he snubbed men, women, small children, Cincy fans, Philly fans, everything.

Now while I’d like to say it might have just been a bad night, I doubt it. I think this is the true Mr. Howard. I hope you continue to hit like shit all season, and be pitched around to the tune of a .265/36 HR/ 94 RBI sub-par season.

It just so happens that Mr. Howard was editor George’s first round fantasy baseball draft pick. This, he said, would be the guy that is going to hit him 200 homers over the next few seasons. Coming into the season, I offered George a pairing of Carlos Delgado and Mariano Rivera for Howard, and he almost did it. In the end he couldn’t part ways with his pride and joy, and I am sure glad that it worked out that way.

Howard, rumbling off the field, scowling and making a point to not wave after the victory


He’s Ryan Howard, and we’re not. I guess he figures one MVP award and a kid out of wedlock earns him the right to eat himself into mediocrity and tell the fans to kiss his ass. It could have been a beautiful friendship, Ryan. Now, I’m forced to just root against you like every other Philadelphia athlete (save Cole Hamels), Brotha.

"I’ll tell you right now, that Werth; is nothing but trouble"

I think now is about as good a time as any to familiarize our readers with a player who is not an ally of the blog, and in fact, this player in particular is an enemy. This player is Philadelphia Phillies scrub outfielder Jason Werth. Now I’m guessing from what ensued on saturday night with this guy, he’s the type to go out and search the web for anything written about his insignificant ass when he has a free minute away from hound-dogging every woman in sight the ballpark, so Jason if you’re reading this, you earned the reputation of jackass fairly. I’m glad you’re in Philly and not Cincinnati because you are “Werth-less” to any team that has you, and you do a ball club no good to anyone that has the unfortunate situation of taking up a spot on their 25 man roster. You’re simply collecting a paycheck to hit .246, look into the stands for more tail, and distract other players on the team that would normally be paying attention to the game.

So me and my buddy Justin, camouflage hat resting proudly on his head are sitting there watching a close game in about the 5th inning between the Reds and Phillies, and Justin leans over to me and says something that is somewhat surprising. The reason it was surprising is simple logic. Justin is a cool friend of mine. He’s also probably the most conservative friend I have. Of course, one could guess that by the fact he wears a camouflage ‘SCAGG Equipment’ hat everywhere he goes, right?

“I’ll tell you man, that Werth, on the Phillies, he’s NOTHING BUT TROUBLE.”

I started laughing my ass off, because he was dead serious, and usually he just doesn’t make snap judgements and outlandish statements like that without warrant. I asked Justin what he was talking about (after cracking up), and why he said something like that.

“Dude, just watch him. He could care about anything but the game. He’s not even watching the game. I mean, aren’t you taught in little league to keep your head in the game? Look at him, he’s looking up into the stands every few seconds, he’s laughing and joking about stuff, just could care less about what’s going on in the field.”

Now, I wanna give ballplayers the benefit of the doubt. I think my reason for this is because I was one at one time. I know what it’s like when you’re not playing unfortunately. That said, after studying Werth for about an inning, it was just ridiculous. He was openly just staring, tongue out of his mouth at anything in the stands with longer than shoulder-length hair. You could just tell, this guy is a man-whore of a player. After telling Justin that he was right-on about Werth, he offered a bit more.

“Yeah, I’m telling you dude, this guy is just awful, and he’s been distracting Howard; who’s actually trying to watch the game. Plus he’s just about the homliest-looking man I’ve ever seen. He’s just awful,” Justin added.

The next in-between innings, Werth turned around for about the 20th time. Relaxed and perched at his post, he was just looking right at a girl in particular directly in front of our seats. I decided to test the waters and see what kind of goof-ball we were dealing with here.

“Hey, Jason, the game is the OTHER way. Turn around, watch the game. You might have to player later,”

I could see that Werth was the type that didn’t like being called out when he was gawking at a woman. He also didn’t like to be told what to do. He mouthed something under his breath that looked like it involved the words ‘fuck’ and ‘motherfucker’ and then turned around back to the game. I didn’t appreciate being cussed at and stared down either, afterall, who the hell is he? He gets shit on everytime I’ve ever seen him hit.

“Good man. There’s plenty of time to hound-dog for women later. Just watch the game, like I said you might get in later,”

He then turned around and started going nuclear. The injured and former NL MVP Ryan Howard also turned around and stared me down hard. Howard pretty much stared all men, women, and children down hard anytime they said anything to him all weekend. Maybe it’s the pulled quad, or maybe it’s the reason why he has a son and no wife. I don’t know, purely speculation I guess. As he stared me down, I stared right back, trying not to show any sign of weakness. I gave him my best Clint Eastwood and then turned my attention back towards that facial hair-dominated hound dog.

Werth quickly snapped back:

“Worried about me playing asshole? YOU NEVER WOULD!”

I started laughing for a couple reasons, and hard. Now, even at the college level I was forced to eat shit from fans. Hell even in high school the dicks from Upper Arlington knew my parents name, knew what street I lived on and what car I drove. They told me everything short of that they were going to fuck my sister, but never, not even once did I respond to their banter. Proffessionalism. You’re above it. Here you’ve got a Major League ballplayer of several years and he can’t ignore a fan that notices his tongue hanging out of his mouth while checking out women? Was I wrong for telling him to get his head in the game? I mean, ever heard the statement ‘act like you been there before’? Usually it’s used in the context of someone hitting a homerun, but Werth would have to play to do that. In Werth’s case, I just wanted him to act like he’s seen a woman before. Take one look and be done with it, jeese.

I laughed and taunted back at his brutal comeback. Then the rest of the game he stared me down, and I stared right back with a look that says “You’re fucking lucky I can’t get over this fence without my press-pass, dickface.”

Needless to say, for the rest of time, Jason Werth can fuck a dick. He’ll be kicking around in the minors soon, but at least there he can stare at women from the playing field, maybe. I was lucky enought to get a rare picture of Werth at least appearing to watch the action on the field. Lucky me.

Me and Bobby V.

Ok, so I was holding this one back for a rainy day, but in the spirit of the week before Opening Day, we hold nothing back from our fans and readers. It’s a great time of the year, and that calls for great measures. We already talked about the time we hung with Reds skipper Jerry Narron and his Grey Goose double downs. Today, I talk about the glorious time I met former Rangers and Mets manager turned Soap Opera/TV Star Bobby Valentine.

The year was 2005. Several times, editor George had mentioned to me a place known as Bobby V’s restaurant, a place where one could enjoy fine food, drink, and spirits. Why did I think it was so cool? Well for one there aren’t too many restaurants/watering holes in Columbus owned by former big league managers turned schmuck Baseball Tonight television personalities. George promised since our freshman year when I met him (which was the same year that Bobby V’s opened, he would take me there one day). The fact that I wanted to go came up more than often and the fact that one night he brought up that he was taking his girl ‘a nice Italian girl to a nice dinner at Bobby V’s’ made me jealous with envy, he finished off the comment with ‘have fun at home alone jerkin off all night’, only made me want to visit Bobby V’s even more.

That fateful night would finally arrive on December 31st, 2005. New Years Eve. George was meeting my girlfriend and now fiance Steph for the first time. It’s tradition that I go out east for New Years and George and I were taking our girls to a nice dinner in Stamford where George lived and then out to a bar to ring in the New Year. Low and behold, the place where we planned to celebrate was not far from Bobby V’s. Of course George being the great guy he is had alreay planned for time to poke our heads in the joint. I was so excited I couldn’t even speak. I don’t know why, it’s not like I was ever a Bobby Valentine or Mets fan, but I wanted to say I’d been there and check out all the baseball memoribilia.

We walked in around dinner time with our girls and low and behold look in the corner at who is eating dinner and conversing with an acquaintance (we’re all just acquaintances to Bobby V, trust me). I couldn’t move, I couldn’t think. There he was, a legend in his own right, and somewhat to me. Afterall, it wasn’t that long ago that I had seen this guy calling the shots for the New York Mets in the Subway Series, and just nights before I had seen him on my favorite show Baseball Tonight, tooting his own horn of course. Now, there he was enjoying surf and turf on New Years Eve, without his wife of course. Not even a mention of Mrs. Bobby V.

I hurriedly said to Steph (who didn’t understand the big deal), to get her camera out. We had to get a picture of him or something. We had to document this shit. Imagine if you were at the zoo and the zookeeper told you that the last Manatee on earth was on display that afternoon. It was up to be to get a picture of that fucking Manatee, and I wasn’t going to be happy just saying I saw it. No, I wanted proof that I had been in Bobby V’s joint and seen the man himself.

It’s funny, I hadn’t begun drinking yet but I really don’t remember how it got started. I inched closer to Bobby V, and his table where he was telling a story of his greatness to some man that wasn’t blessed with the fame that he was. I figure this is pretty common, as he’s always got someone that will listen to his stories 100% about him and laugh at his jokes. He strikes me as a guy who can work a room–and he gets whatever he wants, especially in his restaurant.

Pretty soon I was right next to him and his table, and he became alarmed because I was invading his personal space. He finished his story quickly that left his acquaintance laughing and looked up at me.

“Bobby V, what’s going on?”

“Hey son, how are you?”

Wow, there it was. Bobby V., in his own joint, acknowledging me. I could tell right away he was in a good mood, otherwise he would have ignored me because he can and told me to see the brush.

“Well we’re just enjoying your place, getting ready for New Years–”

He cut me off right there. He knew what I wanted or at least he thought I did. Bobby decided he wanted to grant me a cheap thrill, and although I bet he makes a habit of cutting people off mid-sentence, it was clear he wasn’t interested in hearing about my plans for the night.

“Well sit down here, right by Bobby V.”

I don’t know if he said it in 3rd person but it would seem that he did. I took a seat right there, and to avoid any awkwardness, I acted quickly.

“Bobby V. this is my fiance, Steph. She wants a picture of me and you,” to avoid sounding like a homo and admitting the picture was just for me, I pinned the deal on my dear fiance.

I don’t know exactly what word it was that set his alarm off. All I know when I mentioned the noun ‘she’, his head began to whip about the place and heat-seek for women. The place was not full and I think the only women in there were Steph and the belated Jenna (George’s former wife). Bobby V spotted my girl and I think he figured since she was in his place, and ‘wanted a picture of him’, he was entitled to her. Like I said, he gets whatever he wants, and he couldn’t help himself. Remember, he was once a Major Leaguer, and those guys are whore mongers that believe that all women want them (most do), and if you’ve got a beaver, well you meet the description of what they are looking for. I don’t blame him for what happened next.

“Well where is she, is that her?,” looking in the direction of Steph

“Yeah Bobby, that’s my girl,”

“Well, aren’t you a pretty girl. Wow. So where are you from?”

“Well Bobby we’re from Columbus, we’re just out here to see our friend who lives in Stam-”

“So are you in college Steph? What are you getting into tonight?”

 

He continued on with talking to her and she didn’t realize what was happening but I sure did. It soon became aparent to me that I was sitting next to slime. My hopes and dreams had become shattered at an instant.
Bobby V didn’t wanna hear about my night, he wanted to hear about Steph’s night. He didn’t care where I was from, but he sure wanted to know where Steph was from. I couldn’t believe it, my hero (well obviously not) was hitting on the love of my life. Granted she is a very pretty girl, but still–I figured a guy who dresses and talks like Bobby V. wreaks of class. I was somewhat dissapointed in my discovery.

Alright, Bobby V., I understand you’re better looking, have more money, and have more stories then I do. That’s fine, I have no problem concealing these things to a guy of your stature, I’d never even try to compete with you, in anything. I bet you could even beat me in Tiger Woods golf on PS2, without even playing before. But when it comes to my girl, that’s one area that you can’t even touch me on. She loves me man, alright?

“Well, we’re just going to a local place around here and getting some beers, you know watching the ball drop,” Steph said.

“Well you’ve come to the right place. They’ll take good care of you here babe, and whatever guys you’re with. Tell em’ Bobby V. sent you. They’ll take care of you, its my honor to have you here,”

He was doing it. He was running through the same salesman-like routine that he had done 4,000 times during his time as a big leaguer, and it was working. Women can’t help being anything but powerless putty in the hands of a ‘legend’ like Bobby V. He was charming, and like I said, he had jokes you know.

“Well smile for the picture guys,” she said. I told you she loved me Bobby V. You see that? She’s not interested in you. Ha, I had won. I beat Bobby V at his own game.

“Oh of course, I was just getting to that. The picture. Is this your guy you’re with tonight?” forgetting totally that I’d even told him we were all but married, and yes, she was with me, dick.

She snapped off the picture and Bobby being the charming slimeball he had now revealed himself as threw his arm around me and threw on his best Baseball Tonight made for television movie smile. I tried my hardest not to cry and I threw on a smile too. Afterall, Bobby V. was hanging out with me. I pretended I was happy, and so did he.

 

After the picture, I tried my hardest to restore some normalcy to me and Bobby’s short-term relationship. Immediately his eyes were fixated back on the girls, Jenna and Steph, and he was just staring at this point. I wish I could have hear what his mind was thinking. Well not really.

“So Bobby, tell us some stories of your glory days, man.” I just was in it for a good story now.

“Well the stories are on the wall Chuck (not my name Bobby), just look around the place. You can walk around in here, in my place and show the girls all the pictures. There’s a lot of neat stuff in here. It will tell the story for me,” as he poured the rest of his brew into a glass with ice. It was no surprise to me that he didn’t drink beer from the can. Slime doesn’t drink from a can. Royalty doesn’t drink from a can.

It was at that moment that he thought he’d give me another cheap thrill, basically to just impress the girls and make a mockery out of me, although he was slick and sly enough to seem like a really nice guy while doing it. I knew exactly what he was doing, so did George.

“You see this here son (talking down to me nicely), this is a collectors item.” as he slid his empty towards me across the fine oak table that we sat.

“This is a Bobby V (third person dialogue) limited edition beer. There’s my face right there on the side,” as if I wasn’t already beaten and demoralized, this guy was now bringing up the fact that he’s got a beer named after him, his own bar, and he was now using me as a trash man for his empty waste containers. Glad I could be of service to you.

“Oh yeah well here’s my face on a $25 dollar bill, and you can keep it, Jagoff,” I thought inside my head. Beat that one as I grinned at my thoughts.

“So you girls have a great time tonight,” he said realizing there was probably a low percentage of bagging one in his Mercedes outside in the lot, and completely ignoring the fact still that they were our dates for the night.

“Hey Bobby, you and Mrs. Bobby V got any big plans for the night?” I said.

Clearly at this point we were at different ends of the battlefield. Bobby V smelled the enemy. His wife was nothing more than a giant albatross he had to report home to at this point in life. He kept her around to clearly protect his image and didn’t want any mention of her when females were in the room. It wouldn’t have surprised me if he said she was dead.

“Who?” he said with a quick chuckle.

“Your wife. You and her got any big plans for the night?” I said it again, and wasn’t backing down. Good enough medicine for him, and his limited edition can.

“Oh, nah, but that’s a great idea, I better get home before she calls up here looking for me wondering where I’m at. You kids have a great night.”

He had backed off. In some small way, I’d won. Not only did I have a picture of Bobby V, but a story to go with it. New Years Eve came and went, and I decided that night that I’d never step foot in Bobby V’s lair again. I never wondered how he ended up that news years night, all I knew is that I had my girl, my Bobby V limited edition can (hey shithead, I don’t know where it’s at), and at nights end I was so drunk I was voluntarily giving piggy back rides to our group all the way back to George’s apartment. All Bobby had was a managerial job with the Chiba-Lottes Marines overseas and pictures of his past days of glory. I still had my glory days ahead of me. As we looked at his pictures on the wall, detailing his years of success, I knew I had won a small victory, and I would drink to that on this night.