A Tragic Ending For John Odom

During times of difficulty or struggle, many of us sometimes feel that our life may not be worth very much, but luckily we have family and friends to show us otherwise. Now, imagine already having a troubled past, struggling in the present, not knowing where you may end up in the future and having someone place a face value on your life equivalent to that of 10 maple bats.

By now, I am sure that most of you, if not all of you, have heard the story of the 26 year old minor league pitcher, John Odom, who was traded last season for 10 Prairie Sticks maple baseball bats valued at approximately $700.00 (including shipping costs).

John initially took it in stride. He appeared to take it so well that he agreed to do interviews regarding the trade and even joked about how it would make a great story if he ever did one day make the majors. Despite going from prospect pitcher to punchline, Odom dismissed all notions of despair and suicidal feelings. He was told that this was not done as a publicity stunt or to embarrass him , but three weeks after the trade and after one especially miserable night being taunted in Amarillo, Texas, Odom disappeared and merely five months later, he was dead.

While some argue there is no proof that the trade is what directly caused his death, many are concerned that it affected him more than he let on, and rightfully so.

People seem to forget that baseball isn’t always fun and games. Reliever Donnie Moore shot himself and sadly died, three years after giving up a big home run that kept the Angels from winning the 1986 American League pennant. Boston All-Star Bill Buckner became a scourge after letting a ball roll through his legs in the 1986 World Series. In 2003  Steve Bartman, fell off the face of the Earth after trying to catch a foul ball and (possibly) cost his team, the Cubs,  its first National League championship since 1945.

If being completely devalued wasn’t enough to cause John to kill himself, the awful night in Amarillo, followed by months of binging on drugs and alcohol and seclusion were defintely enough to cause him to do himself in. The medical examiner has named the cause of death an accidental over dose from heroin, methamphetamine, the stimulant benzylpiperazine and alcohol, but whether this truly was accidental or if this was just a cocktail put together by a young man that just no longer cared, we will never know. His life over the last few months and final days are left to the imagination. There is no record of where he was living, where he is buried, and his family and friends cannot be reached.

The infamous ten bats, on the other hand, can be easily located in a warehouse in Orlando, FL. They were never used and have now been purchased by Ripley’s Believe it or Not! for $10,000.00 which has been donated to the team’s children’s charity.

Quite the story has developed from the trade, unfortunately, it was not the great story that John Odom had hoped for. The story did not have the happy ending that he had once aspired for. Instead, it was a story of humiliation, cruelty and defeat. A life has been wastefully lost and all that remains are 10 pieces of wood.

The smiling John Odom: May he R.I.P.

The smiling John Odom: May he R.I.P.

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Florida Marlins vs. Albert Pujols and the St.Louis Cardinals

After having been completely spoiled at the Florida Marlins Fan Fest and the pre spring training practice at Roger Dean Stadium, I have to admit that I was definitely looking forward to today. Not because I was craving more autographs, but because I have been fortunate enough to meet every player on the Florida Marlins and feel like I know each and every one of them. At this point, they feel more like my buddies than players, and while the attitudes displayed today were more those of a professional ball player, the great memories that have been had at those last two events will forever out shine any instance of arrogance or having a chip on their shoulder.
Each and every one of our players are beyond grateful to be playing on that field and it clearly shows through their kindness and generosity.
However, after 3 losses thus far in Spring Training, it was quite evident that some egos had been bruised and some spirits were low. This did slightly affect the number of autos to be had, but did not take away from the game or fun loving atmosphere.

Today began like any other day for us. We rose early, hit the road for our 75 mile drive, and as usual, we were the first to arrive. I was eager to see all of the familiar faces and I was also dying to see the famous Albert Pujols. Everyone I had ever spoken to about him commented on his out of this world stature. A friend of mine even said that upon meeting Pujols, he saw that one of Pujols thighs was as large in thickness as my friend’s waist! I was terrified, but wanted to see the giant for myself. Upon seeing him today, I was shocked. His pants hung loosely around his legs and his once enormous muscles were no longer protruding from his jersey. It appears as though our friend recently lost a significant amount of weight. What ever could have made him lose all of that weight and muscle mass? A little odd, no?

After waiting for what seemed to have been a couple of hours, our friendly Florida Marlins emerged from behind the gates and I was thoroughly relieved. I had no desire in gawking at the Cardinal players like everyone else did, I was more interested in greeting my favorite players. Cody Ross, John Baker, Dan Uggla, Andrew Miller, Gaby Sanchez, and yes, even Hanley Ramirez were all as wonderful as ever. It is always a pleasure with these guys.

The game began, a few homers were hit, a few runs scored,  a few errors were made, and unfortunately my Marlins lost the game, but it was still as fun and exciting as it always is and that is what makes it worth going. After the game, many players dispersed the field with anger in their eyes. Even Dan Uggla left the field with a solemn look on his face, but not before he stopped to give two of his bats away to two little boys. We exited quietly with out requesting anything from any players. We understand what it must feel like to the players after a loss. After all, I am a die hard baseball fan and I feel every emotion with the players, from the joy expressed when a player scores a run to the agony felt after an excruciating loss.

As always, attending the games, capturing terrific photography(wish I was able to get more!), and experiencing these memorable moments is always a pleasure. Look out for next week’s game where I will be taking Mario to Jupiter to watch the Marlins take on the Orioles for his birthday!

My buddy, Fred, isnt too fond of tobacco. Can ya blame him?

My buddy, Fred, isn't too fond of tobacco. Can ya blame him?

Albert Pujols hocking a loogie. Eww....

Albert Pujols hocking a loogie. Eww....

Junior and Senior.

Junior and Senior.

St.Louis Cardinal pitcher, Kyle McClellan

St.Louis Cardinal pitcher, Kyle McClellan

Andrew Miller may not have been feeling it today, but he still looked great!

Andrew Miller may not have been feeling it today, but he still looked great!

Jeremy Hermida hasnt been having much luck on the field as of late...

Jeremy Hermida hasn't been having much luck on the field as of late...

But he is on FIRE at the plate! (this was the home run swing!)

But he is on FIRE at the plate! (this was the home run swing!)

Brett Hayes enjoying the scenery.

Brett Hayes enjoying the scenery.

Hayes getting to work.

Hayes getting to work.

Brett Hayes

Brett Hayes

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25 Signatures and One BIG Piece of Wood

The Infamous Tatianas bat-- before

The Infamous Tatiana's bat-- before

When Mario gave me my own baseball bat for my birthday last year, I had no idea what to do with it. Sure, it was pretty awesome having my own bat with the name “The Infamous Tatiana” engraved into it, but what could I use it for? A door stop, a reaching pole, a self defense weapon? All very likely choices, but Mario suggested taking it to the few games left in the season and trying to get signatures.

If you have ever read any of my posts about going to games, you will know it is damn near impossible to get any Marlins player to come by the buses after a game (except for Andrew Miller). Be that as it may, I still tried to bring my bat and with many unsuccessful attempts, I finally gave up and left the bat locked away in my dark closet at home.

An entire 5 months passed by and the 2009 Fan Fest was now upon us. Mario thought it would be a great opportunity to try to get a couple of signatures. So, I got my silver Sharpie and black bat and made my way to Dolphin Stadium. Upon arriving, Andrew Miller had begun to pass out free donuts. When he saw Mario, he said it was good to see him and asked if I was around. I went to greet Andrew, wished him all the best, and alas, I received my very first signature! Mario said that it may be the only one I would get and to try not to be too disappointed. I knew that I would get at least one or two more because I was willing to wait in the ridiculously long autograph lines.

We walked onto the field at approximately 12:00 pm and made our way to the first line. We had NO idea who was signing, but my goal was to get all the Marlins players to sign (with the exception of that damned Taylor Tankersley!). When I finally reached the table, I was relieved to see Anibal Sanchez and Zach Kroenke. Bam, 3 signatures. I was pretty darned pleased with myself… until I looked to my left and saw Jorge Cantu. I quickly ran to the end of that line and about 30 min later when I was the 2nd in line, Jorge began to get up and leave. “Jorge, me puedes firmar si tienes un momento” (“Jorge, can you please sign if you have one moment”). To my surprise, Jorge Cantu responded to my begging in his native tongue and turned to sign just one last time and then he disappeared. I then saw John Baker, one of my absolute favorite Marlins, emerge from the crowd. I prayed that he would come to our table. Instead, he sat at the one directly next to mine. I took that moment to attempt to talk to him. He turned around, greeted me, shook my hand, and held a good conversation with me for a couple of minutes. John Baker was actually so interested in what I had to say, that he turned the chair around a bit so he could hear me better. It was amazing and John is just simply a stand up guy.

So far, this day was turning out to be amazing. I was happy with the few autographs I had gotten and if the day was to end right then and there, I would have been very pleased. Andrew Miller remembered me, Jorge Cantu went out of his way to sign on last item for me, and John Baker was the coolest guy ever! I was in heaven, but the day just kept getting better. Now, we did hit our rough patches and got shut down by a few (Chris Volstad, Wes Helms, Tony Perez, etc) and I did get into a physical altercation, but as the seconds, minutes, and hours went on, I kept meeting more amazing players and getting more signatures on my bat. My once completely bare black bat was now quickly turning to silver from all the players that had left their mark on it.

As the day progressed, I was lucky enough to bump into John Baker again by the gated area and I called to him for his autograph. I didn’t think he would come over because he had just finished signing for an hour, but to my surprise (again) he came over for me (and only me) looked at my bat and gave me a chuckle as he signed. “The Infamous Tatiana, huh?” I couldn’t help but smile and blush.

By the time I reached the V.I.P. party that afternoon, there was barely enough space left on the bat for more signatures. Cody Ross, Alfredo Amezaga, Jeremey Hermida, and that darned Chris Volstad had all looked for nice clean spots to leave their mark. Even Hanley Ramirez was left looking for a good spot to put his John Hancock!

At 6:00 pm, I sat down and spun my now silver bat around. I stared in awe as I saw each unique squiggle and I nearly got myself sick trying to figure out whose squiggles was whose. Upon my arrival to my home at 6:30 pm, I patiently sat down and went over each encounter in my head. I finally ended at 25 different autographs, 25 different experiences, 25 new memories created to be cherished. While other fans have to deal with self involved and money hungry players, I have the pleasure of having the friendliest and most caring. I never realized just how lucky I truly was to have the Florida Marlins as my team until this day.

25 Signatures:

1. Andrew Miller
2. Anibal Sanchez
3. Zach Kroenke
4. Jorge Cantu
5. Alfredo Amezaga
6. Hanley Ramirez
7. John Baker
8. Matt Lindstrom
9. Rick Vanderhurk
10. Burke Badenhop
11. Cameron Maybin
12. Ricky Nolasco
13. Chris Volstad
14. Logan Kensing
15. Fredi Gonzalez
16. David Samson
17. Billy The Marlin
18. Cody Ross
19. Jeremy Hermida
20. Gaby Sanchez
21. Ryan Tucker
22. Jack McKeon
23. Brett Carrol
24. Emilio Bonafacio
25. Leo Nunez

Completely

Completely

and

and

totally

totally

badass.

badass.

The first of the day - Andrew Miller

The first of the day - Andrew Miller

And the very last - Hanley Ramirez

And the very last - Hanley Ramirez

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I’m Baaaaack!

If there was ever anything that would get me back to this blog, it was yesterday’s 2009 Florida Marlins Fan Fest and an eagerness for the brand new season filled with fresh faces and hope. Despite the many efforts of others (Wax Heaven, Dinged Corners, etc.) this economy had me worrying about only one thing since the day my husband became unemployed. I could not longer focus on baseball, writing, or other joys in my life. I had to concentrate on work, especially after the major “Black Friday” held at my company where about 30 people were laid off in one day. I needed to prove my worth, and when it came down to it, I was one of the valuable players and have been ‘guaranteed’ employment.

Like usual, the day began early for us. We arrived at the stadium at 8:30 am. Andrew Miller walked around early morning and passed out free donuts, and surprisingly enough, he remembered us! As usual, it was deserted until about a 1/2 hr prior to the Fan Fest beginning and 2009 tickets going live. The ticket lines were filled with Yankee fans that couldn’t wait to get their hands on tickets for Father’s Day weekend when the New York Yankees will get shut down by the Marlins :). I purchased my two tickets and then quickly rushed inside.

Compared to last year’s Fan Fest, this year’s was a bit less organized. It was held ON the field, versus outside of the stadium, which was simply awesome, but very chaotic. For the first time, fans could access practically every part of the stadium with out security chasing them down, and if you were V.I.P. you were spoiled beyond belief.

All the Marlins players (with the exception of a few) were friendlier than I could have ever imagined. For the most part, they were happy to be there and each took as much time as they could to sign for and pose with everyone. Some went out of their way (John Baker, Ricky Nolasco, Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu) and some just couldn’t be bothered (Chris Volstad, Wes Helms).

I’ve learned that the majority of people that were there were only interested in one thing. An autograph. The moment a certain popular player would emerge, everyone’s animal instinct would come out and the area would suddenly turned into a mosh pit. I was waiting patiently for Gaby Sanchez to sign my bat, when Hanley Ramirez came out and I knew my life was over. I was at the very front of the stage the players were on, and there was a huge mob behind me. This was just not good. People were pushing, shoving, stepping on, falling on, leaning on, elbowing, punching, you name it!

At one point, a very large man put all his weight on top of me, crushing me, stepping on me and scratching my arm so hard that I immediately started to bleed. He didn’t even so much as apologize or make sure I was okay. So, I took matters into my own hands and nearly knocked the wind out of him when I socked it to him in the ribs. I was sick of people thinking they could get away with treating each other like garbage and harming each other physically for a measly signature. Children were getting stepped on and punched. If it wasn’t for the fact that I loved my bat so much, I would have smashed it up against someone’s head. There is no excuse for that kind of behavior.

Despite my little altercation, I was able to meet Burke Badenhop which made my day because he is also another very nice Marlin. After meeting him, Mario and I ventured into “back stage” to see if we could track down any other Marlin’s whose signatures I needed. We struck up a conversation with two girls who were desperately looking for Dan Uggla. After asking one of the women that escorted the players around the field if Dan was still there and not receiving the answer they hoped for, they decided they would leave. They gave us their “VIP” passes (season ticket holders were the only one’s able to receive those) and she told us about a special party going on up stairs.

Mario and I made our way up and our eyes widened when we saw who was at the party. Andre Dawson was just leaving, as was Brett Carrol, but Alfredo Amezaga, Cody Ross, Cameron Maybin, Jeremy Hermida… they were all there and there was no one nearby to tell you to leave them alone. They were all socializing with fans, signing, posing, and having a good time! We were able to gain access as I guilted the woman at the table to let us in. (You needed a company name to enter and the girls didn’t provide us with one) It was the most amazing scene. For once, you could approach these players with out a large mob. I was finally able to calmly meet Hanley Ramirez and other ‘hard to access’ players. If we had these passes from early morning, I doubt we would have left the room and I highly doubt I would have gotten into that altercation earlier in the day.

Like annoying party guests, we were the last ones to leave the V.I.P. party room. We made our way down stairs at 6:00 pm to watch the grand finale- – fireworks. It was an amazing 10 hour day. We accomplished a lot, met practically the entire team, and left with ear to ear grins on our faces. The Florida Marlins may not be an ‘amazing all star’ team, but we have relatable players that care about their fans and take the time to show them that.

I can’t wait until Opening Day!

Before

Before

After

After

The Infamous Tatiana and her 25 autographs!

The Infamous Tatiana and her 25 autographs!

Robert Andino, myself, and the new guy

Robert Andino, myself, and 'the new guy'

Chasing down Cameron Maybin

Chasing down Cameron Maybin

In the Marlins Clubhouse

In the Marlins Clubhouse

Doin it up V.I.P. style, baby!

Doin' it up V.I.P. style, baby!

Jeremy Hermida--totally nice and funny

Jeremy Hermida--totally nice and funny

Chris Volstad- Finally got the little...err... big bastard!

Chris Volstad- Finally got the little...err... big bastard!

Me and Hanley Ramirez... kinda.

Me and Hanley Ramirez... kinda.

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The Florida Marlins Come Through

The Marlins season is now officially over. The Marlins had a wonderful year, and despite not making it to the post season, I take pride in the fact that they exceeded everyone’s expectations and were able to come through in the very end. I’m not going to lie, I am slightly disappointed, but I look forward to coming in to my office Monday morning and seeing the looks on the faces of the handful of Mets fans.

I am not one to gloat or be boastful, but it will be a nice feeling to smile in the faces of those that tormented me everyday for 6 months for supporting my team. With each day that passed, I would sit humbly at my desk and pray that my Marlins continue to do well, as the “typical” Mets fan would walk around the office with their heads held high in arrogance. However, that didn’t start until the Mets got rid of their good for nothing manager and replaced him with Jerry Manuel, who did an excellent job as manager, but let’s not forget how poorly the Mets did at the start of the season.

To be fair, I will give the Mets credit for succeeding in possibly one of the greatest turn arounds. They worked very hard to climb back up to the top and while the team may have deserved to make it to the post season, their majority of unruly fans did not deserve that pleasure. I pity the Mets because it is a shame that a team with that much talent can still get booed for the smallest mistake at the drop of a dime. The Marlins may not have the strongest backing of fans, but I would rather have no one supporting me than a pack of wolves. And please understand, I know not all New York Mets fans behave in this way. I am just sick of people like this and this. The obnoxious troll like fans that have claimed to be “so much better” than me have now been silenced. For the genuine and sincere Mets fans, such as MetsManiacinNH, you have my sincere condolences. Better luck next year for your team and mine.

The Marlins celebrating their 4-2 win against the Mets

The Marlins celebrating their 4-2 win against the Mets

The New York Mets not hiding their disappointment after their loss to the Marlins

The New York Mets not hiding their disappointment after their loss to the Marlins

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As We Say Good-bye….

As we close out the season and after attending the final at home game, I am left with nothing but precious memories. I remember coming into baseball at the beginning of this season not knowing any player on the Florida Marlins aside from Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla. I remember going to the FL Marlins Fan Fest and meeting Mike Jacobs and thinking he was a scrub. “Who in the hell are these people?”, I thought to myself. Little did I know these men would become a part of me for the next 6 months. Little did I know that they would be in my living room and bedroom every evening. Little did I know that I would sacrifice so much just to be there to show them support. Little did I know that I would endure the grueling sun and suffer 3rd degree burns just to be in that stadium watching these men live out their childhood dreams.

At the beginning of the season, I had nothing but critical things to say about each player. Dan Uggla made far too many errors and I quickly began to hate him, but grew to love him despite all the “Ugglas”. Hanley Ramirez once rubbed me the wrong way. He was thought of as an arrogant womanizer, but now I can see the good in him as a player and as a person and can’t imagine the Marlins with out him. Cody Ross was a nobody that only struck out and had occasional “hot” streaks. I’d constantly ask myself why he didn’t pursue a career as a rodeo clown, and now I thank my lucky stars that he did not. I have gotten to know these men greatly in the last 6 months and now I defend them as if they were part of my bloodline. I stick by them. I rise with them in glory and I fall with them in defeat. These men that once meant nothing to me have now grown to be a part of my family and it saddens me deeply that the season is coming to a quick end.

It never once occurred to me that I would get so attached to these men. That I would get to know each one of them so well that I would grow to love them. I have experienced many tough times in the last 6 months, and I don’t think I would have coped so well if it wasn’t for my boys. Baseball is such a perfect sport. It is about precision, technique, skill, dedication, and sometimes about luck. But baseball becomes a beautiful game when you have an amazing group of guys teamed up together with all odds against them and watch as the battle, persevere, and succeed.

Last Sunday, I went to the final Marlins home game, despite the guaranteed humidity and the intense hangover I was battling. I sat in those neon orange seats and watched as the big screen played an over view of the season high lights. Every successful moment rolled on that screen and with it the tears came rolling down my cheeks. “What a heck of a team.” I thought. Okay, so we aren’t going to make it to the post season, but we exceeded everyone’s expectations and being able to show your greatness through all the negativity and pessimism means more to me than winning some stupid trophy and ring.

I can only pray that next season each and every one of these men that I cheered for, cried for, fought for, and broke my remote for will return. It’s been one heck of a season, Marlins. Thank you for every second of it.

Sincerely,
The Infamous Tatiana

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White Sox Rookies For The Hazing

If you were hanging out by the player’s exit at Yankee Stadium yesterday evening, you were in for quite a treat. Sadly, I live a good 3 hours away (by plane) and was not able to be there, but alas, there is a thing called the internet that let me enjoy this moment of humiliation as much as the next person. I always thought hazing was for college students trying to become part of a sorority or fraternity, but this is a wonderful example of how hazing goes beyond the classroom and into the ball park.

As White Sox players began to come out of the stadium and enter their bus, along came other players dressed in very incriminating outfits. Lance Broadway, a right handed rookie pitcher, was unfortunate enough to be dawned the wearer of the voluptuous lifeguard with severe pubic hair issues. Alexei Ramirez was dressed as a US track and field athlete. Other rookies sported a Tinkie Winkie (Of the Teletubbies) costume and a Raggedy Anne outfit.

Sexy?

Sexy?

Photo courtesy of Scott Proctor’s Arm

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