The playoffs are about to begin, and in an effort to make the players seem more accessible to the fans, MLBlogs has given accounts to a few of them, including our own Chone Figgins!
It would have been nice had they given him this blog in April, as following along with Figgins while through his breakthrough season would have been a fascinating read. But I’ll take what I can!
So, be sure to stop by to give him a read and a comment or two! Be sure to notice who made the first comment in his first post!
It’s only a few special blogs out of the millions out that that get a great amount of leadership, and I am quite aware that this is not one of those. Even if I did the job of a good blogger and updated often with things actually worth reading, it’s still tough to gain an audience, especially here when I have to compete for readers with Alyssa Milano and a few baker’s dozens of MLB players.
So I suppose I can either get huffy about it, develop an inferiority complex, and quit, or I can try to become a better blogger, posting more often, and advertising my blog all over the place.
But I’ll take a third option: Writing whatever I want, and not giving a **** if anybody reads it, as this blog is about ME, not imaginary throngs of fans and readers.
So with that, whether this be to nobody or numerous anonymous readers, here’s a story that will give anybody who happens upon it a chuckle.
Back in 2000, I had just finished the Police Academy and was awaiting my ship date to Basic Training for the Army, and to make ends meet I took a job at a hotel in Anaheim, California as a night security guard. The six months I was there were among the most fun I’d ever had actually AT work, as there is little to do at night other than sit on your *** reading a book or screwing around with your co-workers, and I could tell you a lifetime’s worth of stories about practical jokes and hotel guests who forget to close their drapes and think that because they can’t see out, nobody can see in.
But, as this is an MLB blog, I’ll stick to MLB stories.
This particular hotel, a 1600-room monstrosity of leaking pipes and crumbling foundation right across the street from Disneyland that shall remain nameless (hint: its name is now more synonymous with "celebutante" than "hotel" now) also happened to be the home-away-from-home for two major league teams visiting the then-suffering Anaheim Angels: The Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees.
It was one night in June or July when I got a midnight call on the radio about a noise disturbance on one of the higher floors. As is customary, I asked the name the room was registered under, and my dispatcher responded "Uhhh… Call the office."
This meant a VIP.
Now, it should be explained that two rules are in effect when it comes to VIP’s at that certain hotel. First, you never say their names over the radio, as you never know who is listening. Second, VIP’s will never register under their own name, and even security doesn’t know who is in each specific room. The reason for this was made perfectly clear when the Yankees came in that summer while a Christian Youth Group was in town and 600 14-year-old girls took breaks from stinking up their hotel rooms with pot smoke and flushing condoms down the toilets to search for Derek Jeter’s room. So I called the dispatch office, knowing the complaint was about a VIP, and asked the name.
"Uhhh… Harry Paratestes."
Laughing, I hung up the phone and made my way up to the 11th floor room. Exiting the elevator and making my way down the long corridor, I wondered about which Blue Jay I might encounter. A life-long baseball fan, there was hardly a name I didn’t recognize, but the days of my youth and chasing after players for autographs were long over, and my ability to recognize most players out of uniform was long gone. Besides, this was Toronto, nearly a decade removed from their early 90’s dominance, and nobody much cared about them that didn’t live within 10 miles of the Skydome.
So, walking down that hallway, I expected the door to open to reveal a tall, young face I didn’t recognize but whose name I would know if I heard it.
I found the room with the prescribed number to the left of the door and knocked, announcing "Security."
A quiet roar of grumbling came from behind the door, followed by the shuffling of heavy feet. A few seconds passed before the door was opened by a tall, burly man who perfectly looked the part of the ****’s Angels he grew up around.
"Harry Paratestes" was David Wells.
I suppose I should take a moment here to discuss the etiquette required by my job. If a guest called with a noise complaint, it was my job to head up to the offending room, knock, and ask them as politely as possible to be quiet. If there was a second report, my second request would be firmer, and I would leave them with the knowledge that they may have had to find themselves another hotel to stay in if I had to come back a third time. Remarkably, there never was third time in my six months employed there.
But this was a different situation. With VIP’s always came the extra-added asskissery that comes with famous people who spend lots of money. Therefore, my responses were much different.
In this instance (and others like it), I was to let him know of the noise complaint as obsequiously as possible, and kiss his butt as much as possible in asking him to keep the noise down.
If there were following complaints, we were to move the complaining guests to new rooms.
So the door opened, David Wells standing in front of me, looking none to plussed that I had interrupted him. Behind him were two other men on the suite’s couch, probably fellow Blue Jays, but I recognized neither. The coffee table in front of them had a dozen or so beer bottles on it.
He stood there at the door, all 6 feet, 4 inches and 225 pounds of him, staring me and my rent-a-cop badge and $10.50 per hour profession down with a grimace. Now, keep in mind that I am 5′ 7", 150 lbs soaking wet, and have been told I can be quite an imposing subject to a good percentage of third graders if I yell a lot.
I looked him in the eye, my hands folded behind my back in a very loose adaptation of the "at ease" military stance. "Mr., uh, Paratestes?" I asked.
He broke his scowl a bit and smiled for a second. His teammates behind him laughed. "Yeah?" he replied.
"We got a noise complaint about this room, sir" I said. His brow furrowed, his eyes drilling through me. He was obviously put out by my interruption for such triviality, and was accustomed to the treatment he’d earned as an MLB player for well over a decade. He looked over his shoulder at his buddies, then back to me, waiting for me to try to assert myself and my position and ask him to shut up so he could put me in my place.
"And I just came up here," I said, "to ask if you wanted me to move the people who complained to another room so they won’t bother you by sending me up here again."
He raised his eyebrow and his head jerked back just barely enough to notice, obviously surprised by what I said. His scowl broke, and a smile spread across his face. "No, man," he said, "it’s cool. We’ll keep it down."
"Thank you, sir. If anybody bothers you, let us know" I said, and walked back to the security office.