Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Thoughts of Spring and Garth Brooks

It is frigid in Chicago. It has been this way for about 2 months and we still have at least another month before we can expect it to get much better. Is it no wonder that my thoughts turn to the Spring, more specifically Spring Training.
In 2004, a few friends and I went to see the Chicago Cubs in Spring Training in Mesa (AZ). It was extremely hot. We were extremely lazy. It was awesome! We hit the games in the late morning and relaxed by the pool for most of the rest of the day. At night we hit some of the finer spots in Mesa.
While we were there, the Cubs were hosting the Kansas City Royals. The Royals had a new player, a 42 year old career Spring Training guy who had not appeared since 2000, when he was with the New York Mets. He also appeared previously in 1998 and 1999 with the San Diego Padres, where he batted a crispy .045. He was listed as a 3rd baseman. My research shows he did get a hit for the Royals early that spring, raising his career average to .047 (2 for 42). Reports are unclear as to whether he added to those stats after his big hit.
Who was this mysterious non-phenom? Why would any team even give him any playing time? It was Garth Brooks and he did it for fun and for charity.
In 1999, Brooks co-founded the Teammates for Kids Foundation, a non-profit organization which enlists the participation of athletes in pro baseball, football and hockey. These athletes contribute a predetermined sum based upon selected statistics.
Teammates for Kids benefited greatly from the exposure, although not much from the stats that Brooks accumulated. Still, it would be hard to heckle this charitable guy!
Garth Brooks in Mesa, AZ-March 2004.

1 comment:

Spiff said...

I remember Garth going to Spring Training with some of the teams. Does anyone still do that type of thing for charity?