Hit by a Pitch

Just once, you get to be an athlete’s pal.

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“Just once, everyone should be able to make an inanimate object come to life and be his pal.” -Dave Eggers

When I read that a few years ago, I thought it was funny. When I really thought about it, I realized that the inanimate object I would like to bring to life to be my pal was an owl from the top of the Harold Washington Library in Chicago. That building is crazy and cool as hell, kind of like Ozzie Guillen. Anyway, I thought about all the fun things my gigantic metal owl friend and I could do together, but eventually I realized that he wouldn’t be able to fit through the revolving door at, say, the Berghoff, which was a totally respectable place to go for lunch back in the day when I worked in the area (they used to have stuffed shells that were a surprising and delicious vegetarian offering for a traditional German restaurant). That’s kind of a bummer. How can I enjoy my meal in those circumstances?


What if, instead of making an inanimate object come to life and be your pal, you could have an athlete be your pal? And by “pal” I mean pal. I’m not talking about someone you want to interview or pretend to be buddies with only to punch him in the face when he’s not expecting it or have sex with or any of that. I mean someone you want to just be buddies with for like a week. It would be cool if you picked someone who isn’t obvious, like Gilbert Arenas. I’m sure everybody wants to hang out with Gilbert Arenas.

So who is the athlete I’d like to befriend, and what would we do? I’ll tell you after the jump, and there even are a couple crappy pictures I took myself (because I heard that pictures are cool). And video! Come join the party! Doesn’t it look like fun?


My pal would be Ryan Spilborghs of the Colorado Rockies. Do you know about him? If not, you’ve been missing out on a whole lot of awesome. Last year, his at-bat music was “The Sweet Escape” by Gwen Stefani. This was fun because every time he came up to bat, they’d play the WOOOO OOOOOH WOOOO OOOOOH part of the song, right? And then the music would stop and everybody at Coors Field (the cool people anyway) would go WOOOO OOOOOH WOOOO OOOOOH! How do you not love that?

So this year, his at-bat music is, and I shit you not, THRILLER. You wouldn’t believe the awesome that results from this at games. One time, a woman several rows up from us acted out like the entire Thriller dance thing, all monster-claw-y and shit. When we’re there for our “Ladies Fan Club” games, several of the ladies get up and dance. It’s just about the greatest thing, ever.

People call him Spilly, so I’m sure it’s okay if I call him Spilly, seeing as we’re BFFs and all. Spilly and I would go to Sea World (one time he was on the Rockies All Access show talking about the disposable underwear he got at Sea World and how it would rock to get disposable underwear to take on road trips and ew, I just googled that to see if there was anything about it on the internet and I got an ad for Depends). After Sea World, we’d go out for pizza and beer (in the afternoon, because in a world where I’m BFFs with Spilly, I don’t have a job), and then go shopping. I don’t actually go shopping, ever (I buy shit on the internet) but for some reason, I think it would be fun to, say, hang out at Cherry Creek with Spilly, trying on ridiculous sunglasses and maybe 80s shoes with skinny pants at Urban Outfitters and perhaps waltzing at Nordstrom. We’d cap off the night by dressing up in mismatched clothes and going to a club or ritzy hotel bar, where we’d speak with fake vaguely European-sounding accents and play practical jokes on unsuspecting people.

The next day might involve snowboarding in the winter (I’ve never done this and I’d be terrible, but he’d have a flask so it would all be okay) or bowling (not my talent). In the summer, it would be mini golf (I’m much better at this than you’d think) or road trips to crazy little towns in Wyoming where we’d take artsy pictures of ourselves outside retro-looking hotels and then post them on Flickr so everybody could tell us how cool we are. Spilly is so cool I bet he travels with a can opener, a spoon, and a few cans of beans and SpaghettiOs in his trunk so he doesn’t have to stop to get food because then he might miss something really exciting.

Before I forget, I have to mention that he has some of the best facial hair in major league baseball. (For the record, I’m also partial to Nick Swisher’s facial hair, especially when it’s dyed purple or pink to coordinate with the relevant cancer awareness day festivities. Let it be known that a pornstache alone is not enough to impress me in the facial hair arena.) Unfortunately, I haven’t found any good shots of his best facial hair statements. Internet, you should do a better job of keeping track of Spilly. I’m just sayin’. So I can’t give you a picture of his facial hair, but I can give you a picture of him chewing on what are presumably sunflower seeds, that I took that one time I had really good seats.

Oh! Speaking of sunflower seeds! He stars in one of those Rockies commercials (which are all really funny). He gives a tutorial on proper chewing technique.

Spilly is the captain of Team Awesome, I’ll tell you that. But enough about Spilly. If you could have an athlete pal, who would it be? What would you do?

Written by Tracy

August 5th, 2008 at 8:21 pm

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  1. Two words: Brian Anderson


    5 Aug 08 at 9:26 pm

  2. Dude! He’d be my choice from the Sox, no doubt. He seems hilariously fun.


    6 Aug 08 at 12:46 pm

  3. [...] you could be pals with an athlete, would you pick Ryan Spilborghs? I would pick Tim Wakefield, so we could all go bowhunting [...]

  4. Why do I have the theme song from The Courtship of Eddie’s Father running through my head. “People, let me tall you about my best friend….”


    10 Aug 08 at 1:59 pm

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