Hit by a Pitch

Archive for the ‘Rockies 4 Jesus’ Category

Even Faith Day Doesn’t Help Rox

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The Colorado Rockies are a Christian organization. I’ve mentioned what I refer to as “Rockies 4 Jesus” before. That post contained a link to the USA Today article about the team and Christianity. I also wrote about Rockies Faith Day last year.

Back when the team was doing well, they gave a shout out to the man upstairs in the USA Today article:

While praising their players, Rockies executives make clear they believe God has had a hand in the team’s improvement.

“You look at things that have happened to us this year,” O’Dowd says. “You look at some of the moves we made and didn’t make. You look at some of the games we’re winning. Those aren’t just a coincidence. God has definitely had a hand in this.”

Yesterday, this year’s Faith Day game was a disaster. A crowd of 45,660, including many who attended with church groups, couldn’t get the Power of Christ to compel the Rockies to stop sucking.

I don’t know if new pitcher Livan Hernandez, who got lit up yesterday, is a raging heathen the likes of which the team hasn’t seen since my pal Jose Mesa. How do you explain the horrible Faith Day game? How do you explain this year’s extravaganza of suck?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it here, just to be clear: I have nothing against Christianity or Christians or religion or faith (unless you try to impose your view of what’s right on others, because that is incredibly disrespectful and just wrong). I will say that I just don’t get it. As someone on the outside of Christianity looking in, I don’t understand why, last year, O’Dowd said that God “had a hand” in the team doing well. Aside from the obvious questions (God really has nothing better to do? Why you guys? Proximity to heaven? Wait, what?), doesn’t a team doing well result from the actions of the players, not God?

On the flip side, if you give God credit when things go well, do you also blame God when things don’t? Will O’Dowd or Clint Hurdle come out this year and say, hey, God really let us down this season. As part of the Faith Day festivities, Charlie Monfort and Seth Smith gave “testimony,” we featured “Christian rock music superstar Steven Curtis Chapman,” and you couldn’t keep us from being pounded (16-7!) by the crappy Padres? Really God? What’s up with that?

I guess God is busy with the Angels this year.

Written by Tracy

August 11th, 2008 at 10:26 am


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I’ve been neglecting this site, mainly because I’m bored of sports (or at least bored of talking about sports — I still watch). I’ve started yet another blog and haven’t had much to say here lately. With Jose Mesa remaining unsigned, my future as a sports blogger is questionable (not really, but you know).

I still have three of four teams in the final four (damn you, Pitt). So that’s good. We’re going to our first Rockies game of the year on Saturday, and I’ve managed to avoid punching Carmelo Anthony and Brandon Marshall (Jay Cutler, I’ve got your back, yo) in the face, even though I want to most of the time.

Right now, the burning question on my mind is whether having three baseball teams would be whorey of me. I mean, I have the White Sox, the team that made me love baseball, even though they suck ass and I don’t live there and sometimes it seems like the magic is gone. I have the Rockies, and they’re exciting and still make an effort to woo a girl from time to time, but the whole Christian thing still bothers me when I think about it too much. I have to admit that I also have my eye on the Angels. They’re sexy, and my boyfriend Jon Garland was stellar in his debut with the team yesterday. Can I follow my boyfriend to a new team, or is a three-way battle for my fandom just too much?

I don’t know. How do you stay loyal to your hometown team when you don’t live there anymore and the team sucks? Shouldn’t they at least make an effort, or do they expect me to be loyal even though they’ve been dismal? What I do know is that I’m already sick of Yankees and Red Sox fans. And Cubs fans can Fukudome.

Written by Tracy

April 2nd, 2008 at 7:32 pm

The power of Christ compels your ass.

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I’m always getting in trouble at Rockies games. There was the time I almost got kicked out for heckling Barry Bonds (this was before I knew there was a jail inside Coors Field — I am terrified of the jail inside Coors Field). Then Saturday evening, there was the time I almost didn’t get in at all.

crown their assI was wearing one of my favorite shirts of all time, the one pictured here that says “CROWN THEIR ASS” above a picture of a bear bending over with a crown on his butt. It seemed like a nice day to reprezent for the Bears and change up my wardrobe that normally has less variety than Charlie Brown’s. I didn’t think much about the shirt until we were walking past Blake Street Tavern and I said to Ben, “What if they don’t let me into Coors Field because my shirt says ‘ass’ on it?” Ha, he said, that’s crazy.

Crazy indeed. I know there’s going to be trouble when the woman checking my bag says, “Ohhhhh.” She’s looking at my shirt. I smile and try to look like a nice, responsible adult, but I’m pretty sure Coors Field employees can use their super-secret Jesus power to see that I am, in fact, evil. The Power of Christ compels Shirt Police woman to explain that she’s not sure “that word” is okay. She cannot say “ass” – she just refers to it as “that word.” She calls for a second opinion. Shirt Police sidekick comes over and they discuss “the word.” He’s not sure if it’s okay. I smile and say, “Go Bears!” and of course he’s probably a Broncos fan so this doesn’t help. He decides to call in Shirt Police Deputy Lieutenant Provenza. I wonder if there’s a counter-ass-ism office somewhere in the bowels of Coors Field, where a plainclothes squadron watches the bureau chief stick a picture of a “CROWN THEIR ASS” t-shirt to a whiteboard while asking, “Okay now who would want to wear this abomination to Coors Field?” They’ll match the fingerprints from my ticket to a $20 used to purchase two beers earlier this month and I’ll go on a watch-list of dangerous suspects before someone connects me to the shirt with a hastily sketched dry-erase arrow and they’ll say they knew it was me all along.

Ben is already inside the gates, watching the Coors Field morality patrol descend from the building to stare at my left boob. Shirt Police woman explains yet again that she’s not sure about “that one word.” She may be softening a bit, because this time she says she doesn’t think it’s “so bad,” is it? What if it is “so bad,” I wonder. Will they tell me to turn the shirt inside out like a kid who violated a school dress code? Will they tell me to change? Will I argue with them and be blacklisted from Coors Field forever? Will they inform all perimeter employees to be on the lookout in case I try to sneak in through a different gate?

The Deputy Lieutenant reflects on the gravity of this situation, perhaps envisioning the chaos that might ensue if someone were to enter the hallowed aisles of Coors with the word “ass” on her shirt. It could be the beginning of the end of civilization, the final straw that pushes Denver baseball fans headfirst into years of debauchery.

Maybe not. The Deputy Lieutenant declares that it’s “not so bad.” And thusly it is decreed that the heathen in the ass shirt may go forth into the Field of Coors and enjoy the game festivities with the flock of the chosen ass-free people. The Rockies even won that game, so if you want to crown their ass, well, never mind. You’ll get in trouble.

Written by Tracy

August 28th, 2007 at 12:00 pm

For Rockies, Every Day is Faith Day

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While looking for information about “Dog Day” at Coors Field (it’s this coming Monday), I noticed two things. First, the Rockies have really lame promotions — we get solar calculators, trucker hats (in what fashion-impaired universe does anybody wear a trucker hat in 2007?), floppy hats, and “commemorative desk item” — no bobbleheads, ever. Second, the Rockies have Faith Day:

Faith Day
Come worship at the ballpark! Following the game, we will have an on-field concert and will give Rockies players the chance to share their testimonies with the fans.
Date: Sunday, July 29, 2007
Game Time: 1:05pm
Opponent: Los Angeles Dodgers
Ticket Price: $15 Outfield Box, $10 Upper Reserved Infield

Oh hell no. I’ve heard about “Faith Day” in the minor leagues, in the south, but at a Rockies game? I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but really?

Clearly, I’m not up to speed on the world of Christian baseball festivities. It turns out that “Faith Day” isn’t unheard of in MLB. The Cardinals, Braves, Reds, and Rangers have Faith Day promotions. According to the Rocky Mountain News, the Rockies have had an under-the-radar “Christian Family Day” for the past two years. Publicized only to church groups, Christian Family Day offered discounted tickets, post-game concerts, and “testimonials” from players and coaches. According to the article, the name was changed from “Christian Family Day” to “Faith Day” “in an apparent effort to make [the event] more inclusive.”

I wonder what else they’re doing to make the event “more inclusive.” According to a spokesperson, the Rockies “believe the event should encompass all faiths.” That’s nice, but are they doing anything to make this happen? I can’t tell from the information posted on the website. How is it even possible to have an event that encompasses all faiths? What about people who don’t have a “faith” or just don’t give a rat’s ass?

Of course, including all faiths and all “nonfaiths” would include everyone and make it just another day at Coors Field. For the sake of argument, let’s say that the event features only Christianity, which, considering the Rockies, seems like a reasonable assumption. My question then is: What’s the point?

Money, right? Faith Night seems like a lose/lose situation for the fans — Christians are being used for their money (or, to put it in less skeptical terms, aggressively marketed to in an attempt to get them to come out to a game), and non-Christians are being alienated. I’m sure it’ll be a money maker for the owners, and if you know anything about Rockies’ ownership, you know that the only thing they love more than Jesus is money.

The Rockies are a business, and the powers that be are free to do what they want to make money. I’m not really bothered by the fact that Faith Day exists, but it reminds me that I don’t feel like the Rockies will ever be “my” team, no matter how long I live here. I’m not sure how much more of my money I want to spend supporting them. For the rest of the summer, instead of buying Rockies tickets and overpriced beer at Coors Field, maybe I’ll blow the cash on Ozzie Guillen bobbleheads and a Jim Thome jersey for my dog.

Written by Tracy

July 19th, 2007 at 12:19 pm

MLB Opening Day

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MLB Opening Day 2007 (condensed version)

-I took the day off from work and went to the gym in the morning. ESPN was all atwitter with opening day excitement, but much to my dismay, here are the feature stories I got to watch while running on the treadmill:

1. Yankees
2. Barry Bonds
3. Red Sox
4. Yankees

This was immediately followed by a Yankees game.

I’m hoping that at some point, ESPN will crawl out from up the Yankees’ ass.

-I spent an hour trying to get MLB.TV to work on my Mac. I thought about making a voodoo doll of everybody related to the DirecTV bullshit that prevents me from watching out-of-market games on cable, but already was running late.

-It’s probably for the best that I didn’t get to watch the White Sox game yesterday, because my mom could’ve done a better job pitching than Jose Contreras.

-I again failed to find comfortable shoes to wear to sporting events, although I did not discover this until halfway to Coors Field.

-The Rockies suck. The good thing is that they lost the game because of crappy relief pitching. Also, during the game, I heard someone in the stands say “Jose Mesa” — although I have no idea what he said about Jose Mesa, that’s the shit right there.

-The Rockies suck, and Clint Hurdle had his contract extended — through 2009. This convinces me that the Rockies, as an organization, care more about Jesus than they care about winning. That’s some mad crazy bullshit.

-To recap: ESPN only cares about the Yankees, Barry Bonds, and the Red Sox. The White Sox got pounded. The Rockies are set to languish in their love of the lord and mediocrity for a couple more years. My feet really, really hurt. MLB.TV doesn’t like Macs. The perfect end to the perfect day of baseball suck occurred when we were out for pizza and beer after the game. I noticed a guy wearing a Cleveland Indians shirt — the team that just killed my Sox. But it gets even better — when he went outside for a smoke, I realized that he was actually wearing an Omar Vizquel jersey. Omar Vizquel. I wanted to go outside and throw my ranch dressing container at him, but Ben talked me out of it. I’m pretty sure that an Omar Vizquel fan would find it incredibly amusing if a Jose Mesa fan threw a relatively harmless object at him outside a bar, but I suppose I could be wrong — and the way this day was going, there was no sense risking it.

On a positive note, it took a while and I got mad and swore and considered throwing the computer out the window, but I finally got MLB.TV working on the Mac (I downloaded the most recent free version of Flip4Mac WMV player — screw what they say about Windows Media Player for Macs — that didn’t work). I watched one good highlight from yesterday’s game and got to hear Hawk Harrelson yell “You can put it on the board YES!!!”

Oh, baseball. You kind of suck, but I really love you.

Written by Tracy

April 3rd, 2007 at 4:10 pm

I want a baseball story, Vol. 1

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This is a little story I wrote last summer.

After shortstop Omar Vizquel publicly blamed [Jose] Mesa for being a “choker” and blowing the 1997 World Series for the Cleveland Indians in his book, Mesa and Vizquel ended their longtime friendship. Mesa was quoted as saying “If I face [Omar Vizquel], I’ll hit him. I won’t try to hit him in the head, but I’ll hit him. And if he charges me, I’ll kill him. If I face him 10 more times, I’ll hit him 10 times. Every time. If he comes to apologize, I will punch him right in the face. And then I’ll kill him.”

As of April 22, 2006, Mesa made good on his promise and hit Vizquel, now playing for the San Francisco Giants, on every one of three occasions he has faced him.

–from Wikipedia entry on Jose Mesa

It’s a Sunday night, the kind of humid rainy night that reminds me of Chicago even though the rain here isn’t the same heavy fresh green-smelling rain. Despite the fact that I’m alternately unbearably sad or really pissed off about many things in the world, none of which affect me directly enough to warrant such anger (George W. Bush, the unbelievable stupidity of movies being released lately, people who thank God after accomplishing anything in life as if their efforts had nothing to do with it, people who drive below the speed limit, people who don’t signal before turning), I’m really quite content. This is why I have nothing to say lately and prefer to pet my cats or try to fool the dog so I can flip him over while he’s sitting (usually he’s too smart for this but sometimes you can catch him just once) or pull weeds or go to baseball games where I yell too much, always.

I look out the window (windshield wipers that are on even though they’re not needed are high on the list of things that annoy me, like dogs with an ear inside out or toilet paper on your shoe, only worse) and think: How would I change my life if I could? What would I want to be different?

The only thing I can come up with is that I would like to drive around Denver and hand out copies of J Dilla’s Donuts to random people. I don’t know if people are in the habit of accepting CDs from strangers in cars, but this is what I would do. I don’t know why. Perhaps Donuts is some sort of key to the universe. I suspect that it is, but I have no idea how it works.

One day I would give a CD to a nondescript guy with a stubbly chin and one of those army-green jackets guys used to get from surplus stores (maybe they still do). Weeks later, this guy would be at a party somewhere downtown and he’d tell the host to play the CD. Jose Mesa, relief pitcher for the Colorado Rockies, would be in attendance and, without realizing it, would start to hum along with Workinonit.

Never one to fit in with the squeaky-clean Jesus-loving Rockies, Jose Mesa was no stranger to blown saves or above-average ERAs. You might almost think that he was past the glory days of his career, but you should never think that too certainly, lest Jose Mesa read your mind and accidentally run you over with his car. Although he was acquitted of all charges, the allegation of rape distanced him from the guys who didn’t even read Maxim, at least not when anybody was looking. He was too old for this shit and frustrated, tired of pretending that he gives a rat’s ass when somebody talks about Jesus dying for his sins. Jesus better recognize, he’d think, throwing peanut shells to the floor.

Ben and I were afraid to go to the Brown Barrel, because you couldn’t see inside and it looks like it might be the kind of place where skinny men push up their flannel sleeves and tuck their wallet chains into their pockets before hurling a table out of the way and throwin’ down. We were brave and went in one day and it was nothing but a bunch of ash trays and a kindly bartender who had good intentions but served bad drinks. The women’s restroom is spotless. One bored evening I walk into the Brown Barrel only to see Jose Mesa, relief pitcher for the Colorado Rockies, sitting at the bar.

Oh shit, I think. He’s ruining the story by staring at my boobs. Figures.

“Hey,” he says, mustering as much excitement as he can, “J Dilla saved my life, too.”

I realize that I’m wearing my “J Dilla saved my life” shirt and wow, I really suck for thinking that Jose Mesa was staring at my boobs.

“I used to always think about how I wanted to punch this guy in the face and then kill him,” Jose Mesa says. “But now I listen to J Dilla, and only think about it sometimes.”

I realize that the only zen you have on a barstool at the Brown Barrel next to Jose Mesa is the zen you bring up there. I’m sorry that I dropped him from my fantasy baseball team. I’ll get him back as soon as I get home. Some things just belong, even though they don’t always work out the way you’d like.

Jose Mesa patiently listens to me tell my story of random J Dilla CD distribution, and it is then that he knows that in actuality, I saved his life. As a result, we become fast friends and spend the rest of the summer wearing yellow pants, leaning on parked cars eating ice cream, and fighting crime. Well, we don’t really fight crime, but one day Jose Mesa decides to give back to the community, so we spend a hot Wednesday afternoon driving the spay/neuter van in Commerce City. It goes without saying that we both think Jose Mesa should instead be in the All Star Game.

Jose Mesa and I go to City Park to ride the paddleboats, and he is nice enough to ride the one shaped like a swan (I really want the flamingo, but you just don’t ask Jose Mesa to paddle around a pond in a flamingo). I wonder if Jose Mesa knows: if he were a better pitcher — if he won the World Series — he’d get a better story, one with a freckled 10-year-old boy with grass-stained pants and hair that his mom tries to flatten under his hat. Instead, he gets me and a paddleboat but, see, I didn’t like sports when I was a kid, so I get a story now. I tell him that I read an article about Big Papi in Sports Illustrated, even though I hate the Red Sox.

“You can’t really hate Big Papi,” Jose Mesa says as we watch a cormorant fly overhead and, as always, Jose Mesa is right.

Big Papi said that he likes to stay around people and keep busy because otherwise, he starts to think about very deep things, such as life after death. This makes me realize one thing: we all have the same struggles. You’re not so different from Jose Mesa. When we’re lonely, we’re all lonely the same way, which means we’re not really lonely at all.

One day I get stuck and miss a green light on Grant Street because some stupid bitch in a big-ass SUV is blocking Colfax. I do what I always do when I’m mad and in traffic — I get really pissed off and swear, tapping my hands on the steering wheel. Then I realize that if Jose Mesa were here, he’d get out of his car and punch that woman in the face.

I immediately feel better.

I stand at home plate and yell at Jose Mesa, “Wussy! It has to be wussy!” Jose Mesa couldn’t be wussy if you tied him up and tickled him while throwing pies at his face. The ball flies past me and aswingandamiss. Jose Mesa laughs at me and I kick off my flip flops and run around the bases anyway.

Written by Tracy

April 1st, 2007 at 12:12 pm

Hit by a Pitch?

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When you move to a new city, it’s hard to leave behind your home, friends, family, and all the places you love. It’s also hard to leave behind your teams.

Sure, you can shell out the $$ for MLB Extra Innings (unless they go all asshole and make that exclusive deal with Dish, because I’m not having that shit). You can go to little Italian restaurants for cheap beer and pizza, where the dedicated Bears fans watch the game on Sunday morning. But it’s not the same. It feels like a long distance relationship with someone who doesn’t really like you — they don’t call or write or leave you comments on Myspace. However appealing it is to spend the sunny afternoon alone on your couch listening to Hawk Harrelson talk about another can of corn, sometimes you really miss going to the game — feeling the energy of the crowd, heckling the opposing players, talking shit in bars with a million people who totally understand why the Super Bowl Shuffle was the greatest song ever recorded.

It’s normal that eventually you start seeing other teams. You still love your old teams, and you’ll cheer for the Bears if they play the Broncos, but damn, it’s really awesome as hell to sit outside Invesco on a warm, sunny day with a can of Gordon and gigantic sunglasses, watching all the other Broncos fans (even though, have you seen Broncos fans — there are some interesting characters…and mullets). I’ll be honest — it was easy to fall in love with the Broncos. It was easier still to fall in love with the Nuggets.

But the Rockies? Well, that wasn’t easy at all.

Okay, that’s not exactly true. At first it was easy. Coors Field, even though it’s named for Coors (crappy beer and crappier politics) is really awesome (and you can even get Sierra Nevada, but it’ll cost you). The Rockies aren’t known for being good, but going to games is really fun — you can park for free within reasonable walking distance (hell, we could walk there but I’m always running late), grab a beer at the Tap House, and enjoy the game under sunny skies with no humidity. It’s an incredibly low-maintenance sporting event, and tickets are cheap compared to basketball or football.

It all started to fall apart when I learned about the Bible study. Now, let me say that I have no problem with the Bible or with the study of the Bible. But you know, I’m used to A.J. Pierzynski, who cares more about kicking your ass than talking about Jesus. Kicking ass is what I like about sports.

Here’s the article about the Rockies and the Bible.

I felt kind of alienated from the Rockies. I mean, I’m not Christian — I don’t even believe in God. I think attributing your success to God or Jesus is incredibly lame and, well, they just kind of lost me.

Then, they got me back. Why? I learned about Jose Mesa.

You might not know about Jose Mesa. Jose Mesa is a relief pitcher who, just when I needed him, pitched for the Rockies. He’s kind of old and not always that good, but he wants to kill this guy who pissed him off once.

Jose Mesa and Omar Vizquel, who now plays for the Giants (who I really hate), played for the Cleveland Indians and were pals. Omar later wrote a book in which he blamed Jose Mesa for choking during the 1997 World Series, which the Indians lost.

Dissing Jose Mesa is just a little less bad than dissing Chuck Norris. Jose Mesa was not pleased. He said he wanted to kill Omar Vizquel. He decided to hit Omar Vizquel with a pitch every time he played against him. Here are the best quotes from Jose Mesa:

If I face him 10 more times, I’ll hit him 10 times. I want to kill him.

If he comes to apologize, I will punch him right in the face. And then I’ll kill him. If you’re a writer and you want to write a good book, you don’t write a story about somebody else.

Here is an awesome article about the Mesa-Vizquel feud.

While playing for the Rockies, Jose Mesa was suspended for throwing at Omar Vizquel in April 2006.

So now I have a team consisting of Bible studying guys who live in Parker and thank Jesus for their success and probably hold hands and sing Kumbaya in the locker room instead of talking shit and swatting each other on the ass — and Jose Mesa, the relief pitcher who throws at people and wants to kill a guy. Of course I went with Jose Mesa.

He became my favorite player on the team — ahead of even Byung-Hyun Kim, the goofy pitcher known for sleeping anywhere and everywhere. Jose Mesa is bad ass. There is no theory of evolution — just a list of creatures Jose Mesa has allowed to live.

The highlight of my Jose Mesa glory days involved his appearance against the Cubs, where, as usual, my heckling was in rare form. As you may know, there are more Cubs fans than Rockies fans at the game when the northsiders play here, but my goal was to out-heckle all of them that day. It must have worked, because Jose Mesa didn’t do anything terrible and the Rockies won. As the lone person cheering for Jose in all the world, it was a very good day.

I loved Jose Mesa for being such a badass on a team of Rockies crusading for Christ, but I knew that because of that, he was doomed. I’d joke from time to time about how, one day when Jose Mesa didn’t play for the Rockies any more, I would have to write a compelling letter to the people at Coors Field, explaining why they should give me the Jose Mesa player banner that hung from the wall outside the field. Every time I wandered over to the bullpen to see if Jose Mesa was warming up, I worried that it would be the last time he’d be there. Every time I had too much to drink and screamed Jose Mesa!!!!!!! as loud as I could at a bar after the game, I knew that one day I would be the crazy bitch yelling for some guy nobody’d ever heard of before.

So I wasn’t shocked when they declined his option at the end of last season. I pictured Jose Mesa spending lazy days on his farm in the Dominican Republic, with his wife Mirla and their numerous children, eating beans and rice (his favorite food). I wrote a story about what would happen if I met Jose Mesa and we became pals. I secretly hoped he’d get picked up somewhere — and then he did. Jose Mesa now plays for the Detroit Tigers, which is cool because I don’t hate them, and hopefully I’ll get to see him when they play my Sox. The idea of Jose Mesa pitching to A.J. Pierzynski is so much pure awesomeness I can’t fully comprehend it. Imagine if, one day, Jose hits A.J. with a pitch.

The sad thing is that even now, I love Jose Mesa more than I love the Rockies. I hope I can find another somewhat obscure player who spends more time talking shit than reading the New Testament — someone to whom even a nonreligious, heckling, drunkard like me can relate.

For now, I’ll just do my thing and write as much as I can about sports — especially the under-appreciated, quirky, or over-the-line players I always seem to like best — and say thanks to Jose Mesa, the inspiration for Hit by a Pitch. I hope he takes out half the Minnesota Twins this year.

Also, this.

And then there’s this:

Written by Tracy

March 16th, 2007 at 11:06 pm