Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Beer and Loading - The College Years Part I

“Get the hell off the scaffolding asshole!!!” , the bouncer shouted at Bill as he attempting to climb the stage of the wet T-Shirt contest at a club in Daytona, Florida circa 1993. The drink of choice was Rumple Minze and the song we heard most was “Cotton-Eye Joe” by Rednex. Almost the entire Textile baseball team went on the Load trip to Daytona one night. I was a freshman in college, surrounded by drunks, miscreants, cleat-chasers, and bad loads.

We were rounding up the guys to leave in our 2 maroon colored Ram Vans, ready to head back west into Kissimmee, when Bill was nowhere to be found. A quick glance at the light scaffolding and we saw him climbing it again for a better view. The bouncers had had enough and he was on his way out of the club the hard way. John was walking out with us as well when someone got a bit too close to him and he punched this guy in the face. John threw about 94 mph, so that fist did quite a bit of damage. Now John and Bill were gripped up by security and taken into custody of the club. This is where Joe and I thought quickly and sprang into action.

We were all wearing our maroon and black Textile baseball hats with the big white T…very similar to Temple’s colors…yea that’s it..we went to Temple! Joe and I went into the office and talked security into releasing these two Temple teammates to us and we assured them we would be vacating Daytona. They bought it and escorted the four of us into the parking lot. Now Bill was mumbling that he left his baseball glove in the club and he HAD to go back in for it. Bill would have said anything at that time to go back in because he wanted beers and tits. We got him the hell into the van and headed out onto I-4 back to our hotel.

I was riding shotgun and Joe was driving the lead van when the back doors flew open and two freshman, both named Bob, started firing our yellow batting practice balls at signs and the other van….at roughly 65 mph on the highway. Luckily there were only about 40 balls, so the projectiles only took about two minutes to deplete. We tried to stop it, kinda, but there is nothing more sad and depraved than a team of baseball players in the depths of a beer and Rumple Minze binge.

We had to stop for gas (and beers) before we got to the hotel. This is where John saw his own shadow in the Ram Van window and punched it out. We were all bad loads, but John was the king. Now this window was one of those back windows that only popped open…naturally I was worried about more projectiles. Bill had procured a 40 ounce of Crazy Horse that he masterfully chugged by the time we hit 65 on I-4. It was about 10 minutes later that he was sticking his head out of the window John just busted, puking his guts onto the side of the van and highway.

Now being a starting pitcher, and a load, was a terrible combination because we knew after the day we pitched, we had 3-4 days to be complete loads. Bill miscalculated his dates apparently and was scheduled to pitch the opening game of a DH that next day. A game that was an hour away and started at 9am. So that meant we would have to be in the vans at YIKES 7am. Crap, what would we tell the coach about the window…the roughly 30 empty can. Bottles, and jugs strewn about the van floor?  Well uh ya see Coach..ummm a bunch of bums musta broke the window and then partied in the van. No, that wouldn’t work. We would just hide that van and hope he didn’t see it and then get the window fixed after the game! Bingo.

Bill did his best Mickey Mantle impersonation and pitched a GEM. He was still drunk, saw three catchers mitts, but luckily did not leave his glove in the club. It was customary for our head coach to head out to a grocery store between games to get lunchmeat, rolls, and drinks for the team to eat. So it really wasn’t a surprise to use when he stepped out of the van and called us over. He was holding 4 grocery bags. Sweet!

As we sat down, the coach dumped the bags on the ground in front of us. The crash of bottles and the clang of cans lay before us. This is when coach went into his now famous spring training soliloquy. “ I have pissed more blood, banged more quaff, and could drink a keg of beer, yet show some discretion. I know all of you are going to have a few drinks, but littering the van with them was careless. Also, always ask for a girls ID before felattio, I had a player brought up on charges all because of a stiff penis.” Now he can’t say that and not expect us to start roaring. He got more and more pissed until he picked me and asked me to stick my head in the van and tell me what I smelled. I said “it smells April fresh Coach.” The coach replied’ “It smells like a FUCKING BREWERY in the van!!. Tim, what is on the outside of the van?”. Tim told coach that it looked like Bill’s insides. Coach went on to tell us basically exactly how the window was broke. “Some bad load got too liquored up and punched it. Don’t give me this story of bums breaking into the van.” Ouch.

We went on to win the second game of the DH and were given strict rules not to go to the hotel open bar happy hour in our unis. So as we got back to the hotel and unloaded our gear, each and every one of us were simultaneously peeling off our uniform tops and bottoms so we could abide by the coach’s rules, but not miss a second of happy hour.

I have four more years of good/bad stories like this of my college baseball career. I changed everyone’s names that were involved, but if you are reading this and you were there, you know who you are!

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