Thursday, April 13, 2006

Does Carl Everett Have a Sane Twin?

This is a story I should have relayed about a month ago, but certain conditions (i.e. laziness) kept me from doing so. But today I came across this article which was referenced in Deadspin about everyone's favorite dinosaur skeptic, Carl Everett; and it prompted me to stop browzing the spring break pics over at Webshots for a minute and actually do a little writing.

This past March, I was in Arizona with my dad and brother for some male bonding and to watch a few days of spring training games and practices. We arrived on a Thursday night and were able to catch the Angels and A's on Friday. Later that night, after something like 150 consecutive days of sunshine, it began to pour rain. It rained throughout the day Saturday, cancelling all of the day's activities. The next day, Sunday, was our last day in Arizona. It was still drizzling Sunday morning, but we went out to Peoria in hopes of catching some of the Padres' practice. Once in Peoria, everyone was informed that the Pads had cancelled practice, but the Mariners -who share the facility- would be holding an abbreviated practice. It turned out that "abbreviated practice" really just meant some stretching followed by time in the batting cages, which for all intents and purposes is closed off from the general public. The only time for the public to interact with the players would be when they had finished stretching and were heading to the cages.

As the players walked from the field to the cages, a few non-roster players stopped to sign some autographs and talk, but most of the veterans and heralded prospects sprinted to the cages. One older gentleman saw Carl Everett and called out to him, "You promised my grandson an autograph." Everett said that isn't how he does things and that he'd sign after he took BP. I just assumed that it was the equivalent of "I'll call you sometime," and we'd never see him again.

After finishing their swings, most of the players headed out to their cars which were in a secure parking lot removed from the fans. In fact, all of the players did, except for one. Carl Everett came back out to the crowd to sign autographs for the kids. But he didn't just sign- he let all of the kids come across the rope that security puts up as a barrier between the players and fans. He spent quite a bit of time with each kid, teasing them and joking around with their parents. At one point, a kid tried to knock off Everett's cap, but instead hit him in the face. Everett picked the kid up and placed him in a corner where he was on "timeout." Later, when a parent was telling his kid that whatever Mr. Everett said must be right, Everett responded with perhaps unintentional insight, "I may not always be right. But I will express my opinion."

Carl Everett continued to talk and laugh with the kids and their parents for at least an hour. I say at least, because he lasted longer than I did, as I was feeling like the old guy at the club and finally took off. But I was amazed by it all. In fact, I would have been less shocked if he had grabbed one of the kids and eaten him than I was by his good natured, playful attitude with everyone. I should also note that there were no videocameras or tv crews around that Everett was trying to impress. He was just making the effort to spend some time with the kids after what had been a weekend full of rain.

Now, this doesn't excuse Carl Everett for his past behavior. And it's also true that the Mariners would probably be better off giving his at bats to a young prospect this season. But for those that think Carl Everett is 100% crazy and evil, this experience reminded me that there is another side to most people that usually gets overlooked.

Well, except for Barry Bonds. He's just not a nice guy. Like, at all.


At Fri Apr 14, 12:10:00 AM PDT , Anonymous The Big Picture said...

good story about everett. heart-warming. i still love when carl struck out looking at a pitch that was inside. rather than verbally argue, everett calmly drew a line in the batter's box where he thought the pitch had crossed. he was immediatly thrown out of the game. subtle ways to show up the umps are sometimes the best.


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