I have never enjoyed the Happy Youngster’s blog. I want to read about Brewers baseball, not the circumstances of some 30 year old getting baseballs.
The bullpen coach threw it to me. I caught some BP homers. I put on the opposing team’s hat and called out a first name (“Anyone can read the back of a jersey.”). Big effing deal.
I like writing about the Brewers and if you’re going to post yourself as a Brewers blogger, I’m gonna be a hell of a lot more interested in reading about the happenings of the actual game, not your lame conquests of doing what any 10 year old with a glove and a loud voice could do.
I don’t make it a habit to read Nick what’s-his-name’s blog, but when I stumbled across an article on AOL about a rookie MLB player’s homerun ball, I naturally read it. I read almost anything baseball related I come across, because, unlike Happy, I enjoy baseball for the sport. When I saw it involved a Brewers-Marlins game, I was almost certain I knew it would also involve said blogger.
Keep in mind, only because tonight’s battle of the two NL Central first place teams was rained out am I even writing about this. I already spent more time than necessary reading comments on Happy’s blog after I read the article on AOL. However, I feel I must say something about this whole situation because I’m a fan of, not only the Brewers, but baseball in general.
Chris Coghlan hits his first major league homerun. It’s a pretty big deal. When you’re only, what? 22, 23 years old? It’s a huge accomplishment. The Florida Marlins obviously have enough stock in this kid to bring him up to the Bigs and guess what? He delivered.
Sure, Happy is a ballhawk. Yes, catching homerun balls is a big deal to him. Has he bartered for homerun balls before? Probably. But is having homerun catch no. 50 worth more to him than Coghlan having the ball from his first Major League homerun? Apparently so.
According to Happy’s latest post, he clearly says when the Marlins offered another ball in exchange for the HR ball, that he already has over 775 balls and doesn’t need another one. Then give up the ball right then. What’s the point? Having a couple bats instead? Wow. That’s an enormous difference.
Now, as I’ve said already, I don’t care about catching game balls. I don’t care about batting practice or foul balls or any of that. I like watching baseball for baseball. That doesn’t mean I’ve never wondered what I would do if I miraculously caught such an important ball. As I don’t own a glove and never have or never will bring one with me to a game, it probably won’t happen, but it doesn’t stop me from wondering. I’m sure I wouldn’t be smart enough to request something other than what was offered to me in exchange and you know what? That’s fine. If it was me that caught Coghlan’s ball and the Marlins staff offered me a signed ball in exchange, I’d say okay. I have other player’s autographs. Guess what? They’re really not worth anything. Will anyone pay me for Ryan Braun’s autograph? Probably not. Go to a game, go to a Brewers sponsored event. You’ll get one of your own. But, in the moment, if some official from any MLB team came up to me and said, “Hey, that’s his first homerun. It’s a pretty big deal to him.” then proceeded to offer me anything in exchange for it, I’d give it up right then and there because I AM NOT A MARLINS FAN! What the eff would I want with his ball? Let the freaking kid have it!
Here’s my reasonable comparison to the whole thing. Imagine that Chris Coghlan was the now free agent Brad Nelson. Brad had a pretty damn good Spring. He made his first Major League roster this April (not counting the call-up last September. This is the one that matters.). Aside from him sucking at the plate, he’s had some pretty close calls. He’s a power hitter. Is it out of the question for Nelson to hit a HR? Absolutely not. So, say Brad Nelson is still with the Brewers and he hits his first homerun in the Majors and the Happy Youngster, because he’s just THAT GOOD, happens to catch it. Now there are numerous people from the Brewers staff requesting he give up the ball for a Brad Nelson signed ball, maybe even a bat because, you know, it’s only Brad Nelson. Instead, Happy requests not only those 2 items, but also a Ryan Braun game used bat because he’s the stud of Milwaukee. And while you’re at it, throw in some Marquee Game Diamond Box seats to the next Cubs series. Does that sound at all reasonable? HELL NO! So why does it seem reasonable to ask for a Hanley Ramirez game used bat? He had nothing to do with Coghlan’s homerun! And why tickets to a game that takes place in Florida? Even if Happy gets himself down there, why? That just doesn’t make any sense to me.
Regarless, as I’ve said already, I’m not a fan of the Happy Youngster. I don’t want to get too much into the why’s and why not’s of it, but national news? Hardly. Let Coghlan have his ball. Don’t be greedy. This kid has worked his whole life to get where he is. Happy puts on a glove and an opposing team’s gear and thinks he’s owed the world for standing in the bleachers for batting practice. I don’t care how many balls you’ve caught. I don’t care that you tie a freaking string to your glove and steal balls out of a bullpen. I don’t care that you have a youtube video at Spring Training or people that wear your lame tshirt. Respect the sport for sport, for the people that love the game and the players that live to play. This thing shouldn’t have ever become such a controversy but quite honestly, I’m kind of glad it did because otherwise I would’ve never had an excuse to vent any of this. Ordinarily I wouldn’t be like this, but I’m glad I was able to get it out. It feels pretty good.