Happy Birthday Hairball

Today is the Hairball’s birthday.  His birth name is Jared but I don’t think I’ve called him that in decades.  I met Harry when I was 10 years old.  He had just moved to the Seattle area from Orlando and I was coming off a 9 year old season that saw me hit .660 and go 6-0 on the mound.  I was king shit around CVAC Little League.  Then Hairball showed up.  He was blasting 220 foot homeruns all year long.  He had 12 homers in our 16 game season.  I just missed hitting .700 but Hairball was the story of little league that year.

We played baseball together every year after that all through high school.  From ages 11 to 15 we were best friends.  He lived about two miles away and I’d ride my bike over there every day in the summer.  We’d play baseball using a tennis ball.  We’d play ping pong at his aunt Donna’s house.  Play with his dog Scamp who he called “Geebert” which I never understood.

Oddly enough two of my favorite Hairball stories involve going to the bathroom.  Hairball could strip paint off the walls.  When we were 12 years old we were staying at our families’ cabin in Sequim, Washington and were gonna go salmon fishing the next day.  We were gonna get up at 3:30am to drive up to Sekiu so at 10pm my dad went to bed and me and Hairball went upstairs to do the same.  About thirty minutes later Hairball says “I gotta go downstairs and poop.”  Now my dad was a grumpy and sometimes mean dude, and that meanness was amplified by ten when he was tired or got woken up.  So me being the genius I was told Hairball “Be quiet and don’t flush cause the flush will wake dad up.”  Good thinking Jas!  So 3:30am arrives and instead of getting woken up by the alarm clock, we were woken up by my dad screaming about the deuce someone had left in the toilet and not flushed.  We got downstairs and the whole floor smelt like a sewage plant.  My dad started yelling at me why I didn’t flush and I passed the blame on to Hairball and he lectured us both.  His great parenting advice included the phrase “When you take a shit, you flush the toilet.”  I’ve carried that advice with me ever since.

The other Hairball bathroom story was when we were 15 and in Chicago for the 15 year old world series.  Harry, Me and My dad were sharing a room and we played a morning game against Japan which we lost.  My dad seizing the afternoon off was going to Arlington Park.  Me and Harry were going to just hang out at the hotel.  Hairball had fouled the room the morning before and my dad told him “If you gotta shit go to the lobby, I can’t take another morning like that.”   So my dad heads out to the track and five minutes later Harry says he has to go #2.  I told him to go downstairs and he said “He’s gonna be gone for 4 hours, he won’t notice.”  So of course my dad comes running back in cause he forgot his Daily Racing Form.  He notices it’s just me in the room and asks where Harry is.  I nod at the bathroom door.  My dad instantly looked mad but also couldn’t help but laugh as he banged on the door and told Hairball “you better not be doing anything I told you not to do in there.”  Luckily my dad wanted to make the early double at Arlington more than he wanted to yell at hairball.  But the whole event still makes me laugh.

Hairball was our catcher.  I used to love pitching to him.  One time we were having arguments during a game in the dugout and out on the field.  I remember he said something to me about my pitches and I screamed to him to just get behind the plate, catch the ball, and shut up.  He replied “I will if it ever gets here.”

Hairball and I stayed friends and baseball teammates all through high school.  We didn’t have as many classes together as we went on so best friends became good friends and eventually became just friends.  During college he went to WSU and I stayed home and went to UW.  I saw him a couple times on visits over there.  We stayed in touch after college but never like it was when we were young.  Nowadays the only time I talk to him is when I call him on his birthday, which I’ll do later today.  The good thing is when I talk to him or the rare chance I see him, it’s always great and just like old times.  Some friends you always feel close to, even if there is now a distance, be it geographical or otherwise.

I think when you’re best friends with someone at a point in your life, especially as a youth, you’re always tied to them.  One of my favorite quotes in one of my favorite movies, Stand By Me, always makes me think of Hairball.

“It happens sometimes.  Friends come in and out of your life like busboys in a restaurant.  I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve.  Jesus, does anyone?”

Happy Birthday Hairball.

Beemie Award for Best Twitter Fight–Andy Asaro and Chuck Simon

Best Fight—Andy and Chuck Simon

This one had it all. It was really fantastic. Outspoken horse player versus confident trainer. Outspoken horseplayer says disparaging remark about trainer’s friend….and to quote Trevor “And awayyyyy they go”. Back and forth back and forth.

 

Once the cursing starts it really heats up.

Then there’s the inevitable cross country fight challenge.

Two of the best in their respective business trading haymakers for all the world to see. It’s everything we want in a fight and it’s this year’s winner for Best Fight.  I couldn’t even print all of the tweets because of cencorship issues!

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BEEMIE AWARD FOR FAVORITE MOMENT–JOSH GETTING KICKED OUT OF NORTHLANDS

Josh is the best. This guy is a walking/talking twitter reality show. I was off twitter at this time, and I’ll never forget that afternoon. My phone started buzzing while I was driving. Once stopped at my location I saw 5 texts, all from different people, all with the same message. “Josh just got banned from Northlands Park!” I knew this would be gold and it was. But why let me tell the story. Josh laid it out for you.

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Apparently going up to a stranger and telling him to “go fuck himself” and that he’s “a cheating piece of shit” is enough to get you thrown out of a place nowadays?

So Josh was done with Northlands right. Hah! You apparently don’t know him well. He brought in his secret weapon. Sammy!

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Mission accomplished. See you at NP on opening day next May Josh!

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BEEMIE AWARD FOR FAVORITE FOLLOW-Kent Desormeaux

Favorite Follow:   Kent Desormeaux

This was the year of Kent on twitter.   Kent’s account is what we actually want from pro athletes. It’s almost always entertaining and he isn’t afraid to go after reporters, horse players, trainers, you name it. I prefer entertainment above all when it comes to twitter which is why Kent Desormeaux is my favorite follow this year.

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Beemie Award for Humblebrag of the Year-Melissa Nolan!

Humblebrag of the year—Melissa Nolan

So, this one might not even be humble, and it’s from last year, but it’s so awesome it deserves an award. Melissa has never lacked confidence but one day she’d had enough with a certain “Seahag” and let her have it, and in the process, let us all know just how boss she is.

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You’re our favorite Babe with an MBA MN!

Beemie Award for Top Jockey–Julian Muscat!

Top Jockey: Julian Muscat

This year we learned about one of the most sought after riders that nobody had heard of. Julian Muscat. Julian got a mention in a news article about his outstanding ability and at first he was trying to deny that it was him. He protested, like most great athletes, cause he wanted his privacy from his adoring fans. He resisted their requests

 

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He even got requests from stakes winning trainersmuscat1

 

Julian will deny his jockey talents, but he was the best jockey of 2015.  Just look at the love he got

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Mike Joyce Award for Handicapping Bravery and Excellence–Maggie Wolfendale

Mike Joyce Award for Handicapping Bravery and Excellence—Maggie Wolfendale

I love Mike Joyce. So I thought he deserved an award named after him. I asked you the fans to submit your vote for your favorite handicapper on twitter and thousands of you (well tens of you) emailed in your votes. The voting was close, but in the end it was Maggie Wolfendale who won by just a single vote!! Maggie of course provides excellent analysis on the NYRA circuit and is one of the most well liked and respected cappers in the industry.

Other top vote getters included: @dayacorppicks, @racingwithbruno, and Kurt Hoover

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