Normally I don’t come out of hibernation this time of year due to working hard to scrape up the greenbacks to fund my baseball throughout the year. However, today was a day I felt I needed to post about. I’ve seen a lot of posts on the Facebooks and the Twitters (some positive, some not so much) about my favorite player Corey Hart signing with the Seattle Mariners (pending a physical). At first, I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t WANT to believe it. Here’s a guy who I have followed, cheered for through thick and thin, caught tons of crap for cheering for during the “thin” times, and now he’s going to another team. Not just another team either, but another league. This means I may not get to see him play in person for a long, long time.
After the disbelief faded, reality set in. Other teams are in need of first basemen too. The Brewers had a chance to make an offer (and did) but also shopped around. For me, this is a pastime. I put more emotion into baseball than I should. For guys like Corey, this is his lifestyle. He, his wife, and all of their great kids depend on his career. He needs to provide for them, and also try to cure that itch to play the game. He’s still close to home in Spring, and Seattle isn’t a bad city to live in. Reality. Paychecks. Family.
Then why does it feel like there’s a big empty hole inside me? I guess that’s the emotional part of baseball. And sure, I think of those multi-homerun games, and those great diving catches, and top plays that made ESPN now and then. But more so, I think of the first time that Omar Andrade (Superfan Cinco) and I approached him at a block party in Whitefish Bay, and asked him to sign “Condor” on our baseballs. Yep, the first Condor ball sits on a shelf in my bedroom. The “Superfans” came about and wholeheartedly supported him. Our shirts are still seen at the ballpark, the familiar Corey “The Condor” Hart on front and Condor with the #1 on the back. Even LaTroy Hawkins wore one at BP, during a playoff game in 2011. We made countless signs, and cheered as loud as we could. Hell, Superfan Shaggy (pictured to the right in the center) even named his firstborn Corey.
Perhaps we are a bit crazy. Perhaps we found a new healthy level of being a fan, hence we call ourselves “Superfans.” Tell you what though, if there ever was a player that appreciated the fans as much as they appreciated him, it was Corey. He would always come say hi to us at our corner in Maryvale, and sign a bunch of stuff. It got to the point where we ran out of cards, baseballs and bobbleheads! (Thank you again for that Corey!) Shaggy and I had the pleasure of playing pool with him even at a charity event at Dave and Busters. How many professional athletes do that?
In visiting stadiums, at Miller Park, or even at Best Buy where most of us worked… he genuinely appreciated us.
Well Corey, know this. I speak for myself right now, and I promise you I am a Corey Hart fan FOR LIFE. I will cheer for your no matter what team you are on (but if it is the Cubs, we need to have a conversation). I pray that Seattle fans embrace you as well as Milwaukee fans have, and I appreciate the many years you put into the Milwaukee Brewers’ Organization. From the first sign “Corey THE CONDOR Hart: International Harvester” all the way to the “Corey Hart: Ace of Harts” signs, and all the many many “Hey Condor, HOW MANY OUTS” cheers, I must say it has been a fun ride. Don’t forget us so soon either, our paths will cross again someday, and you’ll hear us in the outfield somewhere with all of our Condor cheers. I pray you read this, and take it to Hart. Happy holidays to you and the family.
Number one in our programs, and number one in our hearts. Corey Hart.