November 21, 2003

A LiveJournal user delivers pizza to Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor and says he's such a lousy tipper that "I hope he breaks his hip and has to retire." My brother-in-law was Nate Newton's neighbor and revealed he never said hello on the street, making his subsequent legal troubles more fun for us. What trivial real-life encounters with athletes have colored your impressions of them forever?

posted by rcade to general at 08:00 AM - 33 comments

At first I didn't think I'd had any run-ins then I started thinking a bit: Paul O'neil: On 4 seperate occasions we were both at the same Skyline Chili Parlor. Everyone new who he was, no one bothered him. Eric Davis: He was in front of me at a convieniant store and bought a pack of Cigs. I thought, "Man, those things are gonna kill ya." That was before he got cancer. Eric Davis II. A porsche pulled up to the baseball field just as practice for I guess c-ball was ending. Eric gets out and yells to a friend of mine, "Eric, your mom had to run an errand, she ask me to pick you up." My friend Eric lived next-door to Eric Davis. Jose Rijo. He lived on the other side of my friend. Yes, he grew up living between Jose Rijo and Eric Davis. I was over and saw Jose cutting his grass, kinda brought him down to earth a bit for me. Byron Larkin. Byron was a Cincy sports legend at Xavier University while his little brother Barry was still in High School. Abot 10 years after the fact Byron was a 7-up Sales rep who sold to a grocery store I worked at.

posted by mick at 08:19 AM on November 21, 2003

I used to work at a bookstore in Oakton, VA that Norv Turner used to frequent when he was coaching the Skins. He never bought anything that I saw, he would just roam around for awhile, looking over what was there. I wanted to point him towards "Football for Dummies", but thought better of it.

posted by bcb2k2 at 08:54 AM on November 21, 2003

One of my earliest Federal Offenses took place when my friend Logan and I fetched Wayman Tisdale his mail and took it up to his house for him. He seemed kind of creeped out, but smiled and said thank-you.

posted by Ufez Jones at 09:22 AM on November 21, 2003

SpoFi - name droppin' like it ain't no thang. I'm a Canadian - so I have family in the NHL. Naw, just kidding - but I did party with Brett Lindros when we were sixteen. Guy was huge And Jeff O'Neil played hockey with my friends so I hung out with him a couple times. All pre-fame stuff. Then I spent an afternoon when I was foourteen at Paul Coffey's cottage. Super nice. Bad BBQer. Burnt the steaks.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:24 AM on November 21, 2003

heck, break a hip? he should be wishing Fred Taylor makes the cover of SI or an EA Sports game. no athlete run-ins for me. do you mean to say they actually exist in real life and not just on the radio, tv, in the papers and online?

posted by gspm at 09:28 AM on November 21, 2003

Hmmm ... 1) Not sure how sporty this is, but Paul Wight, who is The Big Show in WWE, and I went to college together. He actually transferred in to play basketball at SIU-Edwardsville when I was the sports editor at the paper there. We had a couple classes together, and he came to a couple parties at the house I rented with seven other guys. Paul was super nice, super quiet and just as freaking big as he is advertised. 2) I also ran into Paul O'Neill a few years ago in Mt. Zion, Ill., when I was coaching youth baseball. His nephew played in one of the leagues there and he had the boy in the batting cages. Again, really nice guy. 3) Back when Kenny Oberkfell played for the Cardinals, he appeared at a pair of banquets I attended in the span of two weeks. The first time, I had a baseball and went and had him sign it. The next week, he was the guest of honor again (different league), but instead of having Ken sign my baseball, I took it straight to his wife, Linda. She thought that was hilarious, and then Ken grabbed it and signed it also.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:53 AM on November 21, 2003

there was just a thread about this (and another about celebs) on another board I read. I have no stories of note (I know an NHLer, but not that well anymore, haven't talked to him since he started) myself but was very amused by one about Canseco. He was doing some sort of camp or seminar and a guy was in charge of keeping him happy. He was surprisingly cool as compared to his rep but did make the one demand that noone be allowed near him to ask for pictures or autographs. (Much more in line with his character.) Unhappily, the guy went about his job and when a little kid came running up, he stopped him and said that Mr. Canseco was busy, and Jose turned around, chewed him a new asshole for blocking the kid, and loudly declared that he always had time for the kids and was more than happy to do it. Dick move to the worker, but it made the little kid's day. At least one person on earth probably still admires him.

posted by Bernreuther at 10:32 AM on November 21, 2003

Nothing much to tell. I went to the same university as Brian Moore. I knew him vaguely as he was the cousin of my best mate. To be honest he was a typical rugger bugger, all mindless drinking, stupid songs and wrestling on the floor in bars. I saw Des Walker on numerous occasions in bars and clubs in Nottingham, and had a chat with him a couple of times. He even bought us a round of drinks one evening. Nice guy. Also, bumped into Stuart Pearce at a couple of gigs in Nottingham. Pleasant bloke, always willing to have a chat with people. He didn't buy me a drink though. Bastard. ;-) Err, finally I said hello to Robert Hopkins (ex-Birmingham City hardman) outside the bogs at the Millenium Stadium. That is all.

posted by squealy at 10:35 AM on November 21, 2003

I once saw Shaq doubled over squeezing into a limo on his way out of the Plaza, presumably heading to The Garden. Damnedest thing you ever saw. In person, on the court, the man is freakishly huge. On the street? Like a hallucination.

posted by forksclovetofu at 11:03 AM on November 21, 2003

i had a college class at ou with highly touted, but backup, quarterback eric mitchell. for our final, the professor left the room and jamelle holloway, the ou starting qb, came in and proctored the test. you can decide for yourself if we all cheated like crazy.

posted by lescour at 11:12 AM on November 21, 2003

Once while in high school I was walking to the movies with a bunch of friends. Being Canadian we were naturally talking about hockey, specifically Don Cherry on Hockey Night in Canada. I said that I thought he was pretty funny, but that the collars on his shirts were stupid (or ugly or ridiculous, whatever). This huge guy walking with a beautiful woman about 15 feet in front of us turned around with a furious look at his face and sneered at me "Don't you ever say anything bad about Don Cherry again." This very angry man was Brad "Motor City Smitty" Smith - at the time one of the toughest guys in the NHL. Needless to say I wasn't about to start a debate about Don Cherry with this guy.

posted by Seven at 11:58 AM on November 21, 2003

When I was in elementary school, my mom dated the assistant athletic director at the University of Oregon, so we got great seats and locker-room priviliges for lots of Duck events. This was back when the Ducks stunk at everything every year, so the best part was the annual Far West Classic hoops tourney. Got to see future stars like Doug Christie play for Pepperdine, and Gary Payton was always there playing for OSU.
So, I'm around six, and I want Payton's autograph. He's outside the locker room, signing for a couple of other kids. You can see him snapping his gum from 100 yards away with that trademark amused sneer he would sport years later. But as I got closer, I noticed he had this huge gold necklace with his nickname spelled out hanging off his chest like a Flavor Flav clock: "GeePee" it said. At the time, it was the coolest thing I'd ever seen.

posted by jeffmshaw at 11:59 AM on November 21, 2003

I was in the bathroom stall beside Torry Holt's one time while at NC State. That is the only time in my life that I will be able to say I was #1 and Torry was #2.

posted by corpse at 12:10 PM on November 21, 2003

I used to live in the same neighborhood as Rasheed Wallace, and I'd see him at the local super market once every week or so. He was always sweet as could be to each and every one of the checkers, joking with them and giving them autographs. The one time I was in line behind him he was chatting with the 10 items or less clerk like he knew the guy. I always thought that it was bizarre that he actually went the to supermarket on a regular basis (he seemed to shop for stuff every day as I'd usually see him with what would be a normal dinner for the night), and that he seemed to be a genuinely nice guy while the local papers and the national media were always dogging on him for being such a jerk. A few years later I saw Pippen at a local breakfast joint, and instead of acting like a normal person he's strutting around like he's the greatest thing since sliced bread. It's not like this place was high class or anything, I was there for the $4 hangover cure special. It's one thing to go to a nice restaurant and to expect to be treated like a king, but to walk into a dive and to act like it's beneath you to be there... why bother going in in the first place?

posted by togdon at 12:28 PM on November 21, 2003

I went to high school with former OU standout LB and current Tennessee Titan Rocky Calmus. We wound up on the same Spring Break ski trip together in 97 (my senior year, his junior) and stopped at a McDonald's in small-town Colorado for breakfast. A bunch of teens in a charter bus for 9 hours and you get a bit restless, so everyone was going apeshit in the parking lot. Tree climbing, running around, etc. Next thing I know, a cop car pulls up and two cops begin hassling Calmus. Apparently he was trying to either steal a newspaper or get money out of the vending maching that sold papers. He damn near got arrested. He's a good player, but not the brightest flower in the garden.

posted by Ufez Jones at 01:21 PM on November 21, 2003

Welcome to the show, seven... Spring 1991, finals week at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Practically every other school had already closed for summer, and the National Track Championships were being held in Eugene. Weeks earlier, Raghib "the rocket" Ishmael had just signed a monster deal with the Toronto Argonauts. His brother Qadry "the missile" was a standout track star for Syracuse (I think) and he was in town to run an event. Rocket came to Eugene to watch. So I'm in the EMU, which is the student union. I'm the only nerdy jackass there studying, everybody else in the building is partying and already on summer break. There are literally hundreds of division one athletes at a dance right next door to the cafeteria. Nose buried in book, I see something out of the corner of my eye, and here comes the rocket strolling towards me with a girl on each arm. Both girls are scantily clad, yo, and look for all the world like professionals. But the funny thing was, at least one of them wasn't a professional, which I knew, because I had banged her in my dorm room about two months prior. So Ishmael flashes me a toothy grin that only somebody with $45 million (Canadian) and one chick too many could pull off. I say hello, he says hello, and walks on by with the girls. The girl I know doesn't even acknowledge my presence, and I go back to my book. Ten minutes later I feel a tap on my shoulder, and it's the girl, sans rocket. She says, "That guy's an asshole, do you know him?" I say I know of him, why's he an asshole? She says, "He was trying to get me and the other girl to make out. That's gross! Ummm...will you walk me back to my dorm room?" And the rest, as they say, is history. HOO AH!

posted by vito90 at 02:10 PM on November 21, 2003

HOO AH! Hoo-ahh, indeed! The boys alive! < /pacino impression>>

posted by lilnemo at 02:22 PM on November 21, 2003

There's this greasy spoon in the town I lived in while going to high school that makes the best milkshake known to man. So good, I get it sometimes with my taylor ham/egg/cheese. Anyways, it was Mike Tyson's saturday spot for a few years. He lived in town (on the 'mountain' as its called) so he'd stroll in, and was a pretty nice guy in general, but mostly to the waitresses and the owner/chef. Not much of a story, I know, but its my story. btw, his picture still hangs in the front window.

posted by garfield at 02:45 PM on November 21, 2003

I used to eat at a cheap Italian place here in Mountain View that has lots of posters and autographed photos on the walls. Lots of 49ers and Italian national soccer team players. Being on Atkins, I no longer eat there.

posted by billsaysthis at 03:36 PM on November 21, 2003

A long time ago, I was an associate editor at a NY publishing house. I was one of two editors with an interest in sports, and publishing sports books. As such, I have met my share of sports figures, but mostly in a context that doesn't fit here. But I do want to say that Jeff Hostetler has to have been the biggest freakin' full-of-himself dork who ever presented himself to me. He's coming to a meeting with his agent, to convince us to sign up his book, and he brings signed glossies with him to the office. Really, Jeff, that's okay. We're not here for the autographs.

posted by roger at 04:09 PM on November 21, 2003

I once sold Reijo Ruotsalainen a portable alarm clock. He seemed nice enough.

posted by alex_reno at 04:47 PM on November 21, 2003

Atlanta Thrashers' ginormous defenceman Andy Sutton went to school with me in grades five and six. He was the school bully and I was a mouthy little bugger. Needless to say, he beat the shit out of me on an almost weekly basis.

posted by Scott Carefoot at 08:35 PM on November 21, 2003

I've had a good number of run-ins, considering I'm only 15. First and foremost, I met a great deal of the Twins players a couple years ago on the first day of Spring Training while I was vacationing near Fort Myers. Great guys, every one of them. Among the notables: Torii Hunter, David Ortiz, Ron Gardenhire, A.J. Pierzynski, Joe Mauer. Gardenhire was exceptionally friendly to everyone. I later on met Doug Mientkiewicz at an autograph signing at an Applebee's. We got in towards the end of the signing, and we ate dinner after we got his autograph. Mientkiewicz later sat down in the booth next to ours for dinner. Seemed like a nice enough guy. And finally from the Twins side of things, I met Twins GM Terry Ryan at TwinsFest 2003, while he was watching Joe Mays pitch to some little kids who were playing a pickup game they organize at TwinsFest. I considered joining in, but I was considerably older than all the other kids, and they were doing enough damage to Mays (I should have known right then and there that he wouldn't have a good season...). Other than the Twins, I was walking around Downtown Minneapolis last October (I was down there for the Twins playoff rally) when I stumbled upon a group of people huddled around a velvet rope in front of the best hotel in Minneapolis and a huge tour bus idling nearby. I quickly found out that the Yankees were about to come out of the hotel and take the bus to the Dome to practice for their playoff games. Albeit I wasn't very excited about getting hated Yankees players autographs, a star is a star, so I hung around. Some minor players who no one really recognized came out, but there were two notables: Hideki Matsui, who was far too busy talking on his cell phone to be bugged by mere fans (which, in my mind, makes his so called "robbery" from the Rookie of the Year award all the more justified, at least in my mind), and Aaron Boone, who actually was a pretty nice guy, since he stopped to sign my paper. Unfortunately, my pen didn't work at all, so that was disappointing. And finally, Paul Molitor walked by me when I was on a Metrodome tour at TwinsFest a couple years back. He was very friendly with all the fans, and seemed like a great guy. Beyond that, the Troy State football team (I think that was the team ... I don't follow college sports much, yet) occupied the section next to where I was sitting at a Twins game back in September. Didn't even notice them until they left in about the seventh inning. And finally, I spotted Kevin Garnett at a WNBA Lynx game over the summer in his courtside seat. About halfway through the game, Kevin McHale came down and talked with him. And in the fourth quarter, Torii Hunter walked in one entry way in the stadium, walked through the front row, stopping to chat with Garnett, and back out. I was star-struck, even though we were quite a ways away. Far more entertaining than the game itself, anyway. I think that's about it. Yeah, I'd say I've been lucky.

posted by FPM2K at 09:00 PM on November 21, 2003

I saw Bode Miller as he was walking out of the finish area at last year's Nationals at Lake Placid. He was wearing a huge quilted overcoat, and I said to him, "You look like a pot-holder." He gave me a look of utterly burned-out, blank incomprehension. I'm sure after skiing in every single race on the World Cup -- the only racer with the stuff to do it, no one else even came close -- he was pretty baked. He's lookin' pretty well-rested now, though. Euros look out.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:09 PM on November 21, 2003

I was in a car accident with Donyell Marshall. Well, actually, I hit his car with mine. I was 16, fresh license, and was picking my mom up from the San Francisco airport (although this was right after he went to Utah). As I looked for parking, a car a little behind me turned on, so I eagerly backed up, without realizing Donyell Marshall's HUGE SUV was right on my ass. Hit him going like 1 mph, which was enough to wreck my trunk while barely scratching his license plate frame. When he stepped out of that driver's seat, I knew absolute fear... a big ass 6'10" dude whose car I just hit coming up to me. I didn't want to piss him off by saying that I knew who he was so I just got his number down and that was that. He never called back about the damage... I don't think there really was any. Funny thing is, I'd actually gotten his autograph before at a steakhouse probably 6-8 years earlier, along with a few other scrubby Warriors. And those are my only encounters... 2 with Donyell Marshall.

posted by swank6 at 12:54 AM on November 22, 2003

I live in Buffalo. Just a few months ago I had to go to one of those party-supply stores to grab some stuff for my daughter's birthday, and after I'd paid I was putting my money away and gathering up my stuff, paying no attention at all to the customers coming to the register behind me until the woman said "Jim, do you think we have enough balloons?" Turning around, I find that it's Jim Kelly, his wife, and his two daughters. (I assume that his son, Hunter, was at home with a nurse or attendant of some sort.) It was pretty cool -- he was just a guy buying a bunch of stuff for one of his kids' birthdays.

posted by Jaquandor at 08:05 AM on November 22, 2003

But jaquandor, did you ask him about the four SB losses?

posted by billsaysthis at 01:14 PM on November 22, 2003

Why? I watched 'em, I know what happened. And nobody else has ever gone to four in a row. So bite me. I hate you! Die DIE DIE.... (Sorry...we get a little defensive in these parts! :)

posted by Jaquandor at 10:01 PM on November 22, 2003

>I once sold Reijo Ruotsalainen a portable alarm clock. He seemed nice enough. LOL. I like that. Went to high school with Paul Tracy. (I see "Fred Taylor" and I think of Cyclone Taylor, played for the Renfrew Millionaires, won a Cup with the Ottawa Senators.)

posted by Philfromhavelock at 11:43 PM on November 23, 2003

i had to think all weekend about it. i met rick fox once when he was on the celtics. nice enough guy. he smiled and it was like rows and rows of teeth.

posted by jerseygirl at 11:51 AM on November 24, 2003

A friend of mine once answered his front door to Ickey Woods, who was selling steaks.

posted by trharlan at 04:47 PM on November 24, 2003

Would Ickey do the Shuffle if your friend bought a few?

posted by billsaysthis at 05:05 PM on November 24, 2003

I met Stirling Moss when I was a kid. Asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, wasn't happy when I answered "a writer".

posted by lbergstr at 02:09 PM on November 25, 2003

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