Caricaturing and Calling the Saints Front Office

Yesterday my wife and I went out for brunch at the Nicollet Island Inn–a very fancy and historic inn/restaurant. It was a date to celebrate Patience, and do something we haven’t had much time to do recently: talk.

Like many couples, I’m sure, there is a Mars/Venus dynamic to many of our conversations. We are often able to discuss two completely different topics simultaneously, separated by blank stares and polite nods–like the proverbial ships passing in the night.

On the one hand, my wife wants to constantly rehash her labor experience, asking questions like: “What was your favorite part?” and “Were you scared at any point?” and “Wasn’t it just wonderful?!” (polite nodding).

I, on the other hand, want to discuss the finer details of pitching mechanics, and strategize about this impending tryout.

We are sweet and tolerant of one another–and often can delight in each others’ obsession.

Take, for example, when I broached the idea of calling the Saints front office with a business proposition.

You see, my wife knows that in high school and college I used to be a cartoonist/caricaturist. Sure I’m rusty, and haven’t drawn a caricuture in 3-4 years–but recently I have begun to wonder whether this talent could help make my professional baseball dream become a reality.

As some of you may know the St. Paul Saints have the reputation of being very marketing savvy. Formerly owned by Bill Veeck (and Bill Murray, I believe), Saints games are popular because they are so much more than just a baseball game. There are entertainers in the aisles, haircuts being given above dugouts, and a panoply of entertaining craziness.

So I had begun to imagine that the Saints just might be interested in a relatively useless left-handed relief pitcher, but one who would draw cartoons of fans from the bullpen. Not just that, but this is the same working, married, father-of-three, 32-year-old, lefthanded pitcher who has overcome an 11-year hiatus, changed his mechanics, worked out like a dog, and went to professional baseball tryouts–and who also became a wildly popular blogger (between 20 and 50 hits every single day) in the process.

It just seemed like a business idea too good to pass up.

My wife smiled politely, and suggested it might be worth making a call.

So yesterday I called and left a winsome message in the voicemail of a promotional director in the Saints front office, and then waited for a return call. Would they come begging? I wondered, or just ready to talk business?

Today, he called back.

He left a message, and was very polite–but he has clearly not had his eyes opened to the cross-promotional brilliance of the idea.

He said he’d be willing to talk about the caricature stuff–and thought I could go through their process of merchant approval.

He also wished me good luck at the tryouts–but said he would not be talking to the coaching staff about me.

I was left to wonder: What person in their right mind, desiring a caricature, WOULDN’T bypass the Mall of America’s talented caricaturists, and instead pay $8 to come to a Saints game, sit for three hours, and then pay another $10 to have a 32-year old, 84-mph throwing, father of three, who hadn’t pitched in 11 years, draw a mildly recognizable caricuture of them? And, relatedly, how in the world would the Saints hire a promotional guy whose awesomeness-meter clearly doesn’t work?

I will certainly call him back tomorrow to set him straight.

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