Volume 92, Issue 80

Thursday, February 18, 1999


Dean of Western women's volleyball

Farr rounding the final turn in career

Keep the Gardens spirit alive

Garth don't know baseball

Garth don't know baseball

Country music superstar Garth Brooks is planning an international tour this summer without his trusty guitar.

Instead, the multimillion-dollar music artist is going to pick up a denser piece of lumber and attempt to hit some major league curve balls.

A week ago, Brooks announced his plan to join the San Diego Padres for a little preseason baseball.

There is no arguing that Brooks has the enthusiasm and spirit to play major league baseball. Just watching five minutes of footage from one of his concerts proves the man has energy. But his athletic prowess is seriously questionable. Brooks' age, 37 and weight are both traits which will not distinguish him from many other professional ballplayers, but the country bumpkin will quickly learn he isn't playing with songstress Trisha Yearwood anymore.

The Padre's management said the chance of Brooks making the big club are non-existent, but they are not shutting out the possibility he may catch on with a single-A club. The Padre's management tried to rationalize the invite by talking of Brooks' college career. Brooks went to Arizona State on a track scholarship. Problem is that was when he was 19 and thin.

The Padres are simply trying to cash in on a little publicity like the Chicago White Sox did with basketball star Michael Jordan a few years ago. In this instance, the Sox were attempting to convert one of the world's greatest athletes into a ballplayer. It didn't work.

In 1951, owner of the St. Louis Browns Bill Veeck signed midget Eddie Gaedal to the club as a publicity stunt. With a jersey number of 1/8, Gaedal took to the plate and walked on four pitches. Veeck was a master of publicity making Gaedal's at bat commonplace. Brooks' only common place is behind a microphone or at a bar.

Sure his cowboy hat will protect him from the burning rays of the San Diego sun but it won't ease the pressure of line drives and high flies. Shagging flies is a little more difficult than doing the same with Nashville women.

A media frenzy is sure to focus on Garth with daily updates when he makes contact. There is going to be a hell of a lot of thunder this spring but unfortunately for Brooks, the lightning's not going to strike.

Brooks has graciously donated his salary earned during this mockery of the game to charity, but it is the increased public exposure that the world's top selling solo artist is after. Brooks just recently released a two-disc live album and pushed hard for sales in the first week of release. In this case he better push hard because after the first couple of at bats he won't even see a week.

There is also no doubt a song will come out of this fiasco, undoubtedly centered around a journeyman minor-leaguer. Brooks is probably just trying to get into character. He'll probably pressure the Padres to insert the CD single into the pre-season program. Somebody should tell Brooks to put a cap on it.

It's kind of ironic how Brooks' short stint in the major leagues will be easily summed up by a number of his country classics.

His obvious invite to camp proves Brooks in fact has a few "friends in low places" and he won't have to wait for the sun to come up before he goes down because "tomorrow is never coming." All this will easily add up to the fact that Brooks will never make it to "the dance."

Somebody should tell Brooks he should stick to football – the half-time show.

John Intini can be reached at gazette.sports@julian.uwo.ca

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Copyright The Gazette 1999