“Go forth and hunt,” were Assoc Pub Jesse’s parting words as he handed the property listings to fellow intern Betsy and turned back down the stairs. “Hunt” is exactly right. Here at PM you never quite know where a story might take you, but since the content of the mag is current and interesting, the research needed for stories to materialize is as well. Sure, a lot of messages are left in voice mailboxes and emails are sent to individuals I will never see, meet or even hear back from but the hope is that they will promptly get back to us so the proverbial ball can continue to roll and an article can get done.
While researching a piece on 2010 world series MVP Edgar Renteria—who it turns out played some minor league ball here in Portland for the Sea Dogs and who has joined an elite group of ball players to hit game-winning/World Series-winning hits twice (the others being three Yankees: Gehrig, Berra and DiMaggio)—I was told to “go forth and hunt” for high-resolution photos of the four. Being a baseball fan myself, this was of great interest to me; in fact, I had been following the 2010 World Series quite closely, rooting against the San Francisco Giants who had knocked my Philadelphia Phillies out of the playoffs in the NLCS.
Going into it, I assumed that contacting and finding anyone associated with the New York Yankees willing to help a guy in Maine find images of possibly the three greatest Yankees to ever sport the famed pinstripes was unlikely. The feeling I got while dialing up the Yankees’ corporate offices that can only be described as an utter disdain for the organization who probably have the financial resources to recruit the Pope and who offed my Phillies in the 2009 World Series. There was an insecurity, a resentment, that reared its ugly little head while dialing those numbers that was uncomfortable to say the least. My inner Phillies fan was on high alert.
Luckily, as it turns out, the Yankees weren’t the right people for the images; they don’t own any images of anything Yankee before 2002. I kept my composure and some very kind people in the Yankees’ media relations department pointed me toward the Baseball Hall of Fame for possible images. I smiled, almost lost it and, while biting my lip, thanked them for their time and consideration, wished them all a good day and hung up the phone.
When I envision the Baseball Hall of Fame, I see quiet people functioning with prodigious attention to accuracy and detail in a place of greatness and grace. When calling the Hall of Fame I felt like I was entering a sacred place where one kept their voice as low as a whisper like at the MET or took their shoes off as if entering a temple or shrine. This is a place where the Baseball gods rest and mortals like myself can come to admire them.
I introduced myself to the gentleman the Yankees had pointed me toward who seemed interested in what I was doing and willing to help in any way he could. He explained that he would have the images I needed for the story. So he took down my email and promised them within the hour. While it crossed my mind to pick the brain of the gentleman at the Hall of Fame about contemporary baseball scandals involving steroids and performance enhancing drugs, I didn’t figuring it to be an appropriate line of questioning.
So the Gehrig, Berra and DiMaggio images were promptly sent to my inbox as promised and he said I would have to contact the San Francisco Giants for the Renteria images. So as it turns out the gentleman at the Baseball Hall of Fame came through on a promise and kept his word. Trustworthy. Ahhh, if only he could promise me that the Hall of Fame would only consider ball players who were trustworthy and who play the game with the grace and greatness of such players as DiMaggio, Gehrig or Berra since I always want to feel the need to whisper at the Baseball Hall of Fame and not gawk at players inducted that were cheaters. Don’t take that away from me. May it always be that shrine or temple.
It just goes to show that when asked “to go forth and hunt,” you never know where you might end up.