Jordi Scrubbings, our Senior Social Correspondent attended BJ Upton’s recent charity bowling event.

Yesterday, BJ Upton held the first annual “Bowling with BJ” charity event at Splitsville in Tampa. I, your humble afro-clad correspondent, decided to attend. Not only was I very impressed, but as far as I could tell, the event was a resounding success.

We all know homelessness is a problem in the Bay Area. According to the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County, there were nearly 10,000 homeless men, women, and children living in the area in 2009. Hillsborough County also has the highest percentage of homeless people in the State of Florida. Once again, as he has in previous years, BJ Upton decided to do something to help.

Throughout the night, Splitsville was packed with fans, media, and plenty of Tampa Bay sports stars, including of course BJ and his brother Justin, as well as David Price, Reid Brignac, Gary Sheffield, Carl Everett, and Bucs legend Mike Alstott. Even recently departed Ray Matt Garza tossed a few down the lanes. Although I didn’t get a chance to talk to anyone famous, I did get my picture taken with Matt Joyce.

I think he dug the ‘fro.

As the night went on, there were a few things that caught my eye:

  1. David Price bowls left-handed. I would have thought he would minimize the risk to his valuable left arm and roll his bowling balls with his right hand – although former Giants ace John Burkett for years swore by the benefits of bowling.
  2. David Price was able to finish his game. I was expecting Joe Maddon to show up and pull Price in the seventh frame and have a different relief pitcher throw each frame thereafter.
  3. For someone who has watched his share of strikes go by, BJ Upton sure can’t roll one. That may or may not be a joke.
  4. Don Zimmer is The Man. I was really surprised to see him there. He has sort of a Yoda-esque look to him, like he has forgotten more about baseball than most people ever know. Although he didn’t stay long, he looked like he had a fun time.
  5. There were more than a few autograph seekers there. That must get really annoying as an athlete to sign your name on everything people pass to you. I’m not even much of a photo guy – the Joyce pic being an exception – but I really don’t get the autograph collectors. Especially when they are over the age of 15. A little kid getting his or her favorite star’s name on a ball is cute; a grown man shoving a baseball in Justin Upton’s face is not. Fortunately, the autograph seekers weren’t too bad. But they were still there.
  6. I saw several reporters and media folk. For whatever reason, they always look so bored. It must be tough when you are supposed to cover people having fun.

All in all, “Bowling with BJ” was a success and definitely worth the admission fee. Especially when the proceeds went to a good cause.



  1. Greg says:

    Feel the same about autographs. Gets kinda creepy sometimes. Photo tip: throw that thing into Picasa and lighten it up. Quick, easy and works great. Sweet 'fro.

  2. Jon says:

    Equally as creepy as autograph seekers is a grown man wearing an afro wig, or running a website to report every little thing that goes on with a baseball team..... it's all in what you like!

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Hey I get it. You don't like to have fun and you think events that help kids and the homeless are dumb. That's cool. Good luck getting your panties tighty-whities untwisted.

      • Jon says:

        Haha! So because I bring up a valid point showing your hypocrisy when it comes to autograph seekers, I'm a kid hating, homeless basher?? I would think athletes are just as annoyed by people asking to take pictures with them.. again, it's all in your perspective.. some people think it's fun to get autographs just like you think it's fun to run around with a wig on... way to take some criticism bud!

        • MJ says:

          regardless of whether i agree w you or not, i think you got the wrong guy in the pic, this was authored by jordi.

        • Cork Gaines says:

          "there are two kinds of people...those that like us, and those that really hate us. We cater to those that like us, but we do it for those that hate us."

        • Carey says:

          Actually, you are dead wrong. They know the picture is for personal reasons (not a lot of value on ebay of a picture of me and BJ) and that the fan truely wants it for. . . fan reasons.

          With the autographs, especially non-personalized autographs and ESPECIALLY multiple non-personalized autographs, they assume you are going to put it on ebay and make money off their property. And that pisses them off.

          This is not so much my opinion, but what several professional athletes have told me personally.

          Here's a little sample of a column written by my buddy (who is still at a local newspaper) on the Ted Williams Museum ceremony/dinner that we both covered back when Ted still did his little get together in Citrus County. He got a lot of crap for this from up top, but I thought it was priceless. I'd post the whole thing (because if you hate these people, it is funny as hell), but I don't want to pay for it. Please note the final paragraph. The theme raises its head throughout the column.

          "The stars were out Monday night. It was another home run for the Ted Williams Museum. It was a night worthy of the Hall of Fame itself. This is what baseball is all about.

          The Ted Williams Museum's Hitters Hall of Fame held its annual Legends Dinner Monday night under the big top at Citrus Hills in Hernando, and as usual it had an impressive display of stars on hand. It also had an impressive display of stars not on hand. We don't want to embarrass those that weren't there, but we'll give you a hint - maybe "Let's Play Two" actually meant two rounds of golf somewhere not in Citrus County.

          6:19 - We start to notice a few people with two dollar gym bags walking around. You know, the real cheap looking ones we all had in fifth grade? We deduce through our investigative skills - and the beady eyes most of the carriers had - that those bags were filled with baseballs, baseball cards, and a black Sharpie."

        • KG says:

          What did you expect? You come on here and insult Jordi and then trash Cork's site. Did you think Prof was going to roll over and beg your forgiveness? You must not come around here very often.

      • Andy says:

        The irony of this comment, is that it could just as easily have been written by an autograph hound who paid to go to the event, help the charities you list, and collect a few signatures in the process.

        As it concerns autographs, its not my thing, and hasn't been for years now. I don't get' it, but then at the same time I don't have to mock people for doing things I don't personally enjoy. Myself, you'll never catch me wearing a giant afro wig, but I'm not here to mock you for it.

  3. Dre says:

    i generally agree with the autograph thing too, but i'll be the first at spring training this year getting a garfoose autograph

  4. Don says:

    BJ should be a natural (bowler)..striking out in the 10th frame or the 9th inning is his GAME!

  5. Sarah says:

    I think with the autographs it's a question of context. If a player is out with friends or family I think it's intrusive to go up and ask for an autograph. At the ballpark it's fine. A publicly advertised fundraiser like the bowling event is middle ground -- the players are there in a sort of public role so I don't think it's too creepy.

    • Andy says:

      This. If you see BJ Upton at Midtown Sundries, leave the man alone and let him enjoy his dinner/drinks. But when players sign up for things like this, they are lending their namesake to the cause, and pictures/autographs tend to come with the territory.

      Its really not so much in the autograph as the way people seek them. If someone walks up to Garza at this event with a bag of balls mid-frame, thats indicative of a lack of tact. If someone catches him on the way to the bar and asks for a quick autograph, totally different. I'm not willing to indict autograph seekers as a whole on the basis of a few (often professional) people who get carried away.

  6. Wig? What wig? It took seven years to grow that thing out.


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