Blown Off

Delino, are you there?

Delino, are you there?

This morning—about an hour ago—I was blown off by a professional athlete.

Well, maybe not blown off. We were scheduled to meet in the city. I got a text—he can’t come. I’d already spent $14 on a train ticket, had been walking to the spot. But, and this is important, I’m not mad. He texted me 1 1/2 hours before our scheduled time, had a fair reason, whatever, whatever. No biggie. I’m eating a scone, happy.

That said, I haven’t been blown off in a long time. Back when I was a young writer for Sports Illustrated, covering Major League Baseball, it would happen all the time. Some of it was about scheduling, but most was a combination of ego and societal indifference. These guys were pampered millionaires. I was a geeky guy in a bad hat. If someone decided, last minute, he didn’t want to talk, well, he just wouldn’t show up. Period.

The worst offender, from my career, was Delino DeShields, which is sorta funny—because I genuinely liked the guy. We both had Delaware ties, he was v-e-r-y intelligent, had many interests outside of baseball. In short, he was my type of guy.

Well, for many moons I’d been pitching a DeShields piece to my editors, and they finally bit. So I flew to Arlington, where Delino’s Orioles were playing the Rangers, and arranged a meeting time in the lobby of the team hotel. I arrived early, tape recorder by my side, new batteries installed. I had much I wanted to discuss—and he never showed. He told me he forgot, so we re-scheduled for the following day. Again—failed to show.

When, the following afternoon, I approached in the clubhouse to ask why, his excuse was something along the lines of, “Yeah, I thought about it. And … no.”

Don’t worry that I just wasted three days of my life—three days I’ll never have back. Don’t worry that the magazine paid for my flight, my hotel, my meals. You just decided … no. So, hey.

Here’s the funny thing: I was young and somewhat intimidated, and I meekly nodded, as if it were all OK. Were that to happen now, I’d say something along the lines of, “Just to be clear—are you fucking kidding me?”

Alas, I was a kid.

I flew home, sans article.

3 thoughts on “Blown Off”

  1. Me, I’d write the article with the lede Delino Deshields blew me off twice for an interview he agreed to do specifically for an article about him. But that’s just me.

  2. You didn’t mention that the Dodgers traded a young pitcher for DD because the kid was deemed to be “too frail” to last too long in The Show. The kid pitcher went on to win more than 200 MLB games with help from his leetle fren’. DD was useless as a Dodger. I still hate DD, even tho it was the GM’ s fault.
    Such is life for a Team Fan rather than a Sports Fan.

    1. As an Expos back then, I was very upset when they traded Delino for an unknown pitcher (at least to me). I liked Delino because he was a cool, thoughtful character. That pitcher later replaced Delino as my favourite player on the Expos. Shows what I know about baseball.

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