Today's first athlete run-in story is about one of our favorite insane athletes, (former) Cardinals reliever Julian Tavarez, a guy just crazy enough not only to break his hand punching a phone in a playoff game, but then come out the next night and try to catch a comebacker with that very same hand. It comes to us from Ryan from West Allis.
Everyone knows Julian Tavarez is just a tad volatile and we learned that at a Giants-Brewers game in 1998. A group of us decided to get general admission seats for an entire Giants-Brewers series at County Stadium with one sole purpose: heckle Barry Bonds. There seemed to be about 50-60 other people with the same idea.
Before the game started, Bonds was standing in the outfield during BP and my buddy Steve was tossing rather general insults at Bonds, nothing profane or personal, but still pretty tiresome. We were 16 at the time, and it was better than being out drinking or
doing drugs. After about 10 minutes, Julian Tavarez approached us at the left field rail. He asked us what our problem was. And Steve said, hey we paid, we're not being obscene, we don't like Bonds. Tavarez went on to explain, "Hey man, there are kids here. They like Bonds. Don't ruin their hero for them." Steve just nodded and looked to be in agreement.
Tavarez thinking the situation between us and Bonds was over, turned to walk away. Then Steve made a dangerous decision. He hollered, "There goes a true hero Julian Tavarez...unlike Barry Bonds!" and went back into his Bonds yelling.
Well after about 10 minutes, we had forgotten about Tavarez. Suddenly, gloves went flying up all around us. Tavarez had thrown a ball into the crowd. Except this wasn't your underhand toss to a kid. It was a damn hard throw. Tavarez was trying to Joey Belle Steve! Luckily, some old guy with a glove snagged it in front of Steve's head. Steve would have been in big trouble without that guy.
Needless to say, we were not surprised to see Tavarez's karate kick moves on the mound years later.
Athlete Run-In: John Kruk, Man Of The People [Deadspin]