Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Artistry of Omar Vizquel

I am a baseball fan. I love the game. My love of the game was tested in 1994 when Major League baseball went on strike. After the World Series was cancelled, I lost interest in the game. Around the same time, I became a mother so I was occupied with other activities.

When we moved to Northern California in early 2000, the San Francisco Giants had just finished their new baseball stadium. Elrond and I watched their opening day game on television, and we became Giants fans that day. In 2005, the Giants acquired an amazing shortstop—Omar Vizquel. He is a joy to watch on the field—he makes dazzling plays with his signature style. He is also easy on the eyes! He is my all time favorite baseball player.

Last Christmas, just five days after my accident, Elrond gave me a Giants baseball jersey with number 13 and “Vizquel” on the back. He also gave me Omar’s book Omar! My Life On and Off the Field. While I was recovering, I read his book and learned about the personal side of him. As it turns out, he is just as dazzling as an artist off the field.

On September 4th, the Caldwell Snyder Gallery opened an exhibit of Omar Vizquel’s paintings. Here was my chance to meet my favorite ballplayer in person! Elrond surprised me by making reservations for us to go.

In the afternoon, we arrived at our hotel that was just a couple of blocks from the gallery. It was a gorgeous afternoon in San Francisco—warm and breezy. We walked down to the gallery around five o’clock. When we walked in, we saw all of his gorgeous work—oils and watercolors in both vibrant colors and dark muted tones. Omar took the time to speak to all of us about what inspired his work. He took questions from the crowd—of course Elrond was brave enough to ask him about the inspiration for two of his watercolors called “Take Me With You #1 and #2”. Earlier this year, Omar was injured during Spring Training and needed knee surgery. He had to sit out the season until mid-May. He said he felt depressed and empty, like a skeleton. Baseball was like a beautiful woman going to a party. It seems as though the skeleton pleads “take me with you!”

Other Giants players and luminaries were there: First baseman Rich Aurilia, Second baseman Kevin Frandsen, Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow (“Kruk”), Comcast SportsNet reporter Amy Gutierrez, Managing General Partner Peter Magowan, General Manager Brian Sabean, and Chief Operating Officer Larry Baer. The people watching opportunities were as much fun as looking at the art. I took pictures with Omar and Ritchie. Elrond took pictures with Kruk and Amy. It was a blast. Toward the end of the event, Omar took the mike and sang along with band. He also did a little salsa dancing with some of the ladies. He was such fun to watch. As we were leaving, I worked up the nerve to talk to Omar. I told him how much I liked him as a player and how my dear husband bought me his jersey and his book. I told him I loved his art and to keep painting. It was one of my best days.



After the event, Elrond and I walked up to Chinatown to have dinner. We relived the whole evening while eating our almond chicken and steamed dumplings. When we were finished, they brought out our fortune cookies. My cookie had the following fortune:

Indeed, one of my dearest wishes did come true.

2 comments:

Elrond L said...

Great post, honey (admittedly I'm biased).

For the record, my fortune cookie read, "You are sociable and entertaining." Go figure. :-)

Katie said...

I have never been a baseball fan, but this post made me want to be! What an inspiring athlete! And how wonderful that you got to meet him!