Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Longtime Stalker Of Minor League Players Losing Hope That He'll Get Called Up To "The Show"

Portland, OR. (Jun 17) - For veteran baseball player stalker Vernon Harrison, time is running out -- on his dream, on his goals.

"It's not easy to see everything you've hoped to attain crumble away," he says with a sigh.

Harrison, 57, has been stalking ballplayers since the early-1980s, but has never risen above stalking players at the AAA level. And he fears he may never get that opportunity.

"You beat around the bushes for as long as I have, and you see others move to the next level, it's hard NOT to think, 'That should be me,' " Harrison says as he focuses his powerful binoculars on Portland Beavers center fielder Les Gorensen during the sixth inning of a recent game. The observing of Gorensen, and the subsequent moving down to a closer seat when he takes his position in the on deck circle so a "decent" photo of the player can be snapped, is all prelude to the following home of Gorensen after the game, which will be accompanied by the placement of a twisted wreath of baseball memorabilia and obsessive rants on Gorensen's doorstep.

But Harrison feels "tapped out" when it comes to stalking minor league players.

Veteran baseball player stalker Vernon Harrison

"I'd love to send chilling notes to Ryan Howard or Chipper Jones thru an unsuspecting clubhouse attendant," Harrison says of his aspirations to stalk big league players. "But I might have to accept the fact that it's just not in the cards.

"It's mainly who you know, not WHAT you know," a bitter Harrison added.

According to the latest research, stalkers of athletes is at an all-time high, and that means the pie gets cut into that many more slices. Which means veterans like Harrison get edged out by younger, "luckier" stalkers.

"The dudes who could be my son -- those are the ones they like now," Harrison said, referring to the ASS -- Athletes Stalkers Society -- which determines which minor league stalkers will be granted home addresses, phone numbers, and contacts of big league personnel who can be compromised in order to better stalk prey. Harrison is a cautionary tale -- the one of the has-been stalker who never got the call-up -- and there are others like him.

"Vernon Harrison's story is, unfortunately, not an isolated one," said ASS director Charles Palmer. "It's all about timing. And, frankly, time is running out on the Vernon Harrisons of the world. It's a shame, because Vernon really is a good stalker. He did quite a number last year on Perry Simmons of the Southern League's Montgomery Bears -- even drawing a restraining order in the process, and getting physically removed from the players-only parking lot on one occasion. But he's 57. All the MLB stalking jobs are going to men half his age.

"It's a shame, but it's the harsh reality," Palmer added.

Harrison, though, isn't going to just "mail it in" while he continues to work the minor league circuit.

"Look," he says, displaying Gorensen's girlfriend's photo. "She's gonna get a dead rat in the mail.

"I'm still giving it 100%. Maybe that call will come, after all."

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