A genuine imitation snakeskin baseball from Alice Cooper’s sports bar in Phoenix. Probably purchased in advance of the 2002 Oregon-Colorado Fiesta Bowl. Possibly picked up the year prior when we were in town for the Oregon State-Notre Dame Fiesta Bowl.
I remember explicitly being in the bar during the 2000 Oregon-Texas Holiday Bowl. Our waiter was as interested in that game as we were and clearly pulling for the Ducks.
“Oregon fan?” my pal Rachel Bachman said.
“Gambler,” he said.
The Beavers blew up the Fighting Irish* in a game best remembered (by me) for being the game where Chad Johnson didn’t even bother to cross the goal line before dropping the ball in celebration, and the referees didn’t bother to care.
“This,” I turned and said to a member of Notre Dame’s PR staff, “is the problem with standards. Your guys have to actually score to get points.”
The next year, we returned to Mr. Cooper’s bar to find Mr. Cooper and his band rehearsing in the courtyard. When they were done, he wandered into the restaurant going table to table, saying hello, and posing for pictures. At one point, three kids walked up, dropped to their knees and chanted “We’re not worthy” straight Wayne’s World style.
Cooper stuck out his hand and gave them the “kiss the ring” motion.
That was also the trip where I possibly one night took over bar tending duties in the media hospitality room and nearly brained a couple of people with a rum bottle I attempted to flip Cocktail style.
Maybe. Who remembers such things?
(*This would be the high point of Dennis Erickson’s Oregon State career but for the night early in that career when I ran into him in Portland. Technically, he ran into me.
He was out on the town with Portland State’s coaches. I was sitting at the end of a long, wooden booth. He slid in with momentum, collided with me, stuck out his hand and said, “Hi! I’m Dennis.”)