Earlier this week, I received word that Rosie the Turtle, the newly acquired mascot of the Arkansas baseball team, wanted an audience with a member of the media.
The interview went extremely well. Tiny Rosie, about the size of a silver dollar, is a particularly literate water turtle. She provided candid and engaging comments. She even provided some thoughts about the Alabama baseball team, not one of her favorites among SEC rivals. Rosie had some pointed comments toward the Crimson Tide players, especially after they tossed some artifacts into Lake Norm, her old home, on their way out of town. Rosie maintained those were true stories, but said it was probably not fair to comment about "the Bama babies" and said those comments were off the record.
The remainder of the interview, as approved for print by Rosie:
Question: How old are you, Rosie?
Rosie: Best I can tell, 3. That's months. In water turtle years, that's about age 21. One month equals 7 years for a water turtle. We age a lot faster than dogs and are much smarter.
Q: Why did you leave Lake Norm, behind the centerfield wall, for the Arkansas dugout to start the Alabama series?
A: Lake Norm is a great home, but I felt the urge to explore. At 21, I'm of age now. I can go where I want to go. Time to leave home. Plus, the noise from the train engines from the nearby tracks told me that the best direction was to head across the ball field and not toward the street or tracks. Many of my cousins have been squished there. And, by the sound from the crowd in recent weeks, my Hogs needed some help. I figured a little water turtle luck would do the team some good.
Q: What did you think when the team adopted you as their new mascot?
A: That was fine, but I felt a little bad for RBI the Razorback, the real mascot. He doesn't say much. Matter of fact, I don't think he talks at all. But he was hanging his head a little at all of the fuss over me. I want to go on record as saying that I mean no harm to RBI the Razorback. I think he'll be fine, though. He's got all of those good-looking girls who dance on top of the dugout, my new home. He can take care of those girls. I'll take care of the guys in the dugout. Seems like a good trade to me. I've got 30 nice guys to take care of me and he's got all of those girls.
While I'm thinking about it, in regards to the Razorback mascot, I would like it to appear on the backside of the centerfield wall, instead of that other logo, the one of the old building up on campus. The Razorback logo should be looking out on Lake Norm. I'd like that fixed for RBI the Razorback. Us mascots have to stick up for one another.
Q: It appears the catcher, Brian Walker, was the main benefactor of your good luck. He went 6 for 10 against Alabama and was a big part of the three-game sweep with his work at the plate. He was named the league hitter of the week. Any insight on his play this past weekend?
A: I gave him a big dose of water turtle luck. It made sense, too. He's slow just like me. In fact, I may be faster than him. I heard one of the players talking about him during one of his steal attempts. I think the phrase, "Oh, crap," was used. I was thankful that he wasn't trying any straight steals, just taking off in hit-and-run situations. But it was running nonetheless. That's risky with him, but I like his turtle spunk. I'd say he has moxie. He picks his spots well, like a water turtle.
But let me be clear on one thing; you think turtles can't move fast but they'll sneak up on you. I made it from Lake Norm to the dugout without one stop. I don't count the time I spent making a small deposit in left center -- sorry Jake Dugger.
As far as speed, I understand my limitations. I'm no Craig Gentry, but neither is Walker. I just really think Walker's cute. He wears all of that gear when he's behind the plate. Reminds me of myself. That shell on my back can slow me down, but I keep after it, just like Brian. I hope he understands that I like him and gave him some good luck this past weekend. He's kinda round like me, probably the reason I gave him so much water turtle luck.
Q: What about other players? Any water turtle crushes working here?
A: I like that Danny Hamblin. He's a clothes horse. I'm particularly excited to be traveling with the team this weekend. I'd like to spend more time with Danny. He's got quite a wardrobe and I'm hopeful of seeing more of it in Oxford, perhaps on a night out. And, he's hit the longest homers. He's the guy I think could put one in Lake Norm. I like him, too, and might send him special water turtle luck on the trip to Oxford.
Q: Speaking of travel, how are you on bus trips?
A: This will be my first. I've seen the team leave a few times on the bus. Always made me sad to see them head out for a weekend trip. I'm up for it. I just want to make sure there are no pranks. One of the main things, none of that painting names on shells stuff. I've heard about youngsters putting turtles in shoe boxes, taking them home and then trotting out some of mom's nail polish. Everyone here knows I'm Rosie. Don't need to be painting that on my shell.
Q: Anything about the trip sound scary?
A: I want to make sure they leave my travel aquarium up front. I don't want anyone to take me to the back of the bus. I've been told there is a flusher back there. All water turtles have a great fear of flushers. Too many have found their way to the sewer via the flusher. I talked to Coach (Dave) Jorn about that. He was the man who introduced me to the team Friday afternoon last weekend. He's a great man and a great coach. He said he'd run the boys if they took me too close to the flusher.
Q: How are you about spending the rest of the season with the baseball team?
A: That's fine. I'm here for the boys. But, I want to tell them one thing; they shouldn't depend on me to win every game for them. I want the pitchers to bow up and get some guys out on their own. And, the hitters shouldn't depend on me for their hits drop. They are good. They don't need me as much as they think they do.
I'd like a few more homers out of the park. Turtle luck doesn't help those big flies. They get out on their own. I'd like to challenge someone to put a baseball in my old home, Lake Norm. That would be something. Some of the veteran water turtles out there still talk about a couple of big splashes. A little horsehide in the lake is OK. No diapers please.
Q: That's obviously a remark about Alabama's team bus that went by Lake Norm on its way out of town Sunday. Any other comments about the Crimson Tide players?
A: I'm not talking about the diapers, but I did notice some of "the Bama babies" had beards for games one and two. Most of them were clean shaven for Sunday. They probably thought they were going to change their luck by trotting out the razors. Give me a break. They had no chance. Our boys teased them a little, starting a little slow on Sunday. But that's what water turtles do: start slow, finish fast. For the record, that Amish look doesn't work for baseball. Check out my Arkansas boys. All clean shaven. Did I mention that Brian Walker looks cute in all of that gear? I especially like it when he steps away from the plate, walks around and looks up into the stands, kinda wanting everyone to see his face. That's the way a water turtle would do it.
CLAY HENRY IS THE PUBLISHER OF HAWGS ILLUSTRATED, A STEPHENS MEDIA GROUP PUBLICATION. HIS COLUMN APPEARS EACH FRIDAY. E-MAIL: CLAY@NWAONLINE.NET
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