June 25, 2009. St. Petersburg, Florida.
Robert Eaton, a young man dreaming of one day being a firefighter, was standing outside of Tropicana Field, hoping against hope for a chance to get some autographs from his favorite Phillies players. The sky had dimmed hours ago, but the humidity stuck around; a guest that wouldn’t leave from a party about to get hotter.
J.C. Romero exited the stadium and, like the rest of the players that had come out, was not in a giving mood. Maybe they were tired. Maybe they were cranky. Maybe another night on the road had put J.C. in a mindset that didn’t see the need to be charitable to the small mass of 26-year-olds assembled by the players’ entrance.
So when Romero just passed on by, Eaton had had enough. When was he going to get his? Wasn’t it enough that he hadn’t become a firefighter yet? Wasn’t it enough that he had been standing there for a little while? And now this? This relief pitcher was going to go by without giving him an autograph?
When it rained, it poured on poor, poor Robert Eaton.
Which is probably what fueled him to yell at Romero, a player who’s name had appeared in the papers as a user of performance enhancing drugs, “How about you get me some juice?”
Little did he know, that innocent little jab was about to cost him some career aspirations (Why he hadn’t set forth on making said aspirations a reality prior to the incident is unknown, but TBOH is willing to concede that it is probably not because Robert Eaton is a 26-year-old asshole man-child with nothing better to do than harass people that are better than he is at life).
Romero, seemingly at his breaking point, turned around, and in what newspapers called a “tussle,” struck Eaton in the neck. Down, down, down he went–along with those fantasies about breaking down doorways with an axe, amidst smoke and flames, to save the huddled, terrified family of immigrants on the other side.
“It happened, and it affected my life,” Eaton bravely quoted after the encounter, without fear of J.C. Romero tracking him down and finishing what he started. His courage knows truly no limits.
In regards to his firefighting career, “I couldn’t pass the physical. I’ve had to put everything on hold.”
How many lives must you ruin, J.C. Romero? This man, whose life was clearly on the fast track to success while he spent a weeknight taunting pro athletes outside a stadium after the game was over, is now “on hold.” Who knows what he may have accomplished had he not fallen to the ground and sustained minor injuries? Would he have gotten up the next morning? Made eggs? Read the paper? Watched cartoons?
But Eaton survived the encounter. He was no mere “father of two,” which the newspapers will you for no reason. He was a hero. A hero. A hero.
“Wait!” you may be saying. ”He certainly seems like an asshole!”
How dare you, sir and/or madam. Robert Eaton is just a man. A man with dreams, like you or me. A man who wishes to one day ran into the blazing inferno and come out the other side with a box full of kittens, gladly throwing his life aside in order to keep safe the victims of the hot stench of the roaring flames.
Robert Eaton is a normal 26-year-old man who reads newspapers, gets information, and uses said information to make classless, unfunny taunts at professional athletes while trying to get their autographs. Was he just looking to bounce some profit off eBay? We’ll never know. Maybe he was trying to get a souvenir for his kids (He’s a father of two, remember. Don’t ever forget that).
These are the endless “what-ifs” haunting Eaton to this day as he and his three herniated disks reflect on the courageous incident that brought him to his lowly state. Maybe, just maybe, if he hadn’t been an obnoxious fucking asshole with nothing better to do–uh, I mean, a victim of J.C. Romero’s unbridled rage, he’d be the successful father of two (did you forget?) we all know he’d be.
Nobody’s proud of J.C. Romero for his usage of PEDs. In fact, this writer is disgusted by the revelation. And now that his crime is bleeding onto the fans, causing harm to the starry, dream-filled eyes of a 26-year-old grown man who just wanted an autograph, we see the true damage one can cause through drug use.
The world will be short one firefighter, my friends. The world will be a little less safe without Robert Eaton protecting us from the hungry flames of death, because he made a dumbass remark and got what he deserved.
I mean, spoke his mind and paid the price.