The following is a guest post by Clam Simmons, a librarian living in New England. Clam is not my pen name or persona. Clam is on twitter @orangehunchback. He recently contacted me about writing a series of pieces about the 1994 Royals. These are their stories.
Catching up with the 1994 Royals - Part 3
Felix Jose Loves Bicycles
Royals legend Felix Jose is on a mission to spread bike awareness. In fact Felix Jose recently started a charity called the Bike Awareness Program. BAP! aims to spread awareness about the existence and various uses of bicycles through lectures, demonstrations and creative dispensations of bicycle literature. I recently met up with the former outfield at the Longview Lake bike path. I have not met a Royals legend with such a fiery zeal for bicycles. He spoke of them with a reverence similar to Harold Baines' reverence for Charley Lau.
FJ: After I have my bike for two week, I pay Rico Rossy to go on cyberspace. He calls me from a payphone and tells me that two out of every third people don't know what a bike is. For me, that's tragedy. I love my bike.
After talking with Rossy, Felix Jose was haunted by the facts. The burden of knowledge was overwhelming and for several weeks Felix Jose did not sleep in a bed or eat proper nutrition.
FJ: It's the non-season so I call Julio Franco for advice. He advises me to start making stickers for car butts. He says that I need to get the word out or my heart will die. So I make stickers. They have a picture of a bike and it says, "Do you know what this is? It's a bike." Then below that it says in smaller letters, "Be aware." Then below that in even tinier letters it says, "This message is from Felix Jose's Bike Awareness Program- BAP!"
As lead investigator for Royals nation concerning the 17th anniversary of the 1994 Royals, I have become hardened to the schemes of former Royals' legends. I confess that I was suspicious of Felix Jose's seemingly idealistic enthusiasm for bicycles. I assumed that Mr. Felix was just another Royals legend with an awkward passion for Lance Armstrong. However, when the lifetime .280 hitter revealed the fairly recent genesis of his passion for bicycles, I felt the David Howard of my heart fight through a nine-pitch at bat and leg out an infield single against the Jack McDowell of my soul.
FJ: Two years ago for my birthday, Rita, my twenty-year wife of six children, got me a bike. I lose my anger. I thought it was an exercise plow. Rita says, "No Felix, no, this is for pedaling and riding around. Take it on the concrete and you'll see."
That first day Mr. Jose rode his birthday present for seven hours.
FJ: I go until I can do forward, braking with pedal, stopping with feet, kickstand, and turning the handles. I go until I am dizzy on the lawn and my daughter Celeste brings me a Country Time Lemonade.
When Felix Jose woke up the next morning he rode his cruiser into town and purchased a basket. He spent the day testing the limits of his basket's towing capacity.
FJ: I've got to see what my basket can fit. So my son Junior Felix Junior and I try to put everything in that basket. I put my daughter Maria's plastic horse in the basket- no problem. Next test we pour a gallon of strawberry yogurt into my basket- bad test. Then I put my batting gloves in them-it's good. Next I put my son Darius in the basket-it is fine, but he hates it when we take the bike on the highway. Even though he's nine, I should've known that Darius is his mother's child and he will always cry children's tears.
I did not know how to respond. I could not tell if Felix Jose had actually put his son in a bicycle basket and ridden on the highway. I hoped it was a figure of speech. Either way it seems that Felix Jose has big plans for the future of BAP!.
FJ: When Royals' fans are mathematically eliminated from excitement, me and my homie Rico Rossy are going to do a BAP! demonstration at Kauffman Stadium. We are going to put on helmets and ride a tandem bike all around the fountains. Hopefully it will be a televised game so that the cameras can see our bicycle. That will raise a lot of awareness. When it's seventh inning stretch, I am going to grab the hot dog cannon and we are going to shoot little paper balls filled with BAP! reading papers all over the stadium. We won't stop shooting till the whole stadium looks like snow balls in there!