And now pitching for the Seattle Mariners... Allen Brand!

I have mentioned before how much I love my job, but once again I have experienced two of the highest moments of my life that remind me why I keep doing it recently and I thought I would share.

A few months back when I was in the middle of applying to become the Store Manager at my store (I didn't get it, but it's cool I like the guy that did) the Mariners came up with a fun little contest among the stores.  Over the course of one week when the team was out of town (to make it fair) the sales associate that sold the most jerseys, authentic or replica, would win the following prize package -

1 personalized jersey
2 Lower box tickets to an upcoming game
The ability to throw out the first pitch at that Mariners game.

Now anyone who has worked with me in the past knows I take contests very seriously.  In fact once there is a contest out there I will win it no matter the cost.  I am already a pretty decent sales associate when there is nothing on the line but once there is a prize to win I flip a switch and I absolutely must win.  I won contests at Blockbuster, and previous in store contests with the mariners for much less of a prize so this suddenly became priority number one.

I already had the advantage at my store in that we were thinly staffed that week and I was getting the most hours since I was acting as the defacto-manager and most everyone else had only one to three shifts.  Still it wasn't enough to lead my store, I had to beat the other four stores including Safeco too.

By the end of the week I had fluked into twelve jerseys sold.  It was a lot, 2.4 jerseys for every day I worked to be exact, but I was still nervous about the other stores, Westlake and Safeco to be specific.  All they needed was a rush of Asian tourists or a large tour and they could steal this from me.  I waited nervously to turn in my results and get an idea if anyone was close from Doug.  My nerves were settled when Doug saw my results and exclaimed "wow someone sold twelve?!?  The most I have seen so far is eight!"

I gots this.

Well it took a little while to get the official word but it turns out my suspicions were correct and my twelve had stood up and I had won!  I then immediately ran a few laps around my store and hugged both of the people I was working with much to their displeasure.  No seriously Andy hated every second of that hug and not just because I may or may not have held it for a little too long.

After an absurdly long waiting time I found out the date of my first pitch would be September 30th.  I invited everyone I knew to see me throw my pitch and even my dad and stepmom who hate baseball wanted to come to take pictures and gush about their son.

The day came and I showed up about an hour before I was told to be there because I was nervous, and as a result my friend Jon Cox and I were allowed to go down onto the field and watch the Oakland A's batting practice.  The closer we got to my big moment in front of an estimated 13,000 people (actual attendance was more like 9,000 and even less when I threw my pitch) the more nervous I became.  Eventually they gave me the ball that I was to throw and I proceeded to play with it endlessly until the moment came to actually throw it.  We made our way back into the back hallway and threw a few practice tosses to ease my fear about the distance.

This is the point where I would post a video of my throw but unfortunately I don't have any videos other than the ones that are already posted on my facebook and I am being techno-retarded right now and can't figure out how to download them.  Once I figure it out I will get them up here.   Here are some videos my friends Jon and Jaime took of my first pitch performance.

This one is Jon's.  He was on the field with me.

This one was Jaime's.  I didn't even know she was there!

I know I mentioned two things but well, this post is getting a little long so I am gonna just end it here and post another update about the second thing later.  You understand.