Last night I had the good fortune of attending Ryan Dempster’s charity event. It was a great time for a great cause, but unfortunately with it came the misfortune of crossing paths with George “The Hassle” Castle. In case you’ve never heard of the guy, click here to read the Wikipedia entry he clearly wrote himself. Some Cubs fans might remember Lou Piniella’s epic post-game tirade at a reporter a few years back. Yep, that was directed at The Hassle.
I’ve never really used my platform with The Heckler to be vindictive, but that ends today. For those who have never met George, imagine the most obnoxious, overbearing lech of an uncle you have and multiply it by 1,000. Maybe 10,000. The kind of guy no one wants to be around in a social setting because: A. He’s obnoxious as hell and; B. You’re afraid people will think you’re actually friends with the guy and forever link you with him in your memory.
I’ve met The Hassle a few times and I’d be shocked if he actually had the faintest recollection of ever meeting me because each time I was accompanied by a woman. The first time was at the Cubs Convention about five or six years ago when a female columnist of ours whose schtick was that she wanted to do Moises Alou was at the booth. It was pretty clear The Hassle wanted to be her Moises as her cornered her in front of our Convention booth for at least 15 minutes, barraging her with extremely uncomfortable conversation despite her body language that would have made it clear to anyone other than The Hassle that she had no interest in sharing the same planet with the guy.
Flash forward to last night. I arrived at Dempster’s charity event with my girlfriend who shall remain nameless (because no one’s ever heard of her – wink wink) and we were immediately approached by The Hassle (along with our friend Elliott Harris who had previously been cornered by him and was no doubt looking for a chance to escape or perhaps find a cyanide pill).
With Elliott the conversation was light and playful. With The Hassle it was one-sided and obnoxious. He was so focused on my girlfriend that it was as if I didn’t exist. Throughout the night our attempts to escape him were eventually thwarted and he’d again find a way to lock onto my girlfriend when he wasn’t busy trying to lock onto an unlucky member of the Chicago Cubs or any other young lady there. It was so bad that I told a friend I could have been carrying a screaming chimpanzee and The Hassle would not have acknowledged my presence.
I get it. He likes talking to pretty women. Who doesn’t? But dear god he’s oppressive and lacks even the least bit of self-awareness. He makes every situation an awkward one that puts decent people like my girlfriend and me in the compromising situation of having to either put up with his terrible behavior or avoid it by dodging him or speaking up and calling him out on it, which is usually a tough thing to do.
After leaving the event I realized I’ve had enough and that I’m certainly not the only person in Chicago who’s had their fill of The Hassle. I’m officially starting a 50 Cent-style beef with The Hassle and using The Heckler as my platform. I’m asking anyone and everyone who’s got a George Castle story or even photo (like mine of him harassing Ryan Dempster last night) to email it to me at email@example.com. Do it anonymously for all I care. Best story or photo gets $50. I dislike The Hassle so much that I wish I could offer $50,000 but we’re on a tight budget here so we’ll have to roll with it.
I’m sure our readers might have a few questions about this. Here’s my attempt to answer them in advance:
Q: Are you serious about this?
A: Yes. 100 percent. I’m taking a stand against George’s awful behavior that has been plaguing the Chicago sports scene for decades.
Q: What if you only get one George Castle is obnoxious story? Will it automatically win the $50?
A: Only if it’s good.
Q: What’s your deadline on this $50 payout?
A: I view this beef as never-ending, but let’s say all George Castle stories need to be submitted by Feb. 1 to qualify for the $50 payout.
Q: Can you believe The Hassle gets press credentials to Major League Baseball games?
A: No. It’s perhaps the greatest injustice in sports. Worse than the 1972 U.S. Men’s basketball loss to the U.S.S.R. or Lovie Smith still being allowed to coach the Bears. That bad.
Q: Do you think George has a mental deficiency of some sort?
A: Without a doubt.
Q: In that case, don’t you feel guilty about picking a fight with someone who’s mentally handicapped?
A: Not for one second. Spend a minute within five miles of The Hassle and you’ll understand.
Okay. That should do it. Send your George Castle stories/photos to us and let’s get this going.