A Crock of Gunt: Aurora Art Auction for Autism, featuring Mike Britt
A Crock of Gunt: Aurora Art Auction for Autism, featuring Mike Britt
January 14, 2024: Denver, Colorado – The Aurora Borealis teamed up with former-Borealis and AuroBora Gallery owner Alexandre Poirier for their 14th Annual Art Auction, benefiting Autism research. Hosting this year – for the fourth time, are KOA-Aurora announcers Mark Gunter and George Crocker, with Aurora baseball blogger Ray D. Enzé joining them. The team is equipped with wireless mics, broadcasting live from the auction floor.
Gunter: Those of you listening to our broadcast on KOA, welcome back to Aurora Baseball Pre-Season Special, live from The Art hotel in downtown Denver. I’m Mark Gunter and my partner George Crocker is here somewhere… I’m joined by Ray D. Enzé and we are wandering the Art Ballroom talking to players and discussing the pieces they’ve created.
Enzé: I gotta tell you Mark, once again the Borealis have done an outstanding job with their artwork. For instance this piece from Adrian Peterson.
Gunter: It’s a crazy one – Adrian! Welcome to Aurora!! Tell us about your painting.
Peterson: Thank you. I’m so excited to be here. Awkward, for sure – one day I’m facing these guys with the title on the line, and the next we are all on the same team. I’m so glad I won’t have to face Pope, Ferringo and Britt this year.
Enzé: What do you have here Adrian?
Peterson: I call it ‘Big Eye Fish‘ – acrylic on canvas. Being a Pices, I gravitate towards aquatic things. I did this one back in college – mom has been holding on to it. At Memphis, one of the electives we had for a Phys Ed degree was the ‘Art of Anatomy’ – an art class, and this was my final project.
Gunter: That’s amazing ‘Javelin’!
Peterson: Thanks guys – Hey, is that Crocker over there on the auction floor… dancing by himself?
Enzé: I gotta say I do believe that’s the case – Looks like he has his iPhone XD playing (looks fearful)… something…
(Crocker sees his partner and grooves on over)
Crocker: (loadly) Hey! Are we on the air?
(nods from Gunter and Enzé in the affirmative)
Crocker: SSSSSaaa- WEEEEET!!!! Hey Boys and Girls!!! George Crocker reporting for duty!! Early duty, you know!!! Season’s not even on the cusp of my drink here… (holds up a glass, sloshing some out onto the floor)
Gunter: (whispers, hand over his mic) George Crocker. Are you drinking? While we are on the air?
Crocker: (leans in to Gunter and Enzé) Nah… I ain’t imbibing in any labacious concoction – I’m just taking some medication for my illness – that guy over there selling the Cokes said I looked like I had A Roar An Fever and the only cure was more Penicillin! He served this one up for free!!
Enzé: Yes, George… medication is very… important for you… and what were you dancing to?
Gunter: If we can call that dancing…
Crocker: Just a little tune to wet my whistle – if you gather my delectable drift… Ha!! Delectable Drift – How illiteratative of me!! Don’t you think so Boys and Girls?? (gulps at his drink) Any of you guys see that Boy Wonder GM anywhere? I gotta tip from that other guy – the one over there (points), serving up the grape juice? I don’t like grape juice – it makes me dizzy… Any way, he said he had a little Irish Redhead I might be interested in – But I think ol’ Willie Topham might be more interested in her.
Enzé: Any… way… Let’s talk art. Alexandre Poirier and his Gallery AuroBora have teamed up with the Borealis for 14 years now to raise money for numerous causes – prostate and breast cancer, ALS, ADHD, and this year they return to the original theme of raising money for awareness and research into autism.
Gunter: And the best part of this art auction is that the players have long been involved – creating pieces of their own that become the cornerstone of the auction; Truly authentic and original pieces.
Crocker: Original pieces indeed. You should see this folks – though I know you can’t, seeing you all are suffering from radio blindness, but if the radio had eyes, you’d see that we’ve got some crazy-cray-cray things going on here!! Take this piece by ‘Massacre’ – deep, dark, secretive… kinda like his role on the team.
Jiménez: Ouch, George.
Gunter: Folks, Arturo Jiménez has created an eerie piece – what is that Arturo? Color pencil?
Jiménez: That’s right, Mark. I’ve been working on that for a while – mostly on those long flights to Japan. I call it ‘Grave Digger’, because he ‘digs my grave’.
Crocker: HA!! He digs my grave!! That’s…
Enzé: We can only hope, George…
Jiménez: I’ve always been kinda interested in graveyards and horror movies – all that kind of stuff. Growing up, we had in our neighborhood one of the coolest haunted houses for Halloween you’ve ever seen. Zombies, skeleton’s, ghouls. It’s remained an inspiration for me – be it films, books or art.
Gunter: (shakes his head) Folks, Joining us now…
Crocker: Hey!! Willie Toe-Pham – get over here!! I’ve got some info for you!!
Topham: Oh… George…
Enzé: Joining us folks, along with Will Topham, GM of the Aurora Borealis, is Alex Poirier, former firstbasemen of the Borealis and owner of AuroBora. How are you guys doing?
Poirier: Great, Ray. So glad to have everyone here – the players, the public. I’m thrilled to see this event thrive and I’m so thankful for the organization’s continued support all these years.
Topham: We are thrilled as well, Alex. This is – and has, been the kind of event and community outreach that Dad had always envisioned.
Gunter: And as silly as some in the public may view the concept, the players really get into this and enjoy the challenge.
Poirier: Absolutely. Adrian Peter…
Poirier: (clears his thoat) Adrian Peterson couldn’t wait to get involved. Did you see his piece. He’s got one of the more interesting pieces out there. And… George, for the record it’s a Black Derby.
Crocker: Ah… Well I prefer a Brown Derby. I wore one once to the Brown Derby and they kicked me out – I mean, they literally kicked me out. They said I wasn’t fashionable enough for them – they complained that I was to ‘flowery’ for them. Imagine that?!? They kicked out Me, George Crocker!
Topham: George… I don’t think either of us were old enough to have gone there…
Enzé: Kerouac… Jack Kerouac… geez…
Topham: I think he preferred a margarita…
Gunter: That’s tequila…
Topham: Man… If you are ever back home in San Francisco, you’ve got to try the best spot for margarita’s…
Poirier: AHEM… I do have some guests and art to discuss…
Crocker: Right!! Squeeze over here you Maple Leaf Canuck – tell us who you’ve lined up for us!!
Gunter: Let’s bring in here to join the conversation – and hopefully bring us back to art and baseball, Aurora 3rd sacker Mike Britt.
(the group around the broadcast group gives a hearty applause)
Britt: Thanks Mark, it’s a pleasure to be here! What an awesome event – as it is every year – right Alex?
Poirier: Absolutely!! I tell you folks, since Mike’s first venture into our charity auction, his pieces have raised nearly $200,000 alone!
Britt: I love it – I really do. I’m not very good at drawing and the such; I played baseball since I was little, but it’s about the cause. I can honestly tell you that there’s not a guy here who hasn’t embraced this – from Burris to Teddy, they all have fun with this event.
Crocker: What do you have for us tonight, Britt-o-rama? If it’s anything like your season I bet it’s like a Sriracha Hot Toddy on a cold Colorado night!!
Britt: Well… It’s actually a duel announcement – part art auction and part big picture Aurora… For the auction I did a watercolor of an at bat… Simple… Modeled on the style of Sam Francis, sort of…
Poirier: An elegant, contemporary piece. People are going to love it. Mike doesn’t disappoint. What did you settle on for a title?
Britt: I call it ‘Crush It’.
Gunter: Nice… I know what else you have to announce, Mike, but our fans haven’t yet heard, as the team has just released a statement here tonight regarding an exciting partnership between you and the team.
Britt: Yes. With the new expansion at Northern Lights, we are opening a new restaurant on site, a Tennessee BBQ place called ‘Big Whiskey’s’. I plan on it featuring my GranPa’s home-style baby-back ribs, as well as regionally grown products.
Gunter: Come on, George. Get with the program, here. ‘Big Whiskey’s’ after ol’ ‘Big Whiskey’ Britt. I think the fans will love this conc…
Crocker: ‘Big Whiskey’? Who names their child ‘Big Whiskey’? The guy must’ve been a bartender.
Britt: It’s just a nickname, George. Surly you know that.
Crocker: (giggles) Silly rabbit… Of course it’s a nickie-namie. Have you been off drinking big whiskey out in the bullpen?
Britt: Actually, my Pa is partly responsible. You see, in Tennessee, most folks are listening to country-western – Dolly Parton was, of course, a fave. The year I was born, though, the Dave Matthews Band broke on the scene and as my Pa would say, ‘they blew my mind’. So I grew up listening to Dave – I even joined my Pa to some concerts ‘down in Dixieland’ and in the Carolina’s.
Enzé: They certainly had a ‘Dead Head’ like following.
Britt: By the time I was a freshmen in high school, they released their album ‘Big Whisky & The GrooGrux King’ and I loved that album. I’d listen to it all the time on my iPod. My teammates were all listening to Kenny Chesney, George Strait and Lady Antebellum and thought I was a little less country and a little more rock & roll than I should have been. They tagged me with the ‘Big Whiskey’ moniker and it just kinda stuck. Jimmy Lucas’ dad worked at the JD plant outside of town, and he thought it was hysterical. I think he alone was responsible for it’s sticking.
Crocker: (excitedly) I gotta a ‘Big’ nickname, too!! That red-head over their called me ‘Big Ass’ – I think it’s gonna stick! Whatcha think ‘Money’?
Gunter: I think it’s appropo, George… So tell us Mike, winning the Royal Raker must have been quite the honor?
Britt: Definitely. I was a little disappointed I missed those last few games and a shot at 40 homers – that would have been very cool, but I’m more proud with finishing at .300 and leading the league in WAR. I know within the organization those SABR stats aren’t looked highly upon, but it’s still an honor.
Enzé: So Alex, it’s time we wind things up here – the auction is about to begin, who else should we look forward to seeing?
Poirier: Well, I’m glad you asked. Pedro Ferringo did a little…
Crocker: OH, OH!! I’ve got one! Oh, My, have I got one!! I spent all season working on it, Just for you, AP – not to be confused with the AP in the ‘pen, or that old NFL AP…
Poirier: Calm down, George… Yes, you do have…
Crocker: It’s got a name, too… Not a nickie-namie, but a real name!! I call it ‘A Spaceman Trying To Get L..’…
Gunter: (quickly cuts Crocker off) Thank You George, (rolling his eyes) I’m sure it’s a lovely piece.
Poirier: Mark, Ray, I want to thank you guys for being here and supporting our event. It means a lot to me, having you guys here (Crocker, jumping in his seat, raising his hand)… You, too, George.
Crocker: Wait! I gotta tell you about my Spaceman. I met him in Montevideo, back in my playing days – not that I ain’t done playing – I got offers, serious offers! Anyway…
Gunter: Good Night folks… Good Night, George…
Crocker: … He was standing on a street corner…