I actually got to wear a costume at the Winkie Convention this year. But it's going to take some explanation as to how it all came about, so I'd better start explaining...
It all started at the 2009 edition of Seattle's premiere comic book convention, Emerald City Comic Con. As I've become a bit of a coattails comics collector (Laura's the real comics geek in the family), I've always had a good time there, and not just because of the name. I mean, Seattle has been called The Emerald City for almost thirty years now. But last year's con had an item I really, really wanted: a specially commissioned "Emerald City" baseball jersey. So of course Laura and I asked around, but found that they were only available to long-term convention volunteers. So I was out of luck. "Hey, wait a minute," I thought to myself, "if I can't get one, maybe I can at least borrow one for the convention." So I sent off some e-mails of inquiry, but didn't get a reply until after last year's Winkie Convention. But at least they were promising, and Jim, the ECCC organizer, promised he'd get it to me for 2010 if I reminded him in time.
This year, our timing was much better, we got it all figured out, and I was able to borrow Jim's jersey for the weekend. My first thought is that I would just wear it for some time during the convention, and that would be it. "Hey," I then thought to myself, "what if I had a hat to go with it?" I poked around and looked at the website for the Eugene Emeralds, thinking one of their caps might work, but nothing semed quite right. Then, just a few days before the convention, I remembered a cap I bought many year ago from Books of Wonder that would be perfect. It's black with Denslow's lion intertwined with the "O-Z" logo in emerald green (sadly, no longer for sale there), and it would go great with the green-on-black jersey. Trouble is, most of my Oz collection is still in boxes after the move, and it took me a little while to find it. But find it I did, and everything got packed away for the trip.
You'd think that would be it, wouldn't you? Well, so did we. But if you're doing nothing but driving for a day and a half, you tend to think of things you'd never thunk before. Somewhere in southern Oregon, the name "Emerald City Green Sox" popped into my head, and I decided I wanted to turn it into a full-blown costume. Fortunately, all I needed was a bat and a pair of green socks. And how hard could it be to find either one?
We'd driven so far that first day, and had no time when we arrived to go shopping. But we were far enough into California that we found we had plenty of time before we had to get to Asilomar, so we made a few stops along the way. One national name-brand chain department store had a nice, inexpensive plastic bat and some promising socks on sale in many colors — except green, of course. Hmm. Well, we had a way to go, and we knew there was at least one more branch of this store near Asilomar, so we decided not to get anything there but move on to the other one. Good news, they had a better bat! This was a big, wide fungo bat, which would make for a more comical prop (and, unlike the one I found earlier, didn't also have a ball, which I really didn't feel it needed). But still no green socks in the men's department. So Laura dragged me to the women's department, and we found a pair of green socks, in a pack with a bunch of other colors. Well, I hemmed and hawed a bit, but finally decided to give it a shot. They weren't quite as bright green as I was hoping for, but as a spur-of-the-moment last-minute costume accessory, they did the trick. And sure enough, they had enough stretch in them that they fit (although I didn't find that out until the morning of the costume parade).
All my character needed now was a name! "Ozzy" came naturally, of course, as that's a not at all uncommon baseball knickname, particularly Ozzie Smith. But I didn't come up with a last name until very late when "McTavish" popped into my head. So, Ozzy McTavish, center fielder and power hitter for the Emerald City Green Sox, was born. And here's what he looks like!
Photo courtesy Jared Davis
Here's an action shot, better showing off the hat:
Photo by Laura Gjovaag
It is an extrememly good thing that I came up with Ozzy, too, since there were only two other costumes! What has happened to the proud Winkie costume tradition? Ah, well, at least I was there. Now all I need is for someone to actually write Ozzy into an Oz story of some sort.