What a long, strange (online) trip it’s been

Those of you who know me may have noticed that sometimes I say one thing followed by something seemingly totally unrelated. However, if you were to ask me, I could tell you the entire train of thought that took me from the first statement to the second. I had a similar experience today online. First thing: the Pirates traded Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte to the Yankees. Second thing: an article about the wedding of a girl I went to high school with.

I heard yesterday that the Pirates traded Nady and Marte to the Yankees. This made me upset. I feel like this season the Pirates have a legitimate shot at getting above .500. However, without Nady and Marte, their likelihood of having a winning season is a lot lower. The trading away of talented players for prospects reminded me of a t-shirt I had seen on eBay that said “Pittsburgh Baseball: Rebuilding since 1992”. In the wake of the Nady/Marte trade, I thought that maybe I should buy this shirt. So I went to eBay to see if I could find it. It had been sold by a Pittsburgh-based T-shirt maker for quite a while, so I thought I’d be able to find it. No such luck.

Not able to find it on eBay, I tried to remember what the seller’s name was in order to see if I could find it through some other channel. I finally found that it was “River City Shirts”. So, I decided to see if they had a website. Google had it indexed but it’s no longer online. I found a MySpace page for “River City Shirts” but the account had been deleted. This seemed very strange. Then, I found an entry on auction-safety.org – a complaint against River City Shirts for having sold a shirt and then never delivered the item. From the complaint, I found the seller’s eBay id and I checked out eBay’s page for the seller. It indicated that despite having achieved power seller status and having compiled a ton of positive reviews, this seller is “No longer registered as a user”. In addition, this page featured a number of angry comments from customers claiming to have not received the merchandise they had ordered. Those keeping score at home will note that we now have a defunct website, a deleted MySpace account, a deregistered eBay account, and multiple complaints on multiple sites.

Basically, the entire online presence of River City Shirts has been deleted. This led me to wonder if perhaps the guy running it had died. From the auction-safety.org complaint, I had the guy’s name and address. So, I did a Google search for his name plus the word “obituary”. This search returned 3 hits. Only one pertained to a person from Pittsburgh. It was a report of a wedding that occurred June 22, 2008. It turns out that our River City Shirts proprietor is not dead; rather, he was a groomsman at the wedding. Furthermore, I went to high school with the bride. It took me a while to realize it, though. I looked at her name and thought that it seemed familiar. I seemed to recall her having been a year or two younger than me. I looked at my school district’s alumni database but I couldn’t find her in it, so I started to doubt that my initial inclinations had been correct. However, as I read through the article again, I took note of the names of the bridesmaids. It turns out that I’m sure that some of them went to high school with me. So, I now have no doubt that the bride went to high school with me.

In any case, having found this article about the wedding does nothing to help me figure out what happened to River City Shirts. I still want my “Pittsburgh Baseball: Rebuilding since 1992” shirt. Maybe I should contact this girl I went to high school with to see if she can hook me up.

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July 2008

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