Local Man Who Spent Entire Pandemic Studying J.A. Happ Facts Can’t Believe Luck
Image courtesy of © Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY SportsBill Boxmeyer had a lot of downtime.
The 37-year-old White Bear Lake man lives alone and has been working remote for his IT job since March. With not much else to do, Boxmeyer had hours to learn a new skill, read the great works of literature, or leave angry comments on Facebook.
He chose a different path.
"I figured I'd learn everything there was to know about the pitcher J.A. Happ," said Boxmeyer. "Yes, I know it sounds weird. But now who's laughing?"
Happ is reportedly signing a one-year deal with Boxmeyer's favorite team, the Minnesota Twins.
"The first thing you need to know is the 'J.A.' stands for 'James Anthony' but everyone calls him 'Jay'," said Boxmeyer. "As far as Happ facts go, that's the bare minimum you have to know or you're just going to embarrass yourself."
What drove Boxmeyer to not only focus his pandemic nights and weekends on a baseball player, but also on a seemingly random player like Happ?
"Yeah, that's a toughie," admitted Boxmeyer. "I had no interest in learning to bake or sew or anything like that, and I never got into video games. What I do like is someone who really drills down on one subject and is an expert on it, regardless of the relevancy or any overriding benefit to humanity. There's a guy I saw on the HGTV who is an expert on gravel. Who gives a damn about gravel? This guy does!
"So I decided I would be the gravel guy, but for J.A. Happ, who married Morgan Cawley in 2014. They have two children."
The fact that Happ appears to be on track to start for the Twins in 2021 continues to amaze the UW-Stout alum.
"I can't believe my luck, I'm not going to sugarcoat it," said Boxmeyer. "Once things open up a bit, I can go to the pub or even Target Field, and if anyone has any questions about that night's starting pitcher, they are sitting next to the one guy who can tell you anything you want to know about the 2009 NL Rookie of the Year runner-up."
As for other avenues of intellectual pursuit, Boxmeyer says he does have one regret.
"I work for an international pharmaceutical company, and I initially thought it would be good to just thoroughly educate myself on vaccine distribution and supply chains," said Boxmeyer. "I have to say that would have been way more useful. Like, both for myself and humanity. That said, I would not have known that Happ went on the injured list in 2018 with hand, foot, and mouth disease. And now you do, too."
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