In the middle of Ohio, on a Greyhound Bus traveling back to Saint Louis, I get an estatic call from Adam telling me about his press conference hijinks and asking me if I was at home so I could record the footage of him that was all over the television. I was saddened to tell him I was over a 1,000 miles away from my computer. Not less than 15 minutes later I get a call from my friend Jack, a reporter from NPR, telling me that Adam was all over the news. It totally made my day! My friend, who got more votes than Bush in Washington, DC, all over the news, again :) The article below is probably the best yet!
Washington City Paper
From the December 10, 2004 issue.
By Dave McKenna
Adam Eidinger isnâ€™t a sportsman. His only athletic claim to fame, until recently, was being Curtis Martinâ€™s study partner in an SAT preparatory course when both attended Pittsburghâ€™s Taylor Allderdice High School.
Martin, the schoolâ€™s superstar running back, grew up to be a professional football player. Eidinger, student-body president of its class of 1992, grew up to be, well, a professional pain in the ass.
But for all his adolescent bookishness, Eidinger has been all over Sports Illustratedâ€™s pages and ESPN screens lately. Heâ€™s the guy who was wrestled away from the podium at Union Station shouting anti-stadium slogans and waving a big sign (â€œStop the $614 Million Giveaway!â€) during the new baseball teamâ€™s naming-announcement press conference a few weeks ago.
He promises he didnâ€™t show up at the event intending to make much of a fuss, let alone grapple with baseball publicist Charlie Brotman, D.C. Councilmember Harold Brazil, and the cops on his way out the door. But then organizers hung a pitch over the middle of the plate, so Eidinger swung for the fences.
â€œI was just going to bring a sign,â€ Eidinger says. â€œBut everybody was just standing around, and then I saw the microphone, and nobody was using it. I figured I might as well use it.â€
Brotman, as a former publicist for ring giants Sugar Ray Leonard, Don King, and Bob Arum, has seen his share of press conferences turn into melees. But heâ€™d never found himself in the middle of such a scrum before his bout with Eidinger. And though the flack in him appreciates the publicity garnered by the event, Brotman says heâ€™s not going to invite Eidinger to RFK to throw out the first punch when the Washington Nationalsâ€™ season commences.
â€œI think I got away with a draw, and now Iâ€™m retiring,â€ says Brotman, the septuagenarian who already has a poster of the Union Station brouhaha in his office. â€œThereâ€™s not going to be a rematch.â€
Eidingerâ€™s antics made essentially every newspaper and news channel in this country. But he didnâ€™t stick around to enjoy the notoriety that came with so publicly peeing on baseballâ€™s parade. Hours after being interrogated by police and let goâ€”â€œThey have two years to press charges, but thereâ€™s been nothing yet,â€ he saysâ€”Eidinger got on a plane with his wife and infant daughter and flew to Paris.
The European trip was a long-planned outing built around his great-uncleâ€™s being honored, along with other U.S. servicemen, by the French government for helping to liberate France from Nazi occupiers during World War II.
But as soon as he returned to our shores a week later, Eidinger learned about the fuss. And loved it.
â€œOh my god, the response has been unbelievable,â€ he says. â€œIâ€™m hearing from all over the world about this, really. Friends from the West Coast who donâ€™t even care about the East Coast are telling me they saw me on their local news. Some old friends are telling me I looked fat, but everybody loved it.â€
Eidinger knows he wouldnâ€™t fare well against, say, his old classmate Martin or any other athlete of that ilk in a physical confrontation. But in todayâ€™s America, being a thorn in the establishmentâ€™s side, as Eidinger so clearly is, requires as least as much intestinal fortitude as it does to strap on a football helmet for a living. His tirades, showboaty as they areâ€”heâ€™s nicknamed â€œRed Light Eidingerâ€ by some D.C. journalists for knowing when TV cameras are rollingâ€”allow less courageous folks to stay off the Manâ€™s radar.
An active Green Party promoter and occasional candidate for public office, Eidinger had his home visited by the Metropolitan Police Department while planning protests against the World Trade Organization in the spring of 2000. Yet he still flaunts his role in organizing those demonstrations, as well as the gathering against George W. Bush that made a charade of the Inauguration Day parade along Pennsylvania Avenue in 2001. And he promises to strike an even bigger blow against the empire come Jan. 20, 2005.
â€œNobody except the people who were there knew how successful that inauguration protest was until Michael Moore put it in his movie,â€ says Eidinger, who always makes a point of advocating nonviolence. â€œAnd weâ€™re going to turn it into a drag race down Pennsylvania Avenue again next time.â€
Heâ€™s flown D.C. flags made entirely of hemp to call attention to the Districtâ€™s lack of statehood. And he was jailed last year for showing up at Speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastertâ€™s office and refusing to leave, to promote the same issue.
But his turn at bat at Union Station got him more attention than any of his more righteous efforts.
â€œOf all the events Iâ€™ve ever been a part of, no single act has ever gotten this much attention,â€ he says. â€œMy wife told me itâ€™s the best protest of my life.â€
He sees the grandstand he took at Union Station as being very consistent with his previous protests, particularly the anti-WTO efforts.
â€œI look forward to going to Opening Day at RFK,â€ he says. â€œSo this isnâ€™t about baseball. Itâ€™s all about protesting corporate greed. I really see this fight as an extension of the globalization fight. Itâ€™s about private interests abusing the public. This stadium is a corporate subsidy. As a citizen who cares, I donâ€™t want to see this shoved down our throats on the backs of a lame-duck city council. Protest was never supposed to be something sedentary, something that had to be cleared by the government. Iâ€™ve learned that one person being disruptive will be more effective than 100,000 people showing up in some orderly sort of march. People need confrontation, they need drama, or the issue will be ignored. I expressed through physical direct action the feelings of millions of Americans: that weâ€™re being railroaded by these sports millionaires.â€
Eidinger put together a tape of TV clips of the Union Station throwdown and brought it to Pittsburgh last weekend for a large family gathering celebrating Hanukkah. While wearing his brand-new licensed Nationals baseball capâ€”complete with â€œNo Taxes for Baseballâ€ Magic-Markered on the brimâ€”he previewed his greatest-hits compilation for his kin.
All his relatives, even the sports nuts and the right-wingers who have long tagged him as the familyâ€™s â€œCommie,â€ laughed at his antics, and came away fully in support of the efforts to stop the stadium deal.
Better yet, they gave him gifts that could be used in future forays into civil disobedience.
â€œI got a nice video camera,â€ he says. â€œI think my family wants me to use it to film the baby. But itâ€™ll be handy at protests.â€ â€”Dave McKenna