A man whose back features the game's legends has attracted national attention.
Mike McWain’s tattoos that display a history of baseball are causing quite a stir. Or, more accurately, a media sensation.
Ever since the front-page Tri-City Herald story Monday about the Pasco man’s field of dreams tattoos appeared, newscasters and writers as well as sports enthusiasts across the country have been hounding him for interviews and turning his life upside down.
“It has been totally crazy since the story ran,” McWain told the Herald on Thursday. “My kids love all the attention, though.”
He’s been interviewed by newspaper sports writers from The Daily in New York and chatted on the radio with the sportscaster for the Cincinnati Reds baseball team.
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“Friends have been telling me my tattoos are all over the Internet,” McWain said. “It really is insane how far this has gone. I never would have imagined this kind of reaction could happen over baseball tattoos.”
Since the story broke, there have been more than 24,000 page views at tri-cityherald.com and more than 25,000 page views on the Herald’s photo gallery, and the video of McWain taking viewers on a tour through each tattoo and its historic significance has been watched almost 3,000 times.
While many readers were curiosity seekers, there was plenty of interest from national news agencies including CNN, Sports Illustrated and independent sports bloggers such as YardBarker.com and NESN.com, the New England Sports Network.
While the bulk of the viewers have come from the United States, a few baseball and/or tattoo fans from Canada and the United Kingdom also have stopped by the website.
Bill Dennison, sports reporter for 700 WLW radio in Cincinnati, said he caught wind of McWain’s baseball-tattoo story Tuesday, then went in search of it online.
“After we found the story on your website, the announcer (for the Reds baseball team) talked about it on the air, so I decided to track down Mr. McWain and see if we could get him to give us an interview,” Dennison said in a phone interview with the Herald.
The interview happened during Wednesday night’s game between the Reds and the San Francisco Giants.
“I’ve seen NASCAR fans go to the nth degree in their devotion to the sport, but I’ve never seen anything like what Mr. McWain did,” Dennison said. “That’s a loyalty to the sport that’s second to none.”
McWain says most of the comments he read on the various websites where the stories appeared have been great, but he avoided the negative comments at all costs because some people just don’t know how to be any other way but nasty, he said.
“And, of course, all the parents of the kids I’m coaching on my son’s baseball team think it’s all very cool,” he said.
McWain’s wife, Marcy, never expected such interest in her husband’s tattoos when she sent a snapshot of it to the Herald a few months ago to appear in the Atomictown section.
“It’s truly amazing how far this has gone,” she said.
She also confirmed there are times the portrait of Ty Cobb creeps her out when her husband turns his back to her in bed.
“That is completely true,” she said. “You know those creepy pictures where the eyes seem real and follow you? That’s what it reminds me of.”
Jesse Walsh, the tattoo artist who created McWain’s tattoos, couldn’t be happier that thousands of people are seeing his work.
“It’s totally awesome,” Walsh said. “I’ve gotten so many calls since the story ran from my customers and my friends telling me they see it all over the Internet.”
He also hopes it generates even more interest in his artistry when he appears at the Tri-Cities Tattoo Convention in September.
“What Mike wanted done is very unique, and that’s what I loved about doing it,” Walsh said. “Because it truly is unique.”
Marcy McWain might welcome the attention her husband’s field of dreams has created, but there’s one thing she won’t tolerate. “As long as he doesn’t become a diva, it’ll be OK,” she said.