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Crumbling Pedestals: Re-thinking Adoration of Henry Rowengartner

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“American idol has taken over my whole life.” —Paula Abdul

I came across Paula Abdul, an obscure 20th century poet and her stinging criticism of American culture on Altavista yesterday and it floored me. As Americans, we are thoroughly inundated with idol worship and mythmaking by society. Nowhere is this more apparent than within American sport. In 2012, there were literally thousands of Tim Tebow jerseys sold. Just last week, the College Football Hall of Fame announced Danny Wuerffel would be inducted in 2013 and the National Basketball Association honored Kenneth Faried with the 2013 Good Citizen award. Are these three men positive examples for the youth of America? Probably, but stories like these are quixotic when the nefarious wear the crown of adoration.

Henry Rowengartner is firmly enshrined in the annals of sport idolatry and for good reason: He is a World Series champion, a Major League Rookie of the Year and notable Pepsi-Cola spokesperson.

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I’m here to tell you that he is not a hero. Henry Rowengartner is a stain on our national conscience. I will not stand idly by as this monster serves as a guidepost for the impressionable adolescents of this country. Rowengartner’s reign atop his golden pedestal ends today.

Like any professional journalist, I will freely admit my bias towards Henry Rowengartner. As a young boy in small-town Kentucky, I was enamored with the story of middle school kid from suburbia being plucked out of the cheap seats to play big league ball. I, along with all of America was spellbound by each of the nine games in that magical 1993 season. We stood and cheered as one when the First Son taunted opposing pitchers from the bullpen. We stared in awe when the buck-toothed prepubescent noodle-armed a 95 mph sinking ball. And we all cried when Henry suffered that horrific injury in the National League Championship. We all danced after his hometown Cubbies rallied around the youngster’s misfortune to win the World Championship.

Henry wants us to believe that his legacy ended with the feel good-good story of the 1993 Rookie of the Year. Unfortunately for America and a once young boy from Kentucky, his story was just beginning.

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1993’s twelve-year old Henry Rowengartner remerged six years later in western Michigan as high school senior “Kevin Myers.” Kevin (Henry), along with friends Chris “Oz” Ostreicher, Jim Levenstein, Paul Finch and Steve Stiffler gained notoriety for making a sophomoric “bet” to gain carnal understanding of the opposite sex before high school graduation. The four Michigan students courted a variety of quirky women, from an older woman in the community to the second tuba in the school band. Classmates of the mysterious transfer student, “Kevin” remember him differently. Henry developed an obsession with the prettiest girl in school, Vicky Lathum. As American as ‘Apple Pie’, Henry Rowengartner was not.

Henry’s charade continued through 2001, where a police citation for a noise violation placed Henry at a Michigan house party with Ostreicher, Levenstein, Finch and Stiffler. According to statements taken at the scene, the friends were in town on break following their first year of college. The five allegedly worked as a group of “painters”, although they only painted one house all summer. Henry eventually abandoned his friends to attend wild parties with Hollywood stars like Ben Affleck’s brother. When Levenstein rushed to the Emergency Room afflicted with a serious, yet unknown injury, Rowengartner was not there to prevent the accident.

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By 2003, Henry’s gig was seemingly up. Levenstein married his high school sweetheart in a large American wedding in Michigan. Henry joined Stiffler and Finch in the wedding party but observers noted the growing rift between Henry and his friends. By all accounts, Rowengartner’s inclusion in the program was obligatory and forgettable. Of all of the friends, only Ostreicher was aware of Henry’s mysterious past. He was reportedly so upset about Henry’s double life he refused to be included in the program entirely.

While it is not in my nature to blindly speculate about personal matters, it is clear Henry Rowengartner is a demonstrative fraud and unworthy of our praise.

Mr. Rowengartner’s past is littered by a pattern of betrayal and deception. During his miracle run with the Cubs, Henry was rarely seen in public without his two ‘best’ friends, remembered only as ‘that pudgy ginger’ and ‘the other kid’. Although the duo were clearly would-be degenerates and destined for a life of mediocrity, Henry had no qualms with cutting them out of his life.

Then there was also Henry’s famous mentor, Chet “The Rocket” Steadman, best remembered as the face of Salisbury steaks worldwide. Steadman gave up a career in major league management to coach Rowengartner’s little league team and begin a family with Henry’s mother. Just like the others, Henry turned his back on Steadman to initiate his make-believe identity.

In his new life, Henry weaseled his way into the popular crowd, manipulating the weak minded Stiffler into hosting extravagant soirees so he could further his confidence charade. Henry leached onto the loyal but affable every-man, Jim Levenstein to lend him credibility. Just as he had done so many times in the past, Henry used those who trusted him the most to further his own ambition.

Henry’s greatest moral flaws are in full display when you consider the principal target of his deception: Vickie Lathum.

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Henry understood that a girl as attractive as Lathum would never go for a washed up, teeny-bopping man-boy living on his step-father’s Salisbury steak money. He knew that in order to gain Lathum’s affection, he had to be someone else, no matter the cost.

At first glance, Rowengartner’s facade fails to rise above mere creepiness. On the surface, this is the classic story of “boy sees girl, boy weaves web of lies to impress girl, boy maintains said web to maintain the relationship.” Society has rewarded Drew Barrymore and Don Draper for greater sins than this. Upon further examination, Rowengartner’s dark plan is laid bare: bedding Lathum, the most beautiful girl in school, would win the juvenile ‘American Pie’ bet in grandiose style.

It wasn’t enough for Henry to win a World Series at the age of twelve. He wanted more. He needed more. His selfish, devious nature drove him to create his magnum opus: betray the trust of his closest friends and family, don a completely new identity, manipulate four ‘normal’ high school kids into making a seemingly arbitrary bet and crush their spirit by sleeping with the girl of their dreams. A true philistine indeed.
Despite his struggles at the plate, Henry Rowengartner is the Sultan of Slime. The Great Shambino. Babe Uncouth. To accept this type of behavior would revert our society to jungle law. While I may be finished throwing rocks at the golden pedestal we built for Henry Roengartner, it weighs heavy on my soul to destroy my childhood idol.

My hope is that together, as a society of fans we can grow through this cleansing ritual and start placing our trust an adoration with whom it belongs: members of Congress.

Article written by Tyler Montell

43 Comments for Crumbling Pedestals: Re-thinking Adoration of Henry Rowengartner



  1. Herbert
    7:35 pm May 27, 2013 Permalink

    Matt is on his way West with dykes on bikes aka ground beef lesbians



  2. Oogie
    7:38 pm May 27, 2013 Permalink

    OK, for me this goes beyond “the most ridiculous manner possible,” well into the realm of “WTFH???”



  3. Question mark
    7:41 pm May 27, 2013 Permalink

    I love the american pie seris. But WTF IS THIS! If i wanted to read the plots from the movie I would go to Wikipedia!!



  4. imnotthefiveo
    7:53 pm May 27, 2013 Permalink

    4 imdb works better.



  5. BigBlue
    7:55 pm May 27, 2013 Permalink

    He have no clue what this post is about



  6. Coach Cal
    8:00 pm May 27, 2013 Permalink

    I am so confused.



  7. williamtitan
    8:06 pm May 27, 2013 Permalink

    u said something about a web in this post… where is the spider?? that’s where u lost me…



  8. LaQuisha
    8:14 pm May 27, 2013 Permalink

    This was lame and too damn long!



  9. blind ambition
    8:23 pm May 27, 2013 Permalink

    ambitious … but misplaced ambition



  10. CJ
    8:26 pm May 27, 2013 Permalink

    Hilarious!!



  11. BaldyInMendo
    8:29 pm May 27, 2013 Permalink

    Did you hit send by accident?



  12. Badams
    8:34 pm May 27, 2013 Permalink

    Wtf is this all about? Henry was the sh*t and so was the American Pie movies. Wanna talk movies write for film critics.



  13. Dr. Funke
    9:02 pm May 27, 2013 Permalink

    “My hope is that together, as a society of fans we can grow through this cleansing ritual and start placing our trust an adoration with whom it belongs: members of Congress.” I can’t tell if you are joking or not. Why does our trust and belong to members of congress? They have not done anything to earn it. BTW, this write-up is pointless.



  14. BlueNotes
    9:03 pm May 27, 2013 Permalink

    What the F**K are you talking about?



  15. Ruppeat Offender
    9:04 pm May 27, 2013 Permalink

    You’re in college? Is it clown college? You realize this is a UK sports fan site – right?



  16. tuxedo park
    9:08 pm May 27, 2013 Permalink

    am i missing something? this has got to be the most worthless post in KSR history.



  17. Malcolm
    9:10 pm May 27, 2013 Permalink

    What happened to that girl with the big boobs that was posted here a few days ago? Is this what we get in place of her?



  18. Nick
    9:57 pm May 27, 2013 Permalink

    Great post! Seriously can’t stop laughing right now!



  19. Bobbum man
    11:10 pm May 27, 2013 Permalink

    Dude…… Wtf



  20. wildcats90
    11:24 pm May 27, 2013 Permalink

    you tried way too hard



  21. CATandMONKEY
    11:31 pm May 27, 2013 Permalink

    Edit for length.
    Some of the lines people are concerned with are the most hilarious.
    Some good stuff . Will hit most of the target demographics but will leave the fringes mostly clueless.
    I would like to peruse another effort.



  22. kfund
    11:35 pm May 27, 2013 Permalink

    Fail.



  23. Dorian54
    12:27 am May 28, 2013 Permalink

    What did this post have to do with Kentucky Sports?? And what point was you trying to prove?? I get the point, but who cares about that on this site. This post was a complete waste of time I agree he must have hit send by mistake.



  24. Sean
    12:43 am May 28, 2013 Permalink

    I consider myself relatively intelligent, but I dont know WTF this post is about. Either Im an idiot … no wait… that cant be. You are. EPIC FAIL of a post.



  25. FoReal?
    12:46 am May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Ive been a dedicated reader and listener of KSR for years. This post is hands down the most worthless I have ever read. Seriously, what the h*ll!?!?!



  26. WTF?
    1:58 am May 28, 2013 Permalink

    I hope crap like this is not part of MJ’s “Big Plans” in KSR expansion… if so, KSR will die a brutal death!!! This piece should be on TMZ or Perez Hilton’s site… ridiculous!



  27. Disbelief?
    4:01 am May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Thoughts:

    1 – WELL WRITTEN PIECE–BRAVO.
    2 – Love the parallel made here, as a fan of ROTY and the Am. Pie series (the comedy of my adolescence).
    3 – MISTAKE: Gotta remember 50% of readers on ksr are at 5th grade reading level.
    4. Start your own blog, attract your own.



  28. Tom Crean's wife
    6:40 am May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Haha it’s easy to see that the author has sprinkled in a few “Hilarious” comments because no one in their right mind would thijk yhis is funny or inteeesting.



  29. Goddamnit
    6:41 am May 28, 2013 Permalink

    I’m not angry, KSR, I’m disappointed.



  30. Fancy feast
    7:49 am May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Drivel. They’ll let anyone become lawyer now.



  31. Humor...Ever heard of it?
    8:44 am May 28, 2013 Permalink

    i really can’t believe people are getting angry about this post? sports–> humor–> sports humor–> KSR. it makes perfect sense. and if you don’t like sports humor and would rather have dull, humdrum news spoonfed to you while Dan Rathers whispers careless nothings into your ear, go visit a website that DOESN’T ADVERTISE BEING 100% RIDICULOUS. this is exactly what created, differentiates, and will continue to uniquely identify KSR.

    With that said, I am a rare poster but ready everyday and felt compelled to comment about how great of an article it was. Very well written and 100% absurd and uncalled for. Exactly what I hope to find on KSR.



  32. bob knight
    8:58 am May 28, 2013 Permalink

    This guy has written articles before and every single one of them have been awful. Please stop, you make yourself look stupid



  33. Toothless Temp
    9:01 am May 28, 2013 Permalink

    31) See ad banners you douche.



  34. George Costanza
    9:26 am May 28, 2013 Permalink

    If hyperbole were a commodity, the KSR comments section would be the third largest economy on earth.



  35. Seth
    9:41 am May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Easily the worst post in KSR history. Now we know why KSR is looking for new writers.



  36. Bill O'Reily
    9:51 am May 28, 2013 Permalink

    #33) I see the ad banners. How can you argue that ad banners take away the website’s roots of posting ridiculous articles? Despite popular belief, capitalism is still alive and well and most of us have to MAKE money as opposed to voting for it. So if you’re saying the website’s placement of ads means that it is ‘selling out’ or not true to its roots of being ridiculous, than you need to consider the ol’ principles of the economy, my friend.



  37. George Kington
    10:14 am May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Easily the single worst post in KSR history. Absolutely a piece of shat on a turtle head. Despicable Mr. Montell. Go write for a dang movie critic website.



  38. Biglaw Dawgin'
    10:24 am May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Dude, really?



  39. Would've Been Funny in '99
    10:25 am May 28, 2013 Permalink

    You turned a 4-second joke that everyone around the age of 30 made when they saw American Pie for the first time, into a novel. And those under age 28 have not seen any of those movies, especially Rookie of the Year.



  40. Mike
    12:38 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    This Tyler guy should be banned from posting anything on this website. He has not contributed anything to KSR since they started letting the nerd post



  41. That Guy
    1:26 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    I knew two things throughout this entire article. That I liked this guys sense of humor and that a bunch of retards wouldn’t. Ignorance is bliss, keep commenting and identifying yourself hahahahah chumps



  42. ELI CAPILOUTO
    1:40 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    GEORGE KINGTON U FAT B*STARD LMAO I LIKED IT MAN, BUT IM A DOCTOR AND I GET THIS SMART ISH LMAO IM FADED B



  43. Dee W.
    12:20 am May 30, 2013 Permalink

    Just another reminder folks we don’t run the site and are just guests here…after reading part of this I’m thankful that’s a fact.