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On Wednesday there was near panic when there was word that the court would issue a statement in the Michael Jackson (search) case. I never saw journalists move so fast. And yes, I moved fast, too.
At first everyone thought it was a verdict. We then stood around waiting and waiting and waiting and the information turned out to be a dud. It was not a verdict or a note from the jury of any importance — it was essentially Jackson's lawyer trying to control the many who claim to speak for Jackson. It is a defense attorney's nightmare to have so many "live wires" — a defense attorney needs to control the case. This is not an easy task in the Jackson case — it is like "herding cats." There is much passion in this case, on both sides.
By the time you read this, we will be back on a plane headed to the East Coast. Why? Because I have to be in New York City to meet a commitment I made months ago... and it is a commitment that I must have been out of my mind when I made. When I was asked to do this event I was flattered and so excited... I could not believe the chance... but I must have been suffering from delusions of grandeur. I agreed to throw out the first pitch at a New York Mets (search) game! What was I thinking? That suddenly I would develop some deeply hidden ability to pitch? That is delusional! The last time I played baseball was when our team won a trophy in 1966 in the Appleton, Wisconsin Girl's T-League. Yes, I was the pitcher — but that meant I simply set the ball on the tee and backed up so that I did not get hit by the bat of some 12-year-old girl on the other team.
Needless to say I have been taking ribbing by fellow FOX News employees in Santa Maria (search). I have been told that I will be booed if I fail and that I don't have to worry about the Mets wanting to sign me. A few felt sorry for me and Tuesday took me on a shopping trip for two gloves and a baseball. See the photo essay above of our shopping trip. We also found a bakery which is not exactly like drinking Gatorade but who could resist?
After we got back from the sporting goods store, we practiced. On the bright side, I was told that I don't throw like a girl. But I am wild... wild to the two sides... and sometimes high — too high for the catcher to catch. At the end of our practice I was freaked — I was worse than I had thought. I prefer to suffer from delusions of grandeur than face reality.
Incidentally, my "trainer" is Adam Housley (search), my colleague here at FOX News Channel. Adam was drafted as a pitcher by the Montreal Expos — now the Washington, D.C., Nationals — and he played in the minor leagues. He worked with me and helped my throw immensely! I will post pictures of Adam helping me on Friday.
Some bored journalist on verdict watching spotted us practicing catch on the baseball diamond adjacent to our workspace and asked about us "playing and having a good time." I explained that I did not consider it "playing" and that I had missed the scheduled practice that the Mets had set up for me at Shea Stadium. I had to cancel two appointments because I was in California.
I woke up Wednesday with a sore right shoulder from our Tuesday practice. I wore a Thermal Care patch on my shoulder all day Wednesday. No one will believe me that I have chronic shoulder pain anyway and I don't want to look like a faker or a wimp, so I am going to go out and throw that ball on Friday as hard as I can. And, yes, even though I am likely to make a fool of myself, I am very excited at this chance. This is a thrill for me and I guess the New York fans will get a good laugh and, maybe I will get lucky.
Thursday night I host the show from Washington, D.C. I expect to make many calls from the plane as we cross the country to see if there is a verdict in the Jackson case. Laura Ingle and Jim Hammer will "hold down the ship" while I am gone.
Here's an e-mail update from Laura Ingle at the Jackson trial:
Verdict Watch: Day Four
Peter Shaplen, our media coordinator, caused a buzz this morning when he walked out of the courthouse to tell a group of reporters, hungry for information, that the jurors have NOT asked to see anything, have NOT asked for testimony read back, but HAVE asked for coffee. Reporters who staked out the "walk-in" of the jurors, said that some of them looked dressed up. Spiffy jurors usually mean that they are ready to give a news conference after a verdict. I seem to remember the Scott Peterson jury faking us out a few times wearing shiny shoes and "Sunday best" outfits.
That's it so far for info inside the courthouse. Outside the courthouse, the circus continues. Fans are dancing, singing and praying. The "street preachers" are here, holding up Bibles and screaming to the fans, "Jesus Christ, the main guy, the big shot, the son of God, the savior of the world, said if you offend a little child its better to put a stone around your neck and throw yourself into the ocean if you offend a child sexually." Another "street preacher" has been walking through the crowd with a HUGE tall sign that reads: "homo sex is sin." This is not going over well with fans. There are many who have had some words with these people, but for the most part, everyone is behaving themselves.
Word that the Jackson family was "SUV-ing" into Santa Maria from Neverland is apparently not true. At the Jackson compound in Los Olivos, fans continue to gather, mostly after court hours, painting their signs, etc. People are still talking about the mean-spirited mow down of signs by an unidentified driver in a blue SUV yesterday. Fans apparently gave chase, but were cut off by an accomplice who blocked the road.
Reporters are camped out in beach chairs within feet of the courthouse under the shade of the few trees and the many tents that have formed the "Camp Jackson" village. Some are passing the time reading newspapers, others are comparing notes of other trials remembering how long other juries took to come back with verdicts.
As of the noon hour here on Wednesday: Jury clock: 18 hours.
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