FORT WAYNE – Baseball has a habit of finding its way into music, art and other parts of America’s cultural fabric.
A pair of 23-year-old Fort Wayne residents are following in that tradition, each gaining recognition for incorporating the TinCaps into their work.
Andrea Hetrick began doing drawings of players this season.
Ethan Wilkins recorded the rap song Johnny TinCaps about two months ago.
The team is taking notice of their tributes.
It kind of shows what people think of us in the community, said Josh VanMeter, an Ossian native.
On Sunday, TinCaps manager Michael Collins saw one of Hetrick’s sketches for the first time. His eyes almost bugged out of his head.
That is amazing, Collins said after a long gaze.
Hetrick has no formal art training. One look at her realistic renderings, and you wouldn’t know it.
She’s definitely got talent, said pitcher Payton Baskette, one of her 11 TinCaps subjects so far.
By trade, Hetrick is a radiologic technologist for Inquest Health System.
On weekends, she goes for her tools – paper and graphite pencils – and creates lifelike illustrations.
Just my hobby, Hetrick said. I’ve always liked art. It kills time off of work.
Mallex Smith, since promoted, was the first TinCaps player Hetrick decided to depict. The positive reaction of other players made her want to draw some of them, too.
Hetrick gets the drawings signed and poses for photos with the players during Sunday autograph sessions.
She’s a little shy, VanMeter said. For her to dedicate her time to drawing sketches of us is pretty cool.
Each one takes about 10 hours to finish, spread over a couple of days.
A long time, said catcher Ryan Miller, who thought his portrait was pretty in-depth about detail.
Wilkins, an unsigned artist who goes by the name Eway, found his inspiration from watching Kenneth Paryo’s Breakin’ BBoy McCoy act at Parkview Field.
Seeing that made me think, What if we got the whole stadium that hyped?’ said Wilkins, who wrote a rough draft of the song in March and made revisions.
Its most prominent lyric is Indiana where we at, we gone put it on the map. We gone ball every day. Call us TinCaps – Johnny, Johnny TinCaps.
Miller listened to the track, which has gotten play on a local radio station and at a few local bars, and said it was pretty good.
I’m very comfortable and happy with it, said Wilkins, whose three albums are available free online at SoundCloud.
Hopefully this song will change everything. That’s the best right now I’ve got.
He never played baseball in his high school days at South Side and Snider – too busy trying to mess with my computer to make a beat, he said – but said the sport grew on him.
It took me a little while, Wilkins said. Bubble gum is the only thing more American than baseball.