Monday, June 16, 2008

Take Me Out To The Ball Game - Part 1

I’m sorry, but TNB is officially a long winded blog. Guys and Gals, I can’t seem to figure out how to write short posts. I swear I’ll do my best to get better at it. I’ve decided to do this as a two part post so the best part will come later today:

Anyways, here goes:

I’m beginning to realize that most of my Father/Son posts will attempt to start with the following statement:

“Tonight is a night that I will never forget.”

My wife started to doubt me when I began doing something that I had never done in our 6 year history together. For no apparent reason, and with little to no warning, I started sitting cross-legged in the floor, sorting through pictures of grown men. That was 1 year ago.

1 year later, my wife is on the phone with her brother Mark, who is currently in Canada. I just overheard her relaying to Mark how grateful she is that Connor and I have something so special between us now. My son and I have always been close and I’ve always made every effort to show interest in his interests. But, it hasn’t always been easy. I can only take so much Transformers before I give out.

But, I digress. I’m proud that Lori realizes the importance of what I’m trying to show my son. I’m glad that she enjoys watching the bond grow deeper between us. I’m grateful to have such an understanding wife. But more than anything I’m glad that she’s a part of it. My wife isn’t just a spectator in our new hobby. She’s becoming more and more interested every day.

All of that being said, tonight is a night that I will never forget. On Friday the 13th, June, 2008 we attended our first big league game. Now, mind you, it was just the Mississippi Braves versus the Tennessee Smokies. But to us, we were watching Game 7 of the World Series.

I honestly can’t give you a play by play of what occurred during the game. With Connor there, it was constant bathroom and concession stand breaks. The game started at 7:05 pm but was hampered every 15 minutes by rain delays. They only stopped the action once but it was impossible to stay seated even with our massive umbrella. By the end of the game, I was utterly exhausted from traveling up and down the stairs.

As far as highlights, there were very few to speak of. There were a few great catches in the outfield and one outstanding diving catch by the Braves second baseman. Nothing truly stood out from the action on the field, though. There were some good hits, some good plays, some bad calls by the umps, and lots of rain. There were some t-shirts shot into the stands with the cannons, between innings contests, and yes, more rain. It was a baseball game.

I got what I had come for during the worst of the rain delays. The stands were almost completely empty and so I made my way towards the Smokie’s dugout. I had made sure to check their roster and pull some cards for autos out before we left the house. I found Sam Fuld’s 2007 Bowman Heritage Prospects and a Tyler Colvin TriStar PROjections rainbow foil. Both guys were outstanding about giving me some signatures.

Subsequently, I made my way towards the Braves dugout. I had a Tommy Hanson 2007 Bowman Heritage Prospects and a Quentin Davis 2008 Bowman Prospects. I never got the chance to meet them, though. Being a home game, the autograph area was overrun with kids wanting signatures. I was happy to stand back and wait for an opportunity. I glanced into the dugout and saw that there was only one player and a few of the coaches. Everyone else was in the team room.

The player was a Braves outfielder by the name of Reid Gorecki. THIS GUY IS A JERK! I swear, you would have thought he was Barry Bonds! All of the kids but two had now ran back up the stands to their parents. Two little boys, maybe 10 years old, waited patiently for him to sign their baseball. He stood in the dugout and stared at them. Finally, one of the boys called him by his jersey number. He took almost 5 minutes before he finally came to them.

I swear I’m not making this up. He snatched the kid’s ball from his hands! He didn’t even sign it. He basically drew a line across it. He made it a point to sign as far from the sweet spot as he could. He then shoved the ball back into the kids hands, snatched the other kids visor off his head and scribbled on it as well. Mr. Gorecki then slammed the visor back on his head and walked off. He never said one audible word.

DISCLAIMER: Reid Gorecki is a punk. If this guy ever makes it to the Bigs, please snub him. Any player that treats his fans, much less two young children that way, doesn’t deserve a fan following.

The highlights I want to share with the readers of TNB won’t show up on SportsCenter. They’ll never find their way into any type of record books. There are few pictures of it and no film capturing the action. They are memories that will forever be embedded in my heart and mind. If I end up with Alzheimer’s one day, these memories will still be there somehow, I know it.

I’ll have the second part completed later today. Until then…


  1. June 16, 2008 at 1:37 pm e

    Awesome! I have had the privilege of attending many minor league games over the years and I love it. It’s great to pay $8 or less per ticket and sit so close to the action. And once players that you saw in the minors become stars in the majors, you’ll always have that memory of seeing them before they were stars. Hopefully you and Connor will make some great memories at many games as he grows up.

    If you have some time, check out my attempt at starting my own blog. The link should be in my name when I leave this comment. So far I just have posts about my personal history as a collector and about Father’s Day, but it’s a start.

  2. June 16, 2008 at 2:59 pm e

    Sheesh. Thank you for the warning about Mr. Icky.