Day 3 was a bit less busy for me. Others had a Fox interview (the winning Trivia team), and personal interviews throughout the day. For me, I had to be on a bus on our way to Surprise Stadium at 10:15am. At first, I was bummed to go there. I have been there before when Mitch played for the Rangers, it’s kinda far out, and I don’t know anyone on either team (except for Alcides Escobar, who wouldn’t remember me most likely). I was envious of those going to Goodyear (where Manny Parra plays) and those going to Salt River Fields (where I’d maybe find Mike McClendon), but I held my tongue and went with the flow. It was a good thing I did! We got there, broke into two groups, and started shooting some MLB.com/tickets commercials. Danny (our Angels fan) knew one of the guys in Rangers camp from college, and had him be in our video which scored us mega-points! (let’s just say no one else had that) After a box lunch, we saw a legend on the field; George Brett of the Royals! Angalena (our Royals fan) was in heaven, as well as she should be. Ricardo wouldn’t spoil our surprise, but lo and behold, the legend himself was walking up the concourse towards us! Angalena went up to him first, shook his hand and then hugged him. I got some good pics of this, and will share once I get back to Milwaukee. He shook all of our hands, and it was completely and utterly amazing… The history around this man was running through my mind, and he looked my in the eye and said “nice to meet you!”
Thinking that was the best event of the day, we were informed that we were going to see how to tar a bat, as taught by Jeff Francoeur and Alex Gordon from the Royals! They were going to pick two of us to demonstrate with, and we all said Angalena had to be one of them. We made a semi-circle around them, and there were a lot of cameras and photographers present as well. They called her up, then looked at me and said, how bout we get a Brewers fan up here too, but you have to wear this. I put on a George Brett jersey, WILLINGLY, and grabbed Frenchie’s bat. Alex showed me how to apply the tar, move it around, and rosin it up. Also, we had to swing the bat so when it came around, it touched the back of the jersey. The clubbies have a rough time cleaning his jerseys! Then they started to speak of the George Brett Pine Tar incident, of which we were told not to bring up. As they were talking about it, who comes out of the dugout behind them? None other but the man himself, George Brett! He tried looking pissed, but couldn’t help but smile. I was hiding my bat a bit, but he came up to me, grabbed it, said I was doing it wrong and said put the tar up to here, and rub some dirt on it, more tar, some rosin to cover up the dirt, and then you’re golden. Then, we got a picture with him, and Alex Gordon gave me his batting gloves, I got to keep the bat and the jersey!
I had just met a legend; this man embodied baseball in the 80’s. This, this here, was what I had thought about when I told the execs that the heritage and history of the sport needs to be remembered. And I had met that heritage face to face, re-enacting one of the most infamous moments in baseball, the great Pine Tar Incident. I just brushed the face of MLB history…
And if it all ended here, I was ok with it.
But, it didn’t.
And I’m ok with that too.
With huge grins and full hearts, we headed back to the hotel. I fell asleep on the bus, drained by the excitement of the day, but kept pine tar off of most of what I was wearing. I tried taking a nap, but couldn’t sleep surprisingly, and hung out with April (Jays fan) and Mina (Rangers fan) before Mina’s interview. Up in the bar, we met up with a bunch more of us, and we waited to go to Lucky Strike for the final event. Bowling, drinks, and appetizers ended our adventure. I love this group of people. We got there a bit before 8, and was told the bar would open at exactly 8. SO what do we do? We count down from 10 to 1 like it is New Years Eve when the bar opened. 🙂 I got some pictures on my Samsung CSC, but my memory card is not functioning… Geoff will fix it when we get back to Milwaukee and recover all the pics. We had a good time, and it was coming to an end…
Then next day, I went down and had breakfast with Lindsay Beaver (Tigers fan) and headed to the lobby to catch everyone leaving. I missed the New York crew, but was able to say goodbye to most everyone, and then there was just me. I knew I had just been a part of something special, and that it changed me for the better. Every single person, from Ally (Giants fan) and her great accessories, and Hayden (Dbacks fan) and his flashy smile, to Christine (Phillies fan) with her sign and Aaron and Jeremy and their misguided love for the Dodgers (BOOM – Roasted!), everyone has touched my heart. Seeing you leave was hard; communicating on twitter/facebook/texting makes it harder.
Whatever happens, whomever is chosen, I want the other 29 to know that I will never forget who they are and what they stand for. We have actors, comedians, nurses, students, mattress store managers (me), bloggers, and journalists… and we all love baseball more than the average person can comprehend. I hope some of my readers can understand that.
As for what happened after, I went to dinner with Mitch and Ali Stetter and their family, met up with a fellow Superfan Wayne who also took me out to dinner, and have hit up two Brewers games at Maryvale (of which I couldn’t stop thinking how fun it’d be if Vanessa was there to see the A’s, and if Alex was there to see the Indians). I should find out in the next few days which of the Top 30 are going to New York; I feel there are many whom deserve this, and I hope the choices are not made in haste. I’ll let everyone know either way what will happen with me; whether it be following my childhood dream, or if I will be returning to my adult dream.
Good luck my friends. For love of the game.