This was it. The final residual effect from my MLB Fan Cave endeavors. Caitlin Moyer (@CMoyer) from the Brewers had sent an email out a month ago asking if I’d like to throw out the first pitch on Sunday May 5th, on Corey Hart Bobblehead Day. I quickly responded, and my excitement grew. I practiced, throwing the ball with my neighbor and with fellow Superfans. I reflected on the people who I have had the pleasure to meet along the way… I met Ricardo Marquez (@iblogbetter), the guy I predicted last year would go (almost) all the way… and yes, he’s as funny in person as he is in his YouTube videos… I met some players, including Hall of Famer George Brett (@GeorgeHBrett)… ha, he showed me how to properly apply pine tar to a bat too! I found support on all fronts… and most unexpectedly but very graciously, I met 29 new friends in Arizona. This is what was going through my mind Sunday as I was out on the field with family and friends.
I proudly wore my gold Brandon Kintzler jersey. He was decked out in the 1913 throwback jersey, looking like he was straight out of a time when ball was played hard by some of the pioneers of the game. He was going to do me a favor and be my catcher for me. Brandon and his wife Melissa shot a video back in late December/early January that I used in my initial Fan Cave submission video. It was a testimonial, saying that I am a great fan and no one deserves this more. It was only fitting to end this thing with the guy who helped it along in the beginning.
Next to him, catching for Kevin Kimmes (@kevinkimmes)(MLBFC Top52 Finalist) was another guy I consider a friend, John Axford (@JohnAxford). His performance this year has been criticized by a lot of people, and it does have an effect on him. I admit, I sent a letter to John, telling him that he’s proven everything he needs to. He’s got the stuff, just reach down, grab it, and let her rip. Basically, I still believe in him. Which I do. He came out, gave me a hug, said thanks for the letter and the support. Well Johnny, on the off-chance you read this blog, know that all the Superfans support you. It’s mid-May. You have time, get it straightened out and lets look forward!
The game itself left a lot to be desired, but I wasn’t going to let the score ruin this day. Caitlin and the Brewers provided tickets 16 rows behind the visitors’ dugout allowing me to get some great photographs! I attended with Superfan Handy Jay, and my GM Jim and his wife. Once the shade hit us, it was really great baseball conditions. Oh, and the bloody mary they serve at Miller Park truly is top notch! The Beef Stick Straw definitely makes it special. One other thing to note from the game is a small bit of player interaction. They asked some players that, if Corey Hart played on the 1913 team, what would his nickname be. Jonathan Lucroy (@JLucroy20) was up there and said it best: CONDOR!!! That’s right, after 6 years, the nickname we gave Corey finally has been recognized on the big screen and by other players. Lucroy mentioned he had seen people wearing T-shirts with that nickname. And he was right! Those are still from the original 50 shirts we had made up 5 years ago prior to Spring Training. Also, that’s the same shirt that LaTroy Hawkins (@LaTroyHawkins32) wore during BP at one of the NLCS games when we gave him one. He’s a Condor fan for life as well!
These thoughts and events are what made this arguably the best game of my life. My phone would go off every now and then with a random notification from Facebook, sometimes Twitter, usually the MLB At-Bat app letting me know the Cardinals were tacking on run after run, and I felt pretty good for all the people that had shown support. That is, until I got home and went on my computer. Apparently, Twitter was overloaded with supportive tweets, and Facebook was melted from the positive posts! I read every single one of them, from all the people in my life that took notice of me achieving one of my life-long dreams. The one that really hit home was this one:
followed by this one:
These brought tears to my eyes. Of all the games on a Sunday afternoon being displayed on that wall of TVs, of all the pro athletes doing great things on the fields across America, 9 of my friends wished me luck and watched my feeble attempt at a 4 seam fastball. Words cannot express what this means to me. This chapter could not have had a better ending than this. Keep living the dream, enjoy every moment and know that yes, anything is possible.