It is a flat-out understatement to say that I “like” baseball. You can “like” your kitty or “like” Mountain Dew, but I LOVE baseball. It’s almost unhealthy.
I have been fortunate enough to run into a few professional baseball players in my days, and let me tell, you I had to take a moment to collect myself before saying hello. What I wanted to do was say “LAKSJEFUIAHERKJLK YOU PLAY FOR THE TIGERS! ASK ME ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR TEAM AND I’LL KNOW IT! BATTLE AVERAGES! OBPs! YOUR STARTING LINE UP! I’M A TRUE FAN NOT SOME DITZY GIRL LOOKING FOR THE 10.75 MILLION YOU MADE IN SIGNING WITH US!! KLJFOIAJFJL;KJFLJ.”
Instead, I said, “Well hi there! Can I start you off with a Miller Lite or a soda?”
I used to work in a restaurant in the Metro Detroit area back by my home town, and we’d occasionally have professional athletes playing in Detroit who came in to eat. While working there, the staff knew how much I loved baseball and the Detroit Tigers. So when we had special promos going on where players would come into dine, they’d be sure to seat them with me.
In his debut season in 2008, Matt Joyce of the Detroit Tigers came in for a quick meal before hitting the road. He was there with lots of high-strung PR people, but he himself was very low-maintenance. He stood and took pictures, signed autographs, and mingled with some fans who came up to him. He appreciated the support of the fans and spent so much time with them he had to take his food to go.
|No big deal. Just my BFF Matt.|
Another time, some of St. Louis Cardinals game in, and we had to block off the entire back section for them. No pictures allowed! Sorry to disappoint. But they were super nice. On a $250 bill they tipped $100. Thank you for realizing you make millions a year, and I–I am a full-time student working to pay off college.
My 15 minute claim to fame came in 2008 when I met then-Tiger and future-2010’s World Series MVP Edgar Renteria. He came in on a Sunday night after a day game where he hit a grand slam to win it. When Renteria sat down, my manager pulled me over and said, “Hey, Bri. Do you know who that is?!” I looked over and we both acted like little school girls! A well-established Detroit Tiger! Not a rookie or anything!
So I went over to the table, introduced myself, and we talked about baseball for a bit. Long story short, we hung out, and he was not a gentleman, and I should have known that.
No big deal. He was traded shortly after.
Buuuut my most interesting run-in with a Tiger did not happen at a restaurant. It happened at a service plaza in Ohio.
Back story: Keegan used to live in Cleveland when he was working as the PR person of Cleveland’s AHL team. Because we traveled to see each other every weekend, we decided a Tigers game in Cleveland would be fun! I had never been to Progressive Field, so we made it a date. The park was pretty nice–no Comerica Park, but nice–and we enjoyed a victory over the Indians.
|Nice job, Tigers!|
On my drive home on Sunday night, I stopped at a service plaza to grab a coffee. When I walked out to my car, I saw a giant black Escalade and the people were standing outside of the car pumping gas. My car was parked at the same pump, opposite side. When I got closer to my car, I could not BELIEVE my eyes.
Who in the ENTIRE world was standing across from me texting on his cell phone?
Holy Kit Kat bar. It’s Number 24 hitting fourth in the line up and averaging over .300 Miguel Cabrera.
One more time…while randomly stopping at a service plaza in Ohio, I bumped into MIGUEL CABRERA!!
I approached with a grin bigger than my face, and I said, “Hello! Do you happen to be Miguel Cabrera?”
He stopped on his phone and looked up. He smiled and said, “Si. Como esta?”
AHHHH HE’S TALKING TO ME IN SPANISH!! Okay. Keep it cool, girlfriend, I thought.
I explained that I’m a huge Tigers fan and I was at the game last night and I thought he was amazing blah blah. He was really nice and smiled and nodded his head, and his friend agreed to take a picture for us as well.
|This is unreal. Thank God for the camera
or I wouldn’t believe myself if I told me.
On my way I nearly cried of happiness. He was so nice and was letting other people stop and take pictures with him, too. Not at all the kind of athlete pushing fans away.
As if my love for baseball isn’t deep enough, my love for the down to earth players who appreciate their fans is even deeper.