Yesterday, I needed to find a baseball game during the day since a friend of a friend hooked me up with some tickets to see the Phoenix Suns play the New York Knicks. I found a high school tournament on the out skirts of Scottsdale, in the middle of no where or that is how it felt, it was at Salt River High School. The game was between Northland Prep Academy (NPA) and Bagdad High School. Northland Prep only had 11 players on the team. However, what I loved about these teams was the enthusiasm and tenacity they showed. Each team had excellent middle infielders, which impressed me. One kid, a freshman, was very small compared to his peers, but he made all the plays. I sat in the bleachers with a man, his wife and his daughter. The daughter is the wife of the coach for NPA.
I sat and talked with this family throughout the game and told them what I was doing. The man’s wife was very interesting, she was telling me about her favorite baseball teams. Coincidentally, her favorites happen to be my two favorite teams, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The funny thing is I “kinda” dismissed them initially regarding baseball since they were out in the middle of nowhere watching some smaller schools play. Call me arrogant but I sometimes think I know more than I actually do… with that said, the man I passed off as a grandpa to one of the kids on the team, since he told me that he lived in Colorado. He made occasional baseball comments but I really didn’t think to much about them. I continued to talk to his wife and she tested me on some of the Dodgers players. I reeled some off and she reeled some off. I was impressed with her, she was obviously the baseball person in the family. She stumped me, of course, when she asked, “Who replaced Steve Garvey at first base when he signed with San Diego?” Any other day I would have remembered, but I forgot. I had to ask her who and she didn’t remember. I couldn’t Google it since my reception was bad.
The man told me they lived in Wisconsin, West Allis or New Berlin, for a time back in the late 80’s through the 90’s. I told him where I grew up in Wisconsin, living in Ashland and Wauwatosa for the most part. He was very nice and listened as I told him how important I was, what I thought of Wisconsin sports, etc. I even told him about the blog I did on ASU moving their stadium. He told me he played there once back in the 70’s, I didn’t think much of the comment. I told his daughter about what we say about West Allis. I won’t repeat it since its the same thing Ashland people say about Hurley. If you want to know email me. Anyway, I was absorbed with myself, my baseball knowledge and frustrated as “all get out” I couldn’t remember who replaced Garvey. I could picture him, but couldn’t place him…
I started thinking about this family, the man said his daughter and another son were born in Milwaukee. Then he confirmed with his wife that another son was born in California “The Los Angeles connection”, I thought. He wasn’t mentioning what he did for a living, he did say something about Wyoming and playing there. Things didn’t make sense to me so I finally asked him why he moved to Milwaukee? He smiled and said, “the Brewers”. I still didn’t catch on. My thought was he worked in the office or ushering. I asked him what he did for them and he said, “I played first base for them”, in a matter-of-fact manner. I felt like such an idiot! Finally, his last name came to me. I said, “Your last name is Brock” and he said, “yes”. I couldn’t remember his first name, but it all came back to me. I remember the pressure he was under in L.A. because he was replacing Garvey. I remember reading all the hype, Greg Brock! What makes it even more frustrating is I didn’t make the Brewers connection and the 1987 season was the most memorable to me. I listened to every game, the streaks that year, winning, losing and Molitor’s hitting streak! Greg Brock’s first year with the Crew and he did great. He batted around .300 and had a great glove in the field, if my memory serves me right! Google it if you want!
They were very nice and I was very humbled. Even though, I enjoyed watching the game with them. I hope to keep the important lesson I learned in that I wouldn’t dismiss people “off handedly” again! He doesn’t know how excited I was to meet him. I don’t get as excited about the players today as I did about the ones from when I was younger. Greg Brock, thanks for playing it the way you did with me. I needed some humility and I appreciated the humility you showed. If I were you, I would have been telling me I batted .300 in the MLB, etc. You showed a lot of class and please tell your wife for me, I remembered – “You were the one that replaced Garvey!”
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