I am sitting at Starbucks in Salt Lake City, I am exhausted! I have been battling this head cold and have been driving a lot within the last day. I want to just skip writing this blog but I have a great story to share. At least, I think it is great!
I drove over to Reno yesterday from San Jose. I thought the trip was going to be like LA to Las Vegas, mostly desert. I was pleasantly surprised with a beautiful drive! I got near Lake Tahoe with snow on the mountains and stopped to take in the view which was a nice refreshing moment. Getting back in my car, I drove to Reno and back to warmer weather. I feel I lucked out in Reno, for the most part. I was only going for the game between the Reno Aces and the Albuquerque Isotopes. I went to the park, being 3 minutes early to the parking structure, the guy waved me in saying, “we don’t start charging until 4:30”, it was 4:27! That was $10 saved! I got a General Admission ticket for $8 and then spent the $10 I saved on a taco dinner at a place connected to the stadium. I ate at the bar, the bartender was great and very cordial. There was a lady near by also having a bite to eat. I found out she is an usher at the games. She was very nice and we talked about what I was doing. During our conversation, I found out she drives down from Tahoe to usher because she loves the people she works with.
As the gates opened, I went to the game and was very impressed with how friendly everyone was when I got into the stadium! While I walked around, I must have gotten 20 smiles and 10 “enjoy the game” from people working as ushers, security, and those in the concessions. I have to say the Reno Aces baseball club knows what hospitality is all about! I love that vendors were positioned by the gates walking in. They all had a couple of used game balls that they would give to kids at no charge, what an awesome thing! (I was one of the “kids” that got one!) The stadium was relatively new and I liked all the site lines. I was disappointed at the turn out, but was told that, “It’s a little cool and the Reno fans really start showing up in the summer when it is warmer.” I went to the customer relations office to let them know how much I appreciated the hospitality! Having Baseball Buddha’s stamp of approval is a very high honor, they could sense how important I was! (They did retweet everything I said about them, so there is that!)
I positioned myself behind home plate. An older gentleman and his wife were to my left. I overheard him say a couple things about the pitcher and one of the batters, intelligent baseball stuff. Stuff I didn’t understand, so I inquired and he explained some of the nuances of hitting and pitching that I never thought about. Things a mediocre ball player won’t pay attention to. This guy was interesting and the game was flying by. He was explaining the differences of the wood bat swing and the metal bat swing. I understood what he was saying but I felt like a baseball fraud again since I didn’t already know this stuff! I didn’t pick up on the pitching mechanics when he explained about the hips position, etc., but I definitely learned something last night. I asked him what he did for a living. He was a big guy, not fat, but tall and stocky with a Vietnam Veteran hat on and a Harley Davidson jacket. Well, he was a Major League scout for 16 years with the St. Louis Cardinals, he did that after he retired! Not only that, he was the father of Shawn Boskie who was drafted by the Chicago Cubs, 10th overall in the 1986 MLB draft! To read Shawn’s eight year MLB career stats, click here.
The game went by fast while I was talking with Dee and listening to his stories about meeting Harry Carey and Greg Maddux. We talked about the traveling youth baseball, what it takes to become a professional ball player, what scouts are looking for, especially how mature a player is and if they have it “between the ears”. I got a lot of insight on how other people watch a game. Thanks Dee!
Now, I am ending this post as I need to get a nap before I go to the Salt Lake Bees game tonight. I am beginning to feel a little bit better, but the cold is still causing me problems. However, before I close, I must add I drove about 30 miles away from Reno last night and had to turn around. I forgot my debit card at the Mexican restaurant where I ate before the game. When I got back to the stadium the place was closed, I was panicking! There were a bar that was part of the complex that was still open. I went in and talked with the manager. She was kind enough to call a few people she knew from the restaurant. One person came all the way back downtown to get my card for me! I am so thankful since I would have been stuck without it! Like I said, the Reno Aces put on a great show – and they know hospitality!
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