“The Fat Lady and all that jazz…”

This was my only rain out!
This was my only rain out!

I am sitting in a Starbucks in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  I didn’t go to a baseball game yesterday, I felt out of sorts, I am at my parents home.  I am tired and feeling a bit lost.  I have a lot of people to thank who have helped me with this journey.  I have mentioned my brother Chad numerous times, he said he appreciates the thanks but it is time to get past it, thanks Chad, without you I would never have gotten this far.

I need to thank Beth Chapman and Roger Wilson, they were with me from the beginning working behind the scenes.  Roger did all the trivia and managed most of the Twitter feed, besides also compiling a list of 20,000 baseball games throughout the country.  Beth painstakingly edited most of my posts,  here is something I think most people will be surprised to learn, I have never met Beth, a friend connected us at the beginning of this trip, I plan to get meet up with her sometime to thank her in person, right now she is writing her own blog, she is a diehard St Louis Cardinal fan.  As annoying as that may be, she is a wonderful and giving person.

Mike Bruno of Bruno Independent Living Aids contributed quite a bit of money, he downplayed this to me but I was truly humbled and I thank him and his Bruno family from the bottom of my heart.   I got many donations from so many people, I was shocked and again humbled by the generosity.  Friends invited me into their homes through out the country, some I hadn’t seen in years, some I barely knew, my gratitude is immense.   I loved reminiscing of by gone years, talking about life circumstances and laughing abut missed opportunities.  I need to thank my family for supporting me, my dad for inspiring me.

I have lived my life on social media for the past nine months, I think I am addicted, I need to get away from it for awhile.  I have committed to writing a book about this experience, I need to continue with my passion and pursue other ideas I have.  I have realized if it is meant to be the stars will align, obstacles will be easily overcome and happiness achieved.   I am nervous of the life unknown at the moment, securing a job and a place to live is on my mind, I want to continue staying uncomfortable trying new things.  I have been as honest and forthright as I could possible be, insecurities and worries I have revealed, I am no longer as worried how I will be perceived but I am human and things will pop up from time to time.

I will leave it at that for now, I hear that lady singing, the song is about chapters closing, new ones beginning…

Day 222 “First World Problems…”

Lou Presutti taking time to take a picture...
Lou Presutti taking time to take a picture…

When I started this project, I said I would be honest and forthright.  At times I worried about what I had written, I exposed myself, showed my insecurities, frustrations and shared my opinions.  I, at times, felt vulnerable, people encouraged me, texted me to see if I was okay.  I have to say that when I did talk about my insecurities and vulnerabilities, I didn’t think people would perceive them as weakness or that I was depressed.  I am neither, I was just showing what I was feeling and how I was feeling from one day to the next.

I am going to write about something that has me a bit down and frustrated.  I am not looking for a sympathetic ear, because this frustration just is…  I have more gratitude and perspective than I have ever had in my life, I currently have only “first world” problems as kids are fond of saying.  My frustration is that I will not accomplish finishing this journey, the goal has always been to go to the end of the World Series, there is still a month left in the baseball season if you count the post season.  People will say nice things, tell me what I did was awesome and even inspirational.  I will be comforted by this, I will even find some acceptance.

BUT… I, recently, read about a guy that is traveling to all 195 countries in the world, do you think he will be satisfied with just 189?  What about those people who sail around the world, I don’t think they will feel the entire journey is complete if they leave a nautical mile on the table…  It is what it is, something I say all the time, life has a way of teaching you hard lessons, I might not know what it is at the moment but it currently feels like “shit”.    Lou Presutti who owns and runs Cooperstown Dreams Park talks to the losing team in the championship game every week, the kids are usually upset and have tears running down their face, what he says is a version of the following:

“I hear everybody always say, ‘Hey, it’s OK, it’s all right.’ Well, it’s not OK, and it’s not all right when you don’t achieve your goal. And right now, all that pain you have in your heart, all those tears that are coming down your faces — you’re supposed to feel that way. Because winners hurt and champions feel pain when they don’t attain their goal.”

“Anything in your life you do, if you have a goal and you don’t get to that finish line, you better feel exactly the way you feel right now. If you don’t, then change and do something else.”

These are Lou’s words, I really appreciate them right now, my goal has not been attained and it does hurt.  I can comfort myself all I want, I did put all I had into this journey, I learned a lot about the country, baseball and myself.  I have been a part of MLB Spring Training, Four Opening Days, The All Star Game, Derek Jeter Day at Yankee Stadium, College World Series, Little League World Series, American Legion World Series, Baseball Hall of Fame, interviewed numerous times on TV, featured in a bunch of newspapers, been on the radio, went to all MLB Stadiums, saw a game in all of the lower 48 states, and on Sunday have gone to a baseball game through the entire regular baseball season.

The last month hasn’t been as easy, major media outlets expressed interest in my story but didn’t pursue them, initially I just rolled with it, but it did hurt the ego a little bit, the interviews with local stations fell off, I was okay with that since that kind of the attention was never the goal but I would be lying if I didn’t enjoy all that attention when I was getting it daily.  I always assumed my novelty would get old…  I am probably feeling how the Milwaukee Brewers are feeling, the stars were aligned for them most of the season but the last month has not been kind.  Like I said I am just expressing my frustration, not looking for encouragement, just being honest and forthright, I will finish up Sunday in Milwaukee with the Brewers, we will probably be feeling the same way.

I am currently in Detroit, going to go to see the Minnesota Twins play the Tigers.  I am rooting for the Twins in this one, I want the Kansas City Royals to win the division.   Thank you for reading my blog, I appreciate you all.

 

 

Day 217 – 221 “Dickish!”

bbpicI was eyeing the cab driver suspiciously, I inched my car closer to the one in front of me.  I wasn’t going to let him cut in front of me, we were staring at each other.  A couple from the Reds game just got into his car and wanted to go to the Casino.  The car in front of me also inched closer to the car in front of him, we were on the same page.   I was annoyed by these cab drivers, seven of them are in the left turn lane and waiting for fares, the stop light is controlled by a cop and he is holding all the cars for five minutes at a time while he fans stream out of the stadium.

I positioned myself at the end of the game near the left field to make a quick exit, my car was in the parking structure across the street, it was going to be smooth for me to beat the traffic.  When Ryan Braun struck out to end the game, I darted out the gate, across the street into the structure, GPSed Cleveland as I started my car and was off, when I hit the exit, I was surprised to see a cop waving me out, I hadn’t paid for parking, what good fortune I thought, a guy gave me a free ticket to the game, I only spent a few dollars on snacks, Cincinnati was going to be cheap!

GPS told me to drive away from the stadium, I was having a great night, no crowds to deal with either, I was feeling guilty that I didn’t pay for parking, at that moment the GPS wanted me to turn right, then right again, “shit” I was headed back towards the front of the stadium!  “Karma”, I thought for not paying for parking!   Brake lights were everywhere in front of me, I was in the left hand lane which was just creeping along as the cars in the right hand lane would have bursts of movement.  I was getting frustrated by the minute.  As I reached the front of the ballpark I saw the problem, the cab drivers!  I was incensed, I only had 900 feet, a left turn and I would be on I-71 heading to Cleveland, but these “assholes” were holding everyone up.  I made a quick movement and got into the right lane, I pulled up along side one, I glared at him, he looked at his phone, the cop held up traffic for what seemed like forever, the fans seemed to walk slowly across the streets, “idiots and assholes” I was thinking.  The couple got into the cab to go to the casino…

The cabbie looked at me and knew I wasn’t going to let him in, his fare rolled down his window and asked if I would, “No” I said defiantly, “Are you kidding me!” I added.  The guy looked surprised, his girlfriend looked up from her phone also shocked by my frustration to his question.  The cabbie smirked, “Oh did you just come from the game” the guy asked, I said yes, “I have been sitting in this traffic for a half hour” I lied, the game had only been over for 15 minutes.  At that moment, I remembered all my good fortune, the free ticket and parking, “you can cut in” I told him, “wow was I a dick” I also said, his girlfriend started laughing, “I don’t know why I reacted so poorly, that was very rude of me”.  The guy said it was okay, I stated again how “dickish” I was, the light finally turned green, the cabbie darted in front of me and made it through the light as it turned yellow, I went through as it turned red, I am sure the guy behind me was cursing me for letting the cab in.

For all the enlightenment I have gained on this trip, I realize that I need to work on some little things…  Why those five minutes I lost sitting in traffic were so important to me, I will never know, I didn’t need to be to Cleveland until 7 tonight!

I don’t know why I have lost so many days, I think I have written everyday and kept track but it seems I haven’t kept up, today is Day 222, so this post is written about yesterday.

 

 

 

Day 216 “Commitment and Perseverence”

Mighty Me and a guy named Casey....
Mighty Me and a guy named Casey….

I talked about commitment and perseverance a little bit yesterday.  These two things have played heavy on my mind the last few weeks.  I personally have struggled all my life at being committed to one thing, be it a job, a relationship, or philosophy.   I admire people that can dedicate themselves to these things. I feel satisfaction that I committed myself to the upbringing of my daughter, she has turned out to be a well adjusted young lady.  I had lots of help, wasn’t perfect, but I persevered when things seemed overwhelming.  She was the one thing I couldn’t easily let go of, when she came into the world all other things didn’t seem as important, I still had the desires but they weren’t as intense, with that said when she went off to college, my desire to do what I had a passion for came back intensely.

I struggled with thoughts and commitment of one career over another, I wanted to make money, have a comfortable life, but what was really hard for me to “square” in my mind was that I had to compromise myself as a person.  With this comfort, I had to give up some of the hopes and dreams I had , I wanted to go out and explore and report what I have seen.  That is why I think I felt so discontented for such a long time, I focused on my daughters well being, making sure she didn’t miss out on things I missed out on.  I dreamed of being a leader of people, of having a well respected job in a well respected industry.  I wanted a beautiful home and family, I think most people want these things.  The problem I faced was I never knew what I wanted to commit my life too, or what I felt my purpose was.  When my father asked me last summer, “What would you do right now if you could do anything?”  I knew and I answered honestly and forthrightly.  I didn’t think about what it all meant or how I would be perceived.

After I answered, I immediately thought how child like my answer was, baseball, traveling and writing.  People would think I was crazy, immature or trying to run away from my responsibilities.  It also occurred to me that maybe, I was the one that was saying these things about me, fearful that I would actually do such a foolish thing.  It was a huge commitment, but exciting, I craved excitement, do something not many have done.  I pondered and thought about this idea for a few months, bringing it up to friends and co workers.  I got the idea on paper, got help from a friend to write it up, showed it to my family.  I was surprised by their responses and encouragement, the stars were aligning, I was going to do this, I never doubted that I couldn’t do it, I would persevere when it got tough.

I never had something happen so easily in my life, I learned by doing, the more I wrote and traveled the easier it has become, the people around the game easy to spot.  It is now coming to the end, worry has crept in, money is running low, I have committed to writing a book.  I can’t go back to who I was, I am no longer that person.  I am a writer, a person passionate about the people around the game of baseball but also a person of this world, if this wasn’t just an escape then I will have to commit myself to writing and the people around the game. Is this a silly thing to commit too?  I have friends committed to much bigger things, the planet, the poor, how do I combine my passion to all of that?

Commitment and perseverance, things I have lacked, I want the comfort of what money can buy, a nice apartment, bed, etc…  But I have been given much happiness through this game and what I have gotten to do, it would be foolish not to continue.  I have ideas, if it is meant to be, the money will come, the stars will continue to align.  I am in Cincinnati, I will be attending my 240th baseball game tonight, the Reds are playing the Brewers.  The game doesn’t mean much, both are out of the playoff race for the most part, but I will sit and watch, maybe walk around and just enjoy the energy, I will contemplate ideas for how to write the book!  This has been a journey of enlightenment…

 

Day 214 & 215 “Donkeys…”

Me, Dody and Joey!
Me, Dody and Joey!

It has been a few days since I have written!  I have been all over Florida, well Tampa and Miami.  Also a couple of days in Atlanta, right now sitting in a café in Chicago.  This is the last week of the MLB season, my consecutive game streak will end on Sunday in Milwaukee!  I hope to go to some post season games, we will see how much money I have left.  After today I will be in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, back to Chicago and the last two days in Brew City!

Tom and Me!
Tom and Me!

I been able to sleep in very comfortable beds five of the last seven days.  A friend of my Aunt and Uncle graciously invited me into her home for 4 nights, thank you Pat!  A boyhood friend called me after a Braves game and gave me a bed for the night, thank you Tom!  I also got to watch a Tampa Bay Rays game with a couple of friends from High School I haven’t seen in at least 25 years, I had a great time Dody and Joey, can’t wait to see you two at Wahsburn’s homecoming next summer.

I need to finish strong, I needed sleep and got it!  I have been thinking a lot about perseverance and commitment.  Those are a couple of words that have stuck out in my mind this week, a friend used to call me “uncommittal” regarding another aspect of my life and I gave it much thought lately.  Another friend (my queen, she will know who she is by this reference) responded to a Facebook post about something I posted regarding another friends daughters athletic prowess, I had given all the credit of her daughters athletic talent to her husband, my queen responded quickly and sternly by saying that my other friend taught her daughters perseverance.  For what ever reason that stuck with me, it was so true, my un-athletic friend was always determined and persevered.  I have more to say regarding these two things another time, but I have to say those two interactions have stuck with me and I was very grateful and happy I had them, they made me realize a couple things about my self.

I am not going to write to much to day, the driving from Atlanta to Chicago has me a little tired.  I have to say I have met some great people on this trip, I love the interaction and conversations I have had at the ball parks, but I forget to talk about the wonderful people I have met at Starbucks.  Yesterday, I had a great conversation with an amazing woman before the Braves game, we talked for two hours about many things from Donkeys to traveling in India, it is these interactions that I will miss most when this journey ends.  Everyone has a story to tell!  Thanks for reading today, I plan on finishing strong, only seven games left and I will accomplish another goal!

 

Day 212 & 213 “Scalpers”

“Don’t tell me how to run my business” the guy said after I waved him off when he told me the price of the ticket.  He wanted $30 for a $34 ticket.  “I can buy a ticket for $24 at the ticket window” I retorted and started walking away, I apparently insulted him with my offer of $20.  “No you can’t, cheapest is $32” he said defiantly, the guy was starting to get under my skin.  He was showing everyone around how much of an idiot I was, “you are a jerk” I said scornfully as I walked across the street, I was feeling goofy about the amount of attention that was draw to him and me.  His aggressive sales approach was one I hadn’t come across on this trip, “I will take the $20 for the ticket” he yelled when I reached the other side of the street, I turned and looked at him in disbelief and just yelled back “you are one arrogant asshole, I will spend the extra $4”, I didn’t like how I reacted to this guy, people were staring.

“I am sorry that you had to hear that” I said to the couple that was walking be side me, “I hate scalpers” the lady said, “I don’t mind them” I told her, “They serve a function, that guy was just being a jerk”. She didn’t know what to say, I felt uncomfortable, I decided to cross to the opposite side of street where there was another scalper, I asked him for his cheapest ticket, he said $30 for a $34, just like the other guy, I said I will give him $20, he said no, I said okay and started walking away, he immediately said $25, I kept walking he yelled $20.  I didn’t like these guys in Tampa, to aggressive and arrogant.  I knew there was $24 tickets at the window as did they, scalpers check and they hustle.  As I crossed yet another street, I saw a ticket laying on the ground in front of two guys, I picked it up and asked if it was theirs, they said it wasn’t.  It was for the game and a prime location, $79 face value.  I was laughing, my Karma was good.  One of the guys reminded me to “pay it forward”, I assured him I would.

I have learned to deal with scalpers the last couple of years.  I have never bought a fake ticket and have only felt cheated once.  Most scalpers are really “humping” before a game, buying tickets low and selling them at face value if they can.  I actually like negotiating with them, these guys know their market and the type of fan they are dealing with, most fans go to only a few games a year so scalpers will always go above or at face value initially with people, most people will buy slightly below face value, they feel they got a deal and everyone is happy.  If a scalper has good tickets for a premium game he knows what they are worth and he will usually only sell it at that price.  I paid $45 to scalper at Target Field for a Brewers-Twins game, it was face value, he had paid $20 to a fan 20 minutes before, he was nice but said he will get $45 , since it was a decent seat and a premium game.  He told me to come back if I couldn’t find one for less.  I tried and failed.

I also know that a lot of  scalpers lie, like the guy above.  While in Boston I was walking up to the ticket window and a guy was trying to sell me a ticket for $30, I said I will buy it if I can’t get a cheaper one at the window, he said he would wait for me since he knew I couldn’t, I said we have a deal then.  He didn’t think I would wait in line and check, he lied, I bought one for $20, he didn’t wait around for me.  Another time in Baltimore, there was a day-night doubleheader, I went to the first game and decided to go to the second game if I could buy a ticket from a scalper for $10 or if I could get a free one.  When the first scalper approached me I asked for his cheapest ticket, he said $24, I asked him what he had for $10, he waved me off and laughed.  I walked away, he called me back, he said I have this one you can have for $20, I told I am only willing to pay $10, he laughed again and wished me luck.  I knew my chances were slim.  I would wait around until right before game time, if I couldn’t get one, I would leave.  The scalper and his buddy walked by me a couple of times and smiled, they asked if I have found that $10 ticket yet, I told them it wasn’t looking good, they felt satisfied.

Jeter warming up!  Great free seat...
Jeter warming up! Great free seat…

About 5 minutes later and right before game time, I heard a police officer ask a guy if he needed a ticket, she had one, he didn’t need one, I walked over and said I needed one, she gave it to me.  It was a premium seat 7 rows off the field, I thanked her, looked for my scalper friends, they weren’t around, wanted to smile at them, they would have appreciated the irony.  I went to my seat, thanked the three men that gave the cop the ticket, they told me they were given the tickets also and didn’t want to waste the 4th.  It was a Yankee game and Derek Jeter was playing!  I smiled at my good fortune!

Scalpers are business people, they need to make money, I understand that some are jerks, but for the most part I have enjoyed the interaction I have had with them.  A lot of people don’t like the negotiation, I happen to enjoy it.  I had a scalper in Omaha apologize to me for being “short” with me during a transaction, I didn’t need a ticket but wanted to find out what tickets were going for on the “street”, I told him what I was doing after, we shook hands, I understand why he was frustrated with me.

Getting to the end of the journey, want to mention that I accomplished another goal last night.  I went to a game in Miami, it was the final stadium I needed to attend to  hit all 30 MLB parks, along with a game in the 48 states, I am feeling accomplished.  I don’t know what it all means but it feels good.

 

Day 211 “Comfortable and not happy…”

bbpicAs I sit at yet another Starbucks, this time in St Petersburg, Florida, I’m reflecting on the last eight months and trying to “square” in my mind that this is ending.  As much as I want to get back to some normalcy, I fear that I will fall back into being comfortable and not happy.  I know that I will find joy talking with and seeing my daughter regularly, that is a given. What I am talking about is the feeling I have of getting up and not caring that it’s a Monday or a Friday.  People will say, “Yeah, but you were living a dream.” I agree, getting to do what I have done. However, I have met many people that love getting up each morning and going to work.

I am sure Derek Jeter would continue to play baseball everyday if he could. He has more than enough money to travel, buy, and do whatever he wants.  What I have found out is that you can be very happy living with hardly anything. I have had help in this “dream” venture. Without my brother Chad, this project would have been over a few months ago. I need to make a commitment to myself, and to all that have been apart of this journey in any way, that I will continue.  I have more than enough material to write a book. If I didn’t do that I would be missing out at another opportunity to grow and overcome something I have always wanted to do. But, I have told myself that “Nobody would read it”; or, “It is too hard”; or, “What I write makes no sense”.

The EMT's in front of the scoreboard.
The EMT’s in front of the scoreboard.

I met a lady in Williamsport, who is a paramedic and was working the Little League Championship game. Her crew was on a medical cart in front of the scoreboard, they were standing on it to watch the game. When the game ended, they continued to stand and were oblivious to the crowd taking pictures. Some were grumbling that they were in the way, but no one said anything. I finally asked if they could move, she said, “Yes, of course” and they didn’t hesitate to get out of the way. The had not give much thought to their ‘position’ interfering with ‘picture taking’; and, I was probably a bit stern with her and her crew. I left the game and went to a local Starbucks, as I sat and tried to write a post that day, I thought about how “stern” I must have seemed. As I was thinking this, the paramedic came in.  I went up to her thanked her for moving, she laughed about it and we had this great conversation for the next three hours. We talked about an array of subjects like we were old friends.  I had to leave, needing to get my next stop. We exchanged numbers. And, occasionally, she has checked-in, after she has read my blog, to comment.

I bring that story up because it was her that made me finally realize that what I write, or how I write, affects people.  I am not dismissing the importance all the other people that read and have commented. I am trying to show that people have come into my life at moments when I have least expected it and conveyed a message that many others have had already; but, I didn’t quite hear. I hope she doesn’t mind, but part of text she sent to me the other day said this, “…it might say something about your character if I tell you that each blog I have read just makes me smile about how you interact with people and the world. Not to mention the things you are experiencing – it’s your take on them that is so enjoyable to read…”  That hit me, especially the word “enjoyable”, why I don’t know. Chad brings up stories that he tells people to read. My sister, Debbie, will call  laughing about something I have written and I love it. I have reread different posts at times and I tend to get caught up in the grammar, or sentence structure, etc.

My mindset has been that this will end. I need to ‘realize’ that this part of my journey will end.  I have the ability and material to continue writing. I can actually do another project concerning baseball (I already have another one in mind that doesn’t involve traveling all over the country and won’t cost very much). I will write a book about this adventure. I think I worry to much about things I can’t control, like getting it published and if people will read it.  I have to realize that the joy is in the process. Yes, I will have to get a job. Everyone needs to make money to survive; but, I don’t have to let it determine how happy I am going to be day to day. I am hitting my stride in my life and have always been a late bloomer.

I still have some goals I need to meet regarding this journey. Tomorrow, I should accomplish another one. I will be in Miami and will have gone to a game at all the MLB ball parks.  The last one is to go to a game everyday during the baseball season. The baseball season ends with the final out of the World Series. Unfortunately, I might have to settle with going to the end of the regular MLB season. It is what it is. Life is like that sometimes. Even though, I do hope I will be able to get to some of the post season games.

 

 

Days 206, 207, 208, 209 “A couple of class acts!”

I haven’t posted in a few days. It isn’t because I haven’t written, but because I spent three hours writing something up and I accidentally deleted it when I went to publish it!  I then spent an hour wanting to cry, yell, curse Microsoft and throw my laptop.  I have done this twice now on this trip.  Both times I thought what I wrote was some of my best work…

I haven’t figured out what I was suppose to learn from this yet, besides slowing down before posting anything.  I have driven a lot the last few days, going from Baltimore to Pittsburgh to Atlanta.  After tonight’s game I am heading to Tampa for two games.

The post that I lost I talked about the great experience in New York at the Mets-Nationals game I had.  I took my glove into the game, first time I did that since I caught a batting practice home run ball in Houston back in April.  I thought I would give it another try since the trip is winding down, I wanted to be a kid on this particular day.  I arrived early and I went to the left field seats, two guys were in the section were I was, near the foul pole.  There was a six foot high partition that separated another section. I felt I should have went over to that section but didn’t feel like walking up to the concourse and then back down just to move over 10 feet.

As I was debating about moving, one of the Nationals hit a ball that was coming my way. I realized it was going over my head to the upper deck. Looking up I saw glass windows of a restaurant above. I moved to the partition to see if it was going to bounce back towards me; but, the ball went out of sight. I heard it hit the window and in a flash saw it come back towards me. I extended my arm and body as far as I could until I was on my tip toes, the ball landed in my glove.  I was astonished because it was all reaction and was impressed that I could extend as far as I did. However, I knew instantly I would probably be sore in the morning since I felt it in my muscles.  The two men in my section and three guys in the other section were clapping, they said, “You made a difficult catch look easy.”

Jordan Zimmermann
Jordan Zimmermann

Since I got a ball I thought I would go to my seat in center field. Once I got to section, there was a kid waiting to get balls and he had gotten three already. He was in high school and wanted to be a sportscaster when he grew up.  There was two Nationals in center retrieving baseballs. The kid told me the name of the taller pitcher and thought the other one was Jordan Zimmermann. He wasn’t sure but wanted to yell to him to thank him for getting his fantasy team into the playoffs. I immediately said, “I know him.” I wanted to impress the kid with this knowledge.  As fast as I said that I knew him, I had to admit, “I didn’t; but, knew his sisters-in-law.” The kid wanted me to yell to Jordan. Wanting to impress this kid again, I told him I never met him; but, “Jordan did leave me tickets for two games the week before in Washington.” At that moment Jordan ran over to the fence to get a ball. The kid asked if he could have it and Jordan threw it up to him then ran back to talk to the other pitcher.

I felt goofy that I was trying to impress the kid. He inquired why I was able to travel all over. I explained what I was doing and that seemed to make the kid’s day. Again Jordan ran after a ball close by. This time I yell over to him and he came over. I told him who I was, thanked him for the tickets and he gave me a thumbs up.  The kid thanked him for doing a great job for him. He was excited that Jordan took the time.  The young man left and as I was sitting there Jordan threw a ball up to me. I thanked him and a moment later he threw another one to me, “that one is cleaner” he said. Other people wanted to know how he knew me, I told them he didn’t. It was a beautiful night for baseball and I very much felt like a kid.

That was the overview of the original story I wrote. When this trip is finished, I plan to get the entire moment on ‘paper’. The next day I went to a day-night doubleheader in Baltimore. The Yankees were in town, I was expecting two large crowds, even though, I was only going to go to the afternoon game. I was in line to get a ticket when a family came up and gave me a ticket. As always, I was very thankful. I chose to sit in the outfield where I could stretch out, I was the only one in my row of seats. In about the third inning another guy came to sit near by. I looked at him and he looked at me, we nodded. I was talking to a family in the row in front of me. I started noticing people coming up to this guy and taking a picture with him.

Brain Cashman, GM of the Yankees!
Brain Cashman, GM of the Yankees!

I now wanted to know who this guy was, and I was the “Baseball Buddha”, I was going to ask. This might be a good story.  Since he was only a couple seats away, I asked, “Why is everyone taking a picture with you?” he looked at me a little amused and said, “You would have to ask them.” I said, “Don’t give me that shit, who are you?”.  He looked at me laughed and said sheepishly, “I am the GM of the Yankees, Brian Cashman”, I was a little skeptical and I asked, “Why you would be sitting out here?” He told me that he was also a baseball fan and it is nice to get a different perspective.

I talked with Cashman for awhile about what I was doing and was going to leave him alone; but, he was asking me questions. People would interrupt to get a picture with him. In turn, I asked him all kinds of questions and he answered as best he could.  He told me some things that were fun to hear and I will leave it at that for now. I appreciated him taking the time with me and everyone who wanted a picture with him.  Some of the people were posting the pictures on Instagram and Twitter right away as I was checking while I sat with him. He was nothing but nice to everyone. However, some that had a picture weren’t very nice in their post’s. He said, “It gets old, but it is part of the job. It is hard not to be affected by what people say; but, for the most part I don’t let it get to me.”

He took a call and I went back to my seat and a half inning later he got up to leave. He came over, shook my hand and wished me well.  As he walked down the stairs, people took pictures of him. A couple people came over to inquire how I knew him, I told them, “I don’t.” I was impressed with Jordan and Brian, I don’t know either one; but, personally, I think they are “class acts”  They didn’t have to talk to me but they did. Each is living part of my dream. They are involved in baseball, which to me means happiness.

Day 205 “Getting back to normal…”

I will be unpacking all of this soon...
I will be unpacking all of this soon…

I am sitting in a Starbucks in West Haven, Connecticut.  I have been looking for jobs and apartments in Milwaukee, the reality is setting in that I have to get back to a “normal” existence.  I have to say that it will probably be more comforting when the time comes.

I will  be able to make it to the end of the regular MLB baseball season. Unfortunately, I probably will not be able to make it much further than that. I am beginning to accept that fact. It has been a good run and I have plenty or stories and memories.  I hope I am not disappointing anyone, I have just enough money to finish the regular season.  It is what it is…  I look at the bright side, I have gone to a baseball game in all the continental 48 states, by the end of next week I will have gone to each of the MLB stadiums, the College World Series, the American Legion World Series, the Little League World Series, the MLB All Star game, four Opening Days (Padres, Angels, Dodgers, Giants), I have met so many wonderful people, I have been all over the news and newspapers.

asgflagI am amazed I have gotten this far. I hope it will help on a resume…  I have gained significant insight, about the country, about baseball, and about myself.  I am very pleased that my car has been so reliable, (thank you Lexus! I also just knocked on wood), I can say that if Starbucks ever needs to know about any of their stores, they call me. I have been to more than my fair share!  I will miss my routines, even sleeping in the car, it is my home and I know where every thing is…

I am going to a game in New York City tonight, a Mets game, it is September 11th. My thoughts go to the families that lost someone on that tragic day, 13 years ago.  I have been blessed to be able to do what I have.