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The Comfort of the Game

Beer Vendor at Cubs Game!

As I walk into my brother’s garage the Brewers game is on the TV, my daughter is talking with her Aunt and cousins, my brother and niece’s boyfriend comment on the game, my mom hugs me tight, my dad does the same and says the Brewers are looking good, surprisingly good, he thinks they will be around .500 this year, he always thinks they will be around .500, I tell him if their pitching can hold up.

I feel relaxed, I woke at 10 am, fell asleep at 1 or 2 am, I was anxious from my thoughts.  The Dodgers were at home playing a late game against the Diamondbacks, Grienke versus Kershaw, $65 million dollar match up, Kershaw shined, Grienke not so much.  I was relieved the game was on, I needed the distraction.   My Mom tells me how much she loves me, she has a tear in her eye, I tell her I will be okay.

The TV sits up high, big screen, when purchased, it was the “biggest”, he is competitive with my other brother.  Like the radio when we were kids, the TV is used for Brewer baseball, mostly background noise until something happens, we stop watch or listen and then continue.  Brewers lose to the Cubs 11-6.

I purchased a new pro model glove from Rawlings, it was delivered when I was in the hospital, I had my daughter bring it, my sister laughed and kept laughing, it made me happy, at 50 it was my first new glove in 35 years.  I retrieve it from the car, I want to play catch.  I am patient and play with my sister, daughter and niece.

We eat, we sit, we talk, and we laugh, my brother’s big personality shines through, he makes me smile.  He has lots of Brewers memorabilia in his family room, seats and part of the outfield wall from County Stadium, his wedding invitation to Robin Yount who RSVPed but could not attend, ticket stubs.  My niece insists her boyfriend see, he is impressed.

My parents need to get on the road, my Mom gives me a big hug, my dad the same, he states, with a  grin and his trademark wink, the Brewers will be the surprise team this year.  I want to spend more time with them, I miss them, I make a mental note to check in often.  I will use Dad as a resource he has been through some of the emotional parts, besides I like his baseball banter, he likes to study the box scores, his memory is sharp.

We start to reminisce and share parts of ourselves, I look around, my oldest nieces have become women their personalities the same as when they were young, not as confident and assured, but the same, adulthood and responsibility colliding with hopes and dreams.  I look at my daughter, her smile is comforting, she has a lot of love in her heart for me, I think of her 25 years into the future, I want to be around for her and her family, I want to bring her kids to a ball game, play catch with them, see them laugh.

As we clean up and say our good byes the power of family and connection is strong, I feel it, staying in the moment and expressing the love, I kiss my daughter good bye, I tell her to drive safe, she assures me I will be okay, I chuckle to myself.  Walking to my car my youngest niece zips past me on her scooter, she looks at me and says “What?’, I tell her I love her, she smiles and continues down the road, she is seven.  As I drive away, I have a tinge of pain in my heart, it is nothing, it will take time to get back to normal.  The Dodgers play another late game, it will help me relax before bed.

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Day 77 “Models…”

Alex and Rachel
Alex and Rachel

“Okay tell me what you know about baseball?”, I heard this question from one of the attractive women sitting behind me. I had already noticed them as I walked down to my seat and I actually pointed them out to Mike, the cameraman, who was filming me. We both gave each other that knowing glance guys do when a woman’s physical beauty kind of stops us in our tracks (eye brows raised and a dumbstruck look while “mouthing” WOW).  These two were stunning to say the least, my first thought was that they were girlfriends of the players.  As I “eaves dropped” waiting for the answer, I thought this could be a fun profile, “Well I know there is nine innings, 3 strikes, and fly balls”, the other one answered. I laughed to myself and turned around to talk to Alex and Rachel, both 23 and recent college grads from UGA, is what Alex told me. I had to ask what that stood for, she looked at me kind of funny and said “Georgia”.  I was partly right about being girlfriends of some of the players, Alex stated she had friends on both teams since she had worked for the Atlanta Braves and the Gwinnett Braves in the past. One of her friends got her the tickets and she asked Rachel to come along.

I told them what I was doing, they agreed to be interviewed, they were a lot of fun from the very beginning.  Alex is a huge baseball fan, she thinks she attends over 50 games a year, “I can’t explain it, I am just obsessed with the game”, she said.  Currently she is in the Masters program at UGA for Sports Administration. Her dream job would be working as a sportscaster on the MLB Network.  She got into baseball her senior year in high school when she volunteered to be a “Diamond Darling” for the boys baseball team and fell in love with everything about it.

Rachel and Alex have been friends since their sophomore year at UGA. They met in a psychology class,  sharing “odd” glances with each other during the semester when another classmate would say and do bizarre things.  They have been hanging out ever since.  Rachel said she isn’t into sports at all, her parents tried unsuccessfully when she was growing up since they were active in sporting and outdoor activities.  Rachel said she did play soccer for awhile, she got stuck as the goalie since she was the tallest and the biggest player.  That’s right you read that right “biggest”.  Rachel went on to tell me (this is hard to believe) that she was once 210 pounds, she stands 5’8′ currently and is 132 pounds and is a “stone cold” knock out.  I was skeptical of this story and started to think that they might be putting me on.

Alex also played soccer, she said she was “okay” with a laugh.  She played all through high school. I don’t know if she was as good as Rachel was as a goalie, but she did receive scholarship offers to play at the following schools: LSU, Alabama, Princeton, Auburn, and South Carolina.  She also played on the Olympic Developmental Team for five years. Not too shabby there Alex, you were better than “okay” sister…  She didn’t play soccer in college since she tore her MCL twice but she did receive an academic scholarship to UGA saying that soccer was fun but it had run its course with her and she wanted to focus on “all things baseball”!

I inquired further about Rachel’s size and how she lost all her weight.  She said that she made a New Year’s Resolution in January of 2011 by default when she had nothing to do one day and ended up going to the gym, she felt great after.  She committed herself to eating properly and exercising regularly (5 days a week). I, for one, was impressed with the results!  Both Alex and Rachel do modeling on the side (hard to believe). Alex showed me a picture of a magazine she was on the cover of. They explained to me that a lot of the modeling they do is at conferences and trade shows.  I asked if men get out of control with their comments, Rachel said she didn’t get a lot of lewd comments, Alex on the other hand said that she did. Both said they get proposals of marriage on almost every job.  They laughed easily when we discussed certain things about those jobs. Rachel told me of a time when one intoxicated “gentleman” bet her that he was going to give her $100, she said she took that bet, unfortunately she lost when the guy gave her the $100…

I teased Rachel on her knowledge of baseball, she said it was probably her 4th game in her lifetime, a far cry from Alex and her 50 a year.  Alex has been to a few MLB stadiums around the country, Giants, Padres, Rockies and Braves.  She is very serious about becoming a sportscaster. She has a very charming and gregarious personality to go along with her stunning good looks and million dollar smile. She would be a great addition to any sports show.  As for Rachel she is working on her PHD at Georgia State in Cognitive Science, she says she loves doing the research and since she gets paid to go to school she says it is not a bad “gig” to have.  Both will continue to do modeling to supplement their income until the MLB comes calling and the PHD is finished.

I enjoyed “watching” the game with these two, for some reason it went by way to fast!  Funny how that happened!  They struck me as very intelligent and genuine individuals with a lot to offer other than their good looks.

If you enjoy this story and you would like to help me complete the “Baseball in America Tour 2014”, which is roughly 265 days, please click on the following link to see how you can help at Please share this on your Facebook page and Twitter. I appreciate all the help I can get!


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Atlanta Interview with Ron Gant

Ron Gant and me taking a selfie...
Ron Gant and me taking a selfie…

I didn’t think this story ran in the Atlanta area and it didn’t come up in any searches until yesterday. I post this because I am amazed that people like what I am doing, and that I got to meet Ron Gant, who was very nice. I have been impressed with the media that have taken an interest in the Baseball Buddha story.

Click, Atlanta Interview with Ron Gant, to view the video from the segment that appeared on Good Day Atlanta a few weeks ago. For all the non-baseball fans out there, Ron Gant played in the MLB for eight different teams over 15 years before becoming a sportscaster and host for Good Day Atlanta.

To find out more about Ron, click here. The blog post I did for that day was the popular Day 77 “Models…”.

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Day 79 “Hey Rodney!”

Eric Knox & Rodney Hines
Eric Knox & Rodney Hines

As I was sitting at the Georgia Tech game waiting for it to start I was thinking about the last couple of blog posts I had written,  Day 76 “Mr. Willie” and Day 77 “Models”.  They were on the opposite ends of the “fan” spectrum. As I was trying to pull all my thoughts together on how this game interacts with the daily life of this diverse group of people, the Georgia Tech players were in front of me warming up.  I noticed a couple of them wave and say hi to a guy behind me.  I didn’t pay much attention to it at first since I thought they were responding to his gesture.  Then, another player smiling and waving, I fully heard, “Hey Rodney”!  I, of course, turned around and had to ask this guy some questions.

“Baseball, Softball, Swim, Tennis, Basketball, Football, and that new one that they are playing,”  Rodney said.

I inquired, “New one?”

“Yeah, you know, the one like soccer but with a ball and a stick”, he looked at me inquisitively.

“LaCrosse”, I said like I knew the game well (I don’t).

“That’s it Lacrosse” Rodney said. “All the players come through the store and I  talk with them to get to know them a little bit. It’s hard to remember all their names, but it’s nice that they remember mine”.  Rodney Hines has worked at the West Side Market for the last six years on the campus of Georgia Tech.  He says he doesn’t get to see a lot of the games. But he tries to make it to warm ups, or for the last few innings after work if he can.  On this day he had his Georgia Tech baseball shirt on but only had 15 minutes to talk to me, since he had to get to work.

Rodney was a very pleasant and unassuming person, telling me he got an MIS (Management Information Systems) degree from the University of Maryland back in 1986.  He worked in IT until 9-11, but said that it was hard to get a job in that field after that tragedy.  He moved to Atlanta to help his niece get her medical practice started. When she merged with another practice, one of his fraternity brother’s niece got him his current job.

Rodney said that he loves seeing the teams be successful and feels it is important to show up for a little while so they know you care.  I was very impressed with that attitude, all I could think of was, “it takes a village”, even if you are a small part of it.  Rodney said, “I am proud of them” and quickly added, “I wish them luck in the ACC Baseball Tournament”.  As we were finishing up, #32 Freshman Eric Knox came and shook Rodney’s hand. I thought they were both were class acts.  I thanked Rodney for sharing a little bit of his story with me. He thanked me also, shook my hand and left the stadium before the game started. He didn’t want to be late for work.

If you enjoy this story and you would like to help me complete the “Baseball in America Tour 2014”, which is roughly 265 days, please click on the following link to see how you can help at Please share this on your Facebook page and Twitter. I appreciate all the help I can get!