Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fast Cast Steps Up To The Plate






The following true tale was contributed to our community in our Mighty TDC Forums by resident and ModMin Fast Cast.

The above avatar is how he has represented himself here since the creation of this fine site a thousand years ago.

Who doesn’t love Baseball and what it means to kids growing up? We all have memories of Little League, and pro games we might have been lucky enough to see first hand.

The ballpark is much more intimate than what you see on television.

Take it away Fast Cast.




THE MAN IN BLUE



I went to Fenway on May 19 with family to see the Sox play Detroit. Great game, great company, great seats, and it was the best game ever. My brother's father-in-law got the tickets in a silent auction at a benefit fundraiser my sister held for Habitat for Humanity.

God bless the donor of those seats. We had six tickets, 4 excellent left field grandstand seats and two field box, first row on the home plate side of the third base line.

The plan was for my brother and his son, my Godson, to sit in the field box for the first three innings. His brother-in-law and nephew were taking the box for the middle three, and his father-in-law and I were taking the last three innings.

For those of you who watched, it was an excellent game. My brother gets to the seats and immediately phones us. The seats were so good he practically had to ask the bat-boy to slide over so he could see.

After three, my brother comes back with my nephew grinning ear to ear. Of course I razzed him about returning without a game ball.

Six go by, and it's my turn to sit in the seats you dream your whole life about. Big Frank looks at me, and says "let's go". I looked at my nephew, and my instincts took over. So I said to Frankie, "kid, take Poppi down and show him where the seats are."


He looked at me funny and said, "Uncle Mark, Poppi knows where the seats are." I told him again to go show Poppi where the seats were, then sit down because his Poppi should be sitting with his grandson down there.

As he looked at me like he couldn't believe his ears, I added "this time don't come back unless it's with a baseball." I gave him a wink, and sent them off. What's right is right, and Big Frank sprung for the tickets.

So he's down there loving life when Daniel Bard comes in to start the 8th and Brennan Boesch wraps a laser beam around Pesky Pole. I look at my brother and said "Here we go, watch this double dinger."

I said, "I know I shouldn't say things like that, but you know my baseball instincts and I know Miguel Cabrera's bat."

Miggy takes the second pitch over the green monster. So after four pitches, the score is now tied. But I did have a good feeling after Bard settled down and retired the next three.







After an uneventful bottom, the Dropkick Murphys come cranking over the P.A. "I'm Shipping Up To Boston", baby, and here comes Jonathan Papelbon.

In perfect form with his legendary flair for the theatrical, he loads the bases before putting down the Tigers and bringing the Sox in to hit. Now a great night for the kid starts to get better. The Sox load the bases in the bottom of the 9th. Then they blow the walk-off and a phenomenal at bat by Jed Lowrie.

After about 11 pitches, he hits a flair into shallow left that Jose Iglesias gets a horrible read on. Andy Dirks comes up throwing, a perfect strike to home for the most unlikely fielder's choice I've seen at a MLB game.

Now Carl Crawford steps to the plate, and I turn to my brother and say "this game ends right here." He delivers on the second pitch of the at bat, line drive single to right center, game over.

After all this action, in the best seats you could hope for, my nephew is watching the Sox walk-off celebration from literally 20 feet away. The kid just turned 11 and I don't think he'll ever forget this birthday.

I can see him from my seat and his entire face was just one big grin. It can't get any better than this.

Well, I guess it could.

I'm watching my nephew and here comes the plate ump leaving the field. He looks at Frankie in all his Sox gear celebrating, reaches into his ball bag, and tosses him a game ball on his way through the gate. I couldn't have scripted it any better.

We leave our seats to meet up and get to the car. We hung out for a few minutes just to take it all in. So I told the kid he was smart to take my advice about getting the ball, and asked him why it took six innings to get it.

He smiled, got really quiet, and then started talking softly to my brother. My brother is shaking his head and saying "no way, you're crazy". But Frankie looks at him, looks at me, and says "I'm doing it".

Now this is what blows me away just thinking about it. He takes two steps towards me, reaches into the glove, and says "Uncle Mark, I want you to have this. I know you don't have a ball from Fenway, and it was your seat, so it's your ball."

I'm floored, but I managed to ask "kid, why did I send you down to the field seat?"

He looks at me and answers, "because you love me, Uncle Mark."

Now I have to work quick because I don't want to lose it in front of the kid. I managed to tell him that of course I did, and don't ever forget that, but I sent him down there to come back with a ball so mission accomplished.

I told him to put the ball in his glove, and put it in a safe place when he got home where his little brother wouldn't find it and color on it or throw it through a window.

So, to make a long story short, great game, great company, great seats. And the call of the game, possibly the greatest call of his career, was made by the Man in Blue - home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom. He put more than an exclamation mark on the greatest experience I've ever had on a ball field, including 27 years as a player. At the end of the game, in one so full of magic baseball moments, he took the ball. And he closed the game in perfect fashion.




Thanks, Gary. I'll never forget it.




More importantly, neither will the kid.










LINKS



Nothing nsfw today buds, nor remotely so. This is just some fun for fun's sake.


A Day in the Life of Doug Mirabelli.




Hacks With Haggs: Did You Hear the Story About Pedroia?



Boston Red Sox Moments and Memories.

(Many of my favorite Red Sox. As a kid, I loved Fisk, Rice, and Dewey, but Yaz was my boyhood idol)





A Tribute to Ned Martin - The Voice of the Boston Red Sox




More here:


Ten cool baseball catches.








Squirrel on a rocking chair.







Kiwi bird wants to fly. Tack a few hundred trees up on the side of a cliff, and fly.






For most of the last century, pitbulls were known as “Nanny Dogs.” Gentle and loyal.





Dotta’s bud Seneca got his license to drive today.






Speaking of spinning, here’s a camera on a hoola hoop.









Thank you, Fast Cast, for sharing a great story about the essence of what it means to be an American.




It's how we rock in our finest moments.




Amen.








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