Sunday, August 17, 2008

Renegades-Spinners at Fenway Park - Part 3 (Well Actually, We're in Lowell Now)

It was a fairly pleasant Sunday morning in Billerica and after a nice breakfast in the hotel, Harold and I made our way to Edward A. LeLacheur Park in downtown Lowell for game two of the three-game weekend series between the Spinners and the Renegades.

We got to the park early - in fact, so early, that we beat the Gades, including my esteemed radio partner, Sean Ford. The Spinners' staff couldn't have been nicer though. Fearing I would have to pay to park, an usher quickly took care of that, giving me a pass to park in the on-site garage. Thus we entered the ballpark and made our way to the booth, before that same usher eventually found us again. He told us where we could go to get our credentials.

Having not made them aware that we were coming (my bad) I was concerned, but not nervous. Minutes later, we emerged from the team office, credentials around our neck, held on by Spinners Lanyards!

By now, Sean and the Gades had arrived. He warned us to get to the field and soak it all in, and to get back to enjoy some of the best food in the New York-Penn League.

Harold and I walked the perimeter of the field, enjoying the famous "More Cowbell" skit from "Saturday Night Live" on the screen in left center field. Gades coach Michael Johns joined us outside of the dugout to talk about the Fenway experience.

The fact that he knew me by name is still strange and cool. I just assume nobody knows me.

For the second day in a row, I drew the duty of interviewing Joe Alvarez, which was fun, especially since I had just met his wife a few minutes earlier. Before we went to interview Joe, we noticed that some fans had begun gathering for autographs (not unusual) and it looked like one young boy had wanted to talk to me as we headed into the dugout to interview Joe (VERY unusual).

After our interview, we returned to the field to head back to the booth. We walked along the third base side to climb back into the stands. A young girl caught my eye and, sure enough, asked me for an autograph.

Let's pause here. My attitude about autographs is this: so long as you understand that I am NOBODY (other than Sean's daddy), then I'll sign. I'm a broadcaster, and not a famous one at all. I'm a very regular guy who has a really cool job (or hobby). Yet if you ask and understand this, than who am I to say no? I have a problem with refusing, especially to kids.

Harold was laughing, and wishing he had a camera. Photographer Tim Saunders walked by, giving me grief about signing. Sean Ford would also abuse me upon hearing the story later. Yet I signed the girls' free glove that they were handing out (thanks - Harold and I brought them back to our kids). I promised Nicole from Billerica that I would even say "hi" to her on the air.

She was thrilled about our whole encounter. Honest.

Guess what? She made my day also.

Life kicked me square in the arse before we hit the air, to the horror of my broadcast friends, but I pushed it aside for the call. It's usually easy to block crap out when we're on the air, and that's what I did. Tyree Hayes was amazing - a four-hit complete game shutout, and the Gades won, 4-0. Kyeong Kang homered and I even called a sacrifice fly! Some offense during my middle three! We even coerced Harold to join me at one point, much to his semi-dismay.

Before all was said and done, I wanted a picture of my good friends.
Um...thanks, Sean...

The drive home would have been uneventful, except for a wall of water (rain) that we hit on Interstate 290 in Worcester, and a wall of cars that slowed us up on the Mass Pike (Interstate 90) from Auburn to Sturbridge (Exits 10 to 9). People! Think EZ Pass! Yet we were off and running back in Connecticut, and even stopped for coffee and donuts at Tim Hortons!

Who knew a Tim Hortons had opened in the Nutmeg State? I just found out there are actually 15. Of course, none West of Plainville.


It was an amazing weekend. Sorry, nothing could ruin it (nice try though). Uh oh...I sense a Rule 55 moment coming. I'll stop.

I got to call a ballgame in a major league ballpark. I got to hang out with great, loyal friend. I got to talk baseball, and laugh, and sign an autograph. I brought gifts home to my son (OK, he didn't really like them, but he's six). I brought home more memories that will last forever.

You can get a sense for it all by looking at the pictures here.

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