Thursday, June 6, 2013


 A few years ago I planned to go to a game with my wife and kids to McCoy Stadium which is about 10 minutes from my home. It's home to the AAA affiliate of Boston the Pawtucket Red Sox. Scranton was in town to play against them. Jesus Montero was with the club at the time, and I was really looking forward to get a close up glimpse of the once highly touted prospect. But before I went to the ball park with the family we made a stop at a sports store. I already had my kids decked out in their Yankees gear, and I was in my Joe Dimaggio t-shirt ready to head to the game. It was obvious I was going to root on the Baby Bombers.

 I bought a ball with a Yankees logo on it, a bucket, a long roll of string, and a pen. My kids had no idea what I was doing but I told them they would see when we get to the stadium. We got their about 45 minutes early to see them take batting practice and get stretched out. We had general admission on the home side of the stadium, but I made my way to the Scranton dugout with my kids. McCoy is a very fan friendly place. For those of you that don't know, McCoy's dugouts are directly under the seats so players and fans can't see each other. I put the ball with the pen into the bucket, tied the string around the handle and lowered it to the Scranton dugout. You can say I was fishing for autographs, because as you wait you sat there waiting for the string to get tugged and you knew someone was signing the ball or any memorabilia you put in the bucket. My kids watched other kids who did the same and pretty much caught the idea as to what was going on.

I was hoping to get an autograph from anyone, but I really wanted one from Jesus Montero. My kids got up from their seat and looked down as they noticed the string to the bucket tug. I got up to look and kept saying to myself "Please be Jesus, please." I looked down and there was David Phelps looking at my son. He said hi, and my son who is real quiet smiled back and said hello. My little guy asked, ''Do you play for the New York Yankees?" Dave replied, "maybe someday," as he was signing the ball. I told him to say, "have a good game tonight." He did just that. Phelps looked at him and said "thanks" as he put the ball back into the bucket, and went to stretch out.

The look on my son's face as he watch Phelps run onto the field and into the distance was priceless to me. I said, "You just met a future Yankee player. Don't ever forget this moment." For the rest of that game, my son held onto that ball and kept it there until we went home. It now sits in a ball case but some of the ink has faded over time. I never got Jesus' autograph, but regardless the truly defining moment of this trip to the game is passing on something special to my kid and hope he can take this with him for the rest of his life. Baseball is genuine like that. You can pass on the moments to the younger generation. But, it's more gratifying when the moments are shared together.

-- Rudy Laurens, BYB Writer
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