Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Okay, for the past four years now I have been very frustrated with the Brett Favre Files. Like many other Green Bay Packers fans, I was begging for some sort of end to what we believed to be Favre’s story book career. It never came, and now we are forced to endure another season of Favre in a non-green-and-gold jersey.

Although it is very difficult to see Favre in a Vikings jersey, the legend has finally won me over again. I realize admitting this on my blog might cause Wisconsin readers to question my sanity, but please hear me out.

Brett Favre ’09 is Rocky VI. Both Favre and Rocky have heart. They’re passionate about their sports. Football and boxing are pretty much all they know and what they do best. It appears both will play and fight as long as they remain vertical. Neither age nor injuries can stop them from competing and giving it all they’ve got.

Brett Favre is not Michael Jordan, and that’s a good thing. Jordan’s retirements seemed calculated for attention and marketing purposes. Favre just doesn’t go that deep. He doesn’t think that way. Pretty much all he thinks is grab ball and chuck ball, hoping to throw more touchdown passes than interceptions to help his team win more games than they lose for a chance at the playoffs and a shot at another Super Bowl appearance.

Brett Favre is the epitome of my all-time favorite quote: “You don’t stop playing because you grow old; you grow old because you stop playing.”—George Bernard Shaw
As long as Favre continues to throw a uniform on—no matter what colors—and competitively plays the game he loves so deeply, he will remain young at heart.

Bo knows; Favre doesn’t. See, Favre doesn’t know who he is without football. Without it, he’s a starving, homeless orphan. Let the man have his football, so he can eat, drink, and be merry. You don’t have to root for him, but don’t root against him. Just watch him and respect his passion for the game.

He’s not the only sports legend who has hung on long enough to receive their AARP card. Rickey Henderson played independent minor league ball clinging to his dream of another Major League contract in his late forties. At the age of 49, Julio Franco’s exotic batting stance continued to grace Major League batters boxes. And only God knows exactly how old Satchel Paige was when he pitched his last professional baseball game. There is something magical about these men and their quests for the fountain of youth in their sports. Although we know their bodies will eventually fade, their boyhood innocence and contagious spirit is eternal.

Read the poem below and try to recall other sports legends who embody the Satchel Paige timelessness of sports? (Feel free to comment below.)

“To Satch”
by Samuel Washington Allen

Sometimes I feel like I will never stop
Just go on forever
Till one fine mornin
I'm gonna reach up and grab me a handfulla stars
Swing out my long lean leg
And whip three hot strikes burnin down the heavens
And look over at God and say
How about that!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


It’s back to school for me. Therefore, I posted the following tweets:

1) I start school Thursday. I'll be doing far less twittering; however, I'll continue to update my blog at

2) Please continue to tweet me your favorite baseball experiences. I will add them to my blog and consider using them for a future book project.

3) Also, please tweet me some of your favorite Milwaukee Brewers tidbits. I'm thinking of using them as trivia questions for a future blog post. (You can simply write the trivia question in the comment section after this post.)

4) Know that by no means is this me giving up on the Brew Crew. As crazy as it is, the kid in me still believes COUNSELL '09 WS MVP!

5) Thank you to all of you who have encouraged me with my book. I will tweet you when excerpts are posted on my blog and when the book is available.

6) Thank you all very much!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I have heard from some County Stadium Kid readers about a few experiences with players who “snubbed” them. However, it seems for the most part, people reading this blog have had great experiences with Major League Baseball players. In fact, some have mentioned how players have gone out of their way to make their fan experiences even more memorable. Read my first three blog posts and you’ll see 80 or more comments about favorite baseball experiences like:

@averygoodyear Toronto, Jays vs Sox, Big Papi rolls a ball over dugout to me - someone snatches it. He points at me, smiles, and rolls another.TatianaToronto area

(I am glad I could sneak in a little positive PR for Big Papi, especially since the recent discovery of his use of performance enhancing drugs is another bad hop to the groin for baseball.)

Baseball blogger Siobhan M, of , and I recently had an interesting discussion about “snubbing” and “autograph hounds.” She wrote a good read related to these issues on her blog that I would encourage you to check out.

I admit it has been 17 years since I chased an autograph at a ballpark, and I know how rude some fans were and how aggressive some autograph hounds were then already, and that was pre-eBay! I can only imagine what it is like today. I also wonder with all the new stadium construction if fans even enjoy the same kind of access to players entering and exiting the ballpark like I enjoyed at County Stadium.

Although I had a couple of “snubbing” experiences at County Stadium, I enjoyed hundreds of positive interactions with ballplayers, managers, and even with former Milwaukee Brewers owner and current MLB commissioner Bud Selig (He always humored me when I told him what minor league prospects deserved to be called up). These positive experiences inspired me and made me fall in love with the game even more. In fact, I recently commented on a New York baseball radio show that the few bad player experiences I had actually motivated me to work even harder as a ballplayer so that someday I could make it to the Big Show and give fans the same kind of amazing experiences I enjoyed as a kid.

My Rickey Henderson experience, as you can tell by my last blog’s title “Rickey is the Greatest, the Greatest Disappointment I Encountered at County Stadium” was like a sucker punch that knocked the wind out of me. I idolized Rickey and to be one-on-one with him for a few moments and have him not even acknowledge my existence certainly fits the definition of a “snub.” Never have I ever encountered such arrogance and contempt from a human being. After this blog post you will find my first excerpt from COUNTY STADIUM KID, a couple of pages describing the moment I met Rickey.

I hope Major League Baseball players today continue to go out of their way to make fan experiences very memorable. I agree that players do not owe fans anything extra, but when they do go above and beyond to win over fans, the energy and enthusiasm shared by those fans of all ages is contagious.

Today, President Obama gave the United States a pep talk. A quick glance through history and one will clearly see the positive force Major League Baseball has been to the spirit of the American people during difficult times. A recent example I will cite is the 2001 postseason after the 9 / 11 attacks. The documentary 9 Innings from Ground Zero captures the healing spirit that baseball sometimes provides, and I would encourage everyone to check it out.
(You can view Amazon description of film here: )

Given the current state of our economy, I am impressed that the Milwaukee Brewers are averaging 38,000 fans a game. They are already over the two million mark for the season.

Aren’t we lucky that MLB does give back, and aren’t they lucky that fans keep coming back?

Please continue to comment below about the positive baseball experiences you have had. Many people who have not left comments have twittered me how much they enjoy reading about other people’s experiences. I still feel I have another book here in which we compile some of these exciting baseball moments, so keep them coming and encourage others to do the same.

After only a few minutes, Rickey strutted out, nose in the air, wearing a T-shirt three sizes too small that displayed his brick-shaped triceps.
“Rickey,” I gasped, “I’m a huge fan!”
Rickey never flinched an inch. Although he and I were alone under the stands walking in the dark towards the light shining through a gate, Rickey didn’t even offer a glance in my direction.
“Rickey, I have ten of your rookie cards. I traded most of my good cards to get them. I’m a huge fan! Do you think I could get an autograph?”
Rickey continued to walk as if I didn’t exist. His rejection made me more desperate, and my pleas became more pathetic with every step. I knew I had only a few more seconds before we reached the light that would expose Rickey to a hundred autograph hounds.
“Rickey, you gotta sign my ball. It would mean the world to me and my dad.”
Rickey still didn’t provide a single acknowledgment of my existence, so I desperately dug deeper.
Still nothing.
Not once did Rickey even look at me, not even when I backpedaled right in front of him. Eventually, I gave up, stopped, and watched one of my heroes walk though the gate.
“Hey, Rickey!”
He never flinched.
An excited fan heard me yell “Rickey!” The fan turned to see Rickey emerge from the gate। The fan screamed louder, “It’s Rickey! Rickey Henderson!” Within seconds, the autograph hounds surrounded the legend, but Rickey walked through them all as if they were air. He ignored every fan as if they were unworthy to be on the same planet as him. He showed no emotion, other than a cocky smirk that telegraphed, “I’m better than you. Get out of my way.” As I watched Rickey walk away, I realized he was the greatest after all—the greatest disappointment I ever encountered at County Stadium.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Unfortunately, there are times in our lives when we find out some people are not who we thought they were. Sometimes those people are parents, friends, neighbors, or co-workers. What’s most disappointing is when the person who lets you down was once your hero.

I idolized many baseball players growing up, but other than Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Cecil Cooper, New York Yankees and Oakland A’s legend Rickey Henderson was my favorite.

I used to throw down some Frisbees for bases along with some of my mom’s flour for chalk lines in my backyard, and I’d steal second, third, and home over and over again with the same style and pizzazz that I saw Rickey do on TV.

At one point I traded almost all my good baseball cards away so that I could have ten Rickey Henderson Topps rookie cards.

I even fantasized about someday bumping into Rickey in the grocery store so I could challenge him to a race.

I attended over a hundred Brewers games from 1982 to 1993. Most days I went early for autographs as the players entered the stadium. My dad and I would then be the first ones in when the stadium gates opened, hoping to catch a few batting practice home run balls in the bleachers.

I sat behind Rickey in leftfield five times. Each time his conduct disappointed me. Milwaukee bleacher fans loved to taunt him chanting, “Rick-ey, Rick-ey” and he loved to give it right back. In between pitches, he would turn around and mouth obscenities to fans. Other times he would stick his middle finger up in our direction. Almost always he stuck out his butt and wiggled it in our direction as the pitch was delivered. Once in a while he would kiss his hand and smack his butt.

Because I loved the way he played the game with such confidence and tenacity, I tried to overlook his poor demeanor with the fans. However, after one game, I saw something in Rickey I could never get over.

I knew all the nooks and crannies in County Stadium from chasing autographs all those years. Most times I waited by the visiting players’ entrance as players came and went via taxi. After the game, I often waited by the orange and white barricades lined up leading to the team bus. Often times visiting players would stop and sign before they hopped on the bus. If there wasn’t an All-Star caliber player on the visiting team, I would then wait by the entrance where the Brewers’ players parked their cars. I even knew the spot where Robin Yount drove his corvette out of the stadium behind the bleachers. However, there was one spot where a few players exited every now and then, and when I was feeling lucky, I would stand there in hopes of being one-on-one with a legend. A few visiting players rented cars while in town, and when they did they exited a heavy aluminum door and left by some turnstiles near the Brewers’ door.

One day I had a feeling Rickey was going to leave that way, so I waited the whole time by that exit even though that meant I would give up any chance of getting autographs by the taxis, team bus, or Brewers door. After waiting about an hour after the game, Rickey walked out, and he could not have disappointed me any more than he did. It was like I did not even exist.

In the next day or so I am going to share my first excerpt from my book. It will be a few pages detailing my disappointing Rickey experience.

Last week Rickey Henderson was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame. Although he gave an excellent speech and came off about as humble as he possibly could, he mentioned something in his speech that I thought was rather interesting. He told a story about as a kid he tried to get Reggie Jackson’s autograph on his way into the park, but Reggie repeatedly snubbed him. In fact, one time Reggie simply handed Rickey a pen with his name on it. During the speech, Reggie covered his head in shame with his suit coat.

Hearing Rickey’s account about his experiences with Reggie Jackson made his snubbing me even more disheartening. I can’t help but wonder if Rickey knew first hand how much it hurt to be snubbed by his hero, why on earth would he do the same thing to adoring fans throughout his career?

If you’ve read my previous blog posts, you know they tend to be quite positive. However, this post I am asking you to comment below to share your experiences when players disappointed you. I am sorry but character counts with me, and I hope in some small way this exposure makes players think twice about snubbing adoring fans.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Sunday night (8/3/09) I will be doing a radio show at 10 PM ET on with Brittany Morgan. If interested in listening, go to the site and click on the show title under upcoming shows/on-air now or simply click play on the media player at the top of the page. If you click on the title, you should be able to access the show's chat room and talk with other listeners and the hosts while listening to the show. I will likely be discussing my Gary Sheffield and Rickey Henderson experiences that are described in COUNTY STADIUM KID. If you remember from my first post, I am very new to blogs and not the most tech savvy; however, I am learning as I go here. I just started a Facebook page at . If you click this link, you should have a direct link to the radio show with some more information about the program. Plus, I started a photo album on Facebook with pictures that are being considered for publication in my book. One of the pictures features me standing next to a 19 year-old Gary Sheffield in his Mercedes-Benz.Please join me on Facebook and also for the . The show should be available to listen to even after it airs in case you missed it.