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Thursday, September 15, 2011

People aren't always what we think they are...

I never would have believed it, but there's a mildly compelling argument that my favorite ballplayer is a major league douche.

I went to a ballgame with my brother and his wife, an awesome experience in a pretty cool ball park.  Now I'll leave out the particulars (names, places, etc.) so as to not put anyone on blast -- Lord knows I don't want to influence negative opinion on this dude, or the team -- but the people who know me best will know the whos, whats and wheres of this little story.  We went to pregame batting practice, and as my team was the visiting squad, we were fortunate enough to come in after the home team did their thing.  Players took batting practice, fielding practice, stretched and whatnot, generally giving the fans a show.  As they returned to the dugout they were showered by the screams of the fans that came to see them on the road, as well as the requests of autograph seekers.  As always with this kind of situation, some requests are more obnoxious than others and I'll be the first to admit that upon entering the ball park, my inner 12 year-old came out and I was easily one of the more obnoxious fans.  Some players stopped and acquiesced to the wishes of these autograph seekers, stopping for 20, maybe 30 minutes and signing literally hundreds of baseballs, programs, ball caps, even t-shirts.

One player in particular, my favorite, was conspicuous by his absence in the autograph session.  now of course, the more obnoxious adult fans like myself deserve to be ignored by these guys.  However, children -- actual 12 year-olds in some cases and in most cases much more tolerable than myself -- were also denied this player's attention, save for the one kid he flipped a baseball to.  He ignored them for the most part.  No signatures.  no high fives with the kids.  Nothing.  It shocks me because this sort of thing is in direct contrast with public perception, that of the very approachable, seemingly nice-guy superstar.

I don't claim to know what goes on in this man's personal life, nor do I care.  Quite frankly, the daily life of most athletes does nothing for me, and my only interest in them is in their ability to entertain me with their talents and to further the goals of the team I follow.  I don't know if he's a nice guy -- I mean, he may just be -- and honestly, that sort of thing doesn't concern me.  And it is perfectly within his right to ignore fans.  He is, after all, preparing to go to work.  It's just that I didn't expect the indifference to children.  I mean, there was one kid in particular, confined to a wheelchair with cerebral palsy, who was collecting autographs from both teams, even the scrubs.  This ballplayer walked right by him.  It didn't make me rage against the guy, but it did make me say "huh."

It doesn't change my opinion of the guy.  He's still a phenomenal talent, and I would still trade my best 24 hours for his worst.  I just don't expect him to kiss babies.

And who knows, maybe I'm just annoyed because my team lost.

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