I am never one to be all sentimental about a game, or much less a day at all the ballpark; however, an experience that myself and my from Jersey has showed me on my trip that baseball can indeed be a wonderful thing. This does not have anything to do with the play on the field, but the various wonderful people you meet at the park and you're lucky to strike up a friendship with.
On Tuesday, we were going to go to the box office and simply buy tickets as close as we could for the Cardinals/Orioles game. Well, in lieu of doing so, a friendly man offered us to complimentary tickets, and happy to have received a stroke of good luck, we said ok.
We took the ticket and to our astonishment, we ended up in the front row right near the Orioles dugout. The fellow, who gave us the tickets, Tom, is a singer from the Washington area, but resides now in Fort Lauderdale. He happened to sing a rousing version of the Star Spangled Banner and conversed with us throughout the game.
Personally, this might have been most memorable part of the trip. I'm 29, and he's very well much older than I, but aside from age, there's a lot we got to talk about including sports, the DC area and life in general. Well, he's now become a friend and we have chatted a bit since that game.
Two men, from different walks of life and generations, but have been able to become friends through one medium -- baseball.
In fact, I have met many wonderful people from Jason and Ian who become in a way close buddies from blogging and radio; the various ushers and people I have met at Camden Yards, to Oriole officials, and as well as some new professional contacts.
Keep in mind, most of the people I have met throughout baseball come from all walks of life, ages, personalities and whatever else; thus, if I didn't have baseball so ingrained in my life, I don't think I could have become friends with any of them through my travels. I spend an inordinate amount of time following this game, although I should probably be doing better things with my time; however, I would not want it any other way.
Now, in conversing with Tom, he had the pleasure of meeting a celebrity and fellow Oriole fan who we all know and love from long-running, "The Wheel of Fortune" -- Pat Sajak. He decided to tell the story and with his permission, I'm posting what he sent me...
Here's the story:
"...When I made the turn from Commercial Blvd. toward the stadium that day, I saw four spring breakers, two boys and two girls. They had just gotten off the bus and were walking toward the stadium.
I was already aware that the game was televised and sold out. They almost looked like they had spent the night on the beach. I pulled over and asked them if they were going to the game and if they had tickets. I gave them a ride into the stadium and they sat in AA as my guests. They posed for pictures with our Wheel of Fortune star.
The following day Pat Sejak returned and his son was bat boy on the field. He was very friendly and said: "Are you still here, Tom?" I was in my row where I had moved a high school coach and his wife from the bleachers with their two children. I told him that I was not only still here for the game, but had been at his show a month earlier, Wheel of Fortune Sweethearts Week in Fort Lauderdale.
After that he said to me several times from the owner's box: "Tom, you are a sweetheart, you are a sweetheart." I think that he signed more autographs that day than both teams and Earl Weaver. I have quite a few pictures of Oriole regulars posing with Pat. He has a home in Maryland and gets to the games regularly.
I took his photo with the O's hat and then he said wait take one in this other hat that Vanna gave me because she wanted to make sure that I was on the winning team. What a funny man and what a nice person."
Pat Sajak's website is at patsajak.com
(Pictures by Tom Cordle - do not use or reproduce without permission...)