Take your time.
Finished? Okay then.
I wanted to take you down my memory lane. Back to my very first trip to a professional baseball game.
I'll admit upfront that while I remember it as if it were yesterday, I can't remember if it was 1992 or 1993. So, forgive me for that.
Either way, my dad was in town visiting (long story short, my parents divorced when I was 7). I watched every game on tv with my grandfather. My dad knew this and decided to take me to a game.
Prior to leaving town, we went to Walmart and purchased a baseball and a Texas Rangers pen in hopes that I would be able to get an autograph or two.
The entire trip o Arlington, I remember asking "How much further?" At some point, I got the inevitable response, "If you ask again, we're going home."
After what seemed like a three-hour car ride, we finally arrived at Arlington Stadium, the first home of the Texas Rangers. Here's a look from inside the old park:
|Image from ballparksofbaseball.com|
You can't see them in this photo, but all of the outfield seats were aluminum benches. Aluminum plus Texas summer heat equals a very painful evening.
Anyway, we made our way in and immediately went to the first base dugout where the Rangers were signing autographs. Player after player came up and passed me by. Adults were in front of me and none of the players could see me. For whatever reason, my dad couldn't get them out of my way.
I started getting upset, and if I remember correctly, I almost started crying. Finally, another player walked up and began signing for fans. After about 30 seconds, I heard in a very thick Texas drawl, "Y'all step aside and let the kids up here."
And with that, the seas parted, I stepped forward and Nolan Ryan said to me, "Hey kid, how ya doin?" I was too shocked to say anything other than "Thank You" when he handed my ball back to me, shining with his signature in the sweet spot.
I don't remember anything else about that game. I don't remember who the Rangers played or if they even won the game. All I did the entire time was look at the ball in disbelief.
We left that day and my passion for collecting autographs was born. The best part is that I still have that ball:
Sure, it's faded (I didn't know the importance of pen selection back then), but it's still my favorite ball in my collection. This isn't just an autographed ball. This ball is every memory I have from the ballpark as a kid. Sure, it wasn't at every game I went to, but it was at the first game I went to.
So that's my trip down memory lane. What's yours? I hope you take a moment to post and share!