Tuesday, July 16, 2013

In the Clubhouse and On the Field Before the All Star Game

The All-Stars had arrived and the Kingdome became the center of the baseball universe for three days. This was not the All-Star experience of today. Keep in mind, this was 34 years ago, the spectacle of the All-Star Game would grow over the next couple of decades. There was no Home Run hitting contest, no futures games or fan-fest.

The events leading up to the contest consisted of a batting and infield practice open to the public—that's it. No television directed drama, just a simple practice. Still, 15,000 people showed up for that event. It was cool for me, because I got to shag balls in the outfield during the batting practice, alongside greats like Dave Parker, George Foster and Dave Winfield.

The media was everywhere. Strangers flooded the National League Clubhouse where my locker sat. 
The clubhouse crew with Pete Rose - The dork on the left is me
The players were all new to me and in rare form. Pete Rose acted as if he owned the joint. Steve Carlton appeared to have a couple of screws loose.

Gary Carter, the future Hall-of-Famer sat down with me and we instantly clicked. He
Gary Carter - PI staff photo by Cole Porter
asked about school and life. We talked for about a half and hour. I was amazed that this All-Star catcher would take that kind of time with me. He was one of the most positive people I've ever met. For the next couple of days, he hung out with me both in the clubhouse and on the field. I was saddened last year when Gary lost a battle against brain cancer and died at the young age of 57. I attribute at least part of my positive attitude in life to my brief time with this All-Star.

The pre-All Star events weren't without incidence. For the only time in his career, Reggie Jackson who represented the New York Yankees wore a Mariner's uniform. When Reggie hopped a private jet to Seattle for the game, he forgot his uniform. During the American League 50th All Star team picture, you can spot Reggie in a Mariner's uniform.

I was going on a couple of hours sleep as the evening's festivities wound down. I had slept at the Kingdome the past two nights and would do the same again on the Eve of the big game. Even though my role goes largely unnoticed, I was nervous about the potential of one billion people watching from around the world.

is the author of the #1 Kindle Bestselling Young Adult novel, The Card. He's also a healthcare consultant specializing in helping healthcare companies and practices develop a social media marketing platform, and maximize cash flow. You can find him posting weekly to Indies Unlimited and occasionally as a contributor on Yahoo!

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