Sunday, July 8, 2007

Well, I was born in a small town...

Oneonta, NY. I WAS born in a small town. And I grew up with an uncle who started playing semi-pro ball when he was a sophomore in high school. He was on his way to the Mets organization before he was drafted and sent to Vietnam. His pitch was in the 90s. This is how I learned to love the game. And soldiers. And corvettes. He was my male idol growing up. My mother's baby brother. He was an uncle the moment he was born.



But it was another uncle that I went to a minor league game with while I was home. Damaschke Field is home to the Oneonta Tigers. His nephew has box seats and it was just the two of us which I thought was pretty cool. Check out the view of the background in the picture where the guys are warming up in the outfield. Oneonta. City of the Hills. It lives up to its name. The Tigers are a single A team in the New York-Penn League. They played Vermont the night I was there and won 7-6 in the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs. For a minor league game, it was pretty exciting. My uncle told me he usually leaves after the 5th inning but he was glad he stayed for this one. He even asked me if I wanted to leave at the end of the 8th to beat the crowd. There were 409 fans in attendance. He's a funny guy.
My cousin, Johnny, his son, has helped coach the Oneonta State Softball program for 18 years. He also does part-time coaching at the Cooperstown All Star Village (CASV). CASV was founded in 2004 and is only open 9 weeks each year. It gives kids aged 10-12 a major league experience through week long tournaments. It is a state-of-the-art facility. And this is what he does when he's not tending duties as quartermaster for the NY State Police. The picture taken of several fields was at the CASV. Unfortunately, I had to buy a disposable camera while I was visiting and the pictures aren't real high quality.

So the big news here is "How to Snag Minor League Baseballs." I say this because Zack Hample (check out the links for Zack on the left side of my home page) wrote a book called "How to Snag Major League Baseballs." He wrote this book in 1999 while he was still in college but it is now out
of print. Zack talks about the different techniques on his blog and he has over 3000 balls collected from 42 stadiums. I just bought his most recent book "Watching Baseball Smarter." He goes to batting practices, he has a glove trick, he wears caps from both teams playing, and knows how to ask for balls in several languages, etc. Unfortunately, I don't have the benefit of his knowledge but I did have an edge. It's not that hard, Zack. At the game I attended, all we had to do was ask the trainer for a ball and it was hand delivered by one of the players to my box seat after it was hit foul of the first base line. Sweet. I coulda wrote a book...

So during a break in the action my uncle tells me about this game he went to in NY to see the Yankees. He brought his binoculars with him but set them down and forgot about them until it was too late. A few months went by and he gets this letter from Poughkeepsie. A women wrote (he had his name and address on the bincoulars) that her husband found them but wouldn't return them. She said that if he ever forgot about them that she would send them back. Incredible. Then a few more months went by and my uncle gets a call from a friend who needs binoculars. He borrows some from a neighbor and goes to visit the friend. This is when he learns that my cousin Johnny wrote the letter and had it mailed from Poughkeepsie. Now that is some funny stuff. Look out MGel and Bigun - you've got competition!



9 comments:

Di aka "Mrs Bigun" said...

Sounds like a fun time!!

Bigun said...

The title of your new book: "How to Wink and Snag More Balls (low cut blouses always help too)..." a Women's guide to Major League Baseball - glad to have you back!

Green Eyed Lady (aka GEL) said...

Di - you know the deal. Soft grass that you love walking barefoot on, cool breezes, and water that doesn't need to be conditioned! ;)

Bigun - I like the way you think!

Di aka "Mrs Bigun" said...

yes, I remember the beautiful grass and walking barefoot in it, never worrying about what i would be stepping on.
BTW, when next you chat with Bigun, ask him what he was REALLY going to suggest the title of your next book should be...lol

M-GEL said...

I'm glad you love soldiers. I'll have to thank your uncle for that.

ronna said...

Wow, you really did have a fun time visiting dad! So sorry we did not have the time to chat about it when you were here. By the way, did the dress fit!! See I am always thinking of you when I shop, lol And oh Zak must be envious of the ball you got!! cy soon

Anonymous said...

Nicely done! Sometimes, that's all it takes. Now you just need 3,100 more to catch me...

-Zack

Di aka "Mrs Bigun" said...

Zack, with that rack, it won't take GEL long to catch up with you!!
Wait. Did I just say that out loud.......

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I was able to see you while her were here visiting your dad. And you got to a game!!!
Nice truck, too! The Farmer's Wife