First thing I did when we got there was trip over a can of coke a kid had set down on the floor. I totally didn’t see it. The adult he was with (I can’t recall the relation) did and laughed and pretty much told the kid “I told you so.” I felt pretty bad for the kid. She said it wasn’t a big deal. Enrique was there and said hi. He told me he was glad I wasn’t offended over what Matt Kemp said. He himself has three autographs from Kemp, just one shy of my “thousand”.
When we got there, there were three rows of chair set up. They had the issue of the Dodger magazine with Don Mattingly on the cover to hand out. On the back of each magazine was a big white sticker with a number on it. That was how they were going to hand out the prizes at the end.
He shared a lot of stories, some from the book “Game of My Life”. The first one (I recall) was about one of his little league games. His team was facing a pitcher, Rob Nelson
. In this game, Mark batted ninth. He joked even if they had 8 players, he still batted ninth. The game began, despite Mark’s hopes that the game would be canceled due to rain. The first eight players on Mark’s team gets up and right away gets back down. Then it was Mark’s turn and he stood in the batter’s box like a “mannequin” and was walked on four straight balls. Eight more outs later, Mark is up again. Four more balls. Eight more outs later… no he didn’t get four straight balls. He was hit by a pitch! Nelson pitched a no-hitter that day … and Mark was the only opposing player to get on base three times against him.
I won’t tell you all the stories and jokes he said, because a) I can’t remember them all and b) they’re probably in his book(s). I’ll just share one more. It’s the one my cousin Jenny remembers the most.
Have you ever heard of Roy Gleason
? Roy Gleason played in 8 games for the Dodgers and had one at-bat which he got a double. Then he was drafted to serve during the Vietnam War. He earned a Purple Heart for his time in the service. However, when he was shot in the war, he lost his World Series ring. The Dodgers did a great thing for him by surprising him with a new one after he threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
There was a time for Q&A in between the prizes. The prizes were given out randomly. He did different things like calling out numbers belonging to retired Dodgers, significant Dodgers. He also asked some trivia questions. Afterwards, people were able to purchase his book “Game of My Life” and have it signed. I didn’t have a book and didn’t buy the book, but I just wanted to say hi. While waiting to say hi, I overheard some guys talking about a picture of Jon SooHoo “throwing” out the first pitch. I made a comment like it was probably his second try that they put in there. One of them asked me if I knew SooHoo and I said yeah. Then one of them said I could be his kid! That was kinda funny.
It was a great event. Mark had a lot of things to say, stories to share, and a lot of knowledge that the average Dodger fan probably has no idea about. In attendance were his first little league coach, his kindergarten teacher, one of the former clubhouse attendants, and his biggest supporter – his mom.
Great seeing Enrique, Dee, Ernest, Theresa, and Andy there! You can read Andy’s recap of the event here at Andy’s Stadium
Sorry, no pictures from the event. I didn’t bring my camera.