I always felt like the players, the cards, the autographs and the stories were most important, and they are. But today, I make my first appearance on my own blog.
Friday, May 3rd was a great day for many reasons.
I didn't have to work.
I spent the day outside.
I was with Wifey all day.
I played softball to help less fortunate kids.
I rubbed elbows with bonafide big-leaguers.
Wifey's company has had a long standing relationship with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation in Aberdeen Md. Donations and sponsorships of charity events to help build youth baseball fields across the country are part of their contributions. They also built the replica Camden Yards at the facility, the crown jewel of the Aberdeen complex.
Actually, Wifey was the first to sign up, so I could play. She isn't a team sports person, but tolerates my passion for playing the game and being a part of
Before the first game we met with our celebrity manager, Bill Swaggerty. He was a member of the 1983 World Series Championship Team and played for four seasons with the Orioles. More on this Bill later. We posed for a team photo with our manager Bill and Foundation Vice Chairman Billy Ripken.
Billy Ripken spoke about the success of the foundation, their work and the contributions each donor had made, as only Billy can. He kept it light and fun as was the tenor of the day.
A random draw selected the three opponents for the day, we had a rough one. First was defending champion Kelly and Associates, followed by Wal-Mart, finishing up with 2012 runner-up Under Armour. Ouch.
No, literally ouch. While warming up the pitcher for our first game, Wifey took a ball off the knee that kept her out an inning. She toughed it out though. Kelly and Associates led by Tippy Martinez bombed us in the first game. We didn't do ourselves any favors booting the ball all over the field. We found a few runs at the end of the game, jacking two home runs out of replica Wrigley Field, Ivy and all.
Walking to National's park, we ran into Billy Ripken holding court. I made sure to bring a bunch of cards of anyone who may have been in attendance, just in case. This was a good case. Billy knew a project mamager with the company, who asked for an autograph for me.
Our final game was a loss to Under Armour that we kept close. No expectations of a championship with our team, but an unbelievable day.
Under Armour led by Chris Hoiles lost in the finals to a B.J. Surhoff managed team. Ten former big leaugers in all came out in support of the foundation including Steve Rogers of Expos lore, Mike Bielecki and former Orioles Dickie Noles and Scott McGregor.
I am that ultra-competitive guy that tends to take things too seriously, but not on this day. I was able to relax and have fun, something I rarely do when losing. The event, the day, the people and the cause were too good for me to ruin it by being that guy. Hopefully, I get asked back if they sponsor a team next year.
Oh, any guesses as to which guy I am in the team photo? If you know me, don't ruin it.