Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sidebar Story

Sitting here at The San Antonio International Airport awaiting our flight to BWI this morning, I wanted to share this sidebar story. This past Saturday morning, just a few short hours after the eye of Hurricane Ike passed through Houston, we were interviewing evacuees and accessing the damage. Totally by chance, we run across this man, my age, near 50 Years Old, that had moved his family to safety from Trinity Bay to The Hyatt in Downtown Houston.

He's wearing a University of Texas Big 12 Champions Baseball Shirt. I am wearing, of course, a Nats Cap. Honestly, I didn't notice his tee until he mentioned to me: "Are you a fan of The Washington Nationals?"

"Yeah, Big Fan, Season Ticket Holder," I replied.

"They have a young pitcher from these parts that is getting his first chance in The Majors this season. I am mighty happy for him," this man continues.

Thinking off the top of my head about our players, one name came immediately to mind: I said: "Are you talking about Garrett Mock?"

"Yes, I am a close family friend. In fact, I was one of his youth coaches and run a youth baseball facility near here. My name is Mark Tice."

Mr. Tice, my reporter and I talked for a good 20 minutes, not just about baseball, but Hurricane Ike and the impact on the entire region. It was one of those unexpected, good chats, that happen totally by being in the right place at the right time. A nice diversion from the difficult tasks at hand.

Eventually, as we were heading off to continue our television work, Mark Tice said about Garrett Mock while shaking my hand: "Good kid, strong background. He has always made me proud. I hope he makes it in The Majors."

A small tear was in his eye.

Time to go. We all said our goodbyes and headed off our separate ways.

Turning to my reporter as we headed back to our SUV, I said: "Nice sidebar story. A meeting and conversation you would never expect to have under these conditions."

Paul responded: "It's just amazing. Amazing who you, YOU, run across when we least expect it."

Back at New Nationals Park tonight for Game 2 versus The New York Mets. The African Queen called me late last night happy with Washington's 7-2 Victory in Game 1 and pleased that Elijah Dukes provided the thunder again with a three run homer. As she stated: "Just like I said last week--don't get mad, get even by hitting the ball out of the park!! He did just that tonight." Sohna was very happy for Our Number 34.

Too bad I missed Pedro Martinez pitch. He is always a sight to watch. And as we all knows, loves to throw inside. Curious to know whether Pedro did any head hunting last night?


MikeHarris said...

Great post and great timing. I was seriously about to go to your last post and ask you to please put up something, anything to let us know you were OK!
So good to know you are OK and thanks for sharing this story. Safe travels back.
Dukes' shot last night was another no doubter and he handled it the way it should be handled. You would have enjoyed it.

Keith said...

Pedro pitched a really clean game. He got behind in a lot of counts and landed in hot water. John Lannan was phenomenal. It really is too bad you weren't at this one because, as Mike just said up there ^^^, you'd have enjoyed it. Martinez can still hold a runner without even glancing at him. He got 12 opportunities to hold our guys. If anyone was pushing hitters off the plate, it was Lannan. He's easily the most exciting pitcher we've got. Mock had a brief and difficult night, but he also looks like an important piece of our future.
Safe home.

Oxhead said...

Strangely, Martinez seemed to be pitching mostly outside. There was one moment when he yelled at one of our hitters (can't remember who) for stepping out of the box just at the wind-up. Charlie and Dave wondered if the batter would get plunked on the next pitch. He didn't.

Anonymous said...

SBF/AQ - I will pop over to see you tonight and Welcome Home!

I liked the Garrett Mock story. I had a similar thing happen back in 2005 when I encountered at RFK 2 deer in the headlights so to speak.

It was an elderly couple who looked lost and overwhelmed. They were friends of John Patterson's family. They drove from Orange, Texas 3 days to see him and they didn't know how to get to him. I got the feeling John didn't even know they were coming which was confirmed to be the case. I got them inside the stadium and down to the dugout area. John was doing stretching in the outfield and we headed over to him. John lit up when he saw them. It was a great moment and John pitched a great game that night.

Chance encounters coupled with random acts of kindness like yours SBF warmed that man's heart. He probably forgot for a brief moment all of the troubles Mother Nature was causing him, his family and friends.

Anonymous said...

I believe that Willie Harris was the barkee referenced by Robert.

Great story about Mock's family friend. My husband and I always wear our Nats gear while traveling to promote the team.

Also glad to hear that you are safe and sound.

SenatorNat said...

The Nats overall batting average and power numbers are climbing steadily over the past several weeks, and with the exception of last night (where it looked like another 8th inning collapse was in the works), we are losing but looking good for 2009. That is the perfect combination, as the Mariners and Padres compete for Stephen Strasburg (Padres and Nats have each lost 93 - Mariners one behind with 92). With three games coming up v. Padres, we need to lose pretty two out of the three. It would be ridiculous to go through this year, and not sign Crowe and then lose out on Strasburg by winning one too many games...

Dukes, if we can get him on some calming medicine for the off-season, is so much the real deal that it is scary. He is Bo Jackson incarnate - BUT he recovers from injuries like he drinks vampire blood. Better than Bo, in other words. He is a 5 star player, and his energy translates to everyone on the field.

Milledge is going to be very fine player - still needs to play left on a contender: Harris would be better in center, if Nats do not add valuable free agent out there. No need to have him in center really. Acta has dismissed the notion of him leading off next year (too much power!), which is a shame, since a line-up with Milledge leading off with Guzman, Zimmerman, Johnson, Dukes, Flores, Harris, Bonifacio (Hernandez), presuming no free agents, AND HEALTH AND NO JAIL TIME, would be decent. Now - add someone really good to the middle in lieu of Johnson and/or Harris, and it becomes a good line-up, capable of finishing .500. There is no one on this team better at lead-off, and there is no harm in some power in that position.

Trust in eventuality. And losing pretty. All Good.

Anonymous said...

Trust in eventuality. And losing pretty. All Good.

11:45 AM

Amen to that. So now it is the Strasburg sweepstakes.

Remember, it is a crap shoot on pitchers in the Draft and overall. Talking about John Patterson earlier, he was a 1st round 5th overall pick for Expos in 1996 and look where he is now and then you look at Randy Johnson who was a 2nd round pick for the Expos in 1985 and has had a Hall of Fame career and Collin Balester was a 4th round pick by the Expos in 2004 and his star may shine one day.

With the arm troubles and negotiation tactics of Crow, let some other team deal with him and his antics. Maybe he will be a star and maybe he won't and as they say in baseball the only guarantees is what is written into your contract.

SenatorNat said...

Well said. Perhaps Patterson should run for Congress, a la Heath Shuler!

Trust in Capitol Hill and one mile North of where there is accountability. All American.

An Briosca Mor said...

Perhaps Mrs. Patterson - a former Miss DC - should run for Congress, a la Mrs. Palin running for city council not all that many years ago. OTOH, if John Patterson did get elected to Congress it would be interesting to see what kind of health care bills he would propose. Would hyperbaric chambers become a universal health care right?

Anonymous said...

nice story