I wish I had more to say about meeting Pedro at the New Stars for Young Stars Jimmy Fund event on Saturday. I was taken by surprise when my friend Kelly O’Connor told me she wanted to bring me with her to meet Pedro; I mean he’s probably the one Boston-related sports figure I would truly go quite out of my way to meet. I’m still trying to figure out how to properly thank her.
I was as excited as I’ve ever been to have the opportunity to say “thank you” to one of the “25″ but that excitement translated into paralyzing fear once I approached him. I did squeak out my thanks and accepted HIS thanks and then watched him excitedly show his wife the photo I brought for him to sign. The person with him (his agent, manager, handler…whatever he was) seemed more interested in moving the line along than giving fans a chance to spend a moment with Pedro but he did mention that Pedro was enjoying seeing all the different photos people were bringing. Pedro told me and his wife that he hadn’t seen the photo before (I wanted to say “All I did was Google ‘Pedro Martinez Red Sox’” to him but I didn’t) and his wife used her cellphone camera to take a photo of it (in a surreal moment, Pedro went from being a baseball god to a typical husband “You need to shut off the flash before you take a picture of it, honey”). It was an amazing experience that I wouldn’t trade but it was a bit rushed and still feels like it all happened in a fog.
I also was pleased to have been able to meet Bobby Valentine. While I tend to get a little star struck, that didn’t happen with Bobby. It was like talking to someone I had known for a long time. His trademark smile was in full view the entire time we were there and he was happy to talk with anyone who wanted to hear from him. (I welcomed him to Boston and told him I was looking forward to the season “I am too!” he chirped.) Amusingly, they placed Ryan Kalish at the same table as Bobby V (which I likened to having to sit with the principal). While we were standing at their table waiting to approach Pedro, Bobby started telling Ryan about his time in MLB as a rookie. He was animatedly going on and on and it was the first time that day Kalish didn’t look like he was being tortured; he seemed genuinely enthralled with his manager’s story. It was a unique experience to get to witness that firsthand and it helped me accept Valentine just a little bit more.
A glance at the calendar reminds me that Truck Day really isn’t too far away. Saturday’s visit with the “New Stars” did a lot in making me actually start to look forward to the 2012 season.