Once again, this year my friend Amy Blue has organized the Project Cupid Charity Date Auction to benefit the Jimmy Fund and Dana Farber. I’ve written before about Amy and the reason this cause is so dear to her. No one likes to talk about cancer, heck no one likes to think about it, but ignoring it won’t make it go away and each year since 2010, Amy goes out of her way to face it head on and share the story of her family’s tragedy and the loss of young Isaias Thomas Valentin who they lost to cancer just days before he reached his tenth birthday.
Instead of dwelling in the sorrow, as no one would have blamed her for doing, Amy decided to make something joyful out of something so painful with the date auction. This year, Amy has been fortunate enough to be able to sweeten the pot with the addition of a celebrity date. Red over at Surviving Grady got all the details first hand in his interview with said celebrity. So in her own words, here’s Heidi Watney:
…since I’m no longer in Boston, I can’t just be auctioned off and set up an open-ended date. So I gave Linda Henry a call and told her I’m trying to put together this date that’s going to be auctioned off and it’d be great if we could sweeten the pot by getting some great seats to a Sox game and without hesitation she said, no problem, you guys can have front row tickets. Then I called up the manager of Jerry’s restaurant [Remy’s Sports Bar & Grill] and told them about the date and asked if they could take care of us for dinner before the game and they said absolutely, no problem.
I’m in the process of turning my brain back on to baseball full-time. I’ve been working on a project that has me going through photos of Red Sox games from 2005 up to last season and it’s getting me excited for the 2012 season. With this frame of mind, I decided to sit down (thanks to streaming Netflix) and watch Ken Burns’ “Baseball”. (I’ve seen probably the majority of this series but not all of it and not in order.) So I turn on the Netflix and type in the word “baseball” and I get three options: I can watch “Baseball”, “Talking Baseball with Ed Randall, the Tom Selleck film “Mr. Baseball” or, most interesting to me since I hadn’t heard of it, “Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story”.
So Ken Burns got put on the back burner because there is no way I could turn away from a film with that title, right?
Along with my passion for writing I have a true love for reading. So when I’m fortunate enough to be offered free books, I jump at the opportunity! The blog has brought me many good things, including friends, and the occasionally freebie thrown my way is more exciting when it’s a book.
Recently, I received an email from a friendly writer named Jane Newcomer who asked if I would accept a free copy of her first novel called “Her Team” which is a story about a woman who wins the chance to manage the Boston Red Sox. I like to read…I especially like to read about baseball and Jane was offering the book in eBook format so I could read it on my Kindle (which is second after my MacBook on my list of material things I don’t want to have to live without). I’m terrible at writing reviews. Back in the early days of my online life, I used to write movie reviews and I could never bring myself to being truly critical of them. Same goes with most books that I read. These days, the most criticism I can give a book is that I decided to stop reading it before I was finished (I’m at a point where I find time too precious to waste reading a book that I can’t stand). So what I’ll say about “Her Team” is that I read the entire thing and enjoyed it!
It was definitely an idea I could get behind…fan wins the opportunity to manage a team for PR reasons…I once wrote a short story about a woman who became the Red Sox shortstop under similar circumstances…so it was fun to read someone else’s take on it.
So for $2.99 you can visit either Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble online and purchase the ebook “Her Story”. I’d like to point out that, apart from the free eBook, I wasn’t “paid” to write up this entry. Any time I can throw a writer a shout out, I’m happy to do it. I would like to thank Jane for reaching out and giving me something entertaining to read during this off-season!
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.
So in an effort to do things in the new year that are better for me, I’ve tried to limit my daily online time. Because of this, I was late in getting the news that Kyle Snyder has a cool new job.
The Rays announced their Minor League on-field coaching and medical training staffs for the 2012 season on Thursday.
Two new coaches are in the mix, both of whom played in the Majors Leagues: former Rays catcher Paul Hoover, who will manage the Gulf Coast League Rays (Rookie), and Kyle Snyder, who will serve as the pitching coach for Hudson Valley (Short-Season A).
While I am always sad when a player decides it’s time to stop playing, coaching in the minors seems like the perfect beginning to a new career for Kyle and I’m excited for him. The Hudson Valley Renegades will be playing a series against the Lowell Spinners (in Lowell) August 18th through the 20th. It’s been a couple of years since I hit Lowell for a game…this might be the year I get back there!
The fact that my email accounts pretty much blew up with people excited to tell me about Kyle’s job amused me greatly. Though I might sometimes get disillusioned by MLB, there are always little things that will remind me why I love it so much.
Slowly things are happening that are getting me excited for the new season. On Saturday, January 14, the New Stars for Young Stars charity event at Jillian’s in Boston will be happening with, among others, Bobby Valentine and Jarrod Saltalamacchia appearing. As I’ve mentioned before, the “special guest” at that event is Pedro Martinez. If Pedro Martinez can’t get you excited for baseball you’re either without a soul or a Yankees fan.
And while it seems ridiculous that this event yearly gets me as happy as it does, Saturday, February 11th is Truck Day. While this off-season has left me sad and full of doubt, Truck Day is, for me, like New Year’s Day. It’s the beginning of the season and it erases the previous season, reminding us that spring is coming and with a new baseball season anything can happen. This year, especially, I’ve been holding on to the idea of Truck Day being the day when I finally snap out of this funk and embrace this team I love again. It’s been a strange off-season for me. I wouldn’t say the worst I’ve experienced but definitely the strangest. I can’t remember a time when I had such conflicting feelings about the Red Sox and, really, baseball in general.
Am I the only one stuck in this ambivalent quagmire about the 2012 team?