Baseball Fan Robert Harris‘ submission to Baseballisms.com reprinted with permission. Our heroes can let us down some times, but that does not mean that they have lost the passion that burned so hot that they were compelled to pursue the game of baseball. Robert shares his encounter with one such hero, and we thank him for sending us this story …
A few years ago, I was at a fantasy baseball camp at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida. A number of retired ballplayers were there, but the biggest name of all was Pete Rose. Yes, there are some things he should not have done, but he’s still Charlie Hustle, and his passion for the game still remains.
The moment that sticks out for me was in one of the five games we played over the course of three days. I hadn’t played an actual baseball game in decades, so I was more than a little bit rusty. But I was determined to make contact as much as I could at the plate. I struck out a lot in little league, so this was my long-awaited shot at redemption.
In one of the games, I came up and made a little bit of contact, sending the ball to the second baseman for a routine putout. As I’m running back to the dugout, disappointed in myself, Pete Rose says “Good job” and gives me a fist bump. Yes, I got a fist bump from Pete Rose. It was amazing.
When I went back and sat down, I realized he wasn’t just doing that to cheer me up. The batter before me had led off the inning with a double, and by grounding out to second, I had succeeded in moving the runner over to third. I also realized that he saw the game on a level that I didn’t see. Everyone would have liked to crack a base hit through the infield to bring the run in to score. But by giving myself up (even when I wasn’t trying to), I still managed to help the team. And it is a team sport, after all.
Over the course of all my at bats (I think there were 17 in all) I only struck out once. So I accomplished what I set out to do, and had lots of fun doing it. But that fist bump will stick with me forever, especially since I understand why it happened.
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