I doubt anyone has a better “I met a Tigers player” story than the kid in this photo does.
This close encounter at a Starbucks is a prime example of how we can unexpectedly find ourselves in the presence of the players we best love. They are, after all, out and about in the real world like normal people.
Sometimes we expect to meet our heroes, too. Tiger Fest is an incredible way to mingle with the players, play video games with them, get photos, get our jerseys signed.
Personally, my only close encounter with meeting players happened at Kauffman Stadium in the surprisingly oppressive September heat. I, along with several other die-hards, had arrived early and clustered around the visitor’s dugout with baseballs on hand and pens at the ready. The big names came and went, most not even glancing up as fans called their names, but then I spotted a familiar ginger head.
“Phil!” I shouted.
Phil Coke, in a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, glanced over his shoulder and looked at me.
Oh, oh crap, this was my moment. What did I do? I never thought anyone would actually look at me. I held up the ball in my hand and gave him a hopeful smile. He nodded. I got his signature, and a moment later Gene Lamont appeared on the steps, so I decided to go for it.
“Gene!” The people on either side of me, many of whom were hoping for a Justin Verlander or Miguel Cabrera signature, looked at me like I was a madwoman. Gene? Who the hell was Gene? (a man next to me muttered as much). But Gene Lamont also signed my ball.
And that, friends, is how I have a Tigers ball signed by both Phil Coke and Gene Lamont. I think it will really be worth something some day.
Tell us your own ballplayer meeting stories. They don’t necessarily need to be about the Tigers, and ballplayer story will do. Head over to the FanPost section and select “New FanPost” then share your funniest, sweetest, most awkward player interaction tales.