Last week I helped plan a media event with the family that owns a local pizza chain and baseball legend Pete Rose. Not a bad day’s work. He was a real sport (See what I did there?) and answered all of the crowd’s questions, flirted with one of the reporters and smiled for hundreds of photos.
But this wasn’t the first time I had met Pete. In fact, baseball and I go back, back, back. (OK that’s enough. Sorry!)
When I was about eight or nine, the Big Red Machine rolled into our little town for a meet and greet. Hundreds of locals flooded our small town bank for a chance to meet not only Pete, but also Joe Morgan, George Foster, Sparky Anderson and Johnny Bench. For a little kid in the late 70’s, this was way cool.
I saw a lot of Reds games when I was a kid thanks to education programs that provided free tickets to elementary students with straight A’s. I was a geek like that. It helped that I also got a $1 for every A from my Grandpa!
I also remember listening over the radio (700 WLW!) to what seemed like endlessly long Reds’ games with my Grandpa on Sunday afternoons.
With two younger brothers both on baseball teams, I spent hours at the local ball fields for practices, games and those post-game suicides and soft pretzels.
When Dragon’s field opened, I was there cheering on what has become a staple for Dayton sports fans leading them to nearly 1,000 straight sold out games.
Will all that history, you would think that baseball would simply be a part of my life. But it’s not.
Here’s the truth. I hate baseball.
Maybe it’s because I was exposed to so much. Maybe it just moves…. too…. slow…. for me. Maybe I’m un-American. I’m not sure why. I just know I don’t enjoy the sport at all. With the exception of those soft pretzels with mustard.
But please don’t tell Pete.