The Definition Of A Perfect Day
I think that every now and then, we all get a day that's pretty much a "win" from top to bottom. We can probably count those kinds of days on our hands, but we're all entitled to a perfect day here and there.
Yesterday was pretty much a perfect day for me.
A co-worker who has season tickets to the New York Mets was kind enough to give me a pair to yesterday's game against my favorite team, the Milwaukee Brewers.
It was a night game following a holiday weekend, so I knew that it was going to be a little challenging time-wise, and I definitely couldn't take the next day off of work. But I went up to my father's house in Union County, and we went for it.
We got there early while the teams were still taking batting practice. My father and I were the only two people wearing Brewers gear as a small group watched from the 3rd base line.
The Brewers are a young team this year, and there aren't many big stars on the team. Most of the players on the field warming up have only been with the team for a year or two. But when 6-time All-Star Ryan Braun came out of the dugout, a crowd started to gather.
He made a point to sign every autograph and take every photo that was asked of him. He was friendly and outgoing, and spent a good deal of time making sure that everyone got what they wanted.
Say what you will about Braun and his checkered past of connections to performance enhancing drugs, but I give him credit for his friendliness with the fans. When I've seen the Brewers at Citi Field over the last few years, the boo-birds and hecklers let their voices be heard. But he went out of his way to spend time with fans that weren't even rooting for his team.
Next, my father and I headed up to the broadcast area.
I had this idea in my head that I was going to try to meet baseball broadcasting legend Bob Uecker.
Over the last few seasons, "Ueck" has only been calling games at home in Milwaukee and on nearby road trips like Chicago, so him being in New York was a rare occurrence.
Of course, security was tight.
After trying to find the press booths for the broadcasts, we came down a hallway where a burly security guard was waiting to check every single ticket to make sure that only ticket holders were able to get into the seats directly in front of the booths.
I was honest with him.
I didn't try to use my radio credentials or fib my way in. I straight up told him that I'm a life long Brewers fan and that it would make my day if I could get Bob Uecker's autograph.
At first, the security guard told us that he wasn't in the booth yet. My dad and I started to debate whether we should stick around and wait, or just give up.
As we were talking, I heard voices above me and realized that the Brewers TV team was directly behind us.
Now, I tend to pride myself on not getting star-struck when working with celebrities. I've been in broadcasting long enough that I've encountered many stars, and I make an effort to talk to them like we're all just people. But in the moment, I said one of the dumbest things that's ever come out of my mouth when Anderson and Schroeder looked down at me, and I called up, "I love you guys!".
After getting past my embarrassing blurt, they were both kind enough to sign a baseball for me. I asked if there was any chance that they could get Bob Uecker to sign it as well, and Anderson had a totally understandable answer, "sorry, I value my job too much!". I said that I understand, and thanked them for their time.
As I turned back around, the burly security guard said to us, "ok, he's there, you can go over".
My dad and I kind of looked at each other, and the guard pointed us to the window that the Hall of Fame broadcaster was set up behind.
There was Bob Uecker, only inches in front of me and behind glass.
I waved to get his attention and held up the baseball.
He started to wag his finger and was saying something, but being that there was glass between us, I had no idea if he was saying, "hey buddy, get out of here!" or "hang on just a minute".
My dad and I looked at each other, confused.
I was full on star-struck. I was light headed, dry-mouthed, and trembling.
The surly security guard walked over and said, "here, give me the ball".
I handed him the baseball and he disappeared down a hallway, only to emerge seconds later in the booth with Bob Uecker, long-time producer Kent Sommerfield, and co-host Jeff Levering. The guard handed the ball to Bob and pointed to my dad and me.
Uecker signed the ball, handed it to his co-host, and gave it back to the guard, who returned moments later and said, "you got to see him, you have to go now".
The guard was hard, serious, and no-nonsense.
But he also went out of his way to do something kind and generous that he absolutely did not have to do, and probably even isn't supposed to.
I thanked him enthusiastically and told him that he just made my day.
My dad and I then went to Citi Field's Porche Grille, got a table directly behind the glass, and watched the game while chowing down on Flushing's best.
We got home late, my team ended up losing in extra innings, and I'm both physically and mentally exhausted today.
But you know what? I wouldn't change a single thing (except maybe for my team to have taken the win!). It was literally a perfect day.
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