Footnotes included at the end.
1) Headed out in the midst of a snow storm.
2) Night in Richmond with DeMottes
3) Headed south again
4) Long ass day of driving.
5) Dinner with Beatties in FL
6) Drinks with Dave on his couch
7) Tigers game at 1:05
8) Seats in the sun along third base. It’s March and we are watching baseball!
9) 6:05 game — Jack watching Yankees warm up
10) Learns Aaron Judge not in the game, but Didi Gregorius is.
11) Right back to work
12) Pushing for autographs.
13) Got Greg Bird, Tommy Kahnley, and Chasen Shreve.
14) Signed ball from Kyle Higashioka (who told Jack it was because he was the only kid to say “please”)
15) Game on. Watching from the grass.
14) Main event time. 7:45 AM arrival at Pirates
15) Interview with Cole Tucker (Pirates #5 prospect)
16) Interview with Austin Meadows (26th ranked prospect in entire MLB)
17) Interview with Steven Brault (starting pitcher)
18) Team building event — the players did a Chopped-esque challenge.
19) Checking out which players made the best dish.
20) Press passes gave us field access, so we took advantage.
21) Jack taking a pee in the dugout bathroom
22) Right there for batting practice.
22) Our seats for the game.
23) The master at work. (5 balls and dozens of autographs)
24) Late night driving. Family Guy clips to stay awake.
25) Long haul home. 10+ hours of driving.
26) We got home close to 11:00. Alex was not asleep. He helped us bring in our stuff and asked Jack to show him all the swag he collected. Jack said to me later: “I really missed that kid.”
27) The full road trip. 5 days. 2 Rambler stops. 3 ballparks. 2303 miles and 35 hours of road time.
Things we talked about in the car: Popularity, my mom, suicide (tragically relevant), relationship with his brother, baseball (lots and lots), future road trips, how I met Shani, times I had my heart broken, more baseball, Family Guy, hardest we’d laughed with our friends, play-by-play of my trip around the country, play-by-play of trip around the world, how we approach the future.
People we want to invite for future spring training trips: Shani’s parents, my Dad and Mary, Skinny and Spider.
Observations of a 14-year-old boy: At times he is so powerfully self-involved that he will answer someone’s questions inaudibly, not even considering whether the person can hear the response. He is open to being told to get off the screen. When he hangs back and seems disengaged, he is still paying attention deeply and will later recount the incident with vivid excitement. He deeply appreciates and loves Shani. And finally, he has a presence, a soul, something — it’s hard to describe. But it makes him an other-worldly traveling companion for a road trip. I may only feel that because he’s my son, but I feel it just the same.
And finally…I got a selfie with Ron Washington, bitches!