The sad plight of the baseball fan

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Growing up in Mahopac, N.Y., my first best friend was a kid named John Faitakes, who has gone on to do great things as a high school teacher.

Earlier today John e-mailed me a letter his brother Ed wrote to the local newspaper. I thought it was extremely telling, and Ed gave me the OK to run it here.

For the record, this sort of thing isn’t exclusive to the Yankees or Mets or Red Sox. It’s the nature of sports in America, where the fan is charged more and more while being allowed significantly less access than ever before. I’ve seen it gradually reach this point, and it truly stinks.

Also, I don’t think ballplayers are required by any law of decency to always sign autographs. But I am sickened every time I see these guys jog into the dugout without even glancing toward the stands—a wave, a smile, a nod, a “I can’t sign right now, but I appreciate y’all coming out.”

Anyhow, here’s Ed:

In the 1970’s I used to go to a lot of Yankee games with my dad. He loved the stadium and the Yanks. We would drive to The Bronx to visit my grandparents or aunt Mary and Uncle Bill. We’d leave the car and hop the subway to the stadium. We would usually get there early for batting practice. The thrill for a child my age was when the players would come to the wall and shake hands and sign anything the kids could throw at them. They were good guys and role models. Dad’s been gone for a while now but some of my fondest memories as a child were with him at the stadium.

Fast forward to 2007.

It’s my turn to take my son to his first Yankee game and make our own fond memories. Leo is a BIG fan. Posters hang in his wall. Pictures and baseball cards of just Yankees fill the binder he cherishes and hides in the bottom drawer in his closet. The summers are filled with Yankees this and Yankees that. He is your typical boy from NY who loves his Yanks.

So in mid May of 2007 and with Jeter jersey on Leo’s back we go to the stadium early to see batting practice and get some stuff signed like I did as a child. The car ride is spent explaining why we are going 3 hours early so we can see batting practice and meet the Yanks like I did as a kid with my dad. Oh the memories we would make today. So we park our car for the usual $20 (ok no biggie). As we walk to the stadium we dodge into the various Yankee souvenir shops to shop the goods. Entering each threshold my 7 year old son’s eyes light up with the splendor of all the Yankee Merchandise. I tell him “Today is your first Yankee game. You can get whatever you want pal (like my dad used to call me)”. Mini bat, foam finger, ball, shirt …….the list was long.

All the merch in hand we head to the gate. Leo can’t stop talking about how he can’t wait to meet Jeter, Arod, Jorge maybe even Pettitte!!! I approach the gate and hand over $350 worth of tickets. Yep. Old stadium with new stadium prices. You see I couldn’t get tickets. So I had to go to ebay where I paid top dollar to a guy with season tickets who probably wasn’t even a fan; just a business man. No biggie. We were there to meet the Yanks and get autographs!!! This is going to be the best day of my son’s life to and proudest as a dad to take my son to meet his idols and get autographs. As we enter the stadium we go right to the wall between 3rd and home. Already there are a lot of kids watching practice. They eagerly wait for Derek to come over and say hi and sign the gloves, balls, hats or Jerseys that they paid $100 dollars for at Modell’s on the way to the stadium.

With wide eyes and a huge smile on his face, the boy watches as Derek, A-rod and all the rest of his idols stretch, hit and field balls. The sun is shining, a cool breeze is blowing and these larger than life figures have popped off the television and are now right in front of this overly excited child. He is in his glory. It IS a perfect day.

It’s getting close to game time so the “Boys of Summer” start heading to the dugout. It’s time. Here they come. Sharpies at the ready, all the kids with their proud and happy dads call out to the boys as they pass by. And that’s just what they did. Pass by. Heads down careful not to make eye contact with any of these kids. The same kids whose parents, no doubt, shell out thousands a year in tickets, dogs, parking, shirts, hats, calendars, cards and all the other items that their kids feel bring them a little closer to their idols. Nothing. They pass by without so much as a wave. Jete, A-rod, all of them. Ghost into the dugout and out of site. My son turns to me and says “Dad. I thought you said I was going to meet Jeter today and get his autograph.”

My memory flashes. Was I mistaken? Did I really not shake Bucky’s hand when I was a kid? Did Graig Nettles not sign my program? I was sure they did. Of course they did. I was baffled. These are kids. These are the people that pay the $27.5 million a year that A-rod makes. Surely he can stop and at least say hi. A wave while you pass by? Nope. Nothing. Nada. My boy was so disappointed. Sulking with his head low we head to our seats which, for $175 per ticket, weren’t that good. We had a great day non-the less.

Yanks lost but Leo ate lots of popcorn, leaned on my shoulder and filled out his program as only a kids could by coloring in the bases with every hit. All in all it was a sensational day.

I wonder how I could be so naïve. After about a second of thought it hit me on the drive home. Signing autographs is big business. They can’t just GIVE those things out. They need to get paid!!! I guess the millions they make aren’t enough. I guess disappointing children and shattering their dream of meeting their idols and getting their autograph is another cost of doing business.

So here you go people.

Here is why my son’s day was a little less than perfect as illustrated in today’s Journal News.

BTW: I spent almost $700 that day. To me it was worth every penny to relive my part of my childhood through my father’s eyes. Although I am now a little less of a Yankee fan than I was at the beginning of that day.

50 thoughts on “The sad plight of the baseball fan”

  1. I bet the newspaper filed this letter in the box titled:

    “Parents who indulge the shit out of their children, make absurd promises to them based upon some unbelievably naive 1975 view of the world, and then complain about it.”

  2. Sorry, Jeff, I have a lot of issues with this story:

    * When, exactly, was this halcyon day where all the Yankees signed autographs? I’ve been going to games for 30 years, and I never saw it. My father and I even waited one time outside the stadium after the game in the 70s, and nobody signed a thing (and I saw one of the Yankees act like a real jerk, too.) The only Yankee I ever even heard who signed stuff back then was Dom Scala, the bullpen catcher. My father never promised me that the players would sign, though, so I just took it as a life lesson.

    Got plenty of autographs at Yankee Stadium when I was growing up – from the other team’s players. Not the Yankees. I’ve seen the Yankees sign autographs at away games, but not at home. Too much hassle, with so many people wanting them to sign.

    * You don’t need to spend $350 to get Yankee tickets. Heck, if you pay attention to the secondary market, you don’t even need to pay $35. Even with the new stadium, I only paid as much as face value exactly once. I’ve paid as little as $4 for tickets.

    * Since when does spending a lot on souvenirs entitle you to an autograph? Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

    * Does this father even understand how many fans are out there? If Jeter signs for this guy’s kid, then he has to sign for every other kid out there. Because if he doesn’t, there will be some dad like this one griping about how Jeter snubbed his kid, and writing a letter to his local paper.

  3. u know there are cheap bleacher tickets at yankee stadium. u dont have to take ur kid to the front rows. and fathers had these same problems 50 yrs ago when tickets were 5 bucks a piece.

  4. All that merchandise that father bought that day for his son supports the stadium and probably the players too so yes…it does matter. Since when does writing to your local paper about an experience you had or an opinion you have make you a griper….that is what the paper is for, peoples life experiences and opinions and to inform the public of happenings. I appreciate Ed’s commentary because it is VERY telling about the Athletes of today and …just a pleasant hello or wave to the kids would have made them smile. Would they love an autograph sure, but it would be much easier to explain to your child that they can’t stop because then they would feel like they had to sign every childs. Why don’t the athletes make a blanket statement to their fans, or to the kids..let them know they do appreciate them. Autographs were obviously signed back in the day….if you ask around – everyone knows someone who got autograph from a player or two back then. I think a little reminder from a fan like Ed and his fammily to the players that making fan connections is important and vital to the ball club and the sport and their careers should be expressed. Ii is a good reminder for all of us about..just how much they make $$$$ and just how little they are giving back to the fans these days! If fans don’t speak up, who knows what’s next. The players should not act like they are so untouchable. They may have an incredible talent but their fans are who make them STAR ATHLETES and Celebrities.

  5. My dad was a huge Tigers fan, having grown up around Briggs Stadium. He said one day he and his buddies were hanging round the stadium and he chased down a foul ball one of the Tigers had hit during practice. He waited until the end of the day and, as the players were filing out, ran up to Ty Cobb and said: “Mr. Cobb, will you sign this ball?” Cobb took the ball from my dad’s hand and said, “Where the f**k did you get this, kid,” and walked away with the ball. There are those who get it and those who don’t. I guess it’s always been that way.

  6. Issues with the disconnect between childhood memories and current realities aside, stories like this underscore why fans should try to support their minor league teams. From my perspective, it seems those players are more accessible to fans young and old.

    Perhaps the author ought to ponder this, instead of accidentally filling his kid’s head with false hopes and expectations of Jeter time.

    Support the minor leagues. Some of those guys may make it to the big show some day.

  7. I have found, like other posters have pointed out, that taking my son when he was young boy, to the local AAA minor league game really helped him “connect” with the game and it’s players. When he was 8, 9 or 10 years old, my son would get all the autographs he ever wanted from both home and away players. Some even stopped to ask him if he played baseball and what position he played. To this day now that he is 16 years old, he and I still attend the AAA games quite regularly. We’ve found that as much as we disagree about music, hair length, clothes, etc… we still connect at the minor league games as much as we would at any MLB game. If you want to really give your kid a “feel” for what it used to be like, take him to the local ball park and take in a minor league game.

  8. Boo fucking hoo. People who write and talk like this make me absolutely sick.

    Guess what, the reason why ticket prices are so high and athletes don’t sign autographs are pretty much the fault of this guy and his generation.

    When this guy was a kid baseball and sports weren’t a gigantic business. It was a frivolity that people used to escape their day-to-day lives for a few hours.

    Somewhere along the line, society made a choice to elevate sports to a plateau where sports absolutely matters.

    It probably has something to do with boomers not wanting to grow up, but whatever the genie is out of the bottle on that one.

    As far as not getting an autograph its because it’s a business now too. A lot of ballplayers do sign (I’ve seen it a million times) but there are always a group of middle-aged men who want to take those autographs and sell them. They ruined it for everyone and it’s really not the athletes’ fault.

    And to sum up, there were assholes when we kids and there are assholes now. The only thing that changed is that some people forget and think that their childhood was a Norman Rockwell painting and now we live in world painted by Salvador Dali.

    Neither is true.

  9. Wow …to people like this I would say you need to get a happier life . My suspicion is you are probably not an athlete, probably someone who hated sports or were never good at them. Maybe his childhood was like a Norman Rockwell painting, I know mine was. Yours obviously wasn’t because you seem like the reality of a wonderful childhood like that just isn’t a reality you can believe to be true. Wow, I find that sad.

    It is a business, and we pay their salary. It is easy to say shame on us I guess, but still without us going to their games, watching them on television, ordering their tickets, they have nothing, just their talent. You make no real point except that people elevating sports is our own fault. So what? that means no more autographs, no more reasonable prices for a descent seat, no more freebies for just being a fan? I guess not. It has nothing to do with Boomers not wanting to grow up, it has to do with fans not speaking up more like this and letting it be known it is crappy!! Throw out a few signed hats to the kids, or bball cards, I don’t think it will break their bank…sign them before hand and toss them out….I don’t think it is rocket science.

  10. Ed, you say now “I don’t make false promises (no where in my story did I say I “promised”). But this is what you originally wrote:

    “So in mid May of 2007 and with Jeter jersey on Leo’s back we go to the stadium early to see batting practice and get some stuff signed like I did as a child.”….

    “. Leo can’t stop talking about how he can’t wait to meet Jeter, Arod, Jorge maybe even Pettitte!!!”…

    “My son turns to me and says “Dad. I thought you said I was going to meet Jeter today and get his autograph.”

    No, you didn’t technically use the word “promised,” but it sure sounds like that’s what you did.

  11. Lisa,
    He was a seven year old boy at the time. I was a naive fahter who wants nothing but happiness for his kid. I truly thought it would be as it was when I was a kid. And by meeting Jeter we never thought we would be able to hang out with him but him saying hi and being within 10 feet was good enough for the boy. Do I take part of the blame? Sure I do. Was it a great day anyway. Yep. Any day with my son or daughter is a perfect day.

  12. Well said Ed…My comments were to Byron..nothing personal , just thought you sounded a bit bitter about sports and maybe even parents of children who like sports and like their children enough to make them have a special day. …in general.

    Ed – Your lesson was a lesson to many of us.

  13. jeff, you made the mistake of not changing the team from yankees to something like… the red sox. if you had changed every “yankee” for “red sox,” then everyone on here ripping the writer would probably be agreeing with you and him.

    just like how everybody loves arod now since the yanks won the ws.

  14. “My comments were to Byron..nothing personal , just thought you sounded a bit bitter about sports and maybe even parents of children who like sports and like their children enough to make them have a special day. …in general.”

    I’m not bitter, I had a great childhood and while I’m not going to spout off the resume of why my childhood was so great, let’s agree that it was pretty good for me.

    The problem I have with the story is that Ed’s kid seemed to have a great day. He didn’t cry, he watched the ball game, ate some popcorn, doodled in the scorecard and went home.

    The person who seemed to have a bad day is Ed, who was upset that people he doesn’t know take time out for HIM.

    This piece is not really about his kid — oh, he’ll say it’s for his kid, but the underlying message of this story is that HE was disappointed that HE couldn’t have the same experience that he did 20+ years ago.

    The reason why he can’t have the same experience is because he’s not seven-years-old. Look at his story its riddled with stuff that I’m sure Ed’s old man had to deal with (prices of souvenirs, parking, tickets, etc) but didn’t complain about (at least to our knowledge).

    And Ed is doubly pissed that a bunch of people (who really are at their job and need time to prepare) didn’t single Ed and his child out to scribble their name on a hat or a ball. There are 55,000 people in Yankee Stadium, if even half wanted an autograph from one of the 24-man roster, that would be about 1,000 autographs per man before the game.

    Does that sound reasonable?

    And no player signed any autographs before the game? I’m not calling Ed a liar, it might be true, I wasn’t there, but I’ve been to 100+ baseball games in my life I can’t remember one where not one player signed at least one autograph.

    Yeah, maybe I got a Jody Reed instead of a Jim Rice, but those are the breaks.

    Call me bitter, cynical or whatever you want, but a baseball player’s job is to play baseball. Sometimes this means that despite the promises of a father, your little boy isn’t going to get a signature, but you shouldn’t promise things that you can’t deliver.

    I don’t feel bad for Ed’s son because it sounds like he had a great day. And I certainly don’t feel bad for Ed, because he wasn’t made to feel special.

    I quote myself, “Boo-fucking-hoo”

  15. “People who are single and have no kids don’t get it.”

    I’ll introduce you to my wife and daughter one day.

    No. It’s people who live in the real world and understand that we are not the center of the universe that while understanding what you’re writing, don’t agree with it.

  16. With the exception of Ed and those who got the message regarding his email. You all suck. Bunch of losers. You are the kind of people that deserve a punch right in the face and when you are about to get up you need another one to remind you of why you were down there in the first place. By the way if you met Ed you would not be so bold. He expressed himself sorry if it hit a nerve and you need to lash out. Maybe it is because you suck and you have sucky life and a sucky family. Need I go on?

    One more thing, YOU SUCK! Give ’em hell Ed!

  17. to Byron…Like I said…You need to get a happier life. Promises did not seem to have been made to his son Leo. The expectations may have been there, I will give you that. But we all have done that before, based on past personal experiences. He was hopeful, and human.

    I am comfortable with the argument people have made on here that the Athletes make way too much money and don’t give back much. Job or no job…just human respect and appreciation. Managers show appreciation to their staff, to their co workers….again you did not make a valid point. They can do their job and still throw out a few hats or a few smiles to the kids.

    you sound like someone who did not get an autograph yourself and is very BITTER… just let it be. At the end of the day we all expect different things from the world around us and you can lower your level of expectations and be as happy as you sound….hmmm…or be like Ed and say ..Lesson learned , shared my peace, still a fan ..but lesson learned…the end

  18. Jason, let’s face it – that was an asinine comment. to categorize people’s problems with ed and jeff’s writing as just a simple case of yankee defending is just plain lazy and condescending. ed seems like a pretty decent guy and father, but the whole message (and writing style) is just so tired and schmaltzy. I mean, we get it, it’s not like it used to be, the good ol days were grand, and now the lousy businessmen destroyed everything. cause everyone knows there were no businessmen in the 70’s, and if there were, they were courteous enough not to attend games.

  19. Wow. Jason, I take that back. Your comment was nothing compared to what Susan just wrote. I can’t really respond to Byron logically, so I’m just going to accuse of him of being bitter because he never got autographs? haha, that’s amazingly stupid. Susan, are you byron’s mother or therapist? that was one of the most patronizing things I’ve ever read.

  20. Danny,

    I am just making assumptions about Byron…like he did about the writer. Norman Rockwell life, center of the universe….why don’t you try responding LOGICALLY to those comments.

  21. Susan,

    Again, and I will type slowly … I’m not bitter nor do I have an unhappy life.

    Something before I get into your post: What does me being “bitter” have to do with how I reacted to Ed’s story? You keep going at me, which is fine I suppose, but you’re not really arguing what I’m writing about, are you?

    “I am comfortable with the argument people have made on here that the Athletes make way too much money and don’t give back much.”

    Of course you’re comfortable that athletes make too much money. It’s a cliche and you don’t have to think about it–very knee jerk reaction.

    Bengie Molina sucks — he makes too much money. Derek Jeter’s a jerk — he makes too much money. ARod feeds sick kids in Calcutta — makes too much money though. In the end, who cares how much athletes make? If a guy is making a $1 or a $1M, chances are if they’re a jerk they’re going to be a jerk. If they’re nice, they’re going to be nice.

    “Job or no job…just human respect and appreciation.”

    What does this mean? No Yankees (and for the record, I am a Red Sox fan) showed any disrespect to Ed, his child or any of the New York fans. Susan, these people have work to do before a game.

    “Managers show appreciation to their staff, to their co workers….again you did not make a valid point. They can do their job and still throw out a few hats or a few smiles to the kids.”

    Again, what are you talking about? When has a ballplayer in any era, come out of a dugout throwing hats and smiles?

    “you sound like someone who did not get an autograph yourself and is very BITTER… just let it be.”

    Sigh. Does it matter? When I was a kid, I got tons of autographs. You can come over any day of the week and see them, it’s not the point.

    “At the end of the day we all expect different things from the world around us and you can lower your level of expectations and be as happy as you sound….hmmm…or be like Ed and say ..Lesson learned , shared my peace, still a fan ..but lesson learned…the end”

    What lesson did Ed learn? Please answer me this with neither a platitude or a cliche. Please, I’m practically begging you.

  22. I am not trying to go at you at all…your first response to the writer of this article was harsh. If you don’t see it that way, we definetly disagree on how one expresses their opinion in a respectful way. Oh and by the way I can quote you too…”BOO fucking who…people who write like this make me sick” was your first Educated response.

    here is another..”And to sum up, there were assholes when we kids and there are assholes now. The only thing that changed is that some people forget and think that their childhood was a Norman Rockwell painting and now we live in world painted by Salvador Dali.
    Neither is true.”

    What is true is you like to use colorful words to get your point across. I can think of a few cliches for you but I will refrain and move on. Red Sox huh?

    Sorry we disagree.

  23. I am done responding ..at this point..Ed I hope you have a better experience next time you go, even if it isn’t with an autograph..Byron..for the record…I am proud to say I am a Yankee fan. My whole family will continue to be. We are hopeful all the players will become more aware of what their fans should mean to them.

  24. Again Susan, would love to know the lesson that Ed learned that fateful day at Yankee Stadium.

    And the only reason why I admitted that I was a Red Sox fan is because I was actually standing up for the Yankee players.

    But, really keep deluding yourself that it was a much better, a much simpler time back in 1950, 1960, 1970 and 1980.

  25. Byron, I completely agree with you. What’s funny, though, is that this season, the Yankee organization has made a big effort at being fan-friendly.
    For each homestand, they’ve had several players – like A-Rod, Nick Swisher, etc. – do a meet-and-greet for fans in the Great Hall.

    The Yanks also have done a ton of work in the community this year with that HOPE Week. And, most importantly, they gave their fans the greatest gift of all – a World Series title. You’d think more would be happy about that ring, instead of griping.

  26. Some might argue that the millions of dollars athletes are being paid creates a sense of “professionalism” in the game–that each minute spent before a game should be used to prepare for performing up to the multi-million dollar performance level the team expects of them.

    Of course, the counterargument would be that much of the dollar value of the salary comes from the expectation of creating a positive fan-response for the team the players’ represent. However, I think two things should be noted here:

    1.) There’s no mention of trying to get autographs after the game. That’s when players have the least “preparation” to do, and when I, growing up, usually tried to get ‘graphs

    2.) The game was so “sold out” that the author had to shell out huge dollars to get tickets. Seems like whatever these athletes are doing to generate positive fan-response is working.

    Sucks that the kid didn’t get an autograph. I grew up in the late 80’s and early 90’s and mostly went to Brewers games. I certainly didn’t expect autographs and wasn’t disappointed when I didn’t get one. I thought it was a rare treat when a player took the time to talk to me. After all, even at a lousy Milwaukee County Stadium weekend game there were upwards of 25,000 people there who also wanted the ballplayers’ attention. I can only imagine how many kids want Derek f’n’ Jeter to give them the time of day 81 days a year.

  27. What exactly is so wrong with the writer expecting a simple wave or acknowledgement of all those kids waiting at the rail for an autograph? That guy Byron seems like a very cynical person and if he wants to accept that it’s ok for players to snub fans then fine but don’t critize the writer for expecting the minimum from players which is a nod or a wave hello. I was at a Yankees game this summer sitting in the bleachers. The Yankees were playing the Nationals and Adam Dunn, who was playing LF for the Nationals was absolutely getting ribbed by a few fans having fun with him. Dunn never looked back, never acknowledged the fans. Finally, one of the fans yells, “hey Dunn, we know you can here us, if you can, tip your cap”. Immediately Dunn tipped his cap and the crowd went nuts. Suddenly everyone thought Dunn was the best thing since sliced bread to even the adults. Smiles were everywhere in those bleachers that night after that. And that, my friends, to me is the whole point of Ed’s article. Is it really too much for him to want or expect the ball players to do the minimum? I think not. Great article, Ed.

  28. Wow! I can’t believe the bitter emotion an honest story would invoke. Ed being a man with family values & a sense of tradition didn’t seem to ask for much in my opinion. Is there really something wrong with expecting any sports pro to give the fans a wave or a thumbs up?

    I remember taking my son to his first Yankee game when he was 9, there was pure innocence in his expectation to get an autograph or catch a foul ball. This was the opportunity for my son to chase a dream and I was going to do whatever I could to help so we went to the game completely prepared.. glove in hand for the foul & a clean white ball & sharpie for an autograph. His enthusiasm & excitement made me hope that a foul ball would actually come his way. We buy the tickets with the expectation to see a game, that is in fact what we pay for but, any parent who brings their young fan to a game knows that they go dreaming of a little more than that. Just take a look down the 1st or 3rd baseline & note all the kids wearing gloves. Seems to me any professional sports player should remember the way they felt when they were a kid and developed their passion for the game or once idolized a player – then maybe it would be effortless to tip your cap to the fans.

  29. Papafrog:

    There’s nothing wrong with the writer of the letter expecting a simple wave.

    What’s “wrong” (so far as someone’s opinion can be called wrong) is for him to act like his expectations proving silly is the fault of society or MLB or players who play in MLB rather than of himself for having unreasonable expectations.

    I don’t know how it was in the 1960’s and 1970’s, but I went to ballgames in the 1980’s and early 1990’s and if someone told me they expected the players to acknowledge them I would have smirked and rolled my eyes. Maybe it was different in the 1960’s and 1970’s, but this is 2009. It hasn’t been that way for at least 30 years, so maybe it’s time to adjust one’s expectations.

    Once again, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having unrealistic expectations. That doesn’t make Ed a bad person. The only thing quote/unquote wrong is for someone to blame others for his or her unrealistic expectations. Which, let’s face it, is exactly what this letter to the editor is doing.

  30. Papafrog:

    It’s also worth noting that your anecdote has absolutely nothing to do with Ed’s. You gave Dunn almost half a ballgame to “redeem” himself.

    Ed, in the letter he wrote, had already decided ballplayers were unredeemable (at least in the respect at issue) before the game began

  31. Come to think of it, the timing of this letter is really curious. They’ve barely cleaned up the confetti in lower Manhattan from the Yankees tickertape parade, yet the writer is griping about something that happened to him 2 1/2 years ago, instead of being excited that the Yanks just won the World Series? I just don’t get it.

    A-Rod just helped get the Yankees a ring. That’s what I care about – not about how much he charges for his autograph.

  32. Hey Ed, I think all these people must work for the Yankee organization or are related to the players!
    Keep doing what you do. You are a great dad!

  33. Ok lisa. Follow the bouncing ball. I read an article in the paper THIS Friday about the price of autographs. I wrote about my past experience regarding autographs. Not hard to follow for most. People often write about past experiences when responding to current stories. I am not a Yankee hater if that’s what u r eluding to.

  34. Here’s a radical suggestion: if you don’t like what ARod (or in this case the promoter of the event) is charging for an autograph, don’t get one.

    It’s really simple.

    And here’s another tip, Ed, you bought a ticket to a baseball game, not to an autograph show. You and your child saw the baseball game, what more do you want?

    When you go to the movies, are you bummed out that you didn’t get to meet Adam Sandler or Meryl Streep.

    If you go to a concert and don’t get to meet Billy Joel or Elton John, do you fire off pointless missives to newspapers?

    What more do you want?

    I may be cynical, but at least I live in the real world.

  35. Lisa, I think you’re misguided here. What does Ed expecting a player to wave hello to the fans have to do with the Yankees winning the World Series? They are not mutually exclusive. Ed can enjoy the thrill of victory as a fan while still having a reasonable expectation of a ball player acknowledging children along the rail with a wave or nod hello before a ball game. You seem to imply that winning the World Series should be enough for the writer, well, that’s not always the case for everyone.

  36. sByron, you’re not just cynical, you’re rude and have no clue how to express your feelings in a tactful manner. Ed is a good family man and doesn’t deserve to be spoken to like he’s a child or to be chastised with idiotic rhetorical questions. I respect your opinions but please try to use a little more taste when expressing them. Maybe Ed is too much of a gentleman to call you out (“I will choose to take the high road and not attack any of you personally” – Ed) but I’m going to call it as I see it.

  37. How am I being rude? Aside from my first hyperbolic remark, I have not said word one about Ed being a good family man or his character.

    I think that the main problem here is that some of the people on this board are Ed’s friend in real life. I don’t have that luxury.

    Ed could be the father of the year, it is not germane to this conversation at all. Ed’s beef is with the New York Yankees and their gall to ignore him and his son.

    I think that is literally one of the silliest things that I’ve ever read (no hyperbole there). And the questions I’m asking aren’t rhetorical at all, I’d like to see how deep Ed’s obsession with being treated special goes.

    If Ed doesn’t want to be spoken to like a child, he probably shouldn’t act like a spoiled child when he doesn’t get an autograph or a wave or a thumbs up from professionals trying to make their living.

    There are 55K+ people in Yankee Stadium, if the players took time before the game to acknowledge every single one, 7:05 would begin at 2 am. And like another poster said, the Yankees make their players available during other times. Ed has to conform to their schedule, not the other way around.

    If you don’t get that, then there really is no point in continuing this conversation.

    To be completely honest in the letter that Ed wrote, the adult is Leo. He got over not getting an autograph and enjoyed the day for what it was: a fun time with his dad. Maybe if Ed could get Leo’s perspective, he would have had as good of a time as his seven-year-old and not carried a two-and-a-half year grudge like some petulant child.

    Listen, I could understand Ed’s reaction if Jeter told his kid to “Fuck off” or if ARod shooed him away. I could even get if Pettitte signed 20 autographs and Leo was number 21 in line and Pettitte had to turn away.

    That sucks.

    But none of that happened. These were pro ball players that needed to get ready for a professional baseball game. It was NOTHING PERSONAL.

  38. Ed, you write:

    “Ok lisa. Follow the bouncing ball. I read an article in the paper THIS Friday about the price of autographs. I wrote about my past experience regarding autographs. Not hard to follow for most. People often write about past experiences when responding to current stories. I am not a Yankee hater if that’s what u r eluding to.”

    1. Toning down your condescension might be a good idea, if you want to make others see your point of view. Same goes with talking about dried-up wombs and such.

    2. Last Friday, most Yankee fans were either still basking in the afterglow of the World Series victory, or enjoying the ticker tape parade (and watching the players thank the fans for their support). And what were you doing that day? Getting angry over the very people who helped the Yankees get that title meeting the fans – and making a few bucks – with an autograph signing. All because Jeter and A-Rod didn’t look up at your kid and wave 2 1/2 years ago. Give me a break.

  39. I saw this blog post had 47 responses. That alone, based on the topic of the post, seemed surprising. Didn’t realize something as innocuous as a letter about baseball, autographs, and a father taking his son to a game could be so contentious. I mean, the dude has the right to express his thoughts. Seems fairly simple, no? And yet the back-and-forth on here at times seems to have approached a degree of uncivility that probably would not normally have been reached were we all co-workers having a discussion over lunch or happy hour. And this isn’t even about politics or race or some other hot-button issue. I know I’m not the first to point this out, but it’s fascinating what anonymity or semi-anonymity will allow us to say (or write).

  40. I think this is an interesting thread also, as it concerns the internet. Some things occurred to me as this went along, something about the two obvious tribes that formed, those who are critical and those who defend Ed.

    Most of the Ed defender’s seem to know him in real life. That leaves us critics, who, we can assume, are united only by the fact that they are the types of folk who comment on a blog. (A dubious activity, yes.)

    I think the “blog people” desire a different type of discourse than the one provided in this letter. To my ears, it’s bland and brings nothing new to consideration. Much like a Letter to the Editor, which it was. At the same time, if Ed were to make this complaint to me in person, I wouldn’t be nearly as annoyed. It’s like a hundred bland conversations I have all day. I think that’s why his friends are so viscerally angry at the criticism. It sounds like we’re harshing a man who’s simply blowing off steam. And we are.

    But only because we expect a higher (or at least different) quality of steam here in the blogosphere than at the water cooler and in your Letter to the Editors pages.

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