The long, narrow, rectangular box arrived in the mail today, reading CATHERINE PEARLMAN across the label, and my wife had no idea what it was.
Then she opened it.
“One of my favorite gifts!” she said. “Ever!”
It was a baseball bat, autographed by Sal Fasano. He wrote: To Catherine: Happy Chanukah. This is in case Jeff gets out of line.
I’ve known Sal for probably 10 or 11 years now, and he’s a true prince of a guy. His wife Kerri has become a good friend as wellâ€”just wonderful people who strike against my jaded views of many athletes, as well as the trophy wives who often go along for the ride. When my daughter Casey began her toy drive a few weeks ago, Kerri was one of the first to respondâ€”and she sent us an enormous box, filled with stuff. Last week, I asked her if she thought Sal would sign a ball for Catherine as a Chanukah gift (Whenever I’ve talked with Catherine about the genuinely good guys I’ve covered, Sal (and Brian Johnson, another former catcher) always top the list. Hence, she’s become something of a Fasano follower). She said all the balls Sal had were dirty … so would she accept a bat instead?
As always, I’m babbling. Sal was recently named manager of the Lansing Lugnuts, the Blue Jays’ Class-A club. I expect to see him back in the majors within, oh, three years …