Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Memory Lasts Forever

I have only seen two different teams at Spring Training, the Mets and the Yankees, but it was still interesting to compare the environments.  One of the biggest differences was the accessibility of the players for autograph opportunities.  In Port St. Lucie, the Mets have many short fences and areas that are simply chained off, providing easy access for autographs.  In Tampa, the Yankees have high fences around most of the practice fields, some of which have slits built in for autograph-seekers to pass baseballs/cards/pictures/etc. through to the players.

This piece about Derek Jeter adds an element to the Yankees side that I didn't experience firsthand.  The only autograph I recall getting at Yankees Spring Training is Chris Woodward so there really wasn't security or much of a crowd around.  Reading what the guard was saying to Jeter's fans was awful.  Realizing that Jeter did nothing to help the situation was worse.

Derek Jeter has created a pattern that allows him to skip out on autographs.  At some point years ago he decided some amount of fans was his limit.  He's not the only superstar that doesn't oblige every request.  I have seen David Wright sign for only a fraction of hopeful fans.  But that doesn't make it right.

Baseball players tend to start their careers saying they will sign every autograph because they all remember when players didn't stop to sign for them.  They go through the minor leagues signing as many autographs as possible.  They get to the big leagues and continue to sign countless autographs.  Yet once they find success and they have to stay and sign for an extra minute or two many stop signing at all.

Those two seconds spent with a fan can make the day, the week, the month, the life of a kid (or even an adult).  That could be their first autograph, my first was from Endy Chavez and my second was Juan Padilla.  That general greeting towards the crowd could turn a random player into a favorite player, 'sup Mike Nickeas.

Those two seconds spent walking past the crowd could ruin that fan's opinion of the team for life.

No player should be in the habit of not signing or rarely signing.  There is no way they have an appointment or obligation immediately after every single Spring Training workout or they are always too busy to spend a few minutes before a game interacting with fans.

The autograph may fade but the memory will last forever.

No comments: