Saturday, August 30, 2008

Can I have your autograph?

At the last Lake County Captain's baseball game we attended, the players ignored Jefferson when he was asking for their autographs. So, with my big, booming voice, I called out for their attention. "Could someone sign my kid's baseball!?" They instantly replied, "We're not allowed to during the game." Oops. I was a bit embarrassed to be bugging them, but thought it could have been handled better. Why are players so dead to the fans?

Today I read several online diary entries from the San Diego Padres latest addition, Dirk Hayhurst, which helped me to understand the players' perspective. It brought up a good question. Why do kids want autographs? Is there something about someone scribbling on a paper that makes them feel good? Is it about the money? Or is it just getting some attention that matters?
I can't explain to you what its like to avoid someone on purpose. When I write about the concept it just seems too rude and heartless. Maybe it is, but I still do it all the time. In my line of work, sometimes you have to ignore people. You have to tune out the noise of the game. There is no shortage of kids who want balls just because some other kid got one. No shortage of folks who want scraps signed with illegible autographs because everyone else is doing it. No shortage of begging, and pleading for stuff they don't really need, just want because someone else has.

Besides, my signature is just that: words written across something to spell my name. And my name is not important (hence, non-prospect diaries!). Yet to baseball fans, signatures are very important. They're so important in fact, even the mascot signs balls. It doesn't even have to be my name, or a name at all, just the fact we players scribbled on a scrap for fan is enough. Its all about the context.
You can understand how the players feel now. But even their apathy toward the fans can be shattered some times. Click here to read the rest of Dirk's article.

Here's another good one.

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