July 19, 2005

Thank You, Dave Roberts!

When I saw that the San Diego Padres would be at Shea Stadium in mid-July, I snapped up a ticket to the first game of the series. Like many Red Sox fans across the country, I wanted to thank Dave Roberts in person for his contributions to Boston's 2004 championship.

The Padres came to New York today. One of the gates at Shea opens at 4:30 and I was out there when it did. The Mets were taking batting practice. I walked out towards the right field foul pole and watched Pedro Martinez throw in the outfield. I yelled out to Doug Mientkiewicz, but he didn't hear me.

The Padres -- and Roberts, wearing #10 -- came out and stretched and did a little running. Then he grabbed his glove and went out to center field. I had brought a ball, hoping to get Roberts to sign it. I walked down the third base line, thinking that maybe when Roberts came in from the outfield, he might come over and sign. However, he made a straight line towards second base on his way in, then disappeared into the dugout.

By the time I got back to the third base dugout, Roberts was nowhere to be seen. But I noticed that someone on the Padres was signing in a corner of the dugout. While trying to see who it was, I saw Roberts standing in the dugout, talking with a teammate. I yelled out to him and waved my Red Sox cap. A fan beside me also called out -- and Roberts looked over, waved, and walked over.

He signed a few cards and a cap, then took my baseball and pen. "Thank you so much for last year," I said. "I made sure to come out when you were in town to say thanks." He smiled, said "Thanks" and handed my ball back.

I've gotten a few autographs at games before -- Nomar at old Tiger Stadium, Johnny Pesky at spring training a few years ago, Pedro in a parking lot in Fort Myers -- Pedro! -- but I have never been as excited as I was this afternoon. I came out early thinking I might have a decent shot at saying Hi to Roberts, but nothing like that is ever certain. Yet it had been pretty easy. It was all I could do to keep from dancing in the aisle.

Now it was 5:45 and I was wondering why I was there. The game wasn't going to start for more than an hour -- and I had gotten what I came for. I'm one of those rare fans who actually doesn't mind Shea Stadium, but I knew the Sox were also playing at 7:00. (Plus I knew I had to get up on Wednesday at about 5:30 am to rent a car and drive to Boston to see the Sox. Who wanted to be stuck in Queens late at night?) ...

I decided to leave and head home. I got on the 7 train at 6:00 and actually walked into my apartment an hour later (which was amazingly good time!). Plus the Sox were kind enough to delay the start of tonight's game until I got settled in.

Roberts went 0-for-4 with a walk and was caught stealing (by Piazza?!), but made three nice catches in the outfield, for which he was heavily booed. The Mets won 3-1 in 11 innings.

5 comments:

meredith said...

Lucky you! Every Sox fan should have the oportunity to thank him some day.

As for me, I still get chills every time I so much as see DR's name in print.

Jimmy J said...

Congrats on getting his auto - im a huge autograph collecter myself

Kyle said...

I will be seeing the Padres and DR in Philly this Saturday! Plan to wear some Red Sox garb and say thanks to Roberts as well.

If not this weekend, then on my trip out to San Diego at the end of August!

redsock said...

Kyle:

Cool.

Earlier this year, I read an article on Roberts and he said Sox fans were doing this in every city he went. ... He was pretty amazed.

Forty years from now, Roberts will be 70+ years old -- and he will still have Sox fans (or their kids who have heard the stories and seen the DVDs) coming up to him and wanting to shake his hand (or touch his legs?).

Melissa said...

hmmm... I guess I am a spoiled fan living in san diego... I havent gone to a home game yet to thank Dave! I am such a bad red sox fan! I love having him playing for the Pad's though!