A Friendship Rekindled

At times the players seem so distant. The everyday fan has little or nothing in common with these multi-millionaires. It is very hard to find common ground between fan and player. Rarely is there an occasion where player and fan connect on a human level of friends. My nine-year-old daughter Tiffany has such a relationship. Tiffany has quickly become the our most ardent supporter of the team. Each game she attends, she goes out of her way to study the game to understand it better. Through this study, she has identified players that she admires. Please note I said admire, not worship. I have been very conscientious about teaching her that these players are merely men like her dad or her teacher. They are not someone above or below any other in society. They merely have a great job. In the past year, Tiffany has watched as the Diamondbacks struggled through the first half of the season before trading for Matt Mantei. She quickly began to understand the role of a closer and the talent that Matt possessed. One day she sought him out to talk with him and have him autograph a ball. As they talked, it was obvious that they would become friends. From that time forward, they would greet each other before games and Mantei would come over to talk to Tiffany. This off-season, Tiffany saved her money and when she had enough, she asked that I would take her to a card shop to purchase a Matt Mantei baseball card. Today, armed with her card, she waited patiently for Mantei to emerge from the dugout. As he made his way out to the field, he was intent in not being disturbed and blocked out the crowd around him. Just as he was about to go into the bullpen, he saw Tiffany. He stopped and came over to see her. They stood there and talked for a couple of minutes. She returned to her seat next to me beaming from ear to ear. After a long off- season, baseball season had started for Tiffany. She was back at the ballpark and her friend was there.


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