Giving Back

For the most part I have found that Major League baseball players are very approachable and receptive to signing autographs and talking to the fans. Over the past three years, my kids have been able to obtain an autograph or talk to each of the Arizona Diamondbacks players including such reclusive types as Randy Johnson and Todd Stottlemyre. It is always fun to see the looks on the kids faces as they hold out their ball and a player will stop and sign or talk with them. I believe it is important that the players reach out and try to give something back to the fans who shell out their hard earned dollars to watch them play. Granted, signing for a few hundred or thousand screaming fans can be trying at times and I recognize that there are many fans out there that take advantage of the players by getting autographs and then selling them on the open market but most of the players take this in stride. Note that I said most. The one player who is an exception to this is Erubiel Durazo. He seems to go out of his way to alienate the fans. Today was a prime example of Mr. Durazo’s behavior. Each Sunday, the Diamondbacks have “Bullpen Buddies”, a program where 75 children 52 inches and smaller go into the bullpen during batting practice and meet two players and get their autograph. Today’s participants were Dan Plesac and Erubiel Durazo. The children were all led into the bullpen where they waited for the players to arrive. Mr. Plesac was on time and spoke to each child as he signed their item. He was great. All of the children came away from meeting Dan with a smile on their faces excited to meet a baseball player. Erubiel Durazo on the other hand decided that it was more important to hang out at the batting cage rather than meet the kids. He never did show up at the bullpen. I could see this type of behavior if he were getting ready for an upcoming game but he is injured and cannot even swing a bat at this point. This is the fourth time I have seen such behavior from him. Last season as I was leaving the game, I saw Durazo leaving the players parking lot. At the gate, there were four children asking for his autograph. Durazo pulled out of the gate and stopped to wait for the kids to approach his car. As they arrived, he drove off. I understand that he may be tired after a game and want to go home but if he had no intention of signing, don’t stop. He did more public relations damage by driving off than if he had never stopped at all. It is young players such as Durazo that will cause fans to avoid going to baseball games. I am disappointed that Erubiel has chosen to portray baseball players in such a dim light.

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