Do you ever have one of those days where it doesn’t seem to matter what you do you just somehow find a way to stick your foot in your mouth? And then you try to fix things and you make an even bigger mess out of stuff than if you had just let things alone? Unfortunately, that pretty much describes every day of my life but even more so it describes my day yesterday.
Looking at the web site analytics and my email in-box there were many people who visited Diary of a Diehard yesterday and read my entry on the Justin Upton Meet-and-Greet event held at Chase Field last evening.
In that entry I lamented the fact that despite my best laid plans sending my two teenage daughters to Chase Field they were turned away. I further went on to describe how I felt that Upton had shortchanged the event by only staying for a minimum amount of time.
This is one of those subjects that polarize sports fans and give many an open forum to blast the selfishness of today’s player regardless of the sport or the person. The number of comments I received took me aback and I chose to remove most of them (sorry, editorial prerogative).
The article bothered me for several reasons. It put the Diamondbacks in a bad light and I hate doing that. I try to be an optimist as one reader reminded me. No matter what happens, there is always some positive that we can take away from the experience. I neglected to remember that.
Today I received a phone call from the Arizona Diamondbacks who wanted to talk to me about the event last night. The call was not a result of my being a long-time Season Ticket Holder or because I have any special relationship with the team. I received the call because the Diamondbacks care about their fans.
It started off with an apology. They apologized for my daughters making the trip to Chase Field and missing out on the opportunity to meet Justin Upton. It’s funny how powerful the words “we’re sorry” can be.
They didn’t need to do that. Much of the blame was clearly on my shoulders. The event had a stated start time of 5:30 PM. Obviously the girls had not made it to the ballpark by that time. The team had every right to deliver that message but they didn’t.
Instead they empathized with the disappoint of their fans. They explained how the event had taken place. Forty-five people arrived on time for the event and were able to attend. Justin Upton arrived early and spent an inordinate amount of time with each person making sure they got the proper attention.
When he had given each fan the attention they needed he waited to see if any other fans might show up. The Diamondbacks Season Ticket Services group made the decision to end the event when it appeared no other fans would be arriving. Upton was willing to stay as long as necessary to make sure no one was left out.
Yesterday I painted Upton as a young player who cared little for the fans or the community. That was extremely unfair and extremely wrong. I want to take this opportunity to apologize to him and to the Arizona Diamondbacks for what I said.
I took two innocent events one in September and another last night and immediately jumped to the conclusion that he didn’t care. I didn’t even consider the possibility that the decisions may have been beyond his control.
It’s funny; I am old enough to be Justin’s father yet this young man has taught me a valuable life lesson. You shouldn’t be quick to judge someone and you should always give people the benefit of the doubt regardless of appearances.
To Mr. Upton and to the Arizona Diamondbacks, I am sorry I leapt to inaccurate conclusions and I apologize for suggesting in any way that either the player or the team did not care about the fans or the fan experience.
The phone call was a very humbling experience but one that I hope stays with me a very long time. Each of us needs to be reminded once in a while of how important it is to consider each other and how simple words can sometimes be the hardest things to manage.
Someday I hope to have the opportunity to meet Upton personally and tell him how much I appreciate his abilities not only on the baseball field but also his ability to teach me why it’s important to admit my mistakes. A discussion that will undoubtedly be met with a confused look and a motion to have security remove the crazy guy from Section 132.