Results tagged ‘ Darryl Strawberry ’

Darryl Strawberry Visits Uptown, “The Kid” Remembered…

If you know me, you know I grew up a huge New York Mets fan. Being born in Brooklyn, NY in 1981 — why not? Both of my grandfathers were Mets fans. My dad was a Mets fan. We were a Mets family. 12079663_10153289642553406_2110055952117081269_n

Being that I was born on January 8, my favorite number was 8. Then, I saw Gary Carter wear #8, and I instantly became a Gary Carter fan.

I wore #8 in Little League. I was a catcher. I may have even curled my hair like “The Kid”.

In fact, I wore #8 for my entire baseball career. It’s the only number I have ever known!386940_10150365098298406_1935850257_n

At my very first Mets game with my dad, we lucked out and had a chance to get an autograph from Gary Carter at Shea Stadium. We had box seats right behind home plate and I remember yelling to Gary as a kid to sign my program — and he did. Wow. That was awesome!

Throughout the years, I loved seeing Gary Carter (from afar) when we visited Shea Stadium. He was always my favorite. He still is today. I think about him on his birthday every year on April 8. I remember him every year on the day he died, too (February 16). He was an icon, a hero, a person I looked up to. I still do. tumblr_n3q7xqXybd1qm9rypo1_1280

And, I’m not alone.

When Gary Carter passed away, I’ll never forget some of the words that his teammates had to say about him.

“The baseball community has lost a Hall of Fame player and a Hall of Fame person,” former teammate and current Mets third-base coach Tim Teufel said in a statement. “He was a good man and will be missed terribly.”

“We’re all older now, said Ron Darling. “We see things differently. We see things as our parents saw them. The ’60s happened before we got to the big leagues. The ’70s happens, values changed. But Gary was from ‘Leave It To Beaver’ and ‘Pleasantville.’ He was, when we played together, what most of our parents had wanted us to be. And now we see value in it. And that makes this all the sadder. I’m not saying he deserves a reward for living his life the way he did. But 57 … that’s early.”

Then, there were these  words, “I wish I could’ve lived my life like him.”

Those words were powerful. They were touching. They came from Darryl Strawberry.

I grew up rooting for Darryl Strawberry, too. In the good times and the bad. I wanted him to succeed both on and off-the-field and  I wanted him to get past his struggles. And, why not. He was so talented. Even with all of his ups and downs.
Me & Darryl
Still, I knew he was someone I wanted to meet someday to talk about how he was able to rise up through all of those struggles.

Last year at the Triple-A Baseball All-Star Game in Omaha, NE, I met Darryl. It was brief. He was busy. But I knew it wouldn’t be the last time. At least, I hoped it wasn’t.

This past offseason, I had a great opportunity to bring Darryl to BB&T Ballpark — and tried my hardest to make that happen. And, it did.

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Darryl Strawberry signed hundreds of autographs at BB&T Ballpark on April 19. Photo credit: Laura Wolff

The day was planned for Thursday, April 19th at BB&T Ballpark. Darryl was to meet fans and sign pre-game autographs. One of my best friends, Joey C., who grew up a huge Darryl Strawberry fan, made the trek to Uptown Charlotte to meet his hero. He did.

For me, I spent a few hours with Darryl. It was a real thrill for me. I even interviewed him on the Sonic Automotive Pre-Game show on the concourse in front of so many fans.

Much like the time I interviewed Wally Backman — which came just a few months after Gary Carter passed away in 2012 — I asked Darryl about his memories of “The Kid”. I’m glad I did.

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Here’s that video interview in its entirety with Darryl. Although there were some microphone issues, you can still make most of it out!

2015 Triple-A All-Star Game – Day 1

Greetings from Omaha, Nebraska! Print

The 2015 Triple-A All-Star Game is taking place at Werner Park in Omaha, Nebraska this week and I made the trip, along with a handful of Charlotte Knights front office members — four on Sunday and four more on Monday! Also, our friends from Ovations are here as well. That might be more than a handful. Maybe it’s a contingent?

I’m really looking forward to taking in the week’s events from Omaha. This is going to be a great learning experience for me and the staff, as we will host the game next season from BB&T Ballpark in Uptown Charlotte! Plus, this is my first time to Nebraska. Yes, I know, that’s a shock to everyone…

After a busy Saturday night of finishing game notes for Sunday’s Knights first-half finale, I got some rest and woke up Sunday morning ready to embark on All-Star week. First, I had to pack — and finish some more Knights Knotes — but I was ready. Matt Millward, the Knights Director of Tickets, picked me up from my house and we were on our way to the airport. We had an 11:20 AM flight out of Charlotte and we were both eager to board the plane, land, and make our way around Omaha.

After meeting up with Lindsey Roycraft, the Knights Community Relations Director, and Kathryn Bobel, the Knights Group Sales Rep, at the airport, we were ready to board our flight and head to the land of… corn?tornado

Once we landed (it was only around 12:45 PM — thanks to Nebraska being in the central time zone), we made our way through the airport. Once at the airport,  I noticed an interesting sign — one that I have never seen before. Remember, I’m a native New Yorker, who also grew up in Pennsylvania, and has lived in the South for the past four years. I’m certainly not in any of those places now!

We were greeted by members of the Omaha StormChasers, the hosts of this year’s All-Star Game, and they had a car waiting for us. Great service! That was a nice touch!

Next up was our trip to the hotel. Once there, we dropped our stuff off and made our way around. After grabbing a bite to eat and hanging out in the hotel for an hour or so, I ran into one of my all-time favorite players, Darryl Strawberry. strawman

Growing up in Brooklyn, NY — and a Mets fan — Strawberry was one player who I always looked up to and admired. Of course, living in NY and being raised in the 80’s, Strawberry was an icon to me. He was in Omaha for the Celebrity Fan Fest softball game later that night. It was nice to see the “Strawman” for a few minutes.

Later in the day, the four of us made our way over to Werner Park to check things out. We caught the tail-end of the Fan Fest, but enjoyed what we saw.

Opened in 2011, Werner Park has a capacity of 9,023, with 6,434 seats, 15 suites, and grass berm seating. It looks like a really nice ballpark and while I didn’t get a chance to move around it too much on Sunday, I plan to do more of that on Monday during the Home Run Derby festivities.

One other thing to note — the weather is hot here! I am certainly used to working in heat, but it seems even hotter here than in Charlotte. I wonder how that will bode for the Home Run Derby? Will the ball fly out of Werner Park? I hope so — and I am sure the fans do as well. IMG_20150712_224704

With the first day in the books, and day two now underway, I’m ready to see some baseball. With four Knights named All-Stars, there will be plenty to report about.

Stay tuned for updates from Monday’s Home Run Derby as Matt Davidson will represent the Charlotte Knights — and defend his 2013 crown.

I’ll have live reports from the Werner Park press box all week on Twitter @Tommy_the_V, so make sure to follow along!