By Richard Cuicchi | March 09, 2014 at 10:51 PM EDT | 3 comments
Contributed by Mary Delhomme Cuicchi, guest blogger for TheTenthInning.com
I attended my first Spring Training games with my husband last week. He is a Yankees fan, but did not yet have Derek Jeter’s autograph among his collection. So my goal for the trip was to get Derek to sign a baseball. I learned this would be Derek’s last season, so the pressure was on.
We attended a night game in Tampa where the Yankees played the Orioles. I figured this might be my best chance to get Derek’s signature. I wore my Yankees T-shirt and my “I Love Jeter” cap to enhance my chances to get him to sign for me. However, since we did not arrive at the ballpark until about 30 minutes before the start of the game (since we had to drive from an afternoon game in Lakeland), I really did not get any chances before the game. Fortunately, Derek was the DH in the game. We had really good seats behind the Yankees dugout, but my screams to Derek, as he was on-deck, to get his attention went unnoticed. So, I struck out in my attempt for that game. But tomorrow would be another day.
The next afternoon, we saw the Yankees play the Rays in Port Charlotte. This time, we got to the stadium when the gates opened. I quickly identified the entrance to the Yankees dugout. The advice from my husband was to push my way to the front, because ballplayers usually gave preference to young kids and pretty girls for autographs. I tried to elbow my way into the crowd that had accumulated there and eventually got to the front with the help of a seasoned Yankees autograph-hound.
I soon realized there was no etiquette among the autograph seekers. Grown men tried their best to muscle me (5’ 2” 130 pounds) out of the way. Personal hygiene amongst these guys was apparently not a high priority. After waiting for about 45 minutes and missing a chance at Ichiro’s autograph, I found out Derek was not even at the ballpark that day. Struck out again!
My only hope now is that my cousins Jennifer and Christie, who live in Tampa and have season tickets to the Yankees spring training games, are able to charm Derek into signing a baseball for me. I entrusted them with my newly learned autograph-seeking experience.
On a different note, for a “rookie” attending Spring Training for my first time, I learned some new baseball terminology during last week. Getting “smoked” does not mean going out for a cigarette. A “can of corn” is not something you get at the grocery store. “Uncle Charlie” is not that elderly guy on the old TV series “My Three Sons.” “Cup of coffee” doesn’t have anything to do with taking a trip to Starbucks. You can’t simply say a batted ball bounced off the outfield fence--it “caromed”. And “chin music” has no melody in the game of baseball.
So, I had my “cup of coffee” at major league autograph seeking. I’ll hone my skills at some Zephyrs minor league games in New Orleans this season, and maybe I’ll get another shot in the big leagues soon.