I never knew it was going to be this hard. It hadn’t been in the past, but this year was different.
My husband and I have gotten close to many of the Minor League players over the last year and it was solidified by this year’s spring training. I’m not just referring to the boys that we refer to as our “sons”. There is a large group of players who have become friends with us and what happened today when they got ready to leave today surprised me.
I’ve never been hugged/cheek kissed by so many people in one day in my life. It seemed like dozens. The thing that struck me the most was one of the Venezuelan players, Alexis Rivero. We’ve been just casual friends, but when it came time to go, he came over and asked my husband to take his picture with me. Then he wanted to be Facebook friends. It was so special to me. I never realized how I might have had an affect on them, just by being there.
People wonder why I am so into watching the minor league guys, this is why, they care. They know you because it’s obvious you care because there are so few people there, especially during Extended Spring Training and Gulf Coast League. For GCL there is only a group of about SIX people that are there every single day. It makes it easy to get to know them. To be fair, the games are in the Florida heat, in summer, at noon, but it is almost always the same six stalwart fans there.
One of the cutest things today was my little friend, Parker. Parker is probably my favorite little human on the planet. He’s just amazing. He loves baseball and many of the players know little Parker. Today, when his dad told him they were coming to the Complex because the players were going “Bye-bye”, Parker had to pack his little suitcase (with toys) to bring to the field.
We also said goodbye to two of our “sons”, Ranfi Casimiro and Elniery Garcia. Both are going to Lakewood. It was bittersweet. I am so proud of them, but it broke my heart to let them go. I shed more than a few tears as we walked to the car.
We had hoped that we might have had one as our houseguest…not yet..but may be once the season starts there will be some movement and we will have one.
And now, Spring Training is officially over.