Braves players strike out in a chance to be role models

Sometimes, I open an e-mail that is so good I have to share it with everyone I know.  This  is one of them.  It is a letter to the Braves from disappointed Rome mom Joni Pittman.  I am running this on the Monday op-ed page that I assemble because it made me think about the opportunities to serve as a role model for kids that I may have blown. It’s also a well-written piece.  Hats off to Joni.

(And hats off to Brian Jordan.)

Dear Atlanta Braves Baseball Players,

Former Braves Brian Jordan gave a group of boys from Rome reason to smile after the current Braves players snubbed them.

Former Braves Brian Jordan -- shown here with a group of Little Leaguers -- gave a group of boys from Rome, Ga., reason to smile after the current Braves players snubbed them.

It was my son’s 11th birthday. He wanted to celebrate the occasion by attending an Atlanta Braves baseball game with several of his friends. We purchased eight tickets for our group, a dozen or so rows behind home plate, giving as close of a view to their heroes as allowed by the puppeteers at Ticketmaster.

Arriving early to the stadium, our excited crew headed to the area around the Braves dugout, a location available to fans sitting in our particular section. With stars in their eyes, the boys watched the Players in batting practice, enthusiastically pointing out their favorites, voices becoming increasingly high-pitched in decibels only available to the prepubescent.

These young boys were the only group standing behind the dugout that hot day, waiting patiently for each Player to finish their turn at bat, to complete the drills that would render their arms sufficiently warm. Slowly, after completing the workout process, Players made their way back to the dugout, just a few feet away from the group of eleven year olds struck almost speechless in their adoration.  I stood to the side with my camera, ready to capture the very moment a young boy catches the eye of his idol, a mutual recognition between big name Player and small statured fan.

Not a single identity escaped the memories of the boys lined at the back of the dugout. With pure, uninhibited joy, the boys called out the names of each hero as they made their way down the steps leading into the bat-lined abyss that little fellows begin dreaming about the moment that they hold their first peewee glove.

I had my lens perfectly focused, trigger finger ready, waiting for the exchange between Player and boy, hoping for a small wave, but realizing with each passing disregard, that they weren’t going to even offer eye contact. It was a separation of less than five feet, yet not one Atlanta Braves Player acknowledged any of the five boys. Not a single photo was taken as the top of a ducked player’s head does not a memory make.

The field emptied, and the Visiting team took its place. With a sick feeling in my stomach, I looked at the expressions of the disappointed group of boys who regarded each other in disbelief. “They didn’t even look at us,” I overheard one tell another. “And they knew we were there.”

In the 80’s, I grew up watching the Braves play in Atlanta Fulton Stadium. Our family of six often sat in the cheap seats in left field, tickets made instantly exclusive by its close proximity to Chief Noc-A Homa’s tent. As familiar as I was with the names and numbers of each player listed in the program, I became even more so because of the interactions that occurred at the end of each baseball game.

There was an area of the stadium referred to as The Tunnel. At the conclusion of each game, after showers and interviews, the players would walk through the tunnel that connected to the parking lot of their waiting cars. Fans lined the walls, greeting each Player as they made their way among the crowd.

I have vivid memories of those days that momentarily allowed the transition from Player to Person. I remember the boisterous personality of Bob  Horner and the  reserved one of  Phil Niekro. I recall Jerry Royster routinely honking his car horn as he exited the parking lot, causing us all to squeal and clap in appreciation. I remember Dale Murphy talking to my dad, agreeing to an appearance at our elementary school carnival, scribbling his phone number on the white cardboard of a Twinkie wrapper found in the passenger floor of his Chevette. Glenn Hubbard was almost always the last Player to leave, signing baseball cards, church bulletins, and any other scrap of paper given to the beloved second baseman.

I was an ordinary little girl made into an extraordinary fan because the Players took a bit of time for me. A lifelong love of baseball was born in that Tunnel, and I have cheered for the Braves ever since.

Obviously, much has changed.

Frenzied fame and outlandish fortune have catapulted the Player to a plane that has difficulty coinciding with the normal. Times are considerably different, security concerns superseding those that are relational. Pursuit of privacy seemingly more important than appreciation for the public that placed them in said esteemed position.

But, those little boys standing behind the dugout weren’t asking for a personal conversation, or even a coveted autograph. Eager faces with orthodontic smiles hardly a threat to the towering athletes that passed them by. Sadly, because it is a different time, a different day, simple acknowledgement would have been enough for the birthday boy and his buddies.

A few moments after the field had cleared from batting practice, former Braves baseball star Brian Jordan, dressed in attire that suggested a more formal purpose in attendance, glanced in our direction. He may or may not have noticed the disappointment, the silence that had overtaken a typically animated bunch of boys, and walked directly towards our group standing forlornly at the dugout. He greeted each boy with that well-known smile and mischievously asked if any wanted a signed ball, penning a birthday greeting to my 11-year-old son.

That lone signature, that solitary contact was enough for me to exhale deeply, relieved that my son was given a glimpse of what happens when a Player transitions into a Person, when exchanged appreciation for the sport prevails over the desire to be admired from afar.  Our little group of boys took the whole experience in innocent stride, enjoying the rest of the baseball game as if the rejection at the dugout had not occurred, because, regrettably, they don’t know any better.

But I do.

And so should all of you.

Joni Pittman

Rome, Georgia

556 comments Add your comment

Middle Grades Math Teacher

June 4th, 2010
3:50 am

I hope the Braves players read this and realize that it doesn’t take much to make a kid’s day. Yes, your skills may have put you in the bigs, but your fans are part of this. Have you forgotten what it’s like to be a kid? Do you know how many kids in my classroom or my son’s baseball team say, “I’m going to be an MLB player when I grow up?” Come on, Braves…show some class! Kudos to Brian Jordan. What a great guy!

Joe

June 4th, 2010
4:34 am

I hate to say it, but these guys are nothing in real life compared to what you think they might be after watching them play, I work for a airline in Atlanta and I have seen these jerks when they get off the plane in their street clothes. Just a bunch of Dumb Jocks, And you ought to see how they can trash the inside of an airplane, they are just a bunch of classless losers

RobertNAtl

June 4th, 2010
5:11 am

A big Thank You to Ron Schueler (Braves pitcher at the time), who in the exact same situation 36 years ago spoke to me for a few minutes and signed an autograph for me after warming up. I was (about) the age that your son is now. Ron Schueler was always my favorite player after that!!

Larry

June 4th, 2010
6:26 am

@ RobertNAtl, I remember Ron very well. I feel the same way toward Buzz Capra. The year he won the ERA title, he signed my scorecard in my yearbook. Even waited patiently while me and my Dad fumbled around looking for a pen. When i think of my favorite Braves players of all time, Buzz is right up there. And Brian Jordan is a class act. He was when he was with the Falcons. And he cares about kids and about the game of baseball. He’s another one of my favorite players.

Heron Bay Parent

June 4th, 2010
6:29 am

Wow. I have such great memories of those days as well! We lived in NC and I remember coming every August (That’s when the Dodgers played the Braves) with my folks and staying at the Ramada across from Fulton County. We never went anywhere else because Mom and Dad wouldn’t drive in Atlanta! We walked to the stadium and yes, we waited after the game to chat for a brief, unforgettable moment with Dale Murphy, Bob Horner and Glenn Hubbard. Wow, I had a crush on him! Then we would walk back to the Ramada and buy one of those Domino’s pizzas they sold out front. What memories you’ve brought back to me.

Shame on the current Braves players but cheers for Brian Jordan. What a first class hero! I now have a new favorite baseball player.

Joe B.

June 4th, 2010
6:29 am

Remember the dumb redneck jock in high school with no social skills or brains? That is your typical MLB player. Either that guy, or a Latino who speaks little English.

I think it was a good lesson for your kids that everything in life is business and people are selfish by nature. They don’t give a damn about your kids. Should make it easier for them once they have learned these life lessons.

pile on jocks day

June 4th, 2010
6:34 am

hey, we’re the ones putting them on pedestals; kids are just following our lead.

A Braves player

June 4th, 2010
6:38 am

What do you expect lady. We have stuff to do!!! How would you feel if I came to your job and stood at your desk yelling at you until you walk over and signed something for me so I could put it on E-bay???

Roles Reversed

June 4th, 2010
6:46 am

Let’s say that right before you arrived at your office, your school, wherever you may work, you were greeted by 100 screaming people just trying to get your attention before you even walked in the door. Let’s say that this occurs every day, day in and day out. At first you’d acknowledge them, because you are nice and don’t want to hurt any feelings. But after a while you would grow tired of them and though you would be conscious of them you’d ignore them. After a while you would grow accustomed to the screaming and would eventually tune it out. Now enlarge that group of 100 to 40,000. Forty thousand people screaming at you day in and day out trying to get your attention when all you want to do is focus and do your job. How would that make you feel Ms. Pittman? These baseball players, though rightfully held to a higher standard, are merely human. The next time you would like to connect with the players, try a fan fest, or autograph signing. And maybe give the players a break when they’re at work.

Ozzy

June 4th, 2010
6:49 am

Yet another example of how MLB is broken beyond repair. I can’t watch it anymore, I just look at the text message of last nights Braves score on my cell phone and check the standings once in while.

Really well written letter though Ms. Pittman. Maybe a Braves player or two will take it to heart, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Robert M

June 4th, 2010
6:53 am

Lady needs to get a life. I didn’t know it was the baseball players job to make the day of a kid. I thought their job was to play baseball. Maybe she should stop looking to athletes and expecting them to be role models. I certainly hope Ms. Pittman holds herself to such high ideals that she never passes an acquaintance without a smile, less she fail to be a role model to her own children.

And shame on your Maureen for writing a flamboyant headline and suggestive article. You of all people know of the MANY different outreach efforts of the Braves athletes. Look no further than the Chipper Jones Foundation or the Hudson Family Foundation. THAT makes the athlete a role model…not smiling at a kid.

BILL LUMBERG

June 4th, 2010
6:54 am

joe, quit whining and get to work. if people didnt trash the plane you wouldnt have a job

David

June 4th, 2010
6:54 am

Get over yourself, Sports players are not role models. This is their job, how would you like it if everyday you showed up for work there were screaming teenagers hooting and yelling at you.

Good Ole JR

June 4th, 2010
6:57 am

Hey Braves Player, class act there!!! and those kids surely wouldnt put anything up on e-bay. your arrogance surprises me. these kids play ball, just like you did as a kid. I will say this, there are SOME players that arent as arrogant as you. Old # 8 was a class act the other day when we ran into him, he didnt mind giving kids his autograph, and surely you will understand that when you either have kids or GROW UP.

Tony

June 4th, 2010
6:59 am

Our society has idolized all the wrong people – athletes, movie stars, and pop musicians. These people contribute very little to the improvement of our society. Their sole purpose is to entertain. Since we are so willing to give gobs of money for entertainment and curse when we are asked to pay for public education it is no wonder that our society is in the mess it is in.

Will P.

June 4th, 2010
7:00 am

Like it or not, they are performers and they are only there because people are willing to pay to see them play.

Good Ole JR

June 4th, 2010
7:02 am

Roles reversed, i can see your point, EXCEPT the fact that if you have no fans you have NO job.. if no one watches the team you play for , revenues will be down and you wont get the big salary you get. go back to the early 80’s when the braves were giving away tickets just to show some attendance at the park, i remember those days, and the players realized that the fans were an important aspect of the game.

Unfantic fan

June 4th, 2010
7:06 am

In order to make sure players do see this Ms. Pittman, I would mail this letter to all the Braves front office staff including Terry McGuirk, John Schuerholz, Frank Wren, and Bobby Cox. This should be disappointing to all of them.

Players need to realize that fans pay their million dollar salaries through ticket sales. No fans…no paycheck! If you don’t want people screaming your name, why come to the MLB? It’s a part of the game, and many a little boy dreams of that part too when dreaming of being a Major Leaguer!

TB

June 4th, 2010
7:12 am

You should of took your kids to the bullpin. We were there just last Saturday and Eddie Prez handed both my kids balls. Several kids got photos. You know, we didn’t even ask. My hat goes off to Eddie and the bullpin!

Brian Jordan Fan

June 4th, 2010
7:12 am

Brian Jordan is indeed a classy guy! I’m so glad he was able to make up for the players’ snubs and acknowledge your son and his friends.

Pj

June 4th, 2010
7:14 am

To the Braves player…It’s clear that you are selfish. All this lady was saying is that not one player even made eye contact with those boys. Frankly if the public really knew how most sports figures are they wouldn’t come to the games. You get treated like royalty and things swept under the rug! The Braves of the 80’s and 90’s were and still have CLASS!

DC Braves Fan

June 4th, 2010
7:16 am

I hope that the comments from A Braves Player and Roles Reversed are not comments from actual Braves’ players. Because if they are, they show an appalling lack of appreciation for the business side of the game they play. Your job is not to play baseball. The Atlanta Braves don’t make a dime from the fact that you “play baseball.” Every single dollar of revenue used to fund the fat contracts you have comes from people who watch or listen to baseball, either at the park, on television or the internet, or on radio. Thus, your job is to entertain the fans. Yes, fans are entertained by the home runs you hit or the shut outs you throw. But fans also identify with personalities, and that’s why a lot of fans trekked out to watch the Baltimore Orioles for years even when they were terrible because they had a player — Cal Ripken, Jr. — who they cared about because he genuinely cared about them.

No one is saying you have to sign 200 autographs a night. But make a little eye contact with the kids who are your customers, both now and 30 years from now. Do it because it’s the right thing to do. And if that isn’t enough for you — and it apparently isn’t — recognize that it’s also good business and will help your business both now and in the future, when you’re at autograph shows trying to make up for all the money you tossed away when you were young and immature.

Pj

June 4th, 2010
7:21 am

Braves Player…You are selfish! If you weren’t such a coward you would tell us your name! The Braves of the 80’s and 90’s had and still have class.

Yeah C'mon

June 4th, 2010
7:24 am

I can understand why you may be upset with what happened. But I can also understand what the player is going through. They have one thing on their mind before a game and that is the game. I have a really hard time believeing that the entire team walked back into the dugout without even making eye contact.

Maybe right BEFORE the game isn’t the best time to try and speak to the players. The organization sets up plenty of opportunities for fans to meet their favorite players.

DC Braves Fan

June 4th, 2010
7:24 am

And Roles Reversed, those 1000s of screaming fans at your office that you talked about? Those are your CUSTOMERS, so if you get tired of them, you probably need to find a new line of work. Talk about a horrible analogy.

A CONSERVATIVE

June 4th, 2010
7:25 am

YOU COULD GET A TIGER WOODs..YOUR DAD SHOULD BE YOUR ROLE MODEL…..PERIOD..

Prof

June 4th, 2010
7:29 am

Get over it.

They’ve got jobs to do and they do it. They’re not there to kiss your kids’ butts. They can’t look up and make eye contact because then everyone around would start begging for an autograph and they just don’t have that kind of time.

They didn’t ask to be your kid’s role model. If you were doing a better job of that, your kid wouldn’t need someone else for the job.

Ellen Harrison

June 4th, 2010
7:29 am

Joni, I feel your disappointment; you write in a captivating fashion.
Culturally, though, the professional athlete is an American phenomenon. When I advise my middle school students about careers, I implore them to skip over that one as a choice, because it is rarified and depends on the grace of God, who bestows physical strength and athletic ability, and a good helping of luck, in escaping injury, as well as hard work and determination. I expect them to complete their career exploration project on an endeavor that builds their brain. For the few boys who argue, I share a story about a pro football player I once knew, who after two knee surgeries, retired and is now a county commissioner — it was his business degree that ensured his future.
If that doesn’t work — I have them Google the world’s population, and the number of professional athletes in that strata. That works out to roughly 30,000 divided by about 6,830,586,985 (this morning). Once they achieve a negative exponent in their calculators, they stop and think.
In eighth grade, we ended this last quarter with “2 Million Minutes,” after starting the quarter with Karl Fisch’s “Did You Know?” There are much more important ways to compete, use technological prowess to change the world, and help solve Earth’s shrinking resource crises.
How many school leaders were ballplayers and coaches?
Is it true that only about 5% of our students pursue varsity sports? Are we sometimes bending schools to fit their athletic aspirations? In America, should we push kids through high school and college athletics to make sure they’re 100% red, white and blue, and can succeed in our society?
Is athleticism and teamwork a prerequisite, as much as four units of English, Social Science, Math and Science? Check with your college admissions counselors about the definition of a well-rounded student.
Games are fun, we all need to be more fit, but the sanctuary of the stadium and the worship of that lifestyle has definitely skewed our societal perspective regarding our time, money, and priorities.
Where are we going from here?

bad brad

June 4th, 2010
7:30 am

You are spot on with your comments; a couple of years ago drove down to spring training with my son; after the game most of the players walk across the field and exit through an outfield gate where you can stand next to the fence and get autographs. Along come Terry Pendleton and Yunell Escobar. Pendleton signed patiently for the 2 dozen people there, Escobar stood impatiently waiting for him, refusing to sign, refusing to acknowledge or speak to anyone. I have to admit I see him now as a jerk.

Matt in Athens

June 4th, 2010
7:32 am

When I was younger (during the 90s), we had season tickets, and I was tireless in trying to get autographs before the games, both from Braves and visiting teams. And you know what? Sometimes I got them, and sometimes I didn’t, and sometimes I would get acknowledged and sometimes I wouldn’t. My response to this article? Boo friggin hoo. Look, I’m sure your kids were disappointed. But I’m also sure that A.) there were about 5,000 other kids there over the course of that game that were disappointed and B.) that every single Brave does this at every single game. You caught them before batting practice during a pivotal stretch of the season. When I was younger, we knew that they were out there working, and not to expect much from them while they were warming up. We didn’t share the sense of entitlement you seem to have about a once-in-a-lifetime experience with the players. Also, if that spot wasn’t working, you should’ve moved. Head down to the area near the tarp, where players sign autographs all the time. Don’t throw the entire organization under the bus because you had delusions that they should be anything more than professionals preparing for the work they get paid a lot of money to do while also not willing to work one iota to actually get the attention you so desperately crave.

Matt in Athens

June 4th, 2010
7:33 am

NOTE: That should say “Every single Brave does NOT do this at every single game”

dave

June 4th, 2010
7:34 am

The sad thing is, some of those current Braves players were in the same position as that lady’s kid not 10-15 years ago. But “A Braves Player” and “Roles Reversed” are probably just a couple of wannabes who still live in their parents’ basement and spend all day listening to 790 and playing video games. It’s funny; I got an autograph from Phil Woosnam, former Atlanta Chiefs coach and NASL commissioner, 10 years after the league was over, at an old Atlanta Magic game; he was as gracious as he could be, and made a lasting, good impression on a 30-year old Atlanta Chiefs fan. Even big boys like it when sports figures take time to spread the love. Sure, they have stuff to do; that just makes it more special. And, if we don’t show up to see them play, they don’t get paid. I get paid whether somebody shows up to see work or not.

governor404

June 4th, 2010
7:34 am

Without knowing for a fact, i’d be willing to bet that the group of boys were mostly black kids and it just adds fuel to the fire that the racically biased Braves’ organization (no way to overlook the racial makeup of the team the past 10yrs)does not cater to the minority makeup of their fanbase. I bet if those kids were white this article would not have been necessary.

Clanmack

June 4th, 2010
7:35 am

For all of you asking what it would be like to have people at my job asking for autographs, etc. in defense of the insensitive ballplayers: 1) every ballplayer was one of those boys once 2) Every ball player in the MLB makes more in 6 months of PLAYING than all of these bloggers make in multiple years of working 3) None of us are put on national television and marketed as being special 4) There are only 650 or so MLB ball players who are caught up in the halo of being an MLB player. I figure they owe it to acknowledge their fans- a wave to the boys and a smile is not too much to ask-even if it has to happen every game. That is only 162 times a year. They put themselves out there, the clubs invest in the “branding” of the teams and players, the fans pay the bills directly or indirectly. These players were rude and peed in their own nest.

Vinny D

June 4th, 2010
7:37 am

I’ll never forget years ago driving up from Florida to Greenville SC for Falcons Training camp. I just wanted to watch some football. Coach Mora was running the show at that time and Mike Vick was still a fan fave in ATL. At the end of the morning session of practice we went back to our vehicle and took naps around the car and some trees on Furman’s campus. Mora and Ray Andersen (VP) drive by in a golf cart and ask us what we are doing. We told them we drove from Florida that morning to watch practice for the day and needed a rest. Mora couldn’t believe we had gone so far just to watch a day of practice and they both applauded our fanness (new word of the day). When we got there for the afternoon session, we had VIP badges waiting on us which means we were on the sidelines with the players and coaches. Pretty awesome experience. After the practice session we waited for Mora and Gregg Knapp to thank them for what they had done and I was thoroughly impressed with both men and how down to earth they both were sitting there having a conversation with a bunch of young guys about football and everything else under the sun. Mora may not have led us to the promised land but I always thought he was a class act who respected the fans.

Patrick

June 4th, 2010
7:40 am

Had any player actually stopped to sign anything, a swarm of other fans would have quickly gathered and likely crowded out your son and his friends. I suggest waiting out by the players’ parking lot and waiting for the players to arrive before the game or depart the stadium afterwards. Some Braves are actually eager to sign and greet fans before they check in “to work” and when their “work” is done.

CGator

June 4th, 2010
7:43 am

To “a Braves player” – First of all, if you truly are a Brave, what I expect is for you to acknowledge a kid. I sincerely doubt that a kid would as for my autograph at my desk, but if s/he did, I would do so each and every time. No matter how busy I was. That brings me to my second point, how busy can you be standing there waiting your turn to take BP? Third, E bay? Gimme a break. DON’T talk to anyone about making a buck. You get paid a ridiculous amount of money. And you play a game. Granted, it’s a game I would love to play, but can’t. I don’t have the talent. Face it, if you really are a MLB player, you are completely in the wrong here. I think the huge amount of money you make obligates you to show some love for children at least. Heck, I think it is the obligation of all humans to show love for all other humans regardless of their station in life. But especially for kids – and especially for people who are supposed to be heroes. Think about it.

Paul Williams

June 4th, 2010
7:45 am

I have had the pleasure of doing business with Brian Jordan, and I will tell you that he is always accessible and is a class act. Maybe the difference is not about the current state of baseball players but about how these men were raised.

GSU-Lee

June 4th, 2010
7:49 am

I used to work for the Braves — very recently — in a role that allowed me to be around the players and coaches frequently, including in the dugout during BP. Every single game, both at the dugout and at the player’s parking lot before AND after games, every player is bugged for pictures and autographs by dozens of people of all ages. Do you know what that would be like? It is awful. Yes, they make a lot of money, and yes, they are role models, but that doesn’t mean they have to sign your autograph.

Everybody always forgets that they are WORKING, this is their job. They are preparing for their day of work. Most of the players tune out fans calling their names. Again, I am not saying one of the players couldn’t have waived or something, but if you are expecting Jason Heyward to hop in the stands and take pictures and sign autographs, you are misguided, that isnt how it works.

And by the way, the headline to this article is totally bogus, have you ever met any of the braves? All of them are nice guys, and good role models. I don’t know why people expect players to be so interactive all the time. It’s like if you see Brian McCann eating dinner with his wife, is he supposed to get up every five minutes to take pictures and sign stuff?

Teach

June 4th, 2010
7:50 am

Just expressing a hospitable smile … the kind I hope to get as a I pass a stranger or a friend. Isn’t that really what Mom/Joni’s letter is all about? No need to dissect the why’s.

Dunwoody Mom

June 4th, 2010
7:57 am

The very least these players could have done was to look up and smile at the young children. That would have taken NO effort.

Matt in Athens

June 4th, 2010
7:57 am

People think A Braves Player is a Braves player. That’s hysterical.

GSU-Lee: Spot on.

CGator: How busy can you be waiting for your spot in BP? Well, considering that if you stop to take autographs, you’re going to hold up the practice and tick off your coaches and teammates, I’d say stopping for autographs is not at the top of your priority list.

Teaching in FL is worse

June 4th, 2010
7:57 am

Sadly, we had a not so satisfying experience with the Hawks a few years back. Our Special Olympics Basketball team was given the opportunity warm up on their court before the game. The players basically ignored them and warmed up. Our time was cut very short. In retrospect, we realized it was more a ploy to get the families and suporters to buy tickets.

Clay

June 4th, 2010
7:58 am

This is a heart-wrenching story; but, it’s also life. These guys are at work. It’s like that ad (don’t remember for what) with Peyton Manning hanging out in your office cube yelling out “Way to file those reports! You are the man!” They have a job to do.

Jpond

June 4th, 2010
8:05 am

I have to agree with any of the submitters here: The Braves are paid performers, period. They do plenty for the city and the people in it. Same goes for the writer of this article (or at least the Headline): Stick to the facts, not sensationalistic headlines to increase readership. You had an opportunity here to do good, but you took the low road.

CGator

June 4th, 2010
8:07 am

GSU Lee – you make good points.

Teach – so do you.

I would not expect McCann to stop dinner with his wife to autograph something. But during BP? Maybe once in a while. Growing up in Orlando, my dad used to take us to Tinker Field to watch the Twins play spring training. I remember players walking up to the fence and signing autographs all the time. Dave Concepcion. Andre Dawson. George Foster. Frank Viola. Each of them signed my glove. Among about a dozen others. And I wouldn’t E Bay the glove nowadays no matter how dire my financial situation is. Going to Orlando now to Disney to see the Braves play spring training – no players do that. Why not? What has changed?

CGator

June 4th, 2010
8:10 am

Matt in Athens: I see what you mean. Something about this just bugs me, but I do see your point. I just remember players back in the day having the time. Yeah spring training is more relaxed than the regular season. Maybe just a smile and a wave.

CGator

June 4th, 2010
8:11 am

Oh and I don’t think that is actually a Braves player. But it is fun to act like it is!

Bill H.

June 4th, 2010
8:12 am

Brian Jordan came to my son’s high school several years ago when he was playing for the St. Louis Cardinals. He put on a hitting clinic for the high school players and took the time to talk with each and every player and help him with his hitting. He did this without compensation of any kind as a favor to the high school coach. During the time he was there he was the ultimate professional and courteous to everyone that spoke with him. I have the utmost respect for Mr. Jordan based on this experience and I wish a lot of players would follow his example.

Another personality every pro athlete should emulate is Willie O’Ree. Mr. O’Ree was the first black player to play in the NHL back in the 1950’s. He is the head of the NHL diversity program now and is a true pleasure to speak with and listen to. Both Mr. Jordan and Mr. O’Ree are fine examples of what many pro athletes should be in relating to fans.

Patty

June 4th, 2010
8:15 am

I have been a Braves fan for years, back in the day of Dale Murphy and Bob Horner. I ran into Brian Jordan at a restaurant in Atlanta. I told my friends I think that is him as he was walking in the parking lot. I loved to watch him play. He always played with such intensity and excitement. He loved the game. I got his autograph, said it was for my son, told him how much I had enjoyed watching him through the years. He was such a nice guy and still is. Way to go Brian Jordan!!