A story and a love letter to LL:
(Disclaimer: this is my first FanPost, so feel free to tell me if I broke any rules.)
Tonight, due to a connection I have through my work, I was able to visit the Spanish language broadcast booth prior to the M's game. I was expecting to see some cool stuff in the press box itself and an awesome view of the field. That was about it. I didn't realize that the color commentator for the Spanish broadcast was Julio Cruz. Now to be completely honest, I knew he was a player and I knew I recognized the name, but I'm much more into current baseball than baseball history so I had to do some quick googling after we left the booth. I'm sure you know this, but Julio Cruz was a second baseman for the M's from '77-'83.
Now I'm not really one for meeting famous people. The idea of standing in a line for an autograph and a few seconds of forced conversation sounds very uncomfortable to me and I'd rather appreciate people from afar than go through that. This was a different story. Being introduced by a mutual acquaintance in a super casual setting made everything easy, and as it turns out, I spent about 20 minutes talking baseball with Julio Cruz. We talked about Kawasaki; he loves Muni and thinks he should get more playing time based on the fact that he was an all-star in Japan and he tore up Spring Training, I didn't have as much confidence in his hitting but agreed that he's a lot of fun to watch. We chatted about Guti's return and Ackley's struggles (Julio is convinced that someone is messing with Ackley's swing). The most surreal moment for me was when I asked him what he thought about the big move-the-fences-in debate. (In general, he's for bringing the corners in a bit, particularly in right to help out Smoak.) We started talking about other ballparks and he told a story of hitting at Fenway. He hit a ball off the Green Monster and booked it for second, only to look up and see the second baseman waiting for him with the ball. He was tagged out and so embarrassed that he sprinted to the dugout as fast as he could. And all I could think was, I'm talking to a guy who has played in Fenway. I realize Julio Cruz probably isn't anyone's most favorite player. He's certainly not the most famous. But I'm still jacked up from getting to spend time talking to a former Major League Baseball player. Best night ever.
I promised a love letter so let me get to it: My favorite part of the whole thing was feeling like I could hold my own in a baseball conversation with a former player/tv commentator. And I have you to thank for that, LL. I get almost all of my Mariner's info right here. So thank you Jeff and Matthew and all of you contributors for allowing me and tons of others the chance to just lurk and learn.
I apologize if this is in the wrong place, I'm going right back to my lurking ways. I just couldn't pass up the chance to say thanks and share a cool experience that was made cooler for me because of this awesome blog.
I'm on the left. I think you can figure out which one is Julio.