November 8, 2009

Small moments with Big Daddy

I’ve said this before… sometimes it’s the little things you remember about a person. Yesterday, Cheryl and I went to see Vladimir Guerrero who was doing a paid autograph session at Hobby City in Anaheim.

We weren’t sure what to expect. Would the cost ($70 for small items, $100 for large ones) keep people away or would people show up in huge numbers because of who Vlad is? We arrived a couple hours early and found a small line in front to the OC Dugout Sports Card/Collectibles store.

As we waited, the line grew some, but never got to be very long. It was interesting to hear some of the conversations taking place. Some wondered if he would be back. Some joked about the big strike zone of his and his propensity to swing at anything. All in all people were excited that Big Daddy Vlady was making an appearance.

We had a baseball and an 8x10 (his 2004 MVP photo) of Vlady ready for his signature. I wasn’t sure what I would say to him. I wasn’t sure if he’d understand anything I had to say, so I kept it simple. I basically said “hello” and “thank you.” Vlad smiled and asked “how you doing?” It was brief, but it was nice. He shook Cheryl’s hand and smiled when she said, “I hope you come back.”

It wasn’t much, but it was plenty for me. Cheryl told me he had a nice "firm" hand shake and claims she hasn't washed her hand since.

Several days back, I posted a piece called “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” It was basically my way of saying, good bye Vlad, I hardly knew you. Much to my surprise, it was picked up by the Baseball Think Factory web site, which drew some 49 comments (although not all the comments were even about my post) I even had some here. Most of the people didn’t like what I had to say and I believe they took my words way beyond what I intended. I guess that’s the risk you take when you put your opinion out there and the opportunity for a verbal dialog isn’t part of the process.

Anyway, as I look back on that post of mine, I found it a little ironic that Vlad made a public appearance yesterday. I never would have expected him to do it, but I’m glad he did.

Even though it cost us some cash; even though he was a half hour late and even though we only had a few minutes with him, it was nice and I’m glad we went. Small moments like these are special and provide lasting memories for many years.

When I said, “thank you” to him yesterday, it was as if I was in some way not only thanking him for his autograph, but I was also thanking him for his six years as an Angel and for simply making himself available to the public on this day. I just hope he enjoyed it a much as we did.

It's actually kind of sad to think he might not be back. If this is truly good bye, I’d like to say I will always remember him for his old school approach. He never wore batting gloves or body armor. He always swung hard and when he made contact, he could put a charge in the ball like no one else. It’s sad that we don’t have a World Series title to share together, but we did have six action packed years and I believe he gave it his all every time he stepped on the field.

I still don’t feel like I know much about him, but I’m fine with it now. In any case, I’ll always have yesterday and that’s enough for me.


  1. Im glad you feel better you got to meet Vlad--Go Angels--No Way Jose-Halo Space-Where true Angels fans

  2. Vlad told me he wanted to sign with the Dodgers a couple of years ago but Frank McCourt blew it...Sad. Nice seeing you!