Mrs. B. and I went directly from work to our second baseball game in as many weeks. This time we headed to see the Iowa Cubs play the Rivercats right in our fair town of Sacramento. My friends Mark and Rebecca (yes, the newlyweds that will be taking a honeymoon after baseball season- Rebecca works for the Rivercats) hooked up some tickets behind the visitor dugout to see the man, the myth, the legend Ryne Sandberg manage the AAA Cubbies.
I brought my official Ryne Sandberg jersey with the hope of getting it signed. There was already a decent line when I got there and Rivercats security was patrolling the line. They immediately informed me to go to the back. I obliged and hoped that Ryno would be giving out a whole hell of a lot of autographs.
Ryne Sandberg came out from behind the outfield fence and came over to the dugout. He began signing, and signing, and signing. The guy was a machine. Much like his Hall of Fame career, he kept going like a savage. He was taking pictures and signing all kinds of autographs for people.
As it got to be crunch time, I got up close and was worried I was about to get cut off. I was literally wearing a Ryne Sandberg t-shirt and asking him to sign a #23 jersey. I was hoping that won me a couple extra points. I got up there and he signed it. I had brought a silver sharpie. Note to everyone- do NOT buy silver sharpies. I thought the jersey would look fantastic with a silver signature. However, the thing did not work when Ryno got a hold of it. He was a little annoyed but cool about it. He said, "If someone has a black one, that would be better."
I look down and a little kid has a black sharpie in his hand. I panicked and snatched it from the kid. His sister was right next to me as well, and handed her sharpie to Ryno. I immediately gave the kid his sharpie back, thanked the kid and internally scolded myself for losing my damn mind around my childhood hero. It wasn't exactly rude the way it all went down, but I think we can all agree that many times the allure of getting autographs brings out the worst in people. I know you've seen a 50 year old man bowl over an 8 year old to get an autograph before. Autographs and foul balls are the apples of the Garden of Eden of baseball. Just ask Steve Bartman.
Anyway, Ryno signed the jersey with his signature, the number 23, and HOF 05. SO COOL. I was literally the second to last person to get a signature before the National Anthem played. I was so lucky. Here's the best part- Mrs. B. got a nice photo:
That's me with Ryne Sandberg!!!
Enough with me being starstruck. Here's another funny pic that Mrs. B. took:
Excellent stretching routine, eh? The night was amazing though. Definitely feel so lucky to have gotten an autograph from such a legend. Thanks Mark and Rebecca- you two rock!