(Blogathon ’16) A Random Musing on the Fairport Little League Money-Grabbing Promotion

This post is part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.

Tons of people play Little League Baseball or have played Little League Baseball when they were of the age where you can.

This is not a story about my actual time on the Little League field, where my greatest moment was the time I drew a walk with the bases loaded to force in the walk-off run. No, this is about something else: the Fairport Little League money-grabbing promotion, a crazy promotion in which a pre-teen ballplayer was put into a box full of money, a blower was turned on to send that money flying around, and the kid had to try and grab as much money as possible, which he (or she) would be able to keep.

There were many thoughts on strategy for this. Some kids thought you should try to trap it against the sides of the box and then pull it on. Others thought you should just grab wildly and hope for the best. A few suggested using a loose jersey as a net to catch the dollars and then try to grab from the “net” since you were only allowed to keep the money you had in your hands. Still others thought that it was stupid and that you should just keep the entrance fee and use it to buy a candy bar from the concession stand.

That last group, while probably wise beyond their years, were absolutely no fun.

And then there was the question of what you’d do with the money. Maybe you’d use it to buy candy at the concession stand (always a great choice), maybe you’d rent a video game (this was back when there were actual stores that rented video games), or maybe you’d just put it into your piggy bank.

When I walked in to the box, all those years ago, I wasn’t sure what my strategy was. I think it was a mixture of the various strategies. And I can’t remember what I used the money I got for. Heck, I can’t even remember how much money I grabbed, period.

And yet, despite the fact that I’ve forgotten the end result, I still can remember that big box that sent money flying around you…. a piece of childhood and Little League.

At 5 AM: A “Songs of October” Update

This post has been part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.

 

 

The time I (sort of) saw Jesse Orosco break a baseball record

In the annals of baseball record-holders, you can find some of the greatest names in the game: Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Cy Young, Pete Rose, Walter Johnson, Tris Speaker, Rickey Henderson, Cal Ripken…

By comparison, Jesse Orosco doesn’t really stand out. But he has the record for most games appeared in. And it doesn’t look like anybody is going to be passing him anytime soon. He broke the previous record, held by Dennis Eckersley, on August 17, 1999.

I was at that game at the ripe old age of nine. But I didn’t actually see him break it. Because, you see, I was busy… looking at the record-breaking home run balls of 1998. Cartoonist and former college baseball player Todd McFarlane had bought most of the McGwire and Sosa home run balls, and was touring them around the country. We’d decided that a good time to go and see it would be once Mike Mussina had left the game.

So, what do you know, he left the game as the 7th began. We went to see the McGwire and Sosa home run balls.

As we looked at the great artifacts of the year before, hardly suspecting that A) the home runs were probably hit with the help of modern pharmaceuticals and B) that Jesse Orosco was making history.

You all remember how it happened. There were fireworks, a message on the video board from Dennis Eckersley, a special appearance by several members of the 1986 Mets, and, finally, a tearful moment on the mound as Orosco embraced his family as both teams surrounded and cheered his grand accomplishment. And then, he got Todd Walker to fly out to center.

At least, I think that’s what happened, I was too busy looking at Todd MacFarlane’s personal museum to see it. So maybe all that happened was that the PA announcer mentioned at the end of the game that Orosco had broken Eckersley’s record. Again, I was nine, so the memory is a bit hazy. I think one of those things happened though.