“I saw Daniel’s story and told him that I’d love to play catch next time I’m in town.”
Bill lives in Arizona. His son, Daniel, played catch with me almost 100 days ago, on Day #5.
I remember Day #5. It was cold but sunny and I was nervous because Chris was filming the game of catch. Afterwards, I had to ask Daniel to take a selfie and send it my way.
I’ve since upgraded my catch-playing routine. Of course I still get nervous, especially when I’m meeting someone new. That’s just a quirky part of my personality. But at least I can take my own selfies using my wife’s camera. She’s convinced (or at least hoping) this is the year I’ll finally get a smart phone.
Just like I told Daniel on Day #5, flip phones are still the best.
Bill picked the perfect week to come to Springfield. He’ll experience all the seasons over the course of seven days.
Last Saturday, Bill and Daniel traveled to St. Louis to watch their Diamondbacks play the Cardinals.
“As long as we were in the sun, it was fine. But once the sun went down, I was cold!”
The last time Bill played catch was around 2011, back with Daniel played for Evangel.
“I just love baseball. I grew up a Dodgers fan and my grandfather was a Giants fan.”
There’s nothing like a baseball rivalry in the family. Me and my daughters are Royals fans. My wife’s side of the family are all Cardinals fans. There is no shortage of trash talk when we get together.
Back in Arizona, Bill coached Daniel’s teams for more than a decade.
“I love working with younger people and teaching them the right way to play the game — about respect for the game, for teammates, coaches, and opponents. In return, I learned a lot about patience! But it sure was a lot of fun.”
If given the opportunity, Bill would love to play catch with Dodgers he watched growing up — Maury Wills and Sandy Koufax — or Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt. Like father, like son.
Bill retired in January after spending 39 years working in radio. When he retired, he was the Associate General Manager in charge of operations for KJZZ / KBAQ — the National Public Radio station in Phoenix. Bill has done pretty much everything in the radio world, from cuing vinyl to all things digital to the annual fundraisers.
I am old enough to remember using an 8-track player. I can barely imagine all the changes that have occurred in the radio business in the last couple decades.
Bill’s big dream for the future, besides thoroughly enjoying retirement, is to make it back to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY along with Daniel.
After playing catch on the same field where I met Daniel and after our camera-selfie, we walked to the cars when Bill surprised me.
“Today is actually my birthday.”
If I would have known it was his birthday, I would have brought donuts to celebrate.
It is also the birthday of my sister-in-law, Carrie. She appreciated the outcome of last Saturday’s game much more than Bill and Daniel did.
To Bill, may the Diamondbacks help you celebrate today! And thanks much for the stories and game of catch. Safe travels back to the delightful weather of Arizona.
And to Carrie, may the Cardinals help you celebrate today!