I watched the Royals play baseball today.
Jerry attended the 2018 Royals Alumni Fantasy Camp in Surprise, Arizona. Thanks to Dad’s help, we were able to schedule a time for the viewing of the camp DVD followed by a game of catch.
“I played on Team Black and wore #36, the year I was born. My coaches were Joe Randa, Brian McRae, and Jamie Bluma.”
At 81 years of age, Jerry played both infield and outfield and drove in his team’s first run of the camp.
“I went to high school in Whiting, Iowa and faced a pitcher with a good curveball. It scared the hell out of me, so I became a trainer for the team, taping up wrists.” Another underdog and role player. Baseball stories are full of them.
The video featured several of my favorite Royals ballplayers including Bo Jackson, Mike Sweeney, Kevin Seitzer, Joe Randa, George Brett, Jeff Montgomery, and Les Norman. I listened to Brett’s hitting tips and Cookie Rojas’s camp advice and laughed at the Kangaroo Court fines.
Rudy Ruettiger spoke to the campers and highlights of his speech were shown. “Dreamers have a gift — a can-do attitude.”
“He gave all the campers an autographed copy of his poster, personalized.”
I watched Jerry’s highlight film, taking swings at the plate, driving in runs, and fielding grounders at second. In other game footage I spotted my friend Dave, picking it at first as well as hitting the ball.
Jerry told us the story about going out to dinner with his team on Wednesday night, “I couldn’t run. I couldn’t hit. I couldn’t throw. But I could pick up the tab for my team.”
The video ended with the awards night ceremony. Although Jerry’s team finished in last place, he ended camp with a couple of hits and 3 RBIs. He was awarded the trophy for Most Inspirational Player on Team Black.
After the video, Jerry and I walked out to the backyard and played catch in the shade and humidity. He’s had shoulder operations and told me he couldn’t throw, but he threw the ball just fine.
“If I can still walk and run when I’m 90, I’m going back.”