April 15, 2008

Mets' Batboy for a day!!!

The following guest post comes from my god-brother, Reed, with pictures supplied by his sister, Lisa. Reed bid on a "day as a Mets' Bat Boy" last year in a silent auction for Willie Randolph's charity, and won it for his son, Max, a third-generation Mets' fan. Reed was like an older brother to me growing up, and is partly responsible, with Lisa and my dad, for creating the fanatic Mets' fan that I am today - and I STILL don't know whether to thank him or not! (Just kidding!!!) Anyway, enjoy Reed's recap of a fun weekend one month ago, as well as the pics. Later on today (Tuesday) I'll discuss my thoughts on the whole "Willie" situation...

My Son, Max - Mets' Bat Boy For A Day!
By Reed Auerbach

My wife, Adrienne, my son, Max, my daughter, Tierney and I went to a dinner last summer supporting Willie Randolph's Foundation, (website coming soon) which supports baseball for inner city youths in New York City and the metropolitan area (read more here.) There were many baseball players there, including Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, as well as David Wright, Aaron Heilman, John Maine, El Duque, and former Mets John Franco and Ron Darling.

The dinner was a fundraiser for Willie's foundation and they auctioned off many items, including a lot of memorabilia. One of the items auctioned was "bat boy for the day at Port St. Lucie." When they announced this auction item, Max's eyes lit up. I could not resist. After all, it was for charity! Thankfully, we won, and visions of Spring Training lit up in Max's head- and it was still more than 7 months away!!!

I coordinated the trip with Willie's daughter Taneisha, who runs the Foundation and could not have been nicer! As the date got closer, my Mom and Dad said that they could not miss the opportunity to see Max as the Mets' bat boy. So, I emailed Taneisha and offered to pay for the two additional tickets to the game, but she was very understanding and gladly got me the two additional tickets. Then my sister, Lisa, emailed me and said she was feeling left out and really wanted to go to the game too, to see her nephew, Max. So, while I was very embarassed, I emailed Taneisha again and she was very understanding and got us one more ticket. Our plans were coming together nicely.

On the day of the game we arrived at the stadium around 10am and were escorted to the back practice field where all of the starters were taking batting practice under Willie's watchful eye. On the way to the back field, we saw a young, lanky kid smacking the ball in batting practice. The ball was jumping off his bat like Piazza in his prime. He looked so young. Yes, it was our future outfielder, Fernando Martinez!

Willie took us right onto the practice field to watch batting practice. He and my Dad shared Tilden HS stories. [Editor's Note: Reed's dad and my dad went to Tilden together - a LOT of years ago - LOL - and were best friends for over 70 years, and Jonathan's dad also attended Tilden about 2 years ahead. Small world...] We talked about Santana and the rash of injuries that the Mets were suffering from during the spring. He took Max right behind the cage and gave him some tidbits about each player that came into the cage. Max was ready!

At about 11:30am I took Max to the locker room to get changed and ready for the game. He was nervous but very excited. Now, what I have not told you so far is that the entire week leading up to the trip, I was getting on Max about how he had to pay attention and take this job seriously. I kept joking him that if Jose Reyes hit a home run and he left the bat at home plate and tripped and tore up his knee, that Max's face would be on the front page of the NY Post as public enemy number one! [Editor's Note: As much as I love Reed and Max, even I would have to take him to task for THAT if it happened...no, just kidding...no, I'm serious...no, just kidding...] No pressure!! I also told him that he had to learn all of Jose's handshakes so he would be ready to greet him at home plate after the home run and so that I could capture the moment for posterity on my DVR.

Well, sure enough, Jose led off the bottom of the first with a line drive home run over the right field fence! Me, Mom, Dad and Lisa are in Willie's seats behind home plate and we are going crazy. We are yelling to Max to hi-five Jose and get on TV! I had visions of giving the DVD of the game to Max's kids some day, showing their father as a youngster hi-fiving a Hall of Famer. So, Max runs out of the dugout and grabs the bat. One disaster averted - but, instead of waiting for Jose at home plate, he races back to the dugout and starts preparing the on deck circle for David Wright!! Jose runs back to the dugout and Max is not even looking at him as he is in the on deck circle laying out Wright's donut. I was heartbroken!!!!

Fortunately, in the bottom of the sixth, Damon Easley hit a sac fly to right field. Max ran down the first base line to pick up the bat and high fived Easley on his way in from first base -THAT I have for posterity on my DVR! Maybe not as relevant in 25 years, but regardless of which player it was, it's still living out a dream!

After the game, we immediately asked Max why he hadn't high fived Jose after the home run, especially after I had talked to him about it all week? Max looked at us and with a quizzical look on his face said "Jose didn't hit a home run." We couldn't convince him. He refused to believe that he had missed his opportunity!!!!

The next day we headed to Universal Studios and didn't get a newspaper. When we got home a week later, I played the game for Max. He was still in disbelief!! Max took his job as bat boy so seriously, and was concentrating so hard, he was not really even watching the game!

Nonetheless, he and we had a great experience. He really got a kick out of Heilman asking Max to run to the bullpen and get his warmup jacket between innings. The players treated him well and Willie was truly wonderful to Max, and to all of us! It was definitely a memorable experience!

Editor's Note: Max, you lived a dream that every Mets' fan has as a kid- heck, if I had a chance NOW, in my mid-40's, I'd get into shape to do it TOMORROW!!!! Sounds like a great day for a great kid and a great family!!! Thanks for sharing, Reed! Now can you bid on sending Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley to Bermuda, for, say, the next 3 months or so???


Anonymous said...

i always wanted to be a bat boywhen i was younger but sadly enough it never happend

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see, if they let you see the batboys on television tomorrow. Friday, Aug. 5, 2011 when my grandson is batboy for the day. He's so awesome, a good student with great grades in school, a wonderful grandson and such a gentlemen and he loves his Dad so much. We are cheering for you Lucas. All the way from San Antonio, Texas.