The title of this post? Dripping with sarcasm. Here’s why.

Good friend of mine just got back from spring training where he and his fourteen year old son decided to spend their vacation this year. They are both big Cub fans. Huge. Can you remember being 14 and having the chance to see ball games with your Dad? How it felt to actually see a big league ball player in person and maybe even get close enough to ask him for (gulp) an autograph?

Well, one day after the game at Hohokam, they go to dinner and as they are driving back past the park later, they see a very small crowd still standing, waiting. So they park and walk over to see what’s up. Moments later, out comes Lou. Gruff as could be. Doesn’t want to be bothered. Tells the two men there to take a hike. Now this doesn’t really bother me, because it’s these guys who ruin it for everyone…these guys who are there everyday for autographs that they can later sell. So, now it’s a small group of just kids. And a reluctant Lou signs a couple of hats and balls and leaves. Signs my buddy’s son’s hat. Upside down. So you can’t read it looking at the hat. Think that’s the first hat Lou has ever signed? I don’t. But whatever. Thanks, Lou. For taking three minutes out of your schedule on your way to the Hometown Buffet to sign a couple things.

But this story gets better. Ready? Here goes. Next day they are heading home and the son says “Dad, can we drive by Hohokam just one more time on the way to the airport?” So they do.

This is fairly early in the morning and no one is there. They park just to get a last picture by the sign and “feel the feeling” before they leave. And then…Carlos Zambrano comes riding out of the tunnel on a bicycle. My friend tells his son not to bother him…let him ride. So they watch him ride off down the culvert near the park and get in some work. He disappears and they wait a little longer to see if anyone else comes out. Did I mention the kid is wearing a Zambrano jersey? He is. Twenty minutes later and they are ready to go…but here comes Carlos on the bike. Kid pulls his new Carlos Zambrano All-Star Jersey from his suitcase and walks over to the area where Big Z will be riding back in. Zambrano rides up and the boy says “Mr. Zambrano will you please sign the jersey?”

New paragraph. Because the guy didn’t sign the jersey. Didn’t even stop. Slowed down and looked at the kid and the jersey — but then kept peddling and went on in…without saying a word.  No one around. Not a single person anywhere. Would it have killed the guy to sign the kid’s jersey? Thanks, Carlos!

What is it with these guys? Don’t they know who really pays their outrageous salaries? I can wholeheartedly understand blowing off the trolling piece of garbage autograph hounds — 45 year old men who live in their parent’s basement and sell the signed stuff on eBay. But kids? Come on.

On the flip side, since I am fair and balanced — they said that Ryan Theriot would stay and sign until everyone was gone. Good for you, Ryan. It is appreciated and will win you a ton of young fans.

Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so deeply addicted to baseball because the players, the owners, the agents and their collective behavior turn me off.

To make things right, I will be sending some right side up autographed “The Sherm” gear to my friend’s son. Not all kids are as lucky as this one, however.


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