Days like today help me love my job. The San Diego Padres are playing the Phillies tonight and you (yes, you!) know what that means.
I actually got to see the Padres last night at Citi Field in New York, but I was just a spectator (that's a post coming up).
Today, however, I had the opportunity to have a few words with Kouzmanoff, so I took it. The Padres dont' come back to Philadelphia for the rest of the season, and I am not covering any of the other games.
We had a short five-minute conversation, but it was great. The reason I started collecting his cards was because of his heritage. He's Macedonian. My family is Albanian. It's not often that people of the Balkan region end up in baseball. They're more of the soccer type (and can do wonders with an AK-47).
We spoke about his family and mine a little bit. I got to learn more about how his family ended up in the United States. His grandfather was the first generation born here.
The best part about the conversation was that he didn't ruin him image for me. Too often, you meet a celebrity or someone with a bit of notoriety and they shoot down every image you had of them. Not him, he was pleasant and engaging. We could have talked longer, but his team had to start pre-game warm ups.
An excellent experience. So watch out eBay bidders ... his cards are mine!