July 31, 2009

Could your favorite player be obnoxious?

I was thinking about this for a few days since Albert was in Philly. Sooz had told me a story she heard that Albert told a reporter when asked a question, "You're a writer, make it up." Now I wish this came as a shock to me, but it didn't. I had heard some other things from people asking for autographs, or people paying to go to MLB type dinners that he refuses to talk to people or sign autos. Does this bother me? Only a little bit because really, the odds of me meeting him are slim to none. I also think that part of the reason why he doesn't approach fans to sign autographs is because maybe he thinks they will just end up on eBay that night, and for what his signature goes for I can't say he would be wrong in thinking that.

This isn't the first player I have followed that I have heard bad things about. George Brett is one of my all time favorites. I know a few people who have met him at dinners and said he is a nasty drunk and wants money for an autograph. Great. Do I care? Not so much, but figured I would throw that out there. Any evidence to refute that would be welcomed since I always liked Brett.

While I can kind of understand why some of the old players like Mantle charged for autographs later in life as a result of not making much money while they were playing, I still don't think it's right. Older people, not children want to ask those guys for autographs because those are their childhood idols. Not that younger people don't want them but it's probably different for people that are in their 50's or 60's. I just don't think it's right for any player to charge for an autograph but when everything ends up on eBay, I see why they can get frustrated and maybe only sign for real little kids.

I haven't met many baseball players, but the one of the ones that I did meet was Bernie Williams. The nicest guy on Earth, great personality and very friendly. I met him when I was very young (and so was he), on cap day and he came over and signed all the kids caps behind homeplate back when you could stand there during batting practice and be a kid. I also met him a second time at a bar in Tarrytown, and I couldn't resist saying hello. I didn't ask for an autograph or anything I just went up to him and introduced myself and thanked him for all the things he did for the team over the years.

Anyone ever meet their favorite player only to be disappointed in their demeanor and personality? I'd love to hear about it, whether it's good or bad it would be fun to share stories.

14 comments:

  1. You have seen the George Brett video I just posted, right?

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  2. Obviously, I have heard terrible stories about Jose Canseco since the early 80's.

    When I finally met him with not a single fan around during a softball game he saw me looking terrified with a camera in my hand and asked my wife if I wanted a photo with him.

    He asked us, not the other way around. I'll always remember that moment when I hear someone bashing Jose.

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  3. I think every baseball player I've ever met has actually been really nice. Mark McGwire, Canseco, Bret Saberhagen, Gary Gaetti, Joba, Mariano Rivera, Michael Cuddyer... they've all been super cool to me and the other fans. It makes me feel good, knowing I'm cheering for someone who isn't a pecker.

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  4. Vladimir Guerrero is my favorite player and he literally stares past you if you try and approach him for an autograph.

    It doesn't taint what he does on the baseball field, but it leaves a lot to be desired off it.

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  5. I met Chipper. Or not really met as was rushed through the line as fast as possible. It was during a Braves Fest where you can get autographs. I have to say, I was a little disappointed in how it went. He kept his head down nearly the whole time just about and didn’t say anything, just signed whatever he was handed. I did get a nod out of him, but that was about it.


    Then again it had been four hours in the line and there here two women on either side of him that would take the thing you wanted to sign, hand it to him, and then they would take it from him and give it back to you. They and another person kept telling you to "hurry" along.

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  6. As a sports reporter, almost all of the baseball players I have met have been pleasant.

    A reporter wields a little more power than your average fan, so they have a reason to be nice to me. But honestly, I was almost always surprised by how genuine they've been.

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  7. i have met a few baseball, hockey, and football players and have never been disappointed. i haven't actually met steve garvey, but i did get an ip auto from him in 1983 at dodger stadium. he signed for a long time, and there were some pretty pushy kids at one point - garvey very politely told them 'maybe next time' and kept signing for the rest of the crowd. of course, a lot of people say that garvey's persona was just an act, but as far as i could tell it was legit.

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  8. Chris, I'm going to look at that right now. Funny we both mentioned George Brett.

    I'm glad to see that most people have stories where the players were nice, and not jerks. I will keep the faith that Albert will be nice to me if I ever met him.

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  9. As far as Albert goes,as a fan, I approached him once for an autograph and he signed it without small talk. As a scribe, he is like many players,a horrible interview... I've had many favorite players over the years-Albert Belle, Harold Baines, Doc Gooden, Dave Winfield, Darryl Strawberry, Brian Roberts, Carl Crawford and Ray Durham were all amazing to meet and chat with. I have yet to meet Jason Bartlett my current fav... My true childhood favorite was Danny Tartabull, when I finally did meet him, it was a huge disapointment, not that he was mean, he just didn't seem to care how much he meant to me as a fan.

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  10. I got George Brett to autograph a ball for me a few years ago at Spring Training. He didn't say anything and didn't look very happy, but at least he signed.

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  11. Just had a chance encounter w/ Greg Maddux outside the Staples Center back in March....happened to be the day of the Pac-10 basketball tournament championship game. I've worked in radio for 15 years and have encountered all kinds of celebs and have learned to temper expectations, which served me well this time since he turned out to be a total prick!! Disappointing as a lifelong Braves fan and Maddux fan.

    I wasn't even going to ask for an autograph....just happened to see him walk up right beside me w/ his family, told him I was a big Braves fan and hoped he'd enter the Hall as a Brave. I had a cell phone cam handy so I asked him to take a picture w/ me. He immediately started walking away and refused....said, "I might come back later."

    I had always heard he tended to be that way, so I wasn't shocked. Some folks just aren't very well adjusted socially in a profession where they're expected to be at all times.

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  12. at spring training this year, magglio ordonez practically grabbed miguel cabrera's arm as he was going to possibly sign some autographs and said they'd be back later, only to sprint past everyone he told that to when he was taken out in the 5th inning.

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  13. Practically every Triple A player we've met in Albuquerque has been extremely nice, including players that go back and forth to the majors. Maybe it's because the crowds are less intense than at a major league park. We keep a list of "nice players" on our blog...to make the list, we must have direct confirmation from someone who's encountered the player and had a positive experience. You know what? It matters.

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  14. I wasn't the biggest fan of Derek Jeter but that changed when I met him. He is a great guy - a real gentleman.

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