Well, I have to admit that this day went much better than Day 1, but that was likely because I was stationed inside the Sports Hall at Autograph Station #2 instead of the Schwan’s Center with all the crazy fans that wanted to meet Joe Mauer and Jim Thome.
Today, although I was working almost nonstop from 9 am to 6 pm, I still was able to chat with Jason Repko and Jerry White a little bit. I don’t have the conversations verbatim, but I’ll still paraphrase what we said and what was going on. But first…
I found it surprising to see some girls get in line right as the doors opened to get Drew Butera’s autograph. Even more amazing was that he wasn’t going to start signing until 11 am, 2 hours after doors opened. I understand he’s good looking and all… but I don’t think I would wait 2 hours in line just to meet him. Besides, I learned from all the sessions at line #2 that you could wait until the current session was half over and still get an autograph. It appears as though Thome and Mauer were the only two players that you might have trouble getting signatures.
Now, onto the Repko and White conversations.
Repko was signing autographs with Butera and Glen Perkins, and it was clear from observation that Butera was getting more requests for photos than Repko and Perkins. When they were done signing, Perkins disappeared quickly, but Butera was stopped by some fans, and Repko failed to leave immediately because he didn’t know where he was going. Since I was manning the exit for this line, I was able to chat with Repko before he left.
Note: Remember that I’m paraphrasing here.
Me: Are you jealous that people requested photos with Butera more than you and Perkins?
Repko: No, have you seen his face? I totally understand.
Me: Well, being Pavano’s personal catcher, I’m sure that helps a bit.
Repko: Yeah, he gets to be catcher, so he’s involved in every single play.
Me: But you get to dive around the outfield. In fact, you made a great first impression with that Mets game (made a leaping catch in the outfield and then threw to third base to complete a double play).
Repko: Yeah, I almost missed that ball. I had trouble seeing it in the lights, and I just got lucky with catching it.
As for White, he was paired with Gardy at the end of the day. Since most of the crowd had left to go home, we were able to shut down this autograph line about 1/2 hour early, and so I was able to talk to him for a bit. I do have to admit that the conversation started a bit awkward…
Note: Again, paraphrasing the conversation.
Me: Have a good day, Jerry.
White: Thanks, uh… *checks my nametag* Andrew. So… how many years have you been working for the Twins?
Me: Last season was my first year. I usually worked in the right field grandstand. By the way, you were always in the outfield hitting balls to the outfielders during batting practice last year, right? Or was that someone else?
White: Well, during extra batting practice I’m out there with those guys, but once BP starts I move to second base and work with the baserunners.
Me: Yeah, I’m talking about extra batting practice.
White: Yep, then that’s me. I’m out there hitting balls so they can get reads off the bat. (White said some more here but I can’t remember exactly what he said).
Me: I had a friend mention that he felt that Span needs to improve a bit with playing balls near the fence.
White: Yeah, him and Delmon need some work. (Again, White said more but I can’t remember).
Me: I can’t wait to see Revere and Benson in the outfield. In a couple years, do you think Delmon will move to DH?
White: Between you and me, I think he should be DH-ing.
Around this time, another fan interrupted us and started talking with White. A few minutes later, as he was leaving, I said by to White and he told me that if I was in the right field grandstand again next season, I should yell and say hi to him. I probably would if I didn’t have to worry about risking my job as an usher!
Random change of subject, we had a man walk up to my team leader asking to say hi to Gardy for a little bit, and he introduced himself as the retired knuckleball pitcher Phil Niekro. A funny story from my team leader was that Niekro was wearing a bright orange shirt today, and he remembered seeing Niekro going through the autograph line for Delmon Young!
Finally, I think the story of the day has to go to Terry Steinbach. Towards the end of the day, he sauntered over to Gardy while he was signing autographs, sneaked into the line, and handed Gardy a schedule of the TwinsFest events to sign. Gardy never looked up, so he signed the schedule and handed it back to Steinbach before he finally looked up, realized it was Steinbach, and said…
“You son of a bitch!”