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    • My Friend Rusty Meacham
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  • 6/3/01
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While many of you Devil Ray fans are upset with your team, I think it is only fair that I show you guys a positive side of your team, one that doesn't show up in the Box Scores or Standings, but one that is very important none the less. I live in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, it's about an hour and half's drive from Toronto. I am a 16 year old high school student and a baseball fanatic. Back in early April, myself and my 3 closest friends had an opportunity to purchase $23 seats for $10 from school. Being the baseball fans we are, we jumped at the chance, waking up that morning we had no idea how our lives would change by the next morning. We left straight from school and drove to SkyDome in my friend Connor's grandmother's Oldsmobile, and arrived during Devil Rays batting practice. We ran down to field level immediately after our arrival and were like kids in a candy store, this is heaven for us, Major League Players within 15 feet of us. We were on the 3rd base side in the outfield and Ben Grieve, Steve Cox, Greg Vaughn were shagging BP and there was another guy out there and we didn't know who it was, and my friend says, "I think that's Rusty Meacham" so after bugging Andy for a couple minutes, he shouts, "RUSTY", and he looks over like a deer in the headlights and puts up a finger as if to say, 1 minute. We all look at eachother in total shock. So Rusty goes off to right field and does his thing with the other pitchers and then comes back to left field. He calls one of the field staff workers into left and points at us, at this point we're absolutely losing it. The field staff guy comes over and says, "He can't get 4 balls so he wants you guys to pick a number between 1 and 10", I can't remember what the other's picked but I picked 4. He went back to Rusty and then came back and said who had #4 so I raised my hand. Rusty then came over leaned over and put his glove on the railing. He leaned over and said quietely to me "It's in my glove, take it out" so I reached in and took out the whitest baseball I have ever seen. I asked him, "Would you mind signing it and making it out to the 4 of us?", he said he would, but he's got to come back later, he had some work to do. He came back about 10 minutes later, and told us "It's only a game guys, don't take it too seriously, I'm just like one of you guys, the only difference is I have a uniform on" and continued to talk to us about the game for about 5 minutes. He then signed the ball, To Craig, Mike, Andy, Connor, 'All my best!' Your Friend, Rusty Meacham, 37 What a guy! Myself, Andy, My dad and brother are going to the Jays-Rays game Thursday in hopes that we will get to see 'our friend' again. Just keep in mind that no matter how bad your team is, be grateful you have guys like Rusty Meacham. Craig Church, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
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  • 6/3/01
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Thanks for that story, Craig. I actually believe that more players are closer to being Rusty Meacham than Albert Belle. Unfortunately, many of us let ourselves get too buried in the non-stop flow of negativity spewing from the newspapers, tv and radio to realize it.
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  • 6/3/01
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Hey Craig - I understand Rusty is an Elvis fan. Just something you might ask him about when you meet him again.
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  • 6/3/01
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Outstanding post, Craig. I wish more fans would note these moments from the park more often. btw, do you know a groundskeeper named MacArthur?
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  • 6/4/01
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That is a neat story. He is a cool guy. I went to the Devil Rays vs. the Orioles in Baltimore and I went over to where he was signing and I handed him the ball that my friend Albie Lopez gave me that day and he (Rusty) asked me how I was doing. I told him really good now since I got to talk to my friend Albie. He said, really and he asked me what my name was and I told him Anya and he said hi my name is Rusty Meacham and we shook hands. Then he said it was nice meeting you. That day I also got to meet Estaban Yan the closer. My friend Albie introduced me to him. My friend Albie is really nice. Besides giving me a ball, Albie also gave me his hat. They could all be nice to the fans.
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  • 6/4/01
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I don't think some of the players realize how important it is to fans that the players acknowlege them. To sign an autograph, tip your cap, or a wave and a smile is such a simple thing that stays with fans forever. We all like to be appreciated. I'm not saying players have to be over there kissing babies before every game, but simple gestures and common courtesy go a very long way. More players should take note.
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  • 6/4/01
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I agree. Having a player even just wave or give a tip of the hat is a thrill. On weekend games here in Seattle, I go early before the players arrive and wave to them as they arrive. It's cool when the wave back. Occasionally, they'll even stop and sign a few autographs. Sometimes I wonder if some of the players forget what it was like when they were kids watching baseball players. There are some that don't forget where they came from and those are the ones that tend to sign quite a bit and really become fan favorites.
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  • 6/4/01
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I was at the Diamondback game yesterday and they played against the Padres. I waited outside where the players drive out after the game and I saw Ricky Henderson get in his car. Before he did we said hi Ricky and he waived back. Sometimes Ricky Henderson could be nasty and sometimes he could be really nice. I think if you are nice to the players, they will be nice back.
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  • 6/4/01
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Brewcrew, what a great story. Some may say who cares if a player is nice, but I think it helps, especially when kids are involved. I have already bored some with my John Flaherty in Anaheim story, but a different incident in Anaheim was relayed to me recently that was really heartwarming. During a series of the Angels & Tigers earlier this season,there was a giveaway at Edison to the kids. It was a special comic book. My friend who is a huge Angels fan was in the outfield with some kids trying to get some fly balls from batting practice. He noticed one child about 8 or 9 trying to get the attention of a Tigers relief pitcher named Todd Jones. The child got his attention & asked the pitcher if he had a son. Todd replied ..."Yes, in fact a little younger then you". The child said "Well, we got these comic books today & they gave me two maybe your boy would like one, you could have something to take back to him since you are away a lot." Jones asked the boy where his Dad was......the boy pointed.....Jones asked the Dad...."Sir, can your son come and shag some balls with me?" The child went down & played with Todd Jones who may never be an All- star, but will always be special to that 8 year old. My Angel buddy wrote the story on the Tigers board & has received many e- mails thanking him for a great story. Yes, baseball is about winning, rings & the HOF, but it is also about fun, entertainment & memories. While we're on the subject anyone else have any good stories??
  • To:All
  • 6/5/01
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That was a great story. Todd Jones seems like a nice guy. I think the players are starting to be alot nicer to the fans.
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  • 6/5/01
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I have some great stories that have happened personally to me, but here is one that could inspire even a poor season: It was Autograph Saturday last month and I was waiting by the Rotunda door for it to open for batting practice. Suddenly three boys dressed in their Devil Ray uniforms raced up to peer through the glass inside at Centerfield Street beyond. They were about eight years old. "WOW! Look at that giant baseball player coming through the wall to catch a ball!", the first one yelled. "There's a store over there and a wall full of BASEBALLS!", yelled another. "And there's an ESCALATOR!", the third one yelled impressed.(You have to remember they were eight years old.) "Look, that giant player coming out the wall is a DEVIL RAY player! We're the Rays too! We're like them!" One of the coach/parents came over to collect them to return them to their group and I asked if that was the first time the team had come to see the Rays. He said it was and that each boy had a ball and hoped to get some autographs. Some of them wanted some big names who might not be scheduled signers. "That's why we came earlier," he said. I cringed when he added, "If they'll sign". I gave him directions for the quickest way to the field and where to stand to try and get the players they were looking for, adding that even if they weren't initially successful that they still could get in line for the scheduled autograph session. As I saw them scurrying toward the field I thought how special it must have been for them and how contagious their excitement was when we got to witness their first experience of Tropicana Field. Oh, for the days of the excitement of an escalator...
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  • 6/5/01
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The story I have is about Seattle Pitcher Jamie Moyer and Pitching coach Bryan Price. It was a throw day for Jamie in the bullpen and I went out to watch Jamie pitch. Jamie suddenly looked up and said, "Hello" I was startled but managed to squeek out a, "HI!". I was shocked that he even said anything but the story gets better. Jamie looks down at the ball then looks at the bullpen catcher, looks at the ball, then looks at me says, "You, don't have to wait 'til I start throwing to tell me I suck." I said, "You don't suck." Bryan Price who was standing behind him said, "Yeah, he does." all the while smiling. I said, "No, he doesn't. He's good." Jamie said, "No, I suck, He's good" as he points to Bryan Price. I said, "No you are both good!" At that point Jamie starting throwing the ball, but I still can't believe the conversation I had with them. I still think about it and laugh.
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  • 6/10/01
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Just thought I would let you guys know that Rusty Meacham is my favourite player in the Major Leagues. Like I said, I went down to the Jays vs. Rays game on Thursday afternoon and got to talk to Rusty again. He was warming up in the right field corner and I just said, "Rusty" and he came over. I asked him if he remember me from April and he said "hell yeah I remember", I introduced him to my dad and my brother, shook his hand twice and that was that. Rusty is the man!
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  • 6/10/01
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Great post bc32. Makes me miss Bubba Trammell even more. Same kind of appreciation for the fans and he never hesitated to show it. Just a "regular guy" in the majors. (If you're 16, what's with the "brewcrew" thing?) Take care.
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  • 6/13/01
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I wrote to Rusty Meacham last night and I sent the letter today. I sent a few cards that I have of him and hopefully he will sign them. I told him in the letter that I met him in Baltimore in April. I hope he remembered me. I told him that when I met him that I was friend's with Albie Lopez. I will let you know if I hear back from him (Rusty).
  • To:All
  • 6/24/01
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I just found this post and read all your comments. Brought tears to my eyes when I realize Rusty Meachem is no longer with the club.
  • To:All
  • 6/24/01
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Hi, everybody. Although I'm a Seattle Mariners fan, I like to read other team boards to follow the latest baseball rumors and see what's on other fans' minds. I've been following this thread and would like to share some of my own experiences involving Kazuhiro Sasaki. I'm a HUGE Kazuhiro Sasaki fan (possibly even his biggest American fan, if you're judging by the fact that most of the English-language letters on his old web page were from me). I collect his American baseball cards and have some Japanese- language magazines with articles about him and Ichiro, as well as a Japanese-language copy of his biography. However, my most unusual item is a music CD that he recorded in Japan when his former team, the Yokohama Bay Stars,won the league championship. My biggest goal was to get his CD signed, which took me over a year. What follows are some of my experiences while trying to get his autograph. I have a partial season ticket package, so whenever I went to a game, I'd arrive about 3 hours early and hang out in center field next to the right field foul pole until the gates to the rest of Safeco Field opened. When the gate by the right field foul pole opened,I'd then run down to the right field foul line and stand at field level to try to get Kazu Sasaki's autograph. Because he doesn't speak English and I don't speak Japanese, I'd try to get his attention by always wearing a baseball cap with the Japanese characters for "Mariners" and a Sasaki jersey or t- shirt, yelling to him, and waving a Japanese flag whenever he looked toward me. Unlike some players, Sasaki will wave if he sees fans trying to get his attention, so several times he waved to me. This became one of my routines whenever I went to games, but I couldn't tell if he was just waving because he saw other fans waving to him as well or if he was waving because he actually recognized me in the crowd. Well, when I went to this year's Mariners home opener, I went about 3 hours early and hung out in my usual place by the right field foul pole. As usual, I was the first person there (the other autograph seekers generally don't start lining up at that gate until about 20 minutes before the gate opens). Sasaki always stands out in right field during batting practice so I was watching him through my binoculars. When he happened to look up toward the corner where I was standing, I distinctly saw him waving and smiling his huge smile at me. Unlike the other times when he's waved to me, I wasn't yelling or waving my flag because I thought I was too far back for him to see me. I think he was waving because he actually remembered me from last year and was glad to see me again. Even so, I wasn't able to get his autograph then. I finally got Sasaki's autograph earlier this month after trying for over a year. While trying to get it last year, I became acquainted with another season ticket holder who collects autographs and catches foul balls during batting practice. He comes to so many games that Sasaki now recognizes him and looks for him in the pregame crowd. Anyway, when I was at one of the games, Sasaki came over to the right field foul line to personally hand a baseball to a little kid (he often picks specific fans out of the crowd and signals that he's going to throw a ball to them, or he'll personally hand baseballs to little kids who are so small they'd get trampled if they chase foul balls thrown or hit into the stands), so my friend explained to him that I've been trying to get his autograph for over a year and asked him to sign my CD for me. Sasaki didn't say anything to either of us, but he did sign my CD even though he wasn't signing for anyone else. If fans ask him for autographs when he doesn't have time to sign, he'll smile and shake his head as he walks away, but he didn't do that this time. Sasaki didn't have his interpreter with him, but from the way he was acting, I think he did understand what my friend was saying. I think he either signed my CD as a favor for my friend or because he's seen me at so many games that he also recognizes me now. Needless to say, I'm definitely his #1 fan for life now. I think a big part of why Sasaki has become so popular among both Japanese and American fans is the fact he appreciates his fans, whereas some former stars here weren't that popular because they acted like big shots and didn't acknowledge their fans.
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  • 6/25/01
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I was sad to see Rusty Meacham go. I wrote him a nice letter to him and sent a few cards for him to sign and send back. On Saturday, I got my cards back signed by him.
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