Top 5 Best Moments: Cactus League

When I heard that David Letterman spoke of me during one of his monologues, I have to admit that I thought that was pretty cool. For fun, I thought I would do my own Top-Ten list of Dream Moments from throwing batting practice to the A’s and Indians. And instead of just listing the moments, I give a brief description of what made it special. But because I am only half done with my journey, I am doing a top-5 list, with the other half coming after my BP trip to Florida.

My Top Five Dream Moments

5. Being interviewed by NPR’s All Things Considered.

All Things Considered is one of my favorite radio programs. So
it was a real honor to do this interview. But here is what really happened… I
just got off the field from throwing to the A’s. My daughter, Jasmine, and I
were sitting in the car. I wanted the door closed and she wanted it open. She
was hungry and I was trying to focus on the interview. Needless to say, my
focus was not on the interview as much as it was on what Jaz was doing right
next to me. In the middle of one of the questions, I hear this alien-type noise
coming out of Jaz. I try to nudge her to be quiet but instead I get her right
where she is holding her phone. The phone goes flying. She gives me a dirty
look. I give one back. And I realize that I really don’t know what the
interviewer just asked me. Admittedly, this wasn’t one of my best interviews.
But when I think of that moment, I will always remember the joy of a
mother-daughter relationship and the crazy alien sounds that Jaz was making.
And to me, it’s a pretty funny memory.

4. Signing autographs for kids when I was throwing at the A’s camp.

For me, it’s always an honor to mean something to a kid. I
heard that one boy walked up to me three times before he got the nerve to finally
ask me for my autograph; that is so sweet. I thinks kids are the source of
life’s magic and to have one want my autograph is really cool. I sign all my
autographs with: “Follow Your Dreams.”

3. The last round of BP when I was throwing to the Indians.

I was really nervous when I threw BP to the Indians as I was
feeling a lot of pressure to do well. So in the beginning it was a bit hard to
enjoy myself. But when I heard, “Last round,” from an Indians coach, I stopped
throwing and took a moment. And I thought to myself, “Here I am throwing to the Cleveland Indians. This is cool. I’m going to just let myself enjoy this
round.” And I did. When I walked off that field and shook General Manager Chris Antonetti’s hand and he said, “Good job,” that moment was completed. And it was amazing.

2. Walking into the Indians umpire’s locker room and seeing my Indians jersey hanging for me.

When I saw my number 15 on that Indians jersey, I couldn’t
stop smiling. I was instantly that kid who had dreamt of being a Cleveland
Indian. As I put that uniform on, I thought of my grandfather and all of the
games we had gone to together. That is when the dream became a reality. And my ear-to-ear smile came straight from my soul.

1. When I learned that Christina-Taylor Green’s family was supportive of my efforts and “proud of me.”

I wore Christina-Taylor’s Little League memorial patch while I threw BP. I have tried to honor her memory. Christina-Taylor was the only girl on her Little League team and dreamed of one day playing in the pros. I feel very connected to her spirit. So, I am truly humbled knowing that the Green family is happy with my efforts. For them to be proud is very meaningful for me.

2 Comments

Hi Justine- wonder if you’d be interested in taping a radio interview with me? Thanks- Steve Hyder (Pawtucket Red Sox) sthsports@cox.net

I thank you humbly for snharig your wisdom JJWY

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