Top 5 Best Moments: Grapefruit League

In honor of David Letterman mentioning me during his monologue, I promised a Top-10 list of my own. On March 6th, I posted a Top-5 list based on my throwing batting practice in the Cactus League to the Indians and the Athletics. Here is my Top-5 list for my time in the Grapefruit League when I threw to the Rays, Cardinals, Astros, and Mets. And instead of just listing the moments, I give a brief description of what made it special.

My Top Five Dream Moments

5. Living a week filled with Baseball, Travel, and Motherhood.

I spent 6 days in Florida and drove 881 miles. My trip looked
like this… Tampa – Port Charlotte – Boca Raton (a night with the grandparents)
– Jupiter – Kissimmee – Port St. Lucie – and then to Orlando. I threw to 4
teams in 5 days. We even stopped for an afternoon at Harry Potter World. Every
night we stayed in a different hotel. We went to Steak-n-Shake twice. One night
I asked Jasmine if she thought she would like to be a rock star where they
travel everyday like we were. She replied, “At least they stay in better
hotels.” Author Dan Millman wrote, “There are no ordinary moments.”  And for 6 days, 881 miles, 4 MLB teams, and 144 straight hours of mother-daughter time, I enjoyed having no ordinary moments.

4. Being relaxed and throwing well to the Astros.

The Astros were the 5th team that I threw for. I felt relaxed the whole time. Everyone in the organization was just really nice. And when I threw BP to them it was the first time that I felt almost normal. Meaning, my heart was not beating so fast that it felt like it would come out of my chest. And it just felt good to throw relaxed – like I do at home. I even peeked a few times when they were batting to see if they hit it out – just because it was fun.

3. The conversation between Joe Maddon and Jasmine.

Rays Manager, Joe Maddon, is a really nice guy with a good sense of humor. While I was getting outfitted, Joe was trying to get Jasmine to say that the Rays were her favorite team. But she wouldn’t admit anything. She figured silence with a smile was better than saying no to him. Joe kept trying to give her team gear to playfully bribe her for her loyalty. And Jasmine still wouldn’t say the Rays were her favorite team. So Joe, turned to me, smiled, and said, “Good. She can’t be bought.” In the end, Jaz still walked away with a Rays performance shirt, wrist bands, and a hat. And by the end of that magical morning, she admitted to me, “The Rays are now my second favorite team.”

2. Being in the Mets equipment room and having Christina-Taylor Green’s memorial patch sewed on to my jersey.

I wore Christina-Taylor’s memorial baseball patch each time I threw BP. I had always duck taped the patch on to the left arm of my jersey. But when I asked the equipment manager for some duck tape he offered to sew the patch on instead. And as he sat there with my jersey, the patch, and a sewing machine, he started talking about how he had once worked for Dallas (Christina-Taylor’s grandfather). Throughout my BP journey, players, coaches, managers, and other personnel would tell me stories about how they knew Dallas and Christina-Taylor’s father John. It is obvious how much the Green family means to the MLB community. The patch symbolizes so much to so many people; I was really humbled to be wearing it.

1. Having my grandparents watch me throw to the Cardinals.

 When I threw to the Cardinals, both my grandmother and grandfather were there to see me. My 87-year-old grandpa has been a major influence in my love for baseball. After BP, I went up to him and handed him one of the balls I had just thrown. Smiling, he insisted that I sign the ball. And right next to my signature I
wrote, “Follow Your Dreams.”  He told me he was so proud of me. Then we all went to lunch. Where we talked baseball – as usual.

3 Comments

Beautiful. Congrats and thanks for sharing, Justine.

BTW we’re about to upgrade the whole MLB.com blogging environment over to WordPress…starting with a batch today, and then the bulk of the MLBlogs hopefully at the start of next week. Will be a lot more fun and user-friendly, so stay tuned and keep up the great blogging.

Mark/MLB.com
http://mlblogs.mlblogs.com

Great stuff.

I just made a blog post that mentions Baseball for All:

http://dodgerfilms.mlblogs.com

This is a beautiful piece – especially the scenes with the Mets equipment mgr and your daughter with Joe M.

I love reading your work! Wish our paths had crossed in FL. Thank you so much for taking us along on your journey.

JudyJ
http://www.watchingthegame.typepad.com

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