My friend Kelly and I were fortunate enough to attend a Jimmy Fund charity event today at Jillians/Lucky Strike Lanes in Boston. For a donation, we were able to meet Bronson Arroyo, Lenny Dinardo, Jonathan Papelbon, Manny Delcarmen, Craig Hansen, Brandon Moss, Jed Lowrie and Charlie Zink. (Links provided to give you all an idea of who these guys are.)
It was a lot of fun. Even though it was run in conjunction with Rotman Auction, the amount of people allowed in was limited…which made for a day NOT full of people pushing into lines and our being rushed through the autograph lines. We had time to sit (literally in some cases) with the players and chat for a while…get our autographs and get our pictures taken with them if we liked. SO I had an opportunity to take some more pictures (mostly of Kelly with each guy) and I had my picture taken with each guy as well. All 8 of them were so friendly and took so much time with each fans.
One of the great things about the day was the way they arranged it. If you bought one ticket to get in, you could bring someone with you…so parents didn’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get their kids in to see some players. There were kids EVERYWHERE. And they were all obviously so very happy. Although some of the players seemed happier. Except for Arroyo, they are all minor leaguers (Dinardo, Papelbon, Delcarmen and Hansen all got to see some time in the bigs, but not enough to make them "stars" just yet).
So much is always said about the greed of athletes and not enough is mentioned about the guys like these fellas, who gave up half their day to meet and greet the fans (and prior to the paying fans, they spent a couple of hours with cancer patients and their families). The money went to charity…these guys gave their time and made the days of an awful lot of people.
Arroyo is already one of my favorites (me to Bronson…"I’m so glad you’re still in Boston", his response, with a smile, "at least for now")…but the other 7 really knew how to work the room. I had them all sign my 2006 date book (I keep it as a diary of the games I go to during the year) in the address part and two of them offered (jokingly) their addresses and phone numbers…we had a nice little discussion with Jonathan Papelbon and his new wife…and Kelly got Manny Delcarmen to give me a kiss on the cheek. He was a doll about it. They all were.
So thanks to Rotmans, Jillians, the Red Sox, the Jimmy Fund and especially the 8 players who donated their time and made a lot of fans very, very happy!