My work gave me a couple passes to the Pirates Fan Fest this weekend, we got to go in early with fellow corporate sponsors & season ticket holders. As we walked through the convention center, we saw several Pirates players standing in different areas. We first encountered Pirates outfielder, Starling Marte, by the Fast Pitch booth. I asked the kids if they wanted to say hello to a real professional baseball player, Dalia was shy and scared, Winston had no interest at all. I told the kids that they should say hello and wish him luck this season, but then the Chick Fil A mascot (a giant cow) came along and the kids were much more interested in interacting with him…or her.
Then we walked to the Root Sports booth (it is Pittsburgh’s version of Comcast Sports and it is the TV channel that plays all the games) and a nice lady asked the kids if they wanted their picture taken with starting pitcher, Charlie Morton. The kids do not know who Charlie Morton is, but I am certain that they’ll see him pitch this summer, so I shepherded them into the booth with Charlie. He was such a nice man and tried to make small talk with the kids, but they were too busy making faces in the camera. Here’s the final photo:
At the same booth, the kids got to spend a lot of time operating the huge camera that they use at the baseball games. There’s a little switch on the right handle and if you push it to the right, the camera zooms in and if you push it to the left, it zooms out, the kids had a tremendous time operating the camera and then seeing themselves on the TV. That machinery holds a magical power that forces people to act so strange when it is pointed at them, Winston did his best John Travolta and Dalia was shaking her butt, they could have played with that all day.
The kids were not enjoying this baseball convention nearly as much as me, but I still wanted to check out this one booth that had a picture of Bill Mazeroski’s World Series homerun from 1960. In 1960, the Pirates made the World Series against the Yankees. The Yankees were huge favorites with a roster that included Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Whitey Ford. The World Series came down to game 7, but in the 3 games that the Pirates lost, they lost 16-3, 10-0, and 12-0, so it was not looking good for them in game 7. The score was tied 9 to 9 in the bottom of the ninth when Bill Mazeroski smashed a homerun over the left field wall to win the game.
So, I was looking for photos of the event (see above) and Dalia asked if she could go over and color in at a coloring station across from the Memorabilia Stand. Winston and Dalia went over to the coloring station and sat at this little kids tables with little kids chairs and started to color. Then out of the corner of my eye, I see a Pittsburgh Pirate come walking over to the kids, pull out a chair and sit next to Winston. I stop what I am doing, because I am nervous about what the kids might say or do. I hear the baseball player, Pirates catcher Chris Stewart, ask Winston if he likes baseball. Winston responded that he did not like it. Chris asked Winston what he did like and Winston said, “Minecraft & legos”. Chris told Winston that his son also liked legos and then they talked about Marvel Super Heroes and Star Wars legos for awhile. We talked about relocating for work, although he has to come to Pittsburgh all the way from Southern California. He spent a lot of time talking with the kids and gave me the impression that he is a great father, I am rooting for him to have a great 2015. The kids wrapped up their coloring projects and I purchased a great photo of the homerun and unbeknownst to Jaclyn, it is now hanging up in the house.
Afterwards, the kids and I went to the Strip District for lunch. The kids really wanted to go to Luke Wholley’s seafood restaurant because they have a gigantic fish tank. The kids ordered chicken tenders and stared at the fish, the chef came out to talk with them and asked if they were interested in watching him feed the fish. The kids were thrilled to see the chef grab a pinch of fish flakes and toss them into the water, it created a frenzy and the kids were pleased.
We walked up and down the strip, it was a wonderful day, everyone was in the Christmas spirit.