With many thanks to the folks at FHS Entertainment, I received an invitation to attend the “World Series Tribute to David Freese” event held at Mike Shannon’s restaurant last Thursday. The event was organized to raise money for David Freese’s charity of choice the Ronald McDonald House.
World Series MVP and hometown hero David Freese, the starting centerfielder for the WS champs, and the future Hall of Fame manager who guided the team for a generation+ all in one place? Yes. Wait, there’s beer, food, auction items, raffle tickets, and a Rawlings truck making custom baseball bats? Yes, definitely. Ray Vinson in attendance? Definitely…maybe.
Naturally, I took the opportunity to speak with Tony, and the blogger in me just took over.
Me: “Tony, do have any second thoughts about retirement after seeing the Cardinals get off to a fast start?”
TLR: “Nah. They don’t need me. They’ll be find with Mike.”
Me: “Are you ready to go public with the man crush that Ray Vinson has on you?”
TLR: “No comment here. Ask Ray.”
Okay, I actually made the last part up, but Ray was in attendance. Seriously, the opportunity to speak personally with TLR was too good to pass up, and it was sooo tempting to ask him about his unrequited love of watching Tyler Greene play, but I was on my best behavior.
While many people attended in order to go fangirling or fanboing over Freese and Jay, I was there on business. I mingled with the crowd, spoke to some of the FHS Entertainment staff, asked questions of the Ronald McDonald House volunteers, and I may have tried to fondle Yadier Molina’s gold glove in its case.
I must admit to being a bit disappointed that the division between ticket types was so evident. Freese spent about 99% of his time on the raised stage, and he did not spend time walking among the minions down below who had not paid $470 or a fraction of that for the Option 3 Super Double Secret Probation Ticket. As promised, he did pose for pictures with people who had dropped serious cash for the photo op, but several attendees I spoke with found him to be a little aloof (and that’s the nicest adjective I could find). He also refused to sign autographs, unless you were early to mid 20’s and blonde. He might have signed for a brunette, but I only saw him sign a baseball and a jersey for 2 blondes.
To be fair, the real hero of the people in attendance was Jon Jay. He made quite the impression on several female fans (and a few male ones, including me). He was charming, affable, and extremely fan-friendly while posing for pictures with fans.
I’d like to point out here that I’m the guy on the right again, and I’m not wearing sweatpants. Take that blogger haters.
Again, I took the opportunity to ask Jon about the meaning of the hashtag “#Oeuf” which is used quite a bit on Twitter by Jay, Daniel Descalso, Matt Carpenter, and Jason Motte. My question elicited a pretty good laugh from Jay, but he replied that “I just can’t give that up. That’s secret society stuff there.”
Can’t blame a guy for trying.
Based on the crowd and the line to enter the building, the event was a success. I personally checked every silent auction item bid sheet to make sure that all the items would be heading to good homes after the conclusion of the auctions. Absolutely no personal interest in the items, mind you. Admittedly, the Isaac Bruce signed jersey and Marshall Faulk items were tempting, but I didn’t have enough money in my Teletubby piggy bank to throw down with the old money people in attendance.
Fortunately, I did spot a certain autographed jersey with the number “6” on it neatly folded and pinned to a railing.
Consider the Stan Musial jersey the icing on a pretty big cake.
- The FHS Entertainment event staff gets an “A-” from me for working so hard to make everything go smoothly. They get docked a point for hosting the event at Mike Shannon’s where the best food option available was an overcooked hamburger.
- Mike Shannon’s restaurant gets no love from me for the overcooked hamburger from their famous grill. I could do better with an Easy-Bake Oven, duct tape, and a lighter. C-
- Freese also gets no love for refusing to even talk to the little kid who walked up holding a baseball card to show David. The kid wasn’t searching for an autograph, either. He just wanted to show Freese that he had his baseball card. If you don’t have time for a 6 year-old fan, then your baseball accomplishments probably far outweigh your non-baseball ones. D+
- Jay took the time to take pictures with every single person who stood in line, and the general impression I got from speaking with about 20 people was that he was the highlight of the event for them. It’s pretty sad when the MVP centerpiece to the event isn’t even the MVP of the event itself. A+ #whatUthink?
- Tony La Russa spent time BEFORE the event even started walking around, shaking hands, signing a few autographs, and posing for several pictures. He was diplomatic when asked inane questions, and he even attempted to be humorous at times. B+
- The Ronald McDonald House volunteers who represented the charity that night deserve an “A+” every single day for what they do. The organization does wonderful things for a lot of great people, and it’s one that I fully support myself.
Maybe my expectations for Freese should have been tempered the moment his entourage arrived, but I still expected a bit more. So did about 40-50 people I spoke with about their experiences that night. The problem could be small sample size, but he acted nothing like the guy who signed everything put in front of him at Social Media Night at the Bowtie Bar last season.
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