Sunday, July 8, 2007

Going with the Flo'!

So as I mentioned in the previous post, Saturday was picture day at Busch Stadium, and fun was had by all. We had a great moment with my boy, lefty relief pitcher, Randy Flores aka "Flo'". First, some background on my history with Flo. He is one of my favs, I don't know why, he just is... the nice backside doesn't hurt, but he just seems well spoken, fun-loving and he worked in the minors for years before making it to the Bigs... he is just likeable. So last summer I got a Cardinals t-shirt with "Flores #34" on the back. It was a special order, he is a big leaguer, but still obsure enough that he isn't going to sell many t-shirts. Anyway at the Cards Caravan in Decatur last January Flo was on of the players featured, so Nikki and I made a point to go, along with her Dad. I of course rocked my Flo shirt, it was noticed by the panel of Cardinals, and caused quite a few finger points and smiles, so the emcee, Cardinal broadcaster, Dan McLaughlin, called me out and asked me to join them on the stage so I could "meet my man". Anyway, Flo was really tickled to have his first real fan, and was super nice and sweet to me, chatted with me during the program and signed my shirt. He was equally nice to me two days later when we met him at Winter Warm Up in STL that weekend, telling the volunteer ladies working his autograph table that I was his "Caravan Date".

So fast forward to Saturday afternoon at picture day, and we have a great spot right up front along the rope line, and are having a great time snapping pics of our favorite Cards. Flo walks by and we yell at him but he is in la la land. He got passed us a ways and April yells "FLO!", and she and Nikki point to the back of my shirt and he see us, recognizes us/my shirt and says "Hey! Winter Warm Up Girl!" and trots right over to us to say hi, shake hands and chat etc. I told him that we saw him in Oakland, he gave us some crap about how he pitched awful that series and that we were bad luck, we told him that we enjoyed the Flores Family showdown (his brother pitched for the A's, but Flo told us he just got sent down to AAA, bummer Ron Flo), and then he asked us about our vacation, thanked us for our support, and was just a delight.

I had taken a couple of signs to picture day, "Skip, Skip, Skip's in the Lou" for center fielder Skip Schumaker (currently up from AAA Memphis while Jim Edmonds is on the DL), and "I Heart Brendan Ryan"... please see Several posts back. When we first found a spot on the rope line and I took the signs out a young lady (12/13 I am guessing... that really awkward not girl/not woman stage) asked my what my signs said. When I mentioned the Skip sign she went on about how she loved him, he threw her a ball once, and how she had talked to him a time or two and that he was just sooooo nice, and he was her favorite and you could tell he was her one true love. I offered to let her hold the Skip sign, she thought I hung the moon... I too was once a 12 year old girl in love with a baseball player (sentimental pause here to remember STL's curly haired, oh so dreamy, second baseman Tommy Herr of the 1982 World Series champs)... the sign was so hers. Well as Skip went by he was in a bit of crowd so she missed him, we told her he is your boy, move on down the rope line get ahead of him and try again... off she went. A few minutes later she was back all excited, "He saw the sign, he rememberd me, he came over and took a picture with me and the sign, thank you so much, I just love Skip", she said. Her mother thanked us profusely for making her day, and needless to say I sent her home with that sign... it was never meant to by mine. I Heart Skip, but I do not Heart Skip enough to write him in on the All-Star ballot 1,382 times. Yes that is right, she voted in Skip Schumaker 1, 382 times! She just randomly volunteered that information... and let me tell you that is some serious fan dedication.

Brendan Ryan was the last player to walk the rope line and he was really tickled to see the "I Heart Brendan Ryan" sign. We told him that we met him at Decatur for Caravan/Warm Up and that I was Flo's date, and he was like oh yeah I remember that, and thanked us for the support. Brendan Ryan... totally "heart" worthy, and just an all around good guy.

The rest of picture day was delightful. I shook hands with Mike Maroth and David Eckstein. David Eckstein has quite the firm handshake... I shouldn't be surprised he is a professional athlete it should be firm, but I still think of him as a 12 year old boy sometimes I forget these things. Albert Pujols was particulary warm and fuzzy working the rope line. He called kids out to pose for pics, and was just really jolly. He stood on his tippy toes to try and be as tall as one of the freakishly tall ushers working rope line security... Albert on his tippy toes is just kind of cute, and I noticed he has "WWJD" embroidered on his shoes. Here are some of my favorite pics the day.

David Eckstein... firm handshake, killer smile

April's fav, Tyler Johnson. Do baseball ladies prefer blondes? The Ladies 4 prefer TyJo as a brunette.

Adam Wainwright... raisin' the roof.

Sometimes even the great ones have to stand on their tippy toes to reach great heights. But if you check out the "WWJD" (just below and to the front of the swoosh) and the cross on the side strap you will see that AP does not rely on his strength alone. (Okay, so could I make millions marketing this as an inspirational poster or what?)

For the game on Saturday, the Cards lost 6-7. Flo pitched well in an inning of relief, but his shortstop, Aaron Miles, showed him no love with 3 consecutive errors, and 3 unearned runs resulted. I was a little disappointed in Mr. Miles... usually he gets 'er done and we all yell "Bonus Miles"... not so much this time... must have been some "Black Out Dates". Anyway, I kind of wanted to boo Mr. Miles the rest of the weekend but I just couldn't do it, he got the golf clap instead... he didn't mean to mess up, and I had to remember AP's shoes... WWJD? Jesus wouldn't boo Aaron Miles.

After the game the Ladies 4 headed back to the hotel for free soda and popcorn and managed to hang in the lobby for hours just talkin' baseball. It was a treat. The game on Sunday was a little toasty but we were in the shade and there was a breeze most of the day. The Cards won 7-0, Brendan Ryan (I heart him... I heart a lot of people) got to play, and April caught an Albert Pujols home run at batting practice. It was a good day. It was a good weekend. April and Jane pretty much rock, we get them, they get us, we all heart Cardinal baseball and "Go with the Flo!"

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