I meet lots of athletes and celebrities, but I gave this post the title of "I Met Jeff Conine" because I met Jeff Conine!!!
As my friends (and anyone who will listen) know, I am a huge fan of Conine. I have been following his career since his early time in the Kansas City Royals organization (a fact which would come into play here).
When we decided to see the Marlins on our yearly baseball trip, I desperately tried to get press credentials and set up an interview with Conine. I failed in my bid for press creds (how dare they) and therefore had no real shot at a Conine interview.
Arriving at the stadium, I was a bit bummed that I would not meet my mancrush, as Jimmy, Chuck and I walked around the park. As we walked by the makeshift Fox booth, Chuck spotted Conine. At that point, I would not be denied. I would at least meet the man.
As luck would have it, he was leaving the booth and heading to the actual broadcasting area in the press box. We raced up to him and I got a picture.
Then Jim and Chuck proceeded to tel him of my mancrush. I did manage to mention that I started following him in his Royals days, which seemed to validate me a bit (as opposed to just some weird fanboy).
We talked for a bit as we walked him all the way to the elevators. It was great. I'm gushing a bit, but it's not often you meet one of your favorites and have a real chat, especially since this was so unexpected.
I appreciate Jim and Chuck for spotting Conine and helping the conversation. I probably would have stammered a bit as I mentioned his All-Star MVP or his 2 World Series. I might have even mentioned being in Baltimore and having Manager Sam Perlozzo not play him in the game, which was a huge disappointment.
Conine joins Manny Sanguillen, Boog Powell, Gregg Zaun and Greg Luzinski as former players we have met while on these trips. Of course, that is not counting the dozens we met on the field with our press creds. It's been a great 16 year run and I look forward to more adventures in the future, but it will be hard to top Conine.
Thank you to the Miami Marlins for their hospitality. Thanks to Jeff Conine for his time. Thanks to my friends for putting up with me and for 16 great baseball trips!
Jeff Conine and me in Miami, FL-August 2016.