The call came when I was at work.
When I got in my car to drive home, and settle in to watch my beloved Cardinals fight their way out of a 3-1 hole against the Giants in the NLCS, I checked my phone for messages. There was a call from an unknown number, but a message was left. I listened.
“Hey Steve. This is John calling with the front office of the St. Louis Cardinals. So sorry I missed you today, but you can call me back at my direct line here at Busch Stadium. That number is …-…-…. Steve, I look forward to talking to you. Thanks.” The message was over. The daydreaming began.
Did I hear that right? John with the front office? Call me at my direct line? At Busch Stadium? I do not know anyone with the Cardinal organization, but as a fan for almost 50 years I feel like I know them all. They feel like family.
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And John? The General Manager, John Mozeliak, wants to talk to me? All those years of offering my roster suggestions, ranting and raving about making this move or not making that move to anyone who would listen has finally paid off and my team’s General Manager wants my advice. Mabry!
Oh, I mean maybe! But John Mabry is the current hitting coach. My team needed a fresh approach at the plate that night against Madison Bumgarner. They only managed four hits against the Giant lefty in Game 1. Maybe Coach heard my pleas about being patient at the plate and staying away from balls up in the zone. He wants to talk hitting with me.
At work the next day, I stared at my phone for a few minutes during a break. I was prepared to submit my resignation immediately with my current employer. They would understand. The Cardinals needed me. After a few deep breaths I dialed the number.
Shawn answered. In the excitement of listening to the call, I mistook Shawn for John. I introduced myself. He introduced himself. He was reaching out to me as my personal Cardinal account manager. Having attended Cardinal games each year, I had an account. And Shawn, not John, is my front office contact. Anything I need as it relates to my experience with the Cardinals, Shawn is my man. We had a nice visit and talked for several minutes. He promised we would talk again soon and often. He wasn’t the GM or the hitting coach. He didn’t want my roster suggestions or hitting advice. But I wasn’t disappointed.
I knew when I phoned it wasn’t going to be Mozeliak or Mabry answering. I figured it was a sales contact of some kind. But I have a guy. My own front-office guy.
And since I saved the message on my phone, I still have my dream.