front porch sittin’May 31, 2010
I’ve been lucky enough to get some good reviews for my book over the last few weeks, but an email I got yesterday is my favorite thumbs-up so far:
i got your book about two weeks ago. it came in a care package from my beautiful wife (care package cause i am in afghanistan right now). a few months ago, she and i were on a plane and i was reading some magazine that escapes me now about your book coming out. it sounded awesome. i was also an avid card collector growing up. i was OBSESSED with jose canseco. haha. he was my fucking hero. i couldn’t get enough of him. i read all the stuff i could in beckett’s about him, got all the cards i could, and even saved my allowance to buy his rookie card (when it was actually worth something) when i was young. i was maybe 9 or 10 when i finally got it. it was such a triumphant day. i was on top of the world.
today, as i was finishing your book, something really spoke to me. when you talked about ricky henderson (who i was a fan of, cause i loved my oakland a’s), it helped me put shit into perspective. there are certain challenging things in my life, and it got me thinking. the way that you described henderson’s willingness to treat every at bat like he was deciding the world’s fate with his performance made sense. no matter how bad they were losing, he would still try his hardest. even in a situation where it seems easier to give up and lay down and wait for the loss to be official, his ass made shit happen.
i applied that to my current situation in this third country hell hole. so… thanks. you helped me get perspective.
again, i really enjoyed your book. i hope you don’t mind, but a few buddies here are gonna borrow it and read it.
SGT Dane Brown
414th MP Company
I thanked Sgt. Dane Brown for writing to me and tried to express my gratitude for his service and sacrifice. I asked if he’d be willing to talk a little more about his experiences as a baseball fan growing up and as a baseball fan now. He got back to me, and so the floor is his for the rest of this Memorial Day:
when i was younger (six or seven) i was drawn to jose canseco. i think it was cause he was a star starting from his rookie year. there were plenty of his baseball cards out there, and he was everywhere. i remember having a poster in my room celebrating his monumental 40/40 season. i remember thinking how awesome it was that he was able to that. that’s why i was an a’s fan. because of jose canseco. i didn’t grow up in california, and didn’t even go there until my adult years. so it wasn’t a geographical thing. it just worked out that way, oddly.
my other team (you can have two favorites, you’re a kid!) were the cubs. talk about a heartbreaking team. i was born in central illinois, and my dad’s side of the family is die hard cubs. my grandpa breathes the cubs. i remember watching games with him on wgn. he would drink pabst NA, and eat candy. i’d drink root beer, and eat candy. and we would have fun. at the same time in life, i had my baseball cards separated in binders, divided by teams, then players. i had a big section for ryne sandberg and mark grace. they were really big when i was a kid. and my grandpa and dad used to cheer for “ryno”.
i can still remember hearing my grandpa yelling at the TV cause the cubs let another run score, another error, or another game lost. to this day, my grandpa still believes. hell, every cubs fan still believes. someday, in some miracle that we deserve, the cubs will finally win the series.
i went to a cubs game with my mom last may. it was miserable, temperature wise. it was raining pretty good, and it was cold. and there were so many people at wrigley, drinking a beer, eating nachos. everyone there, waiting, hoping that, maybe, this is the year. of course, it didn’t end up being the case. but, it never is. but we refuse to give up hope.
and that’s something that i love about cubs fans. no matter how bad the cubs are doing, they just deal with it. i live in springfield, missouri. stl cardinals everywhere. that’s who everyone loves. no one really gives a shit about the royals, just the cards. i get a lot of stupid looks and questions. i also get the inevitable statement, “the cubs fucking suck.” well, i know that. but i don’t care. i love them, and i refuse to switch just because they will probably never win a world series while i am alive.
the dedication, the undying devotion, the sense of brotherhood with other cubs fans. i love that shit. it reminds me a lot of different things in life. my current situation, here in lovely afgahnistan, even. it sucks here. i don’t like it. my brothers and sisters in arms here hate it. but we move on. it’s what we do. our day sucks? fuck it. we move on, and go onto the next day. just like a cubs fan, “well, today was not good. but we will wake up tomorrow, and do our duties.”
and i think that’s really what it’s all about. our willingness to do that part of the job. and being a cubs fan is just that. a job. just like a shitty job for minimal pay… you do it. you do it, but you hate it. but you find companionship with your co-workers… just like with fellow cubs fans.
as for me right now, it’s not glamorous here halfway across the world from home, but i’ll be home soon enough. then my wife (who is a yankee fan, GASP!!!) and i will be able to go to a few games. chicago, new york. either way, we’ll both be home [Dane’s wife is in the military, too] and back together. i am pretty fucking ready for that time to get here.
***i put a few pics in here. one is me, chilling in the sun… with your book. it’s what we call “front porch sittin.” haha. the other one is a few buddies and i. just to let you see the kind of nerds we are. haha.
put the pics up if you want, but you certainly won’t hurt my heart if you don’t. thanks
take care. keep up the good work.