When I read that former Boston Red Sox pitcher Mike Timlin was due to appear at a minor-league baseball game in Syracuse, I knew I had to be there.
He also pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays when they won the World Series in 1992 and 1993, his first two seasons in the majors. Not a bad way to launch a career.
Wearing my 2004 Red Sox shirt, a gift from my Sox-fan brother, I arrived at NBT Bank Stadium early to be among the first in line to get Timlin’s autograph. I didn’t feel the least bit foolish. The Sox, with their decades of heartbreak soothed by their recent success, are part of my DNA.
I thought about having Timlin sign the back of my shirt next to his printed name (the shirt lists the entire roster except for one player, but that’s another story). I thought it would be rude to turn my back to him, so I opted to hand him my crusty old Sox hat.
While he was signing it, I pointed out the shirt I was wearing and asked him how he was doing. Timlin’s one-word answer: “Awesome.”