When I only meet a celebrity for a few minutes, those few minutes don’t only affect how I think about the person. Because I’m so influential, with thousands of personal friends and millions of blog readers, those minutes affect how those people feel about the celebrity. For example, everybody I’ve spoken to knows that Kiefer Sutherland was a stuck-up, bloated, coke-addled poser when I met him in Toronto in 1996 (story to follow in later post).
My only encounter with George Steinbrenner came at the Hall Of Fame game in Cooperstown in about 1985. My dad bought tickets but couldn’t get us seats in the same location. So I sat behind home plate, my mom and dad sat somewhere else. I think my younger brother got to sit with one of my parents because he was about 5. My dad would check up on me every few innings and gave me food money. I had a blast. The lady next to me I think felt bad for me and carried on a conversation with me, which couldn’t have been pleasant. I was squeaky and more of a smart-ass than the average kid. She pointed out where George Steinbrenner was sitting. I was too shy, but after about 3 innings she convinced me to go ask for his autograph. I went down behind home plate where he was and asked for an autograph. He signed my glove and told me to sit in the empty seat next to him, where I remained for about a half inning. He was pretty much the nicest guy ever. I still have that glove. (I think getting George Steinbrenner’s signature on your glove instead of, say, Cal Ripken means that you will never be a great athlete, but instead will excel in other areas. At least i hope it does. I still haven’t made my first billion)
So say what you will about George Steinbrenner. All I know is that in the 10 minutes that I knew him, he was extremely kind and gracious to a snot-nosed punk kid who pestered him for an autograph.