As we walked, his handler dropped back and it was just him and me. I tried to put a few words together to thank him for what he'd given me as a kid. But, as you can imagine, my words were sloppy and stuttered. I was about as articulate as I might have been as a 10-year-old. I bet he gets that a lot.
But he put an arm around my shoulder and talked about how much he'd enjoyed playing, how much he loved the game and the fans.
The greatest part was that he actually meant it. He seemed humbled by my offer of thanks, somewhat reluctant to accept any sort of "hero" status (I didn't use that word), and fully comprehending the impact he'd had on me (and by extension, many, many others -- again, I'm sure he gets this a lot).
The next day, when he was signing autographs in the concourse, I got in the already-long line just as his signing time began, and I was still about 15 people back when his allotted time ended. But the line behind me stretched off into the distance. And so Harmon just plain kept on signing.
I got my picture signed, and a bunch of people who had been behind me in the line also got their stuff signed.
Even after however many hours (years) he'd been doing it, he was cheerful and gracious.
One of the perks of working on this site is that I get to talk to a lot of people about behind-the-scenes baseball stuff. I can tell you that the admiration for Harmon is genuine and widespread. He is considered one of the all-time great players, one of the all-time great ambassadors for the game, and one of the all-time great teammates and team leaders. He's someone who recognizes that fame was a byproduct of doing what he loved, and that it came with responsibility.
He's lived up to that responsibility many times over.
I have much more from this amazing weekend coming, of course. But if you ever wonder about the name of this site, it's also another name for my favorite player.
"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
– Bernie Williams
Explore the Site
Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Site plan for the new Nationals ballpark, with the size of the Rapid Park site overlaid
The french fry lights were on!
Looking back toward the park from just beyond the north end of the Northstar platform.
The entrance at Gate 3.
This is a great spot for casually watching the game.
Dedicated closed-captioning ribbon board
Legend's Club, Section E (Click to enlarge greatly.)
The Pantheon (with inset of the magic eye)
Dramatic night-time lighting.
Here is Seventh Street viewed from the west looking toward downtown. This will probably be the most pedestrian-friendly side (other than the plaza), but only if there is some psychological barrier between the people on foot and the people in their dangerously fast-moving automobiles.
Just one lane of traffic and a couple of feet between the fence in right-center and the wall of the parking ramp!
Viewed from the A ramp.
Concept drawing of Coomer gate (click to enlarge)
The reverse angle shows that the signage will only partially obscure views from the top of the ramp. The wall is pretty high up there, so you'll need something to stand on, but it appears that this is one of the so-called "knotholes".
Jose Alvalade XXI Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal has towers much like I'm imagining to hold up our canopy while also making a bold statement on the horizon
A mural featuring the names of a bunch of Minnesota towns.
No offense, TC, but you're pointing exactly the wrong direction if you want people to use the ramp opening to your right...
The Ron Coomer corner features a bar.
In addition to the Pro Shop facade, you can see more gravel being laid before the final plaza surface is poured.
Wright's Marin County Hall of Justice, San Rafael, California (1959)
7:42 PM It moves to the left in the image and begins to blossom.
Looking up toward Seventh Street.
Click to see the full-size image.
One of the sweetest sights of the day -- the Dome, and only through passing bus windows.
Detail at Gate 6
The Northstar stop has a name.
A timeline of design and construction of the ballpark. (Click to enlarge. Photo by Tyler Wycoff)
One half of those windows are well-used.
This is as close as I could get to a pedestrian-eye view of Seventh Street (looking west away from downtown). It's inviting, not imposing, and remarkably dignified.
Stairs down to the sidewalk from the skywalk over Seventh