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 3037 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Ben took this picture of me (carrying my mostly useless camera) and Twins rep Chris Iles down by the admin building
A great view from the balcony outside the Metropolitan Club
Scoreboard as viewed from Fifth Street.
Click to enlarge greatly.
This view, also from the same warehouse roof, shows the newly-rebuilt viaduct on North Seventh Street.
4th inning in the thinning crowd of the Grandstand.
TC caps everywhere! (Is that you?)
Showing more of the context for the louvers.
The outfield stands taking shape.
Ballark Authority members listen to the LEED introduction
A view into the Legend's Club
Playing surface dirt out there? Maybe. (click to enlarge)
Secret entrance exposed!
Seating mound (seen from the B ramp)
Memorabilia on display in the Metropolitan Club
Indications that club seating (the wider spaced areas above each dugout) will be a major presence in the lower deck
Delmon Young getting warmed up
The flowers don't have quite the fullness depicted in the original sketches (where they were positively overflowing), but they are quite lovely -- a great, subtle touch. And that's probably a very challenging place to grow anything.
Target Plaza looking toward the grandstand
This is why I get it, even if I don't like it.
The wooden louvers are in on Fifth Street
This is the view from the Seventh Street circulation ramp. It will eventually be covered by the wood louvers.
Ready for action.
Here's the view of the entrance ramp to 394. Looks like they are painting...
A detail from the above image shows that the section signage is now in place