Saturday, September 26, 2015

Hanging out with Cole

I've been so busy adding cards to my collection that I completely forgot to post about my vacation earlier in the month.  My girlfriend and I went down to Florida to celebrate our birthdays (we are 2 days apart). 

One of her bucket list items was to swim with manatees (an endangered species that can only legally be swam with in certain parts of Florida spring waters on the Gulf Coast.  It was a lot of fun, but my snorkeling skills left a lot to be desired.  I struggled with it. 

In addition to spending several days at Sanibel Island, we swung by Bradenton for their final home game of the season.  I put in bids to try and win several of the players jerseys, but lost out on Austin Meadows, Reese McGuire, and Harold Ramirez. 

While we were at the game, I heard a young man poking fun at one of the players for the Marauders.  I laughed and turned around and thought it was Cole Tucker.  It made sense that Cole would be in Bradenton because only a few days prior he had undergone surgery at Pirate City. 

I pulled up some Google images of Cole and asked my girlfriend if that looked like him.  She said "I will have to see him smiling.  All these pictures of him he's smiling in"

About 5 seconds later, Cole smiled as the Marauders had gotten a base hit.

"Yup" that's him she said.

There were plenty of empty seats around him as the day had been constant rain showers all day which makes me think that most fans decided not to come out.  I approached him and asked if he was Cole Tucker.  He acknowledged he was and started making small chat with me.

I wished him a speedy recovery from his surgery and told him how thankful I was for him to take the time to chat with fans and how much I appreciated him signing a baseball for me earlier in the year when the West Virginia Power were playing the Lakewood Blue Claws (Phillies A team about 20 minutes from my house). 

He asked what brought me to Florida and I told him how my girlfriend were on vacation. I told him I wanted to catch a game for my birthday.  After a quick selfie with Cole, he also signed my ticket stub and personalized it and inscribed it "happy bday"

Such a great young kid who I will be rooting for in the years to come. 

Before the game I was able to get autographs from Wyatt Mathisen and Frank Duncan on their team issued cards.

I also won two game used bats from Rays Center Fielder Kevin Kiermaier and Pirates Top Prospect Josh Bell.

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