Sunday, June 13, 2010

An Avatar at Fenway Park - The Saga of Daniel Nava

The scoreboard had his named listed as "Daniel Nava." I am convinced that there was an error, and that he actually is an avatar of the superhuman Navi' race who graced the screen in James Cameron's iconic film, "Avatar." To do what he did, and to have arrived at Fenway Park by the tortuous path that he trod, he must have tied into the mystical powers emanating from the ethereal and luminescent Tree of Souls.

By now you must have heard the story of the Grand Slam that he hit yesterday afternoon off of the first pitch that he ever saw in the major leagues. Such a feat had been accomplished only one other time in the long history of major league baseball.

I was there, so let me tell you a little bit about "the rest of the story."

I was sitting in my usual spot in Section 20, in the grandstands behind home plate. When Nava came to the plate, I said to those sitting around me, "I don't know much about this player, but I am pretty sure that this must be his first major league at bat." A few seconds later - Boom! - history had been made. The crowd stood as one and cheered for so long that Nava's new teammates forced him out of the dugout to take a rare rookie "curtain call." He sheepishly tipped his cap and returned to the safety of the dugout.

Not long after things had settled down, I noticed in the next section over - the section where most Red Sox players' family and friends sit - a security guard came to talk with and then to escort a couple. There was a buzz in that section of the crowd, so I figured that they must be some VIP's whom I did not recognize. A few minutes later, this couple returned to their seats. Later in the game, I noticed that Red Sox CEO, Larry Lucchino and Principal Owner, John Henry, had come into the grandstands and were visiting with this same couple. It did not occur to me until some time later that they had come to pay their respects to Mr. and Mrs. Nava.

A few days earlier, the rookie's parents had made the trip from their home in California to see their son play in Indianapolis for the Red Sox Triple-A club, the Pawtucket Red Sox. Just as they were preparing to fly home, Daniel got the word that he was needed to fill in at Fenway Park. His parents changed their plans, and after experiencing some flight delays, arrived at Logan Airport. The wait for their luggage dragged on, and they bolted from the airport without luggage, not wanting to miss the beginning of Daniel's first major league game.

This story is the stuff of legends and movies in the ilk of "Rudy."

What a thrill to be there to watch it unfold - on the field and in the stands.

Daniel Nava - "I see you"!


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