camden yards

A Love Story: Yoenis Cespedes and I

June 6th, 2014. I set off on my journey for Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I hop into my car, turn it on, tweet out “Baltimore !!!” with three airplane emojis, then set off for my destination. The drive there is pretty much the same as it always is.

After about 20 minutes or so, I arrive at where I’m going to be parking my car for the night. I pull up to the attendant to pay, get a weird look from her, then go on my way. Baffled as to why I got a confusing look, I look down and remember I’m wearing an Athletics shirt. Nonetheless, I continue my walk towards the stadium. I continue to get confusing looks as to why I’m wearing an A’s shirt in “Birdland”. Little do these people know, I’m a master of disguise and had a Nelson Cruz shirsey in my bad the whole time.

I get to one of the gates and see there is a line. I remember that they are handing out Orioles sunglasses to the first 15,000 people 15 and over. I then question this decision because it is a night game and why can’t people under 15 enjoy the pleasure that is Orioles sunglasses.

After I got another confusing look from the person handing out the glasses, I then went to center field to watch and see if the Orioles were doing BP. They weren’t since they arrived late that morning. The only people on the field were trainers, Manny Machado fielding grounders and Chris Davis catching them at first base.

At around 5:30 or so, the A’s came out for BP and the rest of the ballpark was able to be accessed. (The Orioles close off everywhere except for Eutaw Street and the statues area until 5:30 for some reason.) I make my way down to the wall in left field. There he is.

Standing in the flesh, neon green glove in hand, 52 chain around neck, hat on head backwards, it’s the amazing man known as Yoenis Cespedes. As he walks to shag fly balls, he throws up a peace sign to the fans acknowledging him, mainly me. He’s out there for no more than 10 minutes then goes towards the dugout to get ready to hit for BP.

I find myself behind the A’s dugout, surrounded by people who are begging for balls, batting gloves, calling a man Chili Davis even though he isn’t Chili Davis. It’s a weird situation to be in. After Yoenis finished his rounds of BP, he walks over to the side of the dugout agreeing to sign for the fans waiting there for him.

As a small line forms near the side of the dugout, usually blocked off by an usher, Yoenis signs for the eager fans. Fans walk away with their signed balls, cards, pictures, etc. and are happy to have the item autographed.

Let me describe how I am in this exact situation. I’m surrounded by adults with pictures and balls waiting to be signed by a man who plays a sport. My friend is shouting at me how to ask for a picture in Spanish. On the outside I may have looked calm and cool, but on the inside, I was dying. I was ready to burst out of my skin in such excitement. Just the simple task of reliving the moment is making me shake and tremble.

The guy in front of me walks off. It’s my turn to meet him. I see him there, he sees me. I walk up to the edge of the dugout, say hello and say “I just want a picture.” He doesn’t say no or anything, so I go ahead and do it. At that moment, I took the best selfie since the word has been invented. I then shake his hand and say my farewells. As I walk away, I’m smiling bigger than Jurickson Profar. I meet up with my friend, who is happy for me that I just met one of my idols, but is also probably confused as to my I’m on the brink of tears because of meeting a baseball player.

Nonetheless, it was a great experience overall and I would recommend it to all of my friends. Also, his eyebrows look even more big in person, just saying.