Last weekend, Ms. Sothball & I made a trip to Phoenix for Angel Spring Training games. I will try to make a few posts over the next couple of days with photos from the trip. We got the title for this one from some "face time" with Rex Hudler. In person, he is the same as what you hear and see on game broadcasts. He is about 75% preacher, 25% salesman, and 100% genuine character.
Her are a few unforgettable words of advise;
To a 9-10 year-old girl with braces that wanted his autograph; "Oh honey, I bet you really don’t like those braces, but you need to thank you parents – go ahead and thank them right now - because when I was your age I had teeth that were going EVERY which way and I looked REALLY ugly – not that I cared – but my mom told me that I needed braces to straighten my teeth and so I wore them but didn’t really like them but look at the beautiful teeth I have now (big, broad smile), and so I occasionally call my mom, and she will tell what beautiful teeth I have and I thank my mom for helping me have this beautiful smile (another broad smile) and so you may not like those braces right now – I bet they hurt, don’t they? – but you really need to thank your parents ‘cause in a few years, you will be even more beautiful than you are now."
To a boy that wanted his autograph; "It’s really important to sign autographs…it’s all about you, the fans! I didn’t always think that way. A few years ago I was a teammate of Ozzie Smith and I was like the 25th player on the roster but I was all impressed with myself and when fans would ask for autographs wouldn’t even acknowledge them but there was Ozzie Smith one of the greatest players in baseball at the time and when Ozzie would come out for warm-ups he would tell the fans "just give me a few minutes to get warm-ed up and then I will come over to sign autographs" and so he would do exactly what he said and, man, that shamed me and I have thought ever since, if Ozzie can do it, I can do it. Because, you know, it’s all about the fans".
To a fan wearing a Bosux hat, "Where did that guy go that was wearing the Red Sox cap? Yeah, you over there. Yeah, you got us last year, but this is the year for the Angels…yeah I know we didn’t sign Teixeira but you know Kendry Morales is going to have a GREAT year...and Figgins…we have the best lead-off hitter in the game and Vlad? Vlad is back and healthy and just CRUSHING the ball and Bobby Abreu is really going to help this team and the kids…Brandon Wood is just phenomenal and Iszturis and Rodriguez and Aybar and I haven’t even started talking about our pitching depth!...and…and so you are going to see the rise this year of ANGELS NATION and I can tell you that we are ready for you this year."
Rex is truly another great gift to the Angels fans. He took a lot of time to talk - from the heart - to lots of people, especially the younger fans. I only captured a small sampling here of of his musings. Enjoy!