My husband and I went to quite a few GrapeSox baseball games and thoroughly enjoyed them.
The young men were a wholesome group of college students with the utmost respect for each other and the spectators, giving autographs willingly when asked. And it was heartwarming to see the children all run to try to fetch the foul balls hit out of the field (sponsored by California Glass).
The look on their faces when they returned with the coveted ball hit by a potentially famous ball player was fun to watch. Even more fun to watch was when Taylor sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." The Burton shoe race for the youngsters and the "spin the bat" contest were fun to watch. Also, the chance for one lucky fan to win $10,000, $100,000 and even $1 million, sponsored by Mondavi Winery, was exciting.
I wish to commend the host families for housing these young men during the summer season, and I enjoyed the games when those families were honored. I'm sure some life-long friendships have been formed. I understand those families were given season tickets to the games. What fun.
I would like to see a follow-up on the careers of these young men, as they do for former local high school standout athletes in the sports pages of the News-Sentinel. After all, they were a part of Lodi for over two months and afforded some great family entertainment while bettering their skills. Brandon Cunniff went to high school in Norco, where my three children went to school, so that made it more fun for me. There were local players: Matt Fuson (stand up and cheer!), Stephen Malcolm, Larry Holsher, Andrew Troncale, Mark McCain (UOP), Cory Hamilton (Elk Grove) and many from the greater Sacramento area who afforded some rally great plays. We were in attendance at all three playoff games and saw some awesome catches by Matt Fuson in center field. The big thrill was when Elliott Blair hit a Grand Slam home run in the final playoff game, which I am sure really motivated "our" team. I'm looking forward to 2009.