Two days ago, I posted about my favorite non-Red, Hunter Pence. As I said in the article (refresh your memory by reading it here), I believe Pence would have been an excellent fit in the outfield and 5 spot in the line up. He plays the game with an old fashioned hustle and grit you just don’t see anymore.
But I only thought it fair, then, to write about my favorite actual Reds player. I met him a couple of years ago at a radio station in Chillicothe, Ohio. He was with a cast of other current and former Reds. He was incredibly nice and actually came up to me and started speaking. After that moment, it was a done deal. I knew that my favorite baseball player would always be Devin Mesoraco.
It’s strange, I think, when you get to meet one of your idols. You have a certain image in your head of who they are as a person, outside of the sport, which is admittedly a bit absurd. But what was so unique about this circumstance was that I wasn’t a big fan of Mesoraco.
I knew of him. This happened a couple of years ago, so Mez had yet to play a full season with Cincinnati. I remembered seeing him play after being called up from Louisville, and I remember all the hype surrounding him. After talking with him, though, I didn’t care if he was the next Johnny Bench or just the next Devin Mesoraco, he was my favorite player.
Baseball is funny, though, in the way you root for a specific player or team. Why do we root for who we root for? For me, growing up, my father was a huge Cincinnati Reds fan. So, naturally, I was as well. It’s something we’ve shared ever since. Baseball has a way of bonding father and son, and my favorite part about meeting Mesoraco was the fact that my father was standing right next to me.
It’s been a couple of years since that occurrence. I’ve been a huge fan of him ever since. When Devin gets a base hit, I feel as if I’m standing on first base as well. To others, it may sound absurd. But to other baseball fans? You know exactly what I’m talking about.
The greatest personal baseball memory I have, (besides meeting Mez with my father), was the game I witnessed Mesoraco hit two home runs in a single game. Unfortunately, my father wasn’t at Great American Ball Park with me during this particular game.
I was sitting in the right field seats. The ball park was sold out on account of St. Louis being in town. Mesoraco stepped to the plate and before I knew it, I had just witnessed my favorite baseball player hit a home run live!
A few at-bats later, Mez stood at the plate again. I was greedy, wishing for another homer, but just happy I got to see him already hit one in person. A few moments later, I was standing, jumping, cheering as my favorite player rounded the bases for the second time in one game. And I got to see it live.
That’s what baseball does. It makes you a little kid again. When I left the ball park that day, I went back to my normal life. Cincinnati went on to lost to Pittsburgh in the one-game playoffs, and life went on. But I’ll always have that memory to hold on to. That seemingly meaningless game in the middle of August will always stand out in my mind as the best baseball game I ever watched.