There has been some discussion on this site recently about the character of baseball players and the role character plays in players’ performance. I don’t have much to add to the discussion, but I did want to call attention to something I witnessed recently which touches on the character of two particular Tribe players.
I went to the game this past Sunday. It was a Kids Fun Day. Though my own children are in their mid-30s and live far away and though, regrettably, Kids Fun Days didn’t exist when I began taking them to games about 30 years ago, I still love watching the pregame routine on these days. If you have been to one, you know what it is.
As part of the routine, nine kids are selected to stand at the positions that the Indians players will take when they first take the field before the start of the game. The players take the field, meet the kids at the players’ respective positions, shake hands with the kids, give them a baseball, and then the kids run off the field. The players handle it well, and the whole scene is delightful to witness.
What I thought was noteworthy this past Sunday is that something out of the ordinary happened during this routine. All of the players were polite to the children and did what was expected of the players – they shook their hands, handed them a ball, and patted them on the head, with the kids then running off the field.
But as I watched, I saw that Jason Kipnis and Nick Swisher did something more. Each of them squatted down next to the kid at his position and spent some time talking to the kid in a very sincere and direct manner. The children were obviously awestruck by the experience and just stood there nodding in agreement with whatever these two players were telling them. Kipnis and Swisher then gave their respective kids a baseball, patted them on the head, and the kids then ran off the field with a look of genuine wonder on their faces.
It made for a nice moment. Whether the good character Kipnis and Swisher displayed this last Sunday contributes to their performance as athletes is probably unknowable. But what is knowable is that the time they took with these two kids this past Sunday reflected well on the city, the team, and, most of all, on Kipnis and Swisher themselves.
I thought LGT readers would want to know about this.