Brad Feld

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Brad, The Book, and The Baseball

Oct 11, 2005

Now that the Red Sox and the Yankees are out of the playoffs, there doesn’t appear to be any reason to pay attention to baseball anymore (unless, of course, you live in Chicago like my friends from FeedBurner and StartSampling do).  I’ve never been a huge baseball fan – the most memorable part of the Texas Rangers games I used to go to as a kid was the traffic jam on the drive home.  I lived in Boston for 12 years – within a five minute walk of Fenway for the last three – and while I’d occasionally catch a game, I never got sucked into the Red Sox Nation (although I admit to watching last years Red Sox / Yankees series and rooting for the Red Sox.)

I was in Dallas at a board meeting a few weeks ago and Howard Diamond – a close friend and CEO of ePartners – decided that the best way to introduce me to a few members of his leadership team that hadn’t met me before was to tell the story of Brad, the book, and the baseball.  It goes something like this (oh goody, I get to practice writing in the third person and taking some editorial liberties that I’m sure Howard would be ok with.)

Brad’s wife Amy loves to go to live sporting events – especially baseball, football, and hockey.  Brad would rather stay home and play with his computer, but he usually tags along just to be in Amy’s presence. 

Several years ago, Amy decided she was going to go to a bunch of Rockies games.  Now – Amy doesn’t do anything half assed.  So – she found someone that would sell her a dozen tickets to several games which included two seats behind the first base dugout.  I mean directly behind the first base dugout – row one – right in the middle of the dugout.  Perfect seats.

Now – Rockies games are like football games – you rarely have the winner score less than 10 runs due to the thin air.  So – these aren’t dull games.  However, Brad knew he’d be bored out of his mind by the third inning, so he brought a book.  I think it was a biography of Howard Hughes.  Stimulating stuff.

After a few innings, Brad tucked into his book.  Coors Field has a special feature – a bunch of guys in the stands wearing funny outfits that act like security guards / policeman in between innings.  They wander up and down the stairs, making sure people like Brad don’t put their feet up on empty chairs or their beer on the dugout.

In between innings, one of these guys (let’s call him Joe) wandered up to Brad and said, “Sir, it’s very dangerous to be reading a book here – you might get hit by a fly ball.”  Brad looked quizzically at Joe and responded, “Huh?  If a fly ball is going to hit me, it’s not going to care whether I’m reading a book.”  Joe harrumphed and wandered back up the stairs.

Another inning (and another chapter) passed.  Joe wandered back down the stairs to try again.  “Excuse me, but you really shouldn’t be reading here.  It’s very dangerous.  I’m just looking out for your safety.”  Again, Brad was confused.  “But you don’t even know me – why do you care?  Plus – I feel very safe here – I’m sitting next to my wife Amy.”  Joe grimaced and wandered off.

Joe realized this approach wasn’t going to work – apparently Brad had a risk profile that was different than other baseball fans.  At the next break, Joe decided to try to something different.  “Sir, you are sitting in fantastic seats.  I’m sure that if you don’t appreciate them, someone else up a little higher would love to switch with you.”  Once again, Brad tilted his head and responded, “Huh?  I appreciate these very much – they cost about the same as my running shoes and – while they aren’t as comfortable, I’ve got a great view of the sky, there’s no shade so I’m getting a nice tan, and it’s really easy to read since there’s such good light here.”

Once again, Joe stomped off.  This time, Brad turned to the baseball fanatic sitting to his left who – by now – was laughing his ass off every time Joe departed.  “Dude – what’s going on with this guy?” asked Brad.  Our friend, Mr. Fanatic, choked down some of his beer and said, “Look – this game is on national TV.  Every time a lefty gets up to bat, you’re on TV reading your book.  I’m sure Mr. Big Man Upstairs told Joe to get down to row one and get that asshole reading a book to either put the book away or move.”

“National TV huh?  I wonder if my dad’s watching.  He’d be proud of my reading skills.”

Next time you see me, feel free to ask me about the time I fell asleep in Howard’s box at a Bronco’s game.