FanPost

A Meet & Greet with Joel Hanrahan


I wrote this during the season, but never posted it. I don't remember why. Since we are all bored waiting for Pitchers and catchers, or at least AJ Burnett, I thought I would toss it in now. During the season the Pirate Wives and Pirates Charities had an auction where fans could bid on baskets put together by the players. More or less to my surprise, I was the winner for the Joel Hanrahan basket.

When I say basket, I suppose I am taking some artistic license, since in fact it was not a basket but a large soft-sided camoflage tackle box. It was filled with, um, stuff. There was a Slipknot {Sic}nesses T shirt. Three of my four sons are older than Joel..I had no idea whether Slipknot {Sic}nesses was an upcoming movie, a band, or a religious cult. There was a Matchbox type Ford Crown Vic police car. There was the complete first season of Dexter. There was a game called Electronic CatchPhrase. You get the idea. There was also a lot of slightly more normal stuff, peanut M&Ms, gift cards for Moe's and Dunkin Donuts, things like that. It was a ton of fun opening everything, and seeing what a rising young baseball player thinks is good to put in a charity basket.

Wrapped around the handles of the tackle box were a pair of pitcher's spikes. There is melted rubber along the front, top and side of the right big toe area, so that the shoes don't wear so fast when his foot is dragging pitch after pitch. Hanrahan is stitched along both tongues. They are extremely cool, and I have been unable to avoid showing them off to various friends and family, some of whom have attempted to appropriate them when I am not looking.

The best part of the whole deal however, was that the winning bid included a chance to meet Joel just before a game.

That whole experience was beyond my expectations, not least because I was keeping my expectations low. If I were an All Star, one of the best closers of 2011, I don't think I would be all that excited about meeting some (almost) elderly couple five minutes before the National Anthem. Which shows that I am probably not as nice a human being as Joel Hanrahan. He was very pleasant, and came across as one of the world's good guys. He wanted to know if we enjoyed the basket, I had any use for the tackle box. He was somewhat nonplussed when my wife said, and I quote, "Don't you want those shoes back? We hate to take your shoes. You might need them." When he got his face rearrainged, he very politely said, "No, thanks , but I have plenty of shoes."

The whole experience was excellent from start to finish. The Pirates Community Relations people were stellar, I got in a brief conversation with Bob Nutting, and I got my Joel Hanrahan autograph. On a hammer. I now have a genuine Joel Hanrahan #52 hammer, currently sitting on my mantle. It is pretty fine.

Anyway, this post has nothing at all to with the off season, or trades, or when we will start to hit. But I thought the BD posters might like to know that, in addition to being able to throw a consistent 97 mph strike, that Joel is a fine human being: funny, unassuming, and willing to let me keep the shoes.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.

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