I remember being a kid, imagining playing on a team with me favorite baseball players. Nolan Ryan, Mark Fidrych, Carlton Fisk etal all on my side. It was something that would never happen, for me, or any kid with the same fantasies, but it was fun to think about.
Fast-forward 30+ years and those wild dreams are now being brought to life, courtesy of Pepsi-Max. For the second year in a row Pepsi Max is hosting a Field of Dreams game. What is that, you ask? It’s an opportunity for a couple average Joes to play a game in their hometown with ten former MLB stars. This year the game will be played in Rochester, New York, also the hometown to one Johnny Perotti.
Representing the American League, Perotti won the 2013 Pepsi Max Field of Dreams contest over his National League counterpart Stephen Katchmark. These lucky guys and five of their buddies get to play with five legitimate former MLB studs. Studs may be to light a word.
One of the guys on Perotti’s team will be long-time White Sox 1st baseman and future Hall of Famer Frank Thomas. The Big Hurt played in last years game too.
Being a kid who had the same dream as Perotti and Katchmark, I asked Thomas if he understood how excited these guys truly are? He didn’t take the pitch, he smacked it out of the park, stating that the pleasure is all his and repeating a number of times how much of an honor it is to actually be able to not only share his talent with the guys, but to help them with tips and pointers that’ll make their games better in the future. I know, run on sentence, but I’m excited.
All 10 of the average Joes will be in for a treat if Thomas does what he did last year when he connected fot two home runs. So lets just toss away the “Do you take the game seriously” question.
Since it is the Big Hurt, I had to ask him about this years Sox team. He loves their team chemistry and their Manager, Robin Ventura. Thomas, who played with Ventura for nine years, says the Manager’s ability to exude quiet confidence is what’ll make the team successful. For those of you wondering when one of the Windy Cities favorite sons will ever helm a team, lets just say it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
I know you Sox fans know that Paul Konerko recently passed Thomas for 3rd place on the all-time Sox hit list. Thomas is very happy for Konerko, but he couldn’t help but wonder how many hits me might have had if he didn’t miss close to 400 games from 2001-2005. He wasn’t bitter or anything, and offered Konerko congratulations, but I think he knows he might be the Sox all-time leader if injuries didn’t derail him.
One thing Thomas won’t talk about is the Hall of Fame. He says in 2014 when his chance comes up, he’ll just wait and see what’ll happen. I told him that if he isn’t in the Hall, they just as soon shut it down.
Working for the Sox in the spring, I hadn’t seen Thomas around the camp much and was wondering what he is doing nowadays. He didn’t divulge many details other than to say he is trying to grow the Frank Thomas media empire. I know he has his Big Hurt beer that he recently debuted at the Meatball spot in Las Vegas.
He is also has a band, and still dabbles in baseball activities as well.
Which brings me back to the Pepsi-Max field of Dreams game. It’ll be played on May 18th in Rochester, New York. Both squads are a who’s who of former MLB stars.
Pepsi MAX MLB Field of Dreams American League legends include:
· Wade Boggs
· Rickey Henderson
· Reggie Jackson
· Pedro Martinez
· Frank Thomas
Pepsi MAX MLB Field of Dreams National League legends include:
· Johnny Bench
· Trevor Hoffman
· Fred McGriff
· Mike Schmidt
· Ozzie Smith
The two luckies guys in the world are Perotti and Katchmark. Not just because they won this amazing contest, but to spend a few hours with a baseball legend such as Frank Thomas is something one can only dream.