Thinking about my last post regarding my Little League baseball team reminded me of another Little League related experience I won’t forget soon. I shared lots of my Little League experiences with a good friend, Barry Breen, who also spent much of his spare time working with kids. Barry was what I call an ‘operator’, meaning that he always found something special and extra to do and participate in no matter what he was involved in.
In Little League, he coached a very successful team from California that made it all the way to the LL World Series in Williamsport, PA. Through this experience, he cultivated friends and contacts at the LL headquarters that enabled him to get involved in the security aspect of the event. Once he was a duly recognized security officer of Little League it wasn’t long before he got me involved as well. So through the simple aspect of being a friend of Barry Breen, I found myself hired as a security officer for the 2006 LL World Series.
The duty assignments for the two weeks of work at the world series were varied but mine consisted mostly of working at the gates where visitors entered. By this time even the Little League had metal detectors at all entrances with accompanying requirements for security workers to keep scary substances out of the area such as bottled water. But one afternoon I was assigned along with another agent to keep an eye on the souvenir shop where all kinds of memorabilia was sold such as T shirts, caps, pennants, etc. When I first reported for duty the ladies who operated the shop told us that there were two local kids who made a habit of shop lifting items from the store every year. The ladies said they knew them by sight and warned us in advance that they were always up to no good. They told us that if they saw them enter the store they would notify us so that we could make sure they didn’t steal any more goods.
Sure enough, that afternoon the ladies grabbed us and told us that the two scoundrels had entered and were now in the store. They pointed them out to us and we each took one to follow and watch. I made no pretense of being casual, I stayed within 3 feet of my suspect at all times making it very clear that I was watching him and everything he did. After they had been in the store for a few minutes there was suddenly a commotion near the front door. There was a lot of shouting and yelling, a crowd had collected making it hard to see what was going on. As soon as the noise started I turned and craned my neck to see what was happening and then BAM!! I got it. Instantly I turned back to my suspect just in time to see him skating out the rear door with a batting helmet in his hand. He was around 15 and could run really fast. In an second he was out of sight leaving me standing there completely defeated by the oldest trick in the book – divert attention and then strike. So the Little League had a batting helmet stolen and I had a really red face as I had been exposed as a total rookie ‘security officer’. Live and learn.
At the same event, I had occasion to come in contact with two celebrities. One was Bobby Knight, the ex Indiana basketball coach and the other was Orel Hershiser, the ex Dodger pitcher. One turned out to be a fantastic person, grateful for every little bit of attention while the other revealed himself to be the complete jerk his reputation told us he was. I’ll let you decide which was which.