meeting her hero on Queen Street.
A few years ago, I crossed paths with Cito Gaston on the streets of Toronto.
I was walking the opposite way on Queen Street West during my lunch hour when I immediately noted he walked by. Subconsciously, I turned around and slowly began walking in the same direction. I didn't have a plan and the second I realized this, I asked for a sign.
That's when the lights at the intersection in front of him and his group turned red. This was my shot! I stood behind them, not knowing how to even get his attention. His wife noticed me and kind-of got his attention to look down (he's so tall). He smiled kindly and I immediately burst into tears.
In that instant, I was a 10 year old girl standing toe-to-toe with my hero. I blubbered something to the effect of him coaching the Blue Jays being some of the best memories of my childhood and thanked him for that. He genuinely chuckled, and patted my arm and said something like, "you're a sweetheart" or "you're very sweet" or something.
The comment changes in my head every time I try to remember it because fireworks were going off in my head. He continued across the street, I walked aimlessly to McDonald's.That's the beauty of any sport, but for me, baseball reigns supreme. There's something so special about this game and seeing someone from my favourite ball club, who coached them to back-to-back championships, and who looked like me (being black) was overwhelming. Man, hands down one of the best moments of my entire life.
The lovely Ms. Young is one of my favourite follows on Twitter and one of the great things about online baseball writing and fandom is the diversity of voices that can be heard.
I was at Cito's last game (with Zuber, actually, but that's another story) and I remember sitting there thinking what a privilege for us as fans of the Toronto Blue Jays to have the first African-American manager in history to win the World Series managing this team. This is part of our history. The Yankees don't have that. The Giants don't have that. The Cardinals don't have that.
And if meant something to me, I can't even imagine how important it is for POCs and other minorities to see themselves reflected in positions of authority in this game they love.