Just a thought… When you are through changing, you are through. [Bruce Barton]
Nothing like thoughts of baseball to brighten a February day and Rob and I have been hoping to fit in a Jays game when we visit Ontario in April. We might just be able to sit in the friendly confines of the Rogers Centre and watch our favourite team in the early days of a (hopefully) promising new season. But one player we won’t be seeing this year in a Jays uniform is veteran infielder Darwin Barney, who has been signed to a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers. The news came down yesterday.
I was reminded of a close encounter with Darwin’s family last June when Rob, his sister and my aunt and uncle and I had the time of our lives on a road trip to see the Jays visit the Mariners. I thought I might relive a few moments of that brush with Barney here today.
We were seated in the back row of our field level section on the Sunday of the three-day stand, which was the best we could buy the day the tickets went on sale in March. Two ladies ahead of us were standing and chatting. One of them had a Jays t-shirt on and I was trying to figure out if we were surrounded by Toronto fans or if we’d have to pipe down a bit this game out of respect for Mariners’ fans. To the woman in the red shirt I said, “I hope you’re a Jays fan, too,” and she responded, “My son plays second base for the Blue Jays.”
I stammered, “Barney?” and she said yes. I don’t know what came over me, but I just reached into the row ahead of us and gave her a big hug. “That’s some good parenting, right there!” I laughed.
With a bit of Googling, I was able to determine that her name was Doreen Barney (or Mama Dee or DeeDee as she’s known). Darwin had been born in Portland, Oregon, a three-hour drive from Seattle, and soon Doreen was joined by Darwin’s beautiful wife and three sweet daughters who still live in Portland. Several other family members were seated with them, including the Barney children’s other grandparents and a lady we think may have been Darwin’s sister. (Sometimes a lull in the game lets you try to put two and two together; I think most of my math was correct.)
As the game went on, Doreen told me that she wasn’t wearing a Jays jersey, not because her son wouldn’t give her one – I’d jokingly asked if that was the case – but because it was bad luck! Here’s a shot of the stadium that I took that includes “Mama Dee”; she has the flower in her hair.
What a nice moment I had, getting to hug a Jay’s mom. I know it’s silly, but you just never know who’s nearby, do you?
We wish Darwin and his family well and hope that he manages to get a regular spot in the infield. If he does, he’ll face his old teammates April 6th when the Jays visit the Rangers. And on we go.