Getting in Touch with Mike Veeck, One of Baseball's True Legends

Dylan SharekCorrespondent IMay 15, 2009

I’m obsessed with baseball. I mean, really obsessed.

If I didn’t have a girlfriend, I would still be living in my mother’s house collecting baseball cards, playing fantasy baseball, and Tivo’ing every game I could. It’s really good that Katlyn’s here to keep that in check.

Trust me, I know I’m a weirdo. And I’m okay with it.

So for the past couple months it’s been eating me up inside that the President of the Charleston Riverdogs, Mike Veeck, lives in the same town as me. I mean, it’s been really, really bothering me.

I’ve met Veeck at the Old Village Post House, where we shared some small talk about cutting bread. In an effort to not ruin his night and to leave him alone, I didn’t mention that I was one of the few people in this town who knows what he and his family means to baseball.

His grandfather was one of the owners of the Chicago Cubs when they were first losing. And his father, well it might be better to not get me started on his father. I mean, we’re talking about the slightly-off, one-legged, once owner of the Browns, Indians, White Sox, and Brewers, who sent a midget up to bat in a major league game, invented the exploding scoreboard, and signed the first black player in the American League, Larry Doby, to the Cleveland Indians in 1947. I could go on and on.

The fact that a Veeck offspring is living in the same town as me and isn’t mobbed by hordes of fans wherever he goes is mind-blowing to me. I want to scream at people on the streets, “DON’T YOU KNOW THAT THIS GUY IS RESPONSIBLE FOR DISCO DEMOLITION NIGHT?! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!” It would be a breakdown similar to Smykowski’s in Office Space.

Mike Veeck owns parts of six major league clubs, ranging from Massachusetts to Florida. His promotions (Tonya Harding Bat Night, Silent Night, No One Night) are some of the most popular and hilarious ever perpetrated on the baseball community. He no longer lives in the shadow of his grandfather or father, but is a bonafide force in the baseball world, earning recognition for his “Fun Is Good” way of business and for his soaring successes.

So the other day, I broke down. I sent an email to him basically confessing that I had no reason to email him other than to email him and let him know I existed. Looking back, it was extremely creepy and almost cryptic. It read:

"My name is Dylan Sharek. I live and die with baseball. It’s my own form of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

If I didn’t take the time to contact you, I would never have been able to forgive myself.

So I bit the bullet and sent this strange email.

We’ve met before but I didn’t want to interrupt your evening so I didn’t attempt the formalities. However, over the past couple months, knowing your family legacy, knowing we live in the same town, and taking into consideration my love for the game, it’s been eating me up.

I’d love the chance to sit down and have lunch with you, or just talk baseball, or maybe take in a Riverdog’s game together.

It’s uncomfortable for me to reach out like this, but it would really be an honor for me.

Thanks for your time.”

The next day, I received a phone call, not an email, from a living member of one of baseball’s most beloved, recognizable, and illustrious families.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t there to receive it.

The message said, in short: My name is Mike, not Mr. Veeck. Call back on June 1, I’m out of town. We’ll plan something then.

I can’t wait.

This article can be found at Blogging About Baseball.


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