According to the Pirates' announcer at the beginning of this video, both the Pirates and their Class A affiliate had celebrity visitors in the past few days. Some might be more excited about the West Virginia Power's visitor, Jennifer Garner, but I was pretty chuffed to see the familiar and well-loved face of The Bus, who was at the game with his son Jerome Jr.
And it seems Bettis has a new gig—he has been coaching his son's Little League team. As a result, Bettis has realized baseball is more nuanced than he suspected. (He had already admitted to the announcer that he had never played baseball while growing up.)
And perhaps he has begun to realize coaching is more nuanced than he thought as well. As Bettis said:
I never thought I would get booed, but I actually got booed as a first base coach. I sent a couple players, we got out, and it was all my fault. I felt so bad...
He went on to say he is now a big fan of the game—"it's not just the game, it's the game inside the game."
Bettis made an interesting observation about Pittsburgh fans when asked about the Pirates and last year's run in the playoffs which ended in St. Louis:
The fans, they were energized; the players—they played their hearts out, and that's what you want to see. I think as a Pittsburgher that's all we ever ask for is that you play your heart out, you give 110 percent, and then we can live with the score after that.
I would have loved for the announcer to ask him more about coaching, but instead he asked what it would mean to Bettis to get into the Hall of Fame. The answer was pretty much what you would expect: "It would be special." And so on. What's he supposed to say, anyhow?
In the photo Bettis is shaking hands before the game with Pedro Alvarez, the Pirates' powerful but streaky third baseman. Alvarez was the star of the game, with a run-scoring double and a two-run homer. The homer was only his third in June, after swatting six in April and four in May. Perhaps the Pirates should encourage Bettis to shake everyone's hand...
Bettis signed a baseball which would be part of a contest during the game, and in exchange was presented with the keys to the ballpark, or, more precisely, to the Pirates' team twitter feed for the afternoon. How things have changed since my youth : )