17: A Father and Son’s Fall Classic

17: A Father and Son’s Fall Classic

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tales of Golf and Sport

A Father and Son’s Fall Classic

The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines.

~Charles Kuralt, On the Road with Charles Kuralt

There will be many memorable moments from this year’s World Series—moments that baseball fans will talk about for years.

For a father and son who live in Lima, Ohio, though, it will be hard for anything that happened on the playing field to match the World Series moment that unexpectedly came to them.

Don Bruns is forty-three; his son Aaron is ten. Aaron loves baseball, and the Cincinnati Reds in particular. He broke his arm in a bicycle accident last summer, and missed the last part of his Little League season. For a birthday present, his dad decided to take Aaron down to Cincinnati for the first game of the World Series. They had no tickets.

“I was hoping that we could find some scalpers who would sell us tickets,” the father said. “I explained to Aaron that there was no guarantee we would get into the game. But just being around a World Series, even if we didn’t get in, would be exciting.”

So they drove the more than two hours from Lima to Cincinnati—Lima is in the northern part of Ohio, Cincinnati is all the way south. For two more hours they walked the streets—Aaron wearing a Reds cap.

“There were a lot of scalpers, all right,” the father said. “I didn’t realize how much tickets cost. The cheapest ones we were offered were $175 apiece. The most expensive were $300 apiece. I couldn’t do that, and I explained it to Aaron. He understood.”

Then, the father said, they were approached by a man who asked if they were going to the game.

“He told me his name, and he told me that he was staying at the Omni Hotel,” the father said. “I explained about our trip to Cincinnati, and I said that I couldn’t pay what the scalpers were asking.

“He pulled out two tickets. He said that my son reminded him of himself fifteen years ago. He handed me the tickets.

“I asked him how much he wanted. He said there was no charge. He said the tickets were free.

“I thought that maybe this was part of a scam or something. I kept waiting for something tricky to happen. We were waiting for the guy to play us for fools.

“But he just said that he hoped we would enjoy the game, and he left. We went to the stadium. The tickets were wonderful. I had never been to a World Series game, and of course my son hadn’t. The World Series! It feels different than any other baseball game. The intensity, the emotional high, the excitement level... and this guy had just handed us the tickets and walked away.

“During the game my son and I must have turned to each other thirty times and said to each other: ‘I can’t believe this.’”

Here is the story of the man on the street:

His name is Michael Teicher; he works as an account executive for a company called Phoenix Communications Group in South Hackensack, New Jersey. The company markets TV shows about baseball—the syndicated This Week in Baseball and ESPN’s Major League Baseball Magazine, among others.

Teicher seemed surprised when I tracked him down in Oakland, where he had traveled for the second leg of the World Series. I explained what Don Bruns had told me.

“Here’s what happened,” Teicher said. “I work for a man named Joe Podesta. He hadn’t missed a World Series in sixteen years. A month ago, though, he had a mild heart attack, and he’s not at the Series this year.

“I guess like a lot of people who have heart attacks, he felt some kind of new appreciation for the preciousness of life. He told me that he wanted to make some people happy. So he told me that when I was at the World Series I should take two tickets and give them to people I thought would be thrilled by going to the game. That’s the only ground rule he gave me—give the tickets to people I thought would be thrilled.”

Teicher walked around town for some time before seeing Don and Aaron Bruns.

“I had seen a lot of people on the street who I thought might just take the tickets and sell them,” Teicher said. “This guy and his son, though—the father was carrying a sign that said ‘I Need Two Tickets.’ His son was this nice-looking, skinny kid with glasses, and he looked very disappointed.

“I followed them and I heard the father telling the son about how much the scalpers wanted for tickets. I heard the father say they wouldn’t be going to the game.

“I looked at them and they reminded me of my dad and me when I was a kid. I would have died to go to a World Series game with my father. But I never did.

“So I went up and I gave them the tickets and I told them to enjoy themselves.”

Because of his work, Teicher has begun to regard going to World Series games as almost routine. “I go to all of them,” he said. “That makes you forget how important going to the World Series can be.”

How important was it to Don Bruns and his son? Here is what Bruns said: “This is the most memorable thing that has ever happened to us. My boy and I will never forget that night.”

After Michael Teicher had handed the tickets to the father and son, he watched them walking together toward the stadium.

“The little boy,” he said, “it was like all of a sudden he had a bounce in his step.”

~Bob Greene
Chicken Soup for the Baseball Fan’s Soul

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