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  • When I was growing up, I learned from an early age to never accept limitations on what I could do, or where I could go. When I was moved to go somewhere, I just let me legs start to moving, and I followed them wherever they led me. Many search parties were sent out to look for me, at ages 2, 3, 4 - I was just a rambling little guy. Usually the search parties never found me - when I'd had my fill of wandering, I'd just make my way back home.

    When I grew a little older, age 7 or so, brother Chris would take me out to the ballgame. He taught me how to sneak from the cheap, dollar Left Field Bleacher seats, into the more expensive, third base box seats. That's all I needed. By age 9, I owned that ballpark (old Forbes Field, in Pittsburgh). I learned how to get wherever I wanted to go in that park. I got to see a game from all angles.
  • My favorite spot was probably the announcer's booth, right up behind home plate. I'd sneak right into the booth, and learned how to make myself useful to the announcers - I'd go get them Cokes and hot dogs, read the ticker-tape reports on scores and updates from other games, and even kept the scorebook for them sometimes. For an otherwise somewhat troubled childhood, the ballpark was my little piece of heaven. I belonged there, and acted like it. Few questioned my presence, wherever I went. I must have looked like I belonged, so they left me alone.

    Some things never change. You can take the kid out of the ballpark, but you can't take the ballpark out of the kid - or something like that. Fifty years later, I still get the itch to move when I'm at a ballgame, especially if I'm by myself. I started out in the right field upper level, but by the time the presidents raced in the 4th inning, I was down by the Nationals dugout, cheering them down the homestretch.

    Man, I hope I never grow up!
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