The line snaked around the ticket window along the sidewalk at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park in Charleston, South Carolina. Fathers and sons, random celebrity gawkers, women and children and season ticket holders stood in the heat and humidity anxious to catch a glimpse of Alex Rodriguez.
Twenty years from now this will be a Trivial Pursuit question: Who was the first player in Major League Baseball to tweet during a game? Flip the card and the answer will say — Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers. At Tuesday night’s All-Star Game in Kansas City, @TheRealMattKemp fired off the first player tweet:
I remember the first time I met Josh Hamilton. He walked slowly up the steps, through the box seats behind home plate at Joseph P. Riley Jr. park in Charleston, South Carolina. He was wearing a gray Tampa Bay Devil Rays t-shirt and white game pants.
Hamilton was clean shaven with curly brown hair – and not a single tattoo. He dropped into one of the empty box seats on a hot, humid July 4 late afternoon in South Carolina and propped his massive feet on the seat in front of him. That’s what I remember most: his massive feet.
Josh Hamilton is 25 years old, the last four felt like a lifetime. His mind once blurred by drugs and alcohol, his body abused by a serious car accident, tattoos and cigarette burn scars on his skin, Hamilton is trying to pick up the pieces of his life and a promising career as a major league baseball player. On Tuesday, June 8, 1999, Josh and his parents, Tony and Linda Hamilton, and 50 friends and members of the media camped out at Hamilton’s home in Raleigh, N.C., waiting for the phone to ring. The room was filled with quiet anticipation.