(Written for Big League Stew, June 16th, 2009)


An on-the-ground account of Rick Vaughn bobblehead night

‘Duk note: Loyal Stewie David Connor (better known ’round these parts as rexdeaz was at the Brewers-Indians game on Monday night and was nice enough not to only snag me a souvenir — what have the rest of you done for me lately, by the way? — but write about his quest as well as the journey of other Major League fans he met. His words follow below.

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As you might have heard, Monday finally brought Rick Vaughn bobblehead night at County Stadium Progressive Field. Major League sits squarely at No. 2 on my list of favorite movies. It was the film that gave a dying city hope and inspired the most improbable turnaround of any franchise in recent memory. (Rocktober and RockJune notwithstanding, of course.)

Of course, I’m not the only one with an affinity for the film as I was able to meet people who had driven from all over to celebrate “Major League Monday” and one of the most memorable characters from a baseball movie.  

For example, on the way to last night’s contest I noticed something quite strange: Canadian accents! Tyler, Aaron and Justin were Blue Jays fans that made their way down from Ontario to see the Tribe, “support ballparks near Toronto” and, yes, “to get bobbleheads.”

I then noticed a woman headed to the restroom wearing the jersey of the Wild Thing himself. Waiting for her to reappear, I ended up beginning a conversation with her husband Chris instead. A Mets fan from New York, he had bought the gift for his wife as her 50th birthday present. He and his wife Nancy had planned on coming to the game since mid-April and Nancy claimed to have seen the movie “at least 15 times”. 

After finishing my conversation with the couple, I spotted three guys who obviously weren’t from around here. Jason, Dan and Matt were all diehard Brewers fans who had decided to come to the game back in February, way before the promotions schedule had even been released. That they’d be heading back with a cool souvenir made the trip all the better, though they said they’d only seen the movie a combined five times or so — even with their own broadcaster, Bob Uecker, appearing in the film (and throwing out Monday’s first pitch).

Quick tangent: The coolest part of the night was seeing the onslaught of old school jerseys for popular players on either team. Represented in the best 80’s fashion last night were: Corey Hart(notes), Prince Fielder(notes), Ryan Braun, Grady Sizemore(notes) and even Pedro Cerrano, Rick Vaughn and Roger Dorn! Strangely, though, neither team wore their old uniforms.

By far, the award for the coolest fans of the night went to Amy and her husband Ben, who hailed from Chicago. Ben had purchased three Major League jerseys for Christmas — Dorn, Willie Mays Hayes, and Vaughn — one for himself, one for his brother and one for his dad. He and his wife heard about the giveaway on a radio show and decided to make the drive over to Cleveland. I asked them to try and remember how many times they’d seen the movie and they both responded with “too many to count!” We began going over some of the film’s more famous quotes, with Amy spouting out most of them. Note to Ben: She’s. A. Keeper.

(So, really, what we had here were Cubs fans wearing fake Indians jerseys while in town to watch the Brewers. Do we need any other reason to keep interleague play?)

As for my own Vaughn bobblehead quest, getting the first didn’t prove to be much of a problem. They were handed out to all fans.

But getting bobblehead No. 2 to give to the venerable and esteemed editor of this here blog? Well, that was a bit tricky as the guards at the gates were locking us IN to limit us at one bobble. But determined I was to deck out ‘Duk with a Rick Vaughn of his own.

I gave security a puppy dog face, told them I had to go back to work and I was free and on my way to gate A! I stuffed bobblehead No. 1 in the bottom of my bag, under my gym shorts, gym socks and dress shoes. I was hoping like heck that they wouldn’t thoroughly check the bag as I attempted to enter on the opposite side of the ballpark. As I approached the security guard, I informed him that I had gym shorts in my bag and he responded by not even going past the first layer of shoes! Bobble No. 2 will now have a nice home at Stew HQ.

Of course, there were plenty of Brewers fans at Progressive Field on “Major League Monday”. Their connection to the film is nearly as deep as ours. The movie was filmed at their park, and it co-starred their longtime announcer. It was a truly great night indeed.
Up until the 8th inning for this Tribe fan, of course. 

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A little trivia for you: Who led the Tribe in homers in 2003?
Hint: I got to watch his sweet swing during the last group of Brewers BP.

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A big BLS head nod goes out to C. Trent Rosecrans, who drove up to the game from Cincinnati and shot the above photos for his award-winning blog.