A Spiritual Moment with Hunter Pence

This past summer I had the fortunate opportunity to visit San Francisco on the occasion to sing the National Anthem with my brother Tim and Bob Weir at AT&T Park. Although this 48 hour trip from Lexington, KY to the Bay yielded many magical moments, one moment still sits strongly in the forefront of my mind.

After meeting and re-meeting many of the Giants players in the clubhouse, Tim and I got some quiet moments after workouts and batting practice to sit together in the dugout on a perfect summer day. My favorite baseball player Hunter Pence approached us. Now Tim is and always has been the spiritual guru for the baseball teams he’s worked with. Young men who are dealing with newfound wealth and celebrity seek my brother out for advice on how to deal with it. Hunter walked up to Tim to tell him about the books he’d been reading and a girl he just met. This true Giant was 18 inches from my face and began to tell the plot of an existential book he had just finished and how the lasting impression that stuck with him was, of all things, a feather. Then he began to talk about a girl he had just met that seemed different. I immediately knew what he meant because these young men are constantly surrounded by people that want something from them and many times have seemingly irrational demands made of them.

This girl just wanted to talk, and after a few minutes, he noticed that she had a feather on her necklace. 

I don’t know how this story ended, but it stuck with me for the sheer honesty and purity demonstrated by this amazing young man. He was looking for fatherly, spiritual understanding and validation from my big brother, who of course, listened and said something profound that I can’t remember.

To summarize, this Pence kid is the real deal inside and out. He may be America’s most eligible bachelor. That moment made him my favorite ballplayer. Humble, aware, conscientious, and searching. 

That was a great moment.

Hey Baseball, I’d like you to meet my friend Opera. Opera, this is my friend Baseball.

Do you ever have two people in your life who have never met, they come from two totally different worlds, but you know they’d hit it off? …they have so much in common but would have never met without your intervention?

Baseball and Opera are these two “people” in my life. They have so much in common, but couldn’t be farther apart. 

Both are a three to four hour diversion from my busy, anxious life. Both have heroes and villains that wear costumes, set on an elaborate stage. Both follow an old, strict, comforting format. Both take years of training, persistence, grit, and a bit of divine intervention to allow the performer to even set foot on the field. Both can be listened to, but the listening is a pale representation of actual attendance. Both existed before I was born and will thrive after my inevitable demise. Most importantly, both take me on a blissful journey and ennoble me. 

This is baseball and opera.

If you’re a baseball fan, please attend an opera. If you’re an opera fan, get out to the ballpark.