Collin Balester's Future In-Laws Visit Viera
If you've never been to Lost in Space Coast Stadium for spring training, here's what the crowd is like: There will be a weird assortment of autograph seekers carrying folders and wearing logos of other baseball teams, a random guy in leather who looked about as out of place as I did, maybe six or seven media members, a very nice man from Maine handing out cans of Moxie soda to curious bloggers, perhaps 10 legitimate Washington Nationals fans, and, today, the future father-in-law and brother-in-law of Collin Balester, up from Bradenton.
If you didn't know, Balester is marrying into a family that is distantly related to former Orioles and Reds outfielder Merv Rettenmund, which means the Ohio-based Sterling family grew up as Orioles and Reds fans. Years ago, future father-in-law Mr. Sterling was taken on memorable trips to meet Jim Palmer, Brooks Robinson, Mike Cuellar, Dave McNally, Andy Etchebarren and loads more great O's, and he's stuck with the franchise since then. The Reds thing, on the other hand, works pretty well with his current rooting interests, if you get my drift.
"So to me, I didn't care, get Dunn, bring 'em all, all those crazy guys," Mr. Sterling told me.
As for his future son-in-law, Mr. Sterling heartily approves. He's a spinning instructor, and he even gave Balester a one-on-one spinning lesson, to music. They rarely talk about baseball, unless the pitcher gives up a few jacks in one game and future family members tease him about booking tickets to various minor-league locales.
In the offseason, they all went to the beach together, and at some point Balester disappeared. Just as the Sterling family wondered where he was, they noticed him 50 yards out in the ocean, pretending to be a shark, with his head under water and his hands clasped together above the surface.
"He was probably doing that for 20 minutes, waiting for someone to look," Mr. Sterling told me. "We were like, 'What, you don't get enough attention Collin?' That's Collin right there. Didn't tell us what he was doing, just sitting out there waiting for someone to notice him."
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