It’s too bad we can’t have Muhammad Ali come visit us in the clubhouse every day. We might go undefeated!
The Greatest of All Time arrived before our game on Wednesday, and it was like the king of the world paying a visit. There’s nobody like him. He has such a presence, it’s like he’s glowing.
I’ve been around a lot of big stars and celebrities, but he stands all alone. Michael Jordan could walk in and I’d say, hey, that’s cool. But Ali walks in and the whole room comes to a stop. Everybody gets real quiet and just looks at him, knowing you’re in the presence of history.
I’ve met him before. He autographed a picture of us with a little message to me. It’s something I’ll definitely keep for the rest of my life.
When he sat in a chair in the middle of the clubhouse, not far from where I sit between Brandon Wood and Vernon Wells, I was the first to jump up and come over and see him. I’m not shy.
I just told him how great it was to see him again and how much I admire him, that kind of thing. I know he loves to do this. They tell me he really lights up when kids come around and see him. Ali loves kids and ice cream.
One by one all the players came over and shook his hand, said hello. His wife and her sister were with him, and we all talked with them. Very nice, very gracious women. You could see how awed all the players were, especially the young guys. It was like they couldn’t believe Muhammad Ali was actually here.
Ali gave us so much in his life. He’s a man who always stood for what he believed in, and you have to respect that. And he was fearless. He fought ’em all, from Liston to Foreman to Frazier, toe to toe.
After we saw him, we went out and scored five runs in the first inning and shut out the Giants. We were inspired, truly. It’s not every day a legend like Muhammad Ali, the greatest, comes to visit and you can feel his presence.
Now if only we could bottle that feeling and carry it with us all season . . .
We break camp on Saturday, the veterans, and head back to Southern California for a few days and a few more exhibitions before opening up on Thursday in Kansas City. We’re ready for a big season, I believe. We’re going to be a lot better than last year. I love our chances.
It’s going to be exciting at Angel Stadium, especially with the big 50th anniversary celebration and all the great players from the team’s past showing up to throw out the first pitch and hang out with us. Another season is just about on!