Kayta Cengel is the author of Bluegrass Baseball, which describes a year in the life of four minor league baseball teams in Kentucky that tell a larger story about the culture atmosphere of today's minor leagues. Below she describes meeting her youngest fan.
Although Bluegrass Baseball is an adult book, it is about baseball, so I figured I would have some young baseball playing fans. But I wasn’t quite prepared for the ones I came across while on tour in Kentucky. Most of them were middle school age boys who hoped one day to be playing in the minor leagues, like the subjects of Bluegrass Baseball. In Louisville a ten-year-old with a shy smile thanked me personally for signing the book his father had bought him. Then he bashfully asked if he could take a picture with me. A few minutes later he returned with a baseball he wanted me to sign. Watching him inspect his ball as he walked away is a memory I will not soon forget. But it was another young Kentucky fan that stole my heart.
His name was Myles and I met him while signing books at a Lexington Legends baseball game. A customer wanted me to sign a book for her friend’s son, Myles. I always like to say something personal when I sign a book so I started asking questions about Myles, who was not with the woman at the time.
“Is he an adult son or a little guy?”
I motioned with my hand to what I figured would be the approximate height of a 10-year-old boy in case she needed a visual cue.
“He’s a little guy,” she said.
“Does he play baseball?” I asked.
“No, but this is his third Legends game.”
I was a little surprised that he didn’t play t-ball or anything, but figured he was just a passionate fan and signed something appropriate. The woman went on her way. A few minutes later she returned with Myles. His mother was too engaged in the game to come, but she had instructed her friend to take a picture of Myles and me. That’s when little Myles was thrust into my hands and I understood why he didn’t play baseball. Myles not only did not have much hair, he also had yet to celebrate his first birthday. He was a three or four month old baby. He started crying soon after he was placed in my arms. I hope, for his sake, it was not an indication of how he felt about my book, or, more importantly, baseball.