Talkin’ Brooks at the Bean

It’s official title is Cloud Gate but everyone calls it The Bean.
That’s because Anish Kapoor’s sculpture in Millennium Park in Chicago looks like, well, a bean. A giant, shiny bean.
My son has lived in Chicago for more than three years and every time I visit him I must visit The Bean. If you’ve ever experienced it you know why. There is something about it that speaks to the kid in all of us.
So, even last weekend when I was in Chicago for my son’s wedding, I made it my business to get to The Bean. Twice, in fact.
During my first visit I came upon a guy in a Baltimore Orioles T-shirt and struck up a conversation. He looked old enough to be a Brooks Robinson fan and he was.
Much like The Bean, talking about their favorite players brings out the kid in baseball fans.
I grew up a St. Louis Cardinals fan (still am) but I’ve always liked Brooks Robinson. Some Yankees fans may argue for Craig Nettles but most everyone else agrees Brooks Robinson is the best fielding third baseman ever. He also has a reputation for being one of the nicest, and I have a story to back that up.
I told it to the fellow at The Bean.
Several years ago when The Greater Pittston Teeners Baseball League had more than a hundred kids involved and always closed the season with a gala banquet, they lined up Mickey Rivers of the Yanks as guest speaker. Someone told them don’t be surprised if Mickey backs out at the last minute, and sure enough, he did.
It was a Sunday morning and the league officials were resigned to having the dinner without a speaker. But someone got a phone call in to Brooks Robinson and he drove up by himself from Baltimore and mesmerized the crowd. The kids in particular loved him.
This is a Hall of Famer we’re talking about.
Brooks would take no money for his appearance, not even a few bucks for gas, so one of the league officials got Komensky’s Market to open (this was a Sunday evening) and provide two rings of kilebasi which Brooks did accept. In fact, he was delighted.

Ed Ackerman