“Special Fan Club” Gift

As a Christian man, I know that idolizing other people is not exactly admirable behavior. I wouldn’t say that I idolize anyone, but there are definitely two men that I admire and have always hoped to sit down and talk with. One is Switchfoot lead singer Jon Foreman. The other: Hanshin Tigers outfielder Matt Murton. Both are obviously human and do make mistakes but are also extremely kind, gracious, and have not let fame change who they are, what they believe and how they behave towards others.

Well, as you may know, I was able to meet Murton (“by chance”) back in June. Unfortunately I did not really get to talk with him in depth, as he looked to be on his way out the door in a hurry with two coffees in hand. Instead, I sent a quick message to his wife, who is part of the Hanshin Tigers English News group. “I just bumped into your husband at Starbucks,” was about all I said. To my surprise, she said, “Matt didn’t know it was you. You should have introduced yourself.” To which I thought, yeah right, like I am going to introduce myself to the star of the team, as though he ought to know who I am. Turns out (I found this out from Randy Messenger‘s wife, who is also part of the group) that both players know who I am and even follow the Facebook page and website! How cool is that?

So about a week ago, I got a message from Murton’s better half, saying, “Matt wants your mailing address if it’s OK.” Um, yes it’s OK! Of course! Three days later I receive a little package in the mail from the man. Below are its contents.

 So an autographed practice jersey with a “thank you” message to me, an autographed “Baseball Bible” (a booklet in which Matt and other Christian baseball players talk about their beliefs), 5 autographed “business cards” and 9 wristbands, like the ones he gives out to fans at games.

What a classy individual and what kindness! I was on cloud nine for the next few days, telling pretty much everyone I could, including all 10 people who listen to the podcast! Anyhow, all this to say my appreciation for Matt Murton as a player and Christian man deepened, and I really, really hope he returns to the team in some form next season and beyond.

At the very least, the next time I meet him I will be a little bolder and actually introduce myself! Thanks, Matt and Stefani! Have a great offseason in America and I really hope to see you back in Japan (Kobe) next year!

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T-Ray is the founder, chief writer and Junior Executive Vice President of Hanshin Tigers English News (H-TEN). Find him on Twitter @thehanshintiger.