Fla-Giant mentioned Ramon Ramirez in another thread and how he'd like if the Giants signed him, and I was going to write a comment about some great stories I have about him but it would be too long. I might as well just write a FanPost. So here it is!
Most of you know this already, but I'll preface this by saying I used to hang out at the ballpark like 7 hours before the game started til 3-5 hours after the game ended to greet the players as they got to the ballpark and say bye to them as they left. There's a few of us weirdos who used to do that, and we have become pretty good friends. So it ended up that part of being there was to hang out with each other and not even to see the players. I see it like tailgating before the game, and going out for drinks after, except that we were right by the entrance of the ballpark. Yes, we're pretty crazy. No, we're definitely not groupies.
First story: When Ramon first got traded here, he recognized one of my friends because he used to ask him for autographs when he was a Red Sox. My friend likes to talk to players like I do, so he asked Ramon if he liked San Francisco and had visited Alcatraz or anything. Ramon hadn't, but he wanted to, so he asked my friend to help him out. My friend bought him an Alcatraz tour guide book for his birthday (which was right around that time) and then I can't remember exactly what happened. But I also made him a card for his birthday, and another one of my friends made him a card for his birthday, and somehow, Ramon ended up inviting the three of us to go with him and his wife to Alcatraz on their next off day. I COULD HAVE SPENT THE DAY AT ALCATRAZ WITH RAMON RAMIREZ!! But I had class that day, and my other friends were busy, too. I should have just skipped class and gone! I still never even been to Alcatraz! But I thought it would be awkward to just go with him and his wife without my other friends there. You know, didn't want to be that awkward third wheel when I barely knew them anyway. Oh well.
Second story: Ramon always used to randomly give my friends ballpark giveaways. On Bruce Bochy bobblehead day in 2010 (just two weeks after he was traded here, before he invited us to Alcatraz), my friends and I were standing outside 2nd Street Gate just hanging out. Ramon walked out, took a bobblehead out of his bag, and handed it to my friend without saying a word. We were all like, "What just happened?!" Last year, I remember him giving my other friend a fleece blanket. I can't remember other specific giveaways, but I'm pretty sure he gave them other stuff, too. He never said anything, he would just hand it to them and walk away. It was kind of weird. He never gave me anything, though :( We later figured out that he's pretty shy, so that's probably why he never said anything.
Third story: Throughout the 2011 season, the other friend (the one he gave the fleece blanket to) talked to him all the time by the dugout during batting practice, bought a customized Ramirez t-shirt, all this stuff, and they had a great fan/player relationship. (Nothing more than that, we aren't like that!) On the last day of the season, after the game, we were hanging out by the player's lot saying our final farewells to all the players as they packed up and went home. Ramon came out with a brand new bat signed by almost the whole team and gave it to this friend. It was the sweetest thing ever.
OK, last story: When the Mets came in the end of July/August, Ramon asked my friends about me and said he wanted to see me! I had just started my intensive grad school program and couldn't come out to the park until after 7 PM. And I didn't want to wait after the game because I had to get up early in the morning, and I didn't even know if I'd be able to see him if I waited. I think Ramon told my friend to tell me to just skip a class and come out early to see him at batting practice lol. But my friend told him before the 8/2 game that if he promised to meet me by the 2nd street gate I would wait for him. Well, we know that Ramon a bit shy, and we didn't want him to get bombarded by random fans coming out of 2nd street gate if we didn't have to, so we decided to wait for him down in the tunnel and intercept him on his way from the Mets clubhouse to 2nd street gate. After we waited for about 20 minutes, ballpark security kicked us out so we went to 2nd street gate. Another friend was already at 2nd street gate, and as soon as she saw us she said Ramon had JUST driven away! She said he had driven up really slowly, stopped at the corner and looked around a little, but got scared off from people screaming at him and drove off. I saw the latter part of this, his car driving off down the Embarcadero. We had just missed him by like 10 seconds!! We couldn't figure out how we missed him in the tunnel, until we realized he had probably walked across on the field to avoid having to see people in the tunnel! I felt so bad. I still feel bad. And I still haven't seen him since, and I'm really sad. :( I really hope I get to see him at some point before he retires!
I have even more great stories about Ramon, but I think that's enough for now :)