Episode 149 — David Tinnes: Connecting with the Game at Citi, Catch Hoppin’ in Rochester, & Baseball as a Special Language

David Tinnes is a Mets fan from Rochester, New York who found the game in 2017 after he was asked to chaperone a school field trip to Citi Field. Since that trip, David has jumped in head-first with baseball, including taking on his own year of playing catch every single day.  

Anna and David discuss what hooked him on the Mets, some of the lessons he’s learned through his catch playing journey, how to be a tourist in your own city, and how baseball truly does bring people together.

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Email: dtinnes527@gmail.com

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This podcast is part of the Curved Brim Media Network:
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Read the full transcript

[00:00:00] David: My friend Lisa said, Oh, I, you know, the numbers changed for the kids. We, we need another chaperone to go to the baseball game. Do you mind? And I like, I’m not exaggerating. I literally thought to myself, my gosh, dude, baseball, this is so boring. And one of my friends, uh, John, who’s a PE teacher in the district, We’re riding out and we’re on the elevated platform going through Flushing’s about 10 minutes away from the stadium.

[00:00:23] David: And he just starts talking about his dad growing up in Long Island and taking him to games when he was a kid. And now John is married. He’s got kids. And so he’s taking his kids, staying with his brother in Brooklyn, and they’re going to, you know, The game. So it’s three generations of Mets fans. And before I even got off the train, I was hooked. 

[00:00:47] Anna: What’s up Bucketheads? Thanks for tuning in and welcome to episode number 149 of the baseball bucket list podcast. I’m your host Anna DiTommaso, and each week on the show. I speak with a different baseball fan about their favorite memories. What’s left on their baseball bucket list. And what the game of baseball means to them. 

[00:01:02] Anna: This week, I had the pleasure of chatting with David Tinnes from Rochester, New York. David is a newer fan of the game and the New York Mets, thanks to a school field trip. He chaperoned to city field back in 2017. His baseball love story is a fun one because it highlights how the passion of other fans can be contagious and catch you completely off guard. Since 2017, David has jumped in head first when it comes to baseball, including taking on his own year of playing catch every single day. And in this episode, David share several stories about that year, including the times he played with Satchel Paige’s, former catcher, Ike Walker. And current major league player Ernie Clement. We also hear about David and his sons, ballpark chase, CatchAPalooza in Cooperstown, and about how baseball truly does bring people together. 

[00:01:50] Anna: This episode was a ton of fun. I love David’s energy and passion for the game, and I cannot wait to share it with you. Now without further ado, sit back, relax and enjoy some baseball banter with David 

[00:02:02] Anna: David, thank you so much for joining us today on the baseball bucket list. How are things in beautiful Rochester, New York?

[00:02:08] David: You’re welcome. It’s a joy to be here. Uh, it is, it’s very Rochester like, meaning that last night I was out for a bike ride and it was in the upper seventies and pretty nice. And then today it’s just absolute rain and down around the forties, but, uh, Like I said, it’s Rochester. So you know what you’re in for?

[00:02:27] David: I’m born and raised here and you make a choice to choose the best.

[00:02:33] Anna: You have some bipolar weather up there too. It sounds like 

[00:02:35] David: Most definitely.

[00:02:37] Anna: So the first question I always like to get started with it is how is it that you became a fan of the game of baseball?

[00:02:43] David: I love to tell this story. So I’m a high school teacher and in 2017, I was helping chaperone a senior trip to New York city, which is where the school goes every year, which we are in upstate New York. So it’s about a five and a half, six hour drive. And at the last minute, the class advisor for the senior class who runs the trip, my friend Lisa said, Oh, I, you know, the numbers change for the kids.

[00:03:06] David: We, we need another chaperone to go to the baseball game. Do you mind? And I like, I’m not exaggerating. I literally thought to myself, my gosh, dude, baseball, this is so boring. But of course, what came out of my mouth was, and I truly am like, I’m always thankful just to, you know, to be on trips, connect with students, get to know staff better, etc.

[00:03:24] David: And so I was like, yeah, that’s fine. And I went there and we rode the seven line out. And one of my friends, uh, John, who’s a PE teacher in the district, For about 10 minutes, it was literally, I know he was talking to me, but we’re sitting on the seven line train. We’re riding out and we’re on the elevated platform going through Flushing’s about 10 minutes away from the stadium.

[00:03:43] David: And he just starts talking about his dad growing up in Long Island and taking him to games when he was a kid. And now John is married. He’s got kids. And so he’s taking his kids, staying with his brother in Brooklyn, and they’re going to, you know, The game. So it’s three generations of Mets fans. And before I even got off the train, I was hooked.

[00:04:03] David: Like I literally, I hadn’t been to a baseball game. I’d been to like two Rochester Red Wings game my entire life. And I thought baseball was boring. It’s stupid. I obviously didn’t get it. And I walked into city field with John and 12 students and they were great. It was opening week. It was the third game of the season against the Braves.

[00:04:21] David: So strong divisional opponent and the students were phenomenal. They just, they really did a great job teaching me about the sport. I literally didn’t know anything about it. And, uh, there was male and female students and they were really patient. They explained to me what was going on and it was just a great game.

[00:04:38] David: It had, uh, the Mets didn’t win, but it had a broken bat, it had a home run, it had a pickle, uh, you know, the chase down and it just kind of had everything that to me encapsulates a really enjoyable baseball game. And then what sealed the deal for me was I took a walk around the stadium by myself. I asked John, my coworker, I said, Hey, do you mind if I just take a quick walk around?

[00:04:57] David: He’s like, no, man, that’s part of the ballpark experience. So I walked around for about 20, 30 minutes. I got my first ever Mets hat, and it’s still to this day, my favorite hat. And I’ve just, that’s, that was 2017. I haven’t looked back.

[00:05:09] Anna: Okay, so you’re you’re like a relatively new baseball fan in terms of you know, your your journey in life I will say you know It sounds like you you found the game kind of later in life than most of us do and that’s really cool Um, I have to wonder to myself. I mean rochester, new york I have to wonder why the school decided to go see the Mets and not the Yankees and if they had, if you would have, you know, been recruited into the evil empire.

[00:05:39] David: the question. So, uh, I probably would have become a Yankees fan had that been the thing. So the Yankees, I, you know, kind of retraced my steps. The Yankees were not in town. Um, great side note is that my friend Lisa, who, you know, organizes the trip, her mom has passed away. Her mom was a Mets fan and during COVID, you know, her, she got Lisa got her mom, one of those, you know, bobblehead cutouts that they put in the stands when you couldn’t attend games.

[00:06:10] David: And her mom has since passed on, but it’s just this great, I am an underdog champ through and through like my entire life. I’ve always been the consummate underdog. And if you know anything about baseball, you know, that the Mets are just absolutely lovable losers. And I would not have any other way. I just, you know, my son said to me, he’s 18 the other day.

[00:06:30] David: He was sitting next to me or watch a game and he said, the Mets just kill my joy. I said, son, I get that, but hang in there. I said, because you know, 86 was the last time we haven’t seen it. No, I’ve seen it in my lifetime, but I didn’t care about baseball. But I said, son, now that we love baseball, when the Mets finally get their due, it’s going to be amazing.

[00:06:50] David: And he’d be like, you’re right. We just got to hang in there.

[00:06:53] Anna: The Mets kill my joy, man. If that’s not the most relatable thing I’ve ever heard, I, you know, there, there are days like that for sure, but, I like that you were, you were hooked on the Mets. You were sold before, before you even walked into the ballpark. You, you know, you have your. Your buddy who kind of is explaining why he loves the game of baseball and how it’s been this, this three generation long tradition for his family.

[00:07:17] Anna: And I can understand how that might sway your opinions too, especially if you are an underdog aficionado, that’s gotta be the New York Metropolitans. It’s, it’s never going to be the Yankees. So, um, yeah, that’s fun. The Mets are still your team then I would presume. Yeah.

[00:07:34] David: Yeah, the Mets are definitely the Mets will always be my team. And I know I told you I did this year of playing catch. And so I’ve told that story a lot. And one of the things that I tell people is that the Mets are my team, which to me, that just means that’s who I read the most articles about. Like, obviously, I root for them.

[00:07:50] David: I love baseball so much more than I love the Mets. And so I have hats. You’re these from probably about eight or nine different teams. And, you know, I have certain players, um, I would absolutely wear a Derek Jeter jersey just because he honored the sport. Right. You know, and so I, I laugh when we talk about the evil empire and 27 world championships and all that.

[00:08:10] David: And yet baseball. Uh, it came into my life at the right time and I just I can find a way to celebrate every team. Um, but the Mets are just, oh, how do you not love the Mets?

[00:08:21] Anna: Yeah, I understand. I understand everybody’s got their team and a lot of folks will fixate on them and that will be the only thing that they care to keep up with. But it’s always good to find a true fan of the game who can kind of appreciate all 30 teams and all of the special players that are, you know, currently on the field and have been on the field in the past.

[00:08:40] Anna: So, I want to touch on this thing you wrote on your application. You just put a list item. It says baseball is a special language, and I’m so curious to know what you meant by that because it sounds pretty interesting.

[00:08:54] David: I really appreciate you asking that. So in this year of playing catch journey that I just concluded this last leap year on February 29th, I was really reflecting on this last year and I just, you know, I played 566 games of catch in 366 days. And if I had to make a top five list of my greatest treasure takeaways, just life enrichments, it was getting connected with this woman, Allie Lacy.

[00:09:20] David: Uh, who I didn’t start off to plan on doing a year of playing catch. It was a 30 day challenge that my friend, Ethan, Bryan, who you’ve interviewed him, Ethan put out a social media challenge to play catch for 30 days. Allie did it. We linked up. I saw on her Facebook profile that she had gone to LSU and my parents met at LSU.

[00:09:38] David: So I reached out to her. Hey, you know, dah, dah, dah, dah. And she is, um, she’s taken a season off, but she’s the on, on field. I don’t know if you know, Ali or not. She’s the, um, the ball girl, the on field ball girl for the LA Dodgers on the third, third baseline.

[00:09:54] David: And so, you know, she works for the Dodgers and she’s been with them for a handful of years.

[00:09:59] David: And so she also coaches girls baseball teams. And I had a chance to connect with her. You know, she lives in Los Angeles and she brought a all star football team. squad of girls, a U 12 baseball team. They were the only team in Cooperstown in a 74 team tournament. And they were the only team that not only had a girl on it, but the entire team was girls.

[00:10:22] David: That was the only girls in the tournament of 74 teams. And they took, I believe it was 13th place. And so I was, you know, I text her fairly often. We talk on the phone, we’ll FaceTime, whatever. And so to get back to your question, she said something to me. I just, I, I really exude a lot of joy and love for baseball.

[00:10:41] David: And I affectionately say it came into my life at the perfect time. And it just keeps building this momentum where now my son and I are doing the ballpark chase and like just baseball has brought so much goodness into my life. And I was texting her and I was just like, I said something like Allie, I could just explode like this connection and that person.

[00:11:00] David: And this is so good. Like I freaking love baseball. And she just replied and she said, and it was as a text message, she said, baseball is a special language. And I was like, Oh, like, so I’m a special education teacher. So the word special has a certain affection and connotation for me. And it really is.

[00:11:18] David: Baseball is one of the most special and beautiful languages that I’m still learning to speak, and yet I’m completely fluent in it.

[00:11:24] Anna: it’s so well put. I mean, it’s true. Like, anytime you come into contact with another real baseball fan, You’re going to have a thousand and one things to talk about and it might be absolutely nothing to do with, you know, actual moments that have happened on the field. It’s just the whole vibe and the whole, you know, holisticness, I guess, of, of baseball.

[00:11:49] Anna: Um, so that’s really cool. It’s, it’s always fun to, to meet other people who have a similar outlook on it because it’s, uh, it’s like chatting with an old friend after,

[00:11:58] David: Mm hmm.

[00:11:59] Anna: few minutes. So, um,

[00:12:01] David: Yeah. And it spans the generations. So I don’t want to cut you off. It just, and listen to what you’re saying. I’ve connected with so many people and you’re right. So often it’s not about the specifics of the game that you’re currently at or a game, you know, like, yeah, there’s great moments in the history of the beautiful sport and yet it’s the connections.

[00:12:19] David: It’s the relationship. It’s the memories that people have that people are making, and it’s just, um, I’m really hard pressed to find something in life that has, has just connected me with people that you feel like instantly you’re just talking with an old friend, you know, you called it.

[00:12:35] Anna: Exactly. Exactly. 100 percent right. you mentioned you played a year of catch. It started as a 30 day challenge, as it often does. I finally had a chance to meet Ethan for the first time face to face just a couple weeks ago here in Texas. He came down. how do you know each other?

[00:12:53] David: So come back from 2017, you know, haven’t seen that game in April at Citi Field. It was the next year. And I’d taken to my lunch break, you know, as a teacher, I’m sitting in my computer and I just, I had this daily habit of checking in to MLB. com and I see this little link over on the side, a little blurb, and it says man commits to playing catch for a year.

[00:13:18] David: And I was like, wow, that’s interesting. So I click on it and this is back in 2018 and you know, that’s the year that he did his first year of playing catch. He’s currently going through his second year of doing it. Um, and I just, I started following him on social media and we exchanged numbers. And one day I literally just called him like for some, I never talked to him.

[00:13:41] David: I just cold called him. He didn’t recognize my number or anything. And he’s like, hello. And I’m like, Hey, Dave Tinnes is calling from Upstate New York. How’s it going? He’s like, just got done doing a podcast. What’s going on? And I’m like, no, man, I just, I wanted to call you. And he’s like, for what? And I go, I think I just want to talk.

[00:13:58] David: And so I just, I was so enamored with his idea of playing catch. And again, it’s the social ability of it, right? It’s hearing stories and sharing stories and making connections and So that’s how I got connected with him was because of, you know, the story that MLB ran, and then I started following his WordPress blog as he went through 2018 and was just doing it.

[00:14:21] David: And, um, and since then, you know, to this day, we still haven’t met face to face. Uh, but as you know, he got accepted to be a speaker at the symposium at the end of May. and he’s like, plot twist, my wife, Jamie might come up and join us. And so he and I have been going back and forth for a month or two, about.

[00:14:39] David: You know, are we going to get a hotel room, Airbnb? And so when he said, Jamie’s going to join, I’m like, you guys should get something different. You know what, we’ll figure this out, but I really look forward to seeing him face to face at the end of May. And he asked me to be his Cooperstown buddy. How cool is that?

[00:14:52] Anna: That’s really fun. So for folks who don’t know what symposium David’s talking about, Ethan Bryan is the author of a book called A Year of Playing Catch, where he chronicled, as David just explained, a year of playing catch. Every day he had a different catch partner and he put together a book that just kind of collected the, this process and the lessons he learned along the way.

[00:15:13] Anna: And so this year in May, Ethan is headed up to Cooperstown, New York for the, the symposium. He’s going to give a talk on the importance of play and playing catch, uh, for, you know, society and just mental health and all of those incredible things that we’ve, we’ve talked about numerous times on the show.

[00:15:32] Anna: But I’m glad David to hear that you’re going to get a chance to meet up with him and, and be a part of that because it sounds like it’s going to be absolutely phenomenal. .

[00:15:40] Anna: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. I appreciate you saying that. So, um, I reached out to him one point, you know, and again, this, it just keeps gaining momentum and the more connections are being made. And I said something like, man, you’re like the godfather of touch. And he’s like, don’t call me that. I was like, so in Cooperstown, we shouldn’t call it Ethan Palooza.

[00:15:59] Anna: Yeah, right,

[00:16:01] David: But, you know, I will say this. I want to just throw this out there real quick is that I asked him maybe a month, month and a half ago, I said, Hey, How many people in your, you know, your sphere of influence, how many people would you say done a year of playing catch? And he said, about 13 or 14. And I said, can I have contact for them?

[00:16:19] David: Long story short, I sent out an email to 14 people. And saying, you know, Hey, if you didn’t know, Ethan is speaking in Cooperstown at the symposium, I’d love for as many people as possible to come play catch. I believe there’s Ethan myself, and I think two other people have said, yep, I’m totally going to clear the calendar.

[00:16:38] David: And so in my year of playing catch, I only played catch with one person that had already done a year of playing catch this guy named Don Kirk. Um, who, I don’t know if you heard about his journey, but he played catch every day for a year to honor his son, Jonathan, it was called Jonathan catch. You can Google it.

[00:16:53] David: That’s a phenomenal, heart wrenchingly beautiful story about a dad who was honoring his son and their commitment, their connection through baseball by playing catch every day. And so, uh, and really look, it’s just another reason to really, I mean, Cooperstown is Cooperstown, so you’re going to love it. Then you’re playing catch, hanging out with Ethan Bryan, you’re going to love that too.

[00:17:12] David: But wait, there’s more. There’s like two or three other people that have played their own year of playing catch and we’re all coming together for Catchapalooza. So it’s just, I expect to see you there, quite honestly.

[00:17:22] Anna: Catch a palooza. You know, the wheels are turning. We’ll see if I can’t find a way to make it happen, but, um, that’s awesome. I’m so glad to hear that. I mean, We just talked a lot about how baseball fans are a special breed in and of themselves and then you got to dial it in a little further and connect with people who are crazy enough to play a game of catch every day for a year.

[00:17:42] Anna: So it’s going to be a good crew. I’m 100 percent certain of that.

[00:17:46] David: for sure.

[00:17:47] Anna: I want to talk a little bit about you, um, your catch playing journey. You know, you called this something catch something called catch hopping.

[00:17:57] David: Yeah. So I’m born and raised in Rochester. I’m a very proud Rochesterian and there’s so much I could say about this wonderful city and it catch hoppin. So I, the phrase came to me maybe. So I started my catch journey, uh, in March of 2023, March 1st, thinking again, it was going to be a 30 day journey. And it wasn’t probably until maybe a, probably May.

[00:18:22] David: And my best friend, Jay, who, um, he’s just, he’s, he’s my ride or die guy. he said, so we have this tradition where in the catch journey out of a year of playing catch 52 weekends, 52 Sundays, I’d say we hit probably about 45 of those every Sunday morning. I’d pick them up before eight o’clock. We’d go to our favorite spot, Balsam Bagels, and we’d get a bagel, we’d grab our coffee, and we just started driving around different parts of the city.

[00:18:50] David: And so I have my go to spots like Cobbs Hill, which is just a very foundational park to who I am. But it turned into this thing where a couple months into it, he’s like, well, let’s go here. Let’s go there. Let’s go to Highland Park. Let’s look at the lilac bushes. Let’s, you know, and it just, it really turned into exploring this city that I love.

[00:19:08] David: Apparently I didn’t really know how many little gems there were, you know, and not just learning the history. I mean, like cab Calloway, you know, many of the guy that wrote many, the Moocher, the jazz musician, he grew up in Rochester and there’s like a little park named after him. And I’ve driven by this park a thousand times in my life and never stopped.

[00:19:25] David: Never looked at the statues, never looked at the plaque. And so Catch Hoppin was just this craze that identified every Sunday and it was really only on Sundays. That’s the only day we did it. And it became this special moment, uh, or collection of moments for my best friend and I, where we would just go around the city and look for little gems.

[00:19:44] David: And sometimes we didn’t even have a destination. We just drive around and let the spot And a call out to us. And we’re like, Ooh, what’s that little green spot? Like that’s right in downtown. Let’s go play catch there. And we were, you know, you’d have like people driving by and like Sunday morning at eight 30 honk and like, what are you guys doing?

[00:19:58] David: We’re like, we’re playing catch. Mm.

[00:20:01] Anna: love that idea so much. It’s, it’s always fun. You know, I think. As someone who has moved around just a handful of times in my life, it’s so easy to kind of forget to look at the trees for the forest, you know what I mean? Like,

[00:20:18] Anna: you, uh, you, have this perception of the city you’re living in, And you just kind of think, there it is, and, you know, that’s all it has to offer, and if you really start to dial in, like, every city, every place, every town, doesn’t matter how large or small it is, has got something that’s special and significant.

[00:20:37] Anna: And so I, I think it’s really cool that you guys kind of combined being a tourist in your own city along with, you know, playing a game of catch and hopefully roping in some other people along the way.

[00:20:49] David: I like, I like how you phrased that a tourist in our own city.

[00:20:52] Anna: Yeah, it’s, uh, it’s one of the things I try to remind myself to do every so often because it’s so easy to just get caught up in, uh, the day to day stuff. So,

[00:21:02] David: Yes. Yep.

[00:21:03] Anna: you know, you touched on a little bit how baseball is its own special language, but were there any other kind of life lessons that popped up along the way that you weren’t really expecting?

[00:21:17] David: Yeah, 100%. So I, I kind of referenced that top five list and I can speak in more in depth if you’d like, but the ones that absolutely just grabbed ahold of me were race relations. And so, you know, learning through baseball about the Negro League and, and just different. Experiences. I played catch with a guy named Ike Walker, who was 81 at the time.

[00:21:42] David: This was this past May. He was Satchel Paige’s catcher in the Negro league, all star team for the 1963 all star team that traveled the country. And that was such a, an eyeopening experience. And I could literally talk about that experience for an hour, but I’ll just. I’m going to sum it up with this is that the end of the game of catch, I said, I, can I ask you one more question?

[00:22:04] David: He’s like, absolutely. And I said, would you say baseball has been good to you? And he thought about it for about 10 or 15 seconds. He kind of looked away and then he looked at me. He looked right in the eye and he said, can’t help but think if I would have grown up in the north, baseball would have been different for me.

[00:22:21] David: And he grew up born and raised in Lakeland, Florida, and I can’t even tell you to this day exactly what he meant by that, but I can tell you that about 15 minutes after we parted ways, I’m driving down this beautiful, uh, setting this road right on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, overlooking its Lake Shore Boulevard.

[00:22:39] David: It’s this beautiful day out. I’m going to grab beer and a burger with my buddy to just process this amazing catch that we just had with this, uh, this living legacy. Thank you And I just started thinking about his response and I’m embarrassed to say this, but literally for the first time in my life, I stopped to consider what it would be like to be treated less than person, less than human because of something beyond my control.

[00:23:07] David: And you know, for Ike, it’s the color of his skin. In talking with Allie Lacey and connecting with the b girl baseball organization, it’s people that are treated differently because of their gender, right? Like, oh, why aren’t you playing softball? And it’s like, because I love baseball, right? Like, you know, I don’t have to be a male to love this sport.

[00:23:26] David: And so the big, Kind of like big ticket items, I guess, to answer your question, race relations, gender equality, specifically in sports. And the other thing that I was not expecting, and I just was blindsided by it was because I took to social media every day, kind of similar to Ethan, you know, I would take a picture and his write ups were pretty brief, uh, in the first, his first year of playing catch.

[00:23:48] David: The longer I did this, the more the journey continued. I really got into writing. And I fell in love with the art of writing and don’t claim to be a great writer. Well, I am writing a book and my book is going to be a collection of all of my catch narratives, like the summary write ups. And so there’s literally gonna be 560 something, you know, write ups for every game of catch that I played and that I’ve been going through and, you know, um, Revising those and editing.

[00:24:13] David: It’s just, I can see my own growth as a writer. And I’m like, man, I freaking love writing. It’s just such a great, cathartic way to tap into and share and hopefully encourage and inspire others to get out and find their jam or fall in love with baseball or just connect with other people, like do life together.

[00:24:33] Anna: One of the things Ethan always talks about playing catch and some of the benefits to it is, you know, you kind of work yourself into this rhythm of not only the daily kind of tradition or the daily rhythm of tossing the ball with somebody but obviously when you’re methodically throwing a ball back and forth and you’re hearing the the pop and the glove and then you know, your Slinging it from your glove into your hand and tossing it across the field.

[00:25:01] Anna: It does something strange to our brains that kind of opens them up in ways that, uh, we otherwise, I think, just probably don’t allow ourselves space for. And so, I keep telling Ethan, he, you know, he’s like, just play catch for 30 days and see what happens. But I’m so old and feeble now. I, uh, I worry about my, my shoulder strength, but, I think it’s a, not only does it connect you with other people, but it kind of connects you with your own self and your own body in a way that you probably just haven’t ever had time or space for.

[00:25:35] Anna: And so to, to hear you say these things that you know, you’ve gotten your whole life without really giving much thought to, I think we probably would have a lot of breakthroughs. you know, I think, I think just playing catch like that kind of just, again, opens it up and makes the space and time for that.

[00:25:54] David: Yeah, I wholeheartedly agree with that, the, as I’m listening to the phrase that comes to my mind is catch therapy and Ethan’s written about it. I don’t know if you’ve seen his blogs or his posts about it, but he actually emailed me something sometime over the summer and he said, Hey, I’m working on a curriculum for catch therapy as a teacher.

[00:26:13] David: Can I get your eyes on it? Like, just give me feedback, share it into that. And then, you know, it was a very simple, yeah. Concept, you know, just get together, play catch. He was doing it at the time with a couple elementary school students. I believe there were fifth graders that his wife, who’s also a teacher, works with, and it’s just opening up that vein of tapping into, you know, setting your body to doing something repetitive, the motion of it, it’s the catching, it’s the throwing, it’s your eyes tracking, it’s engaging a certain part of your brain.

[00:26:42] David: I can’t give you the, you know, the anatomy and physiology of it all. But I can tell you that catch therapy reared it’s beautiful head in my catch journey very often for myself. And I was kind of blindsided at first, and I found myself just kind of unloading and processing stuff that I was dealing with.

[00:27:02] David: No struggles in marriage and being a parent and stuff like that. And there’s a real vulnerability to it and it’s beautiful, right? So I’m a, I’m a real people person and I’m a connector. I love to connect people with other people and there’s just something that was so beautiful. When catch therapy would unfold, you know, I benefited myself from it.

[00:27:22] David: And yet there was other times where, uh, he’s fine with me sharing this, my friend, Dan, his sister died of a drug overdose, leaving behind three kids. And we played catch for about an hour and a half. And yes, there’s tears, but above and beyond that, there’s healing, there’s processing, there’s understanding, it’s putting voice to heartache, it’s putting voice to what does progress even look like?

[00:27:48] David: How do I move forward from this? And that’s all part of playing catch, you know, and it’s not every catch is like that, but when that happens, it’s just, um, I even get choked up now just thinking about it. Those are the times that as my catch partner drives away, I’ll just sit there and think to myself, how could I possibly write this up?

[00:28:08] David: Like I could never do justice. But what I just experienced, and then you got that follow up text or that phone call from the person saying, man, thank you so much for, for doing what you’re doing. That really was beautiful. That helped me so much. And I’m like, helped you,

[00:28:24] Anna: Yeah.

[00:28:25] David: I’m sitting here processing through my own junk.

[00:28:27] David: And it is, it’s this mutually shared, beautiful moment that. If people are open to it, it really, you know, it takes intentionality, but it happens so much more than I think people would even realize it would, it just takes you being willing to be open to that.

[00:28:44] Anna: Yeah, definitely. It’s a, it’s a very incredibly powerful vehicle, the game of baseball and, and, and to take it a step further and, you know, physically become involved with the game itself through a game of catches. It’s special. It really just is. And so, um, these are my favorite types of stories.

[00:29:01] Anna: They really are. They really are. What comes to mind if I ask you what your favorite baseball memory is?

[00:29:07] David: There’s so many, I mean, this, this catch journey has been such, such a beautiful experience. I literally say it’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever done as far as baseball itself. I think one of the purest baseball memories and it is my favorite hands down. It’s my second Mets game. My first Mets game was again, the senior trip in 2017, my son’s first game, which was also my family’s first Mets game was in late August in 2021.

[00:29:36] David: And we finished that. I’ll just throw this in there real quick. We finished that game. It was a Saturday night game. And then the next day, my son and I drove to Cooperstown and my wife and daughter stayed behind in New York City with my brother in law, and they took the train home. So in the span of 24 hours, we saw our first Mets game.

[00:29:54] David: And then we went to Cooperstown on a Sunday afternoon. We got there around 2 30, and we had the entire hall of fame to ourselves. Like it was incredible. And I’ve been back there. I’m a member now. I mean, it’s only three hours away, but to answer your question, It was a Mets game. It was against the nationals.

[00:30:11] David: It was nothing real special. It was 21. So it wasn’t, you know, the Mets weren’t going to the playoffs that year. and I’m a big Michael Conforto fan and Michael Conforto was not in the lineup that day and he came in as a pinch hitter for the first time in his career in the eighth inning and hit a two run shot that landed about maybe 25, 30 feet away from us.

[00:30:34] David: And. You know, I should try and write it and paint the picture with words, but when we saw that ball carrying through the air and coming towards us and it’s coming towards us and it’s hanging and it’s hanging and we’re like, Oh my God, we both know like we’re losing right now, but if this ball carries, we’re winning.

[00:30:50] David: I’m getting the goosebumps as I’m telling you this story and it lands and we’re sitting in kind of center left field and the ball lands about 25 feet from us and we turn and we look each other. We’re both. Decked out in orange and blue and we just like scream like an inch away from each other’s faces and I just, you know, just hug him, just totally embrace him and my wife and daughter kind of sitting there like, wow, that’s those, those guys are really enjoying this moment.

[00:31:18] David: And my son was 15 at the time and he winning used to be really important. He still likes it, but he used to be really upset when the Mets didn’t win or his football team or anything like that. And so I was just, it was honestly, it was an answer to prayer for me that we, we got out of the city field and our beloved slash beleaguered Mets.

[00:31:37] David: They pulled out a win that day. And that was, in fact, that moment was so meaningful to me. I actually wrote Michael Conforto a handwritten letter and just repainted that whole story. So I guess in a way I did kind of write about it, but I wrote him a letter. I sent it to the clubhouse and I just said, I just want you to know, I don’t expect to hear from you, but I want you to know that what you did in that moment forever has bonded my son and I.

[00:32:02] David: And it was more than a win. It was just a father son moment. And I said, I just honor you for the way you play the game for that moment. And I said, just remember when you retire, whatever, like your life made a difference in, in our lives. And of course, you know, I didn’t expect to hear back from him. I didn’t, but I had to write him a letter and just let him know, like, that’s my favorite baseball memory.

[00:32:24] Anna: I love

[00:32:24] David: One swing of a bat. Yeah.

[00:32:26] Anna: Yeah, that’s incredible. It’s so funny. It’s always those moments, you know, that, uh, they seem to resonate more with us, even though they weren’t like necessarily defining moments in a season or a career or anything like that. Like you would expect to hear when you ask that question. But you know, I think, uh, most of my favorite memories are kind of of the same.

[00:32:48] Anna: genre of like, didn’t really mean a whole lot to anybody else other than, you know, me and whoever I was at the game with. And maybe the guy who did it too. But yeah, I

[00:32:59] David: Special nonetheless.

[00:33:01] Anna: Exactly.

[00:33:01] David: Yeah.

[00:33:02] David: you know, one last story. I’ll share it on the list, uh, when I, you know, answered the application, you’ll fill it out. I emailed you again. I said, Oh, Ernie Clement, Ernie Clement. He’s a utility player for the Blue Jays. He made the opening day roster this year.

[00:33:17] David: He’s from my hometown, um, in Rochester, specifically Brighton. We both graduated from Brighton High School. Uh, he was a 2014 graduate. He was drafted by the Indians in 2015 and he’s bounced around different teams, stuff like that. But I played catch with him probably about three months ago. And this, to me, this story just encapsulates this whole thing.

[00:33:41] David: So I had a chance to play catch with a major league baseball player and he’s actually he’s crushing it right now. Like he’s doing really well, uh, amazing body and average the whole nine. He had a pinch run or he came in as a pinch hitter the other day, hit a home run to beat the Yankees. It was just awesome.

[00:33:56] David: Um, but I played catch with him and it was so great to have The opportunity to say, what was it like when you got drafted? Tell me what it was like, you know, when you hit your first home run and to get like the firsthand account, that’s part of it. And it’s one of just this, this keystone or capstone moment rather in my baseball journey and my catch journey is he texted me, we played catch for about an hour and a half and he said, here, whatever you want, you know, ask anything, whatever.

[00:34:22] David: He texted me about 20 minutes later and he just said, Hey man, I just, and again, I’ve met this guy one time. And he texted me and he said, Hey man, I just wanted to say thank you so much for what you’re doing. It’s really special. He said, as soon as you left, I called and had one of the best conversations I’ve ever had with my parents.

[00:34:42] David: And I also had one of the best cries I’ve ever had. And he said, keep doing what you’re doing, man. It makes a difference. It’s special. And he said, you know, my time playing catch with you reconnected me to everything that I’m trying to do with baseball. And he said, it goes back to my family. And I was just like, I’m literally reading this text message and I just started crying and I called my mom and I shared it and my mom and I are crying.

[00:35:06] David: And it’s just, you know, it’s baseball, the tagline that I always wrote at the single catch summary or catch narrative right up was. Baseball brings people together.

[00:35:18] Anna: It definitely does, and uh, what a great story. Uh, um, kinda got me choked up a little bit there. But, uh, that’s incredible. I think, um, when you hear about professionals who are, who are literally living the dream of, of a thousand kids and they’re able to stay rooted and connected like that, it just makes you feel good about them.

[00:35:43] Anna: I love that. I’m gonna have to keep my eye on that kid because he sounds like he’s got a good head on his shoulders and that’s my favorite kind of ball player. So, um, I, I appreciate you sharing that story with me. It’s, it’s really special.

[00:35:54] Anna: What’s left to check off at the top of the baseball bucket list? Like, is there one thing that kind of is, you know, kind of taking precedence over the others?

[00:36:02] David: it’s a great question. So we started the ballpark chase. We’re at six ballparks. We just got our first nationals game in DC this last Friday. Um, if I had to say there’s one thing that really, for me, it’s at the top of the bucket list because not trying to sound pessimistic, but tomorrow’s not a guarantee, right?

[00:36:23] David: And so it could conceivably take, uh, a number of years to make it to all 30. Uh, I think the top of my bucket list is I really want to play catch with my son at the Field of Dreams. I know the Field of Dreams is changing. I know it’s going to become like this big sports complex and, you know, just Ethan Bryan has played catch with his dad there.

[00:36:45] David: He’s hit a home run there. He actually had a custom made bat that when it broke, he sent it to me. And this was like early in our friendship. I get home one day and there’s this weird shaped box on my Um, porch and now I know like, Oh, that’s a baseball bat box. And he, he broke this bat and he sent it to me and he wrote a handwritten letter.

[00:37:03] David: And he said, man, I was so bummed when I broke this, my friend handmade this bad for me. He goes, I was bummed for about five seconds until I realized who I had to send it to. And he sent it to me and he wrote this handwritten note, explain it. And he said, this bat was used to hit a home run into the cornfield after playing catch with my dad at the field of dreams.

[00:37:22] David: And it’s like, Again, I got choked up even now, just thinking about that. And this is from a person I’d never met before, but that’s, that’s what baseball does. That’s the special beauty, the uniqueness that’s not exclusive to baseball, but I’m 52 and I’ve lived through a lot of different things. I’ve enjoyed a lot of different things in life, but. There’s something to bring it back to that, that concept that baseball is just this special language. It’s a beautiful language. It’s one of my favorite languages. And so to me, what could be better than playing catch with my son, who was my number one catch partner. I started my catch journey with him. I finished my catch journey with him.

[00:38:01] David: And I just, you know, I don’t have to tell you it’s, there’s something about that father son relationship in baseball. It’s certainly on display in the field of dreams. So I really, I need. And I use that word intentionally. I need to play catch with Benjamin at the field of dreams.

[00:38:17] Anna: I think it’s a perfect answer. I think it’s, It’s the top tier bucket list item for catch players. I mean, I think it just absolutely is and there’s just something about it that a lot of people might not really understand, but Any baseball fan will, so a great answer.

[00:38:34] David: Thank you.

[00:38:35] Anna: I want to go back for a second because there was something I wanted to touch on. what glove do you use to, to play catch?

[00:38:43] David: I have several gloves. again, my friend, Jay, uh, gifted me a Rico glove. It was a custom made glove. We were sitting on my porch this past summer, probably around July. And he said, let me, let me see your phone for a second. So I gave him my phone and like two minutes later, hands it back to me.

[00:38:59] David: And he said, build yourself a glove. And I’m like, what? And he’s like, build yourself a glove. And so I haven’t mentioned this, but I’m, I’m a catcher’s guy. I just, it’s my favorite position. I’ve never played baseball. I did do softball co ed, slow pitch. We won the championship. That’s a story for another time.

[00:39:15] David: But, um, but I, I said in the league, Hey, I want to play catcher and the guy’s like, you’re not playing catcher. The catcher is not an important position in softball. I was like, Oh, you’re telling the wrong person that. But anyways. I ordered a first baseman’s glove because I have a catcher’s glove. I got it off eBay.

[00:39:32] David: It’s not ideal for playing catch with softball. Um, you know, it’s got a lot of padding. And so I wanted the next best thing. So it’s a Mets blue and orange color scheme. It’s got orange laces. Uh, it’s embroidered. It says catch three 66 on it. It’s got the American flag. It’s a first baseman’s glove. And I love this glove so much that I almost would want to be buried with it.

[00:39:54] David: And yet I don’t want to take something so beautiful and so good and so loved into the grave with me. I want to pass it on to my son or someone that would just, you know, keep playing with it.

[00:40:07] David: With that said. there’s a guy that I got connected with through Ethan named Justin Perkins, and it’s kind of like a side business where he refurbishes gloves, brings them back to life.

[00:40:18] David: He just sent me pictures last night. I got a glove. It’s a Sears Robux glove. From the 1960s. Uh, I’ve tried to do some research on it. I can’t find out a lot about it, but I sent it to Justin about a month ago. He sent me pictures last night, a bit totally deconstructed, caught all the laces, he cleaned it, he conditioned it.

[00:40:38] David: And he texted me and he said, here’s where it is right now. And he said, I’m going to, I cleaned it, you know, condition. I use, I’m going to let it air out for a day, you know, put it back together, lace it up and I’ll send it back to you. So, um, I have. probably about four gloves. Um, I had five or six that I cared.

[00:40:53] David: I had carried a catch bag and my catch journey. So I had kids gloves, a lefty glove, you know, just so I was always prepared to play catch with anybody that said yes, no matter, you know, their hand size or lefty, righty, whatever. But my catch 366 glove, um, and then my dad’s glove, I only played one game of catch with that.

[00:41:11] David: And it was with my son, uh, cause I just come into it. My sister, Sarah, who lives in Chicago, sent it to me. Uh, she FedExed it to me like two days before the catch journey ended. And I’ve used it one time. It was to finish my journey playing catch with my son. And then about a week or two later, I shipped it off to Justin for him to bring it back to life.

[00:41:31] Anna: Very nice. I can’t wait to see what that looks like when it’s, uh, back in your hands, David. I’ve so enjoyed this. I cannot thank you enough for, for making time to do this. Um, if, if someone wants to kind of follow along with your journey, where should we send them?

[00:41:44] David: Um, my email address, I’ll tell you it’s d tennis, five to seven at gmail. com. And it’s so he had tennis is T I N N E S. So d tennis five to seven at gmail. com. If you go to Facebook, uh, that’s the currently that’s the only social media I’m on, but if you just search out David Tinnes, And you’ll know it’s me because the cover photo has the B girls baseball team, uh, which is me surrounded by the entire girls baseball team down at Cooperstown.

[00:42:14] David: Um, and you can follow me there, send a friend request. Like I did mention, I’m in the process of writing a book. Once I have that completed, uh, I, I will, I plan on getting a website going. And I’d like to put, you know, a lot of the, like the digital copy of Uh, the book, the catch summary and just kind of everything I’d like to do a podcast.

[00:42:34] David: So I’m trying to, you’re catching me in the early stages of this, like the first chapter of the catch journey is finished. So I’m working on the book. Uh, I’ll get a website going, but the best way now is for the email dbtinnis527 at gmail. com or on Facebook, just search out David Tinnis, T I N N E S. And I would love to connect with anyone and everyone.

[00:42:54] Anna: Awesome. Sounds like many, many cool things to come in the future. So if you’re listening to this in the future, be sure to double check the show notes because as David kind of gets more of this stuff put together, I’ll be sure to update the show notes as, You know, on a continual basis. So it’s always got his latest and greatest info there.

[00:43:12] David: I appreciate that. 

[00:43:13] Anna: I appreciate you for, for making time to do this and, um, look forward to meeting up with you in person one day and being able to, to actually play a game of catch together.

[00:43:25] David: I would be honored to do that. I really appreciate you having me on 

[00:43:28] Anna: And that will wrap up this episode of the baseball bucket list podcast. Special, thanks to David tennis for joining us today and sharing those stories and memories. If this sounds like something you’d like to do, if you think you might like to be a guest on the show, head to baseball bucket list.com/podcast and fill out an application. I’d absolutely love to hear from you. 

[00:43:45] Anna: While you’re there and make sure to spend some time on the site, sign up for a free membership, build your own baseball bucket list and track your ballpark visits. If you find yourself enjoying the show each week, please take a moment to rate it and review it in the podcast app of your choice. It goes such a long way in helping new listeners find the show. And I would really, really appreciate it. 

[00:44:04] Anna: That’s it for this week. Thanks so much for listening. We’ll see you. Next episode. 

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