Oct
17
2010
Not Your Average Joe (Torre)
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Joe Torre with autographed ball for Merf

After our round on Thursday, Joe Torre took a seat in Gary Planos office, getting ready to sign a few dozen balls. With Joe in the left seat and me in the right seat, I said, “Joe, one of my writers, Merf, is a huge Dodgers fan and it’d mean the world to him if you wouldn’t mind signing a ball for him.”

“No problem,” replied Joe, “What’s his name?”

“Merf. M-E-R-F.”

“Merf, a true Dodger. All the best, Joe Torre.”

As I was about to take a picture of just the ball to send to Merf, I was interrupted by Joe.

“Wait, give me the ball,” said Joe as he held the ball up next to his face. “Now take the picture.”

(See picture above.)

As a bit of an aside, a few days earlier, I chatted with Ryan, a UBS trader from NYC who was on his honeymoon (like everyone else except me), at the hotel bar. He and his new wife had played The Plantation and when they were at the range, they ran into the Torres. Ryan was looking for a cigar cutter and noticed the only other guy on the range was puffing on one, so he asked if the guy could help him out. As he’s cutting the cigar, Ryan says, “You must get that you look like Joe Torre a lot.”
Joe replies, “Yeah, actually, I do.” Meanwhile, Ali is cracking up behind them. Then, Ryan realizes it is Joe Torre. So they’re chatting for a bit and then Ryan finally asks the big question. “I hate to bother you,” he starts, “But my new wife is a huge Yankees fan and her father is a die-hard Dodgers fan…”
“Come on, get the camera,” Joe instructs as he puts his arms around Ryan and his new wife, while Ali starts clicking away.

I knew it’d mean the world to Merf and so did Joe. It’s rare for celeb athletes to fully understand the fan experience, but Joe Torre is definitely one of them.

“Your parents want a signed ball, too?” asked Joe. “Sure, why not,” I replied.

“Enjoyed the day — Joe Torre”, he signed. Joe is definitely one in a million.

And guess what? Joe signed a few extra for me, which I’ll be giving away in the next few weeks Stay tuned on how to win.