Vasili Spanos is a baseball enigma

It’s funny that as much as I blogged about “Hulk Logan”, something in my heart told me the night would belong to another. His name is Vasili Spanos and he is without a shadow of a doubt, an enigma. He smiles and signs for the crowd despite them not knowing who he is. “Number 22, can I have your autograph?”

He sits in the dugout as a DH and makes no attempt to interact with his mostly younger teammates. He even goes as far as sitting at the corner away from everyone. After at-bats, he comes in and curses for 45 minutes about his plate appearance. This comes after a ground out and a near-miss home run to Center, which he legs out for a Double. After his eventual run, he comes in and cracks what some might call a smile with his teammates. Then it’s off to his destitute where he begins brooding, perhaps because his RBI Double was not a Three-Run Home Run.

In between all this action, Spanos makes sure to take his Insulin shots. Yes, Vasili is a Diabetic. He brings to the dugout his baseball equipment in one bag and his water, Gatorade, and needles in another one. Throughout the game he managed to raise his average from .256 up to .269, all while the Infamous Tatiana and I cheered loudly for him. It’s a shame we were the only ones.

In his last at-bat after his success at the plate it seemed that Vasili was in a great mood until a 91 MPH pitch rocked him straight on his helmet. From my seats I could see anger and pain in his eyes, but he walked directly to First without incident. When he came back to the dugout after the inning was over the entire team gave them a sign of approval, as they joked and mocked Spanos. This time, Vasili could not hide his smile and look about as happy as anyone could.

The game was over and as the players were walking away we called Vasili over. He not only signed our two cards but he even posed for a picture. Overall, he was a great gentleman and an even greater player on that night. When his teammates had long been gone, Vasili was again alone in the dugout collecting his things. At that moment the lights went out and the fireworks show began. We sat through 20 minutes of beautiful lights in the sky but every few minutes I’d take a peek in the dugout.

All I could see was a silhouette of a baseball player. He wasn’t the strongest, the fastest, or anything close to the best but on this night, he was a hero on and off the field. Thank you, Vasili.

Roger Dean Stadium

Mother Nature tried to ruin the fun…

Vasili Spanos

Vasili Spanos warming up

Vasili Spanos

Vasili at the plate

Vasili Spanos

A typical view from our seats, Vasili alone

Vasili Spanos

Vasili cares about the fans…

Vasili Spanos

…and the fans care about him!

8 comments

  1. I know Vasili very well. This is so funny. We went to college together and I ran into some old teammates and we got talking about Vas. I decided to google him and came across this. HILARIOUS!

  2. …..I forgot to add that if you only you really knew him……….there would be sooo much more to write about for you 🙂

  3. Hey whats up guys,

    I am a childhood friend of vasili and wish the best for him. With all the challenges that he has gone up against, he just keeps on working his ass off and never gives up. I respect the hell out of that. If your see this vas hit me up at erikmichalak@yahoo.com Good luck pal and hang in there. I had a great time growing up with you bud and being the little misfits we use to be. later

    Erik Michalak

  4. Vasili was traded to Jupiter this year from the Lancaster Barnstormers. I will tell you, all of the Lancaster fans were happy for him to get signed, but also sorry to see him go. He was a great asset to the team, and it was very clear he always put forth not only his best effort, but all of his effort. Many of us kept track of how he was doing with Jupiter, and cheered his success. I wish him the best in his career

  5. This message comes from Midland, TX where Vasili played for the Rockhounds (Double A affiliate of the Oakland A’s) He was a favorite of the fans out here in West Texas. During his time here, Vasili took a short stint to play baseball for the Greek Olympic Team. We think of him often and wish him all the best!!

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