Why Carson Fulmer is my favorite White Sox player

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 11: Carson Fulmer #51 of the Chicago White Sox throws a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 11, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MAY 11: Carson Fulmer #51 of the Chicago White Sox throws a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 11, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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KANSAS CITY, MO – AUGUST 11: Carson Fulmer /

Holy crap. It was happening. I was excited and nervous. Again, I’m too experienced to get my hopes up about anything, but this seemed encouraging. And even if it didn’t happen, I had a note from his agent that clearly they had coordinated and discussed the idea. Wow! Fulmer was aware that I was a fan.

I let my buddies know I had to be at the game early, made sure I had my Fulmer jersey in tow and grabbed several paint pens in case the first didn’t work. I got to the game early as instructed, and made my way to the right field foul pole where the grass dips down to field level. There were only a few players out there at that point;  Yolmer Sanchez mixing fans with that beaming smile,  Engel respectfully signing for anyone who asked.

I looked into the bullpen and corner from time to time to see who else might be coming out. A player here, a pitcher there. Fulmer lost weight in the offseason and cut his hair. Maybe I wouldn’t recognize him? I held up the Jersey in case he could see me and I couldn’t see him.

Then it happened. Several players emerged from the tunnel and waded onto the right field grass. These were the Chicago White Sox! Major League players with major league talent. One guy walked out and a bit more toward the bullpen and separate from the others. He glanced back and toward my direction. I held up the jersey and when he saw me holding it, a big smile spread across his face and he flashed a sign that he knew who I was and began heading over.

Funny thing, I felt like a 10-year-old kid at that moment. My favorite player knew who I was and was heading over because he knew it was important to me. I felt like Andy Strauss being recognized by Roger Maris. As Fulmer got near and within earshot I couldn’t hold it in any longer. “I could not be more excited!” I told him.

He came over and shook my hand, and let me know what a pleasure it was to meet me. He asked for the jersey which I handed over with the pen, and asked where I wanted the signature. I told him he was far more experienced that I was and would follow his recommendation. He spread it out flat against the wall, carefully inked his signature with his telltale “#51” nested within it, and handed it back. Again, I couldn’t hold my enthusiasm in.

“Omg, thank you!” I told him.

“No, thank you.” he responded.

We warmly shook hands again. And at that point, I saw my opening.

“Just keep doing what you’re doing.” I encouraged him. “You’re going to have a great year. Just keep giving ‘em hell!” I was partially referring to Major League hitters, and partially to the meathead fans and bloggers who’ve trashed him because they lack the depth and expertise to recognize major league ability and are miserable in their own lives.

Sincerely moved, Fulmer responded as sincerely as I spoke my words of encouragement. “Thank you so much. It means so much to me.”

And that’s where I really became moved, for this is what it means to be a fan. Everyone wants to be unconditionally supported. We all know what it means to have someone in our corner, whether a parent, spouse, friend or boss. Those people don’t come along every day, and when they do you need to wrap your arms around them wholeheartedly and protect those relationships with all your might. Fulmer moved me, and I moved Fulmer.

If you’re old and crusty and think this is beneath you, get off your high horse and live a little. Life is short. Feel the bounce in your step of what it feels like to be youthful again. It’s your choice, but I would recommend it. Come on in, the water’s fine. For your younger types who are too jaded to get into anything, yeah you’re cool. Go get another tattoo. Have fun trashing everything that you happen to be exposed to on social media. You’re too cool for school, so good luck in life with your crappy attitude.

For those of you kind of in the middle with your curiosity piqued, get involved! Watch this team. Get involved. Familiarize yourself with the MLB Pipeline Top 30 prospects for the Sox. Follow each minor league club and see the daily brilliance of young guys such as Danny Mendick, Jimmy Lambert, Eddy Alvarez, and Luis Gonzalez. There are a bunch of them out there, and they’re all real people just like you.

And for your youngsters, there is a tremendous lesson here. Don’t ever let anything get in the way of your dreams. It doesn’t matter what they are, or what anyone thinks of them or you for having them. Nothing is impossible! Chase your dreams and don’t stop until you realize them. This simple lesson is often the difference between those who get everything they want out of life, and those to feel they fall short and live with regret.

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The next decade will be an amazing one for all Sox fans, but for those who want to make a difference, this is the time to invest emotionally. This is an incredible group of young men, and they can’t hear from us enough. Pick a favorite player and let them know you’re in their corner. It’s what being a fan – and a player – is all about.