I wrote my Sunday column on Lew Ford last week, detailing his long road back to the majors after being released by the Twins in 2007. We talked by phone last week, and he mentioned how much he missed Minnesota’s fans, wishing there was still a chance to come here with the Orioles this season.
He told me about the time in 2009, when a group of Minnesotans went to one of his games with the Long Island Ducks, each wearing a T-shirt with a letter that spelled out “L-E-W-W-W-W-W!"
I included that story in the column, then received an e-mail this week from the guy who organized the group. His name is Max Page, and he’s working now as a legal clerk in Brainerd. He provided more details.
In July 2009, Max was working as an eighth-grade social studies teacher in the Bronx. There were nine people in the group that went to see the Ducks that night and most of them were teachers. They all donned green T-shirts with the letters painted in black, and the spelling actually went "L-E-E-E-W-W-W-W-!"
From Max’s e-mail:
I threw a baseball to one of the LI Ducks’ bullpen pitchers that said “Want to meet 9 Minnesotans at High Heat Bar [located a couple miles from the Ducks’ stadium] after the game? Check one: Yes No Maybe”
Lew checked yes, met us at the bar, partied with us for a couple of hours and called some of my friends saying, "Hey, this is Lew Ford." He was the coolest guy ever.
I ended up missing the last train back to NYC, which meant I missed my flight back to MN the next day, but all totally worth it.
Manager Ron Gardenhire tells a story about once seeing Lew out with a few people on one of the Twins road trips. Gardenhire asked if these were friends of his in town to see him, and Lew said, no, just some folks he'd met playing an online video game.
There are all kinds of stories about Lew helping to repair other players' computers. There's also the one about Ford burning himself with when he ironed a shirt while wearing it. Not true, he insists. He's a smart guy, but the Twins often kidded him for being goofy.
Basically, when it comes to ballplayers, Lew Ford is just different. And as Max and his friends will tell you, he's different -- in a good way.