Here are the emails from the contest finalists. I know I said five earlier, but these seven are just so fantastic I'm going to make the voting harder for you. ;) Please read their stories, enjoy their pictures, and vote for your top two at the end!
Finalists, please feel free to share this post and have your friends and family vote for you as well!
Voting ends Friday, March 23 at noon ET. There is no limit on votes, so stuff the ballots for your favorites!
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Javy was my first Catcher Crush :) Growing up in California, we didn't get a lot of Braves news (also I was a Dodger fan but Javy made me watch the Braves), so I would have to look wherever I could (this was the days before google, young folks...it was tough). When my parents gave me an SI for Kids subscription and one of the issues had an entire article on Javy AND A POSTER, well, there was no doubt that was going on my wall. And there it stayed until Javy retired. It survived 2 moves and many thumb tack holes, but it did hang on. And because of Javy, my love of all things Catcher moved to Eddie Perez, and then on to our current Masked Man and my favorite Brave, Brian McCann. So I owe Javy Lopez a debt of gratitude that I can never repay for showing me that Catchers are AWESOME.
I am an avid Braves fan! Win or lose, I am a Braves fanatic. You can ask my family and friends, I might be a little obsessed. I don't miss a game. You can definitely tell by mood, if the Braves won or lose on any particular day in baseball season.
My obsession started at a young age and is highlighted by one particular moment. On my 12th birthday my friend's mom took my friends and I to Target where Javy Lopez was signing autographs. I convinced my gullible self that Javy was at Target for my birthday! I was so honored and I admit i might have been waiting for everyone in line to wish me Happy Birthday and thank me for sharing Javy. No such luck, but I did get to meet Javy, get his autograph, and he wished me Happy Birthday. I attached a picture of Javy and I on my birthday.
That is one, if not, my fondest birthday memory. After that I watched the Braves religiously. I was sad to see Javy leave the Braves and even more disappointed when he retired, but I remain a fan of his and the Braves of course. I loved seeing him at Spring Training guiding some of the younger Braves.
Being such a big fan of Javy (my favorite number is 8 by the way) and the Braves, regardless if I win the book or not, I am very excited to read it.
When you first see Javy Lopez, you can't help but fall in love, well actually probably more lust haha. Then you have an opportunity to meet Javy, the man, and like him even more. The very first time I met Javy was fifteen years ago at a Walmart store signing. He was scheduled to sign for an hour or two and people were lined up from the back of the store to the front all to get a glimpse of our cutie number eight. At one point security and Walmart blocked off the line and were turning people away. Javy stood up and said no, they came to see me. He made sure every person in line got an autograph/picture. You fall in love with a player on the field, but to be able to fall in love with a player off the field Says a lot about him as a man. To this day, he is one of my favorite players. I've seen many athletes turn people away, be rude, or disappoint and everytime I have been lucky enough to see Javy, he has been just as nice and gracious as he was at that Walmart fifteen years ago.
I have been a braves fan my entire life. Love them just as much now as I did as a kid in the 70s and 80s. I cherish those summer Ga nights listening to the game on the radio with my grandparents breaking up beans or shucking corn.
I love Javy and I really want my nephew who is 10 to know more about him and what he ment to Atlanta and their domination of baseball in the 90s.
I plan on giving him the book for his bday in April. He's a huge braves fan and loves to read. He would cherish this book. Plus he is a tremendous athlete for his age and the best catcher in middle ga.
During the little league playoffs this summer the umpire told us this story after the game. He said in the third inning john Thomas called time not the coach and went out to talk to his pitcher. When he came back to home plate he asked my nephew what he said. John Thomas said, "I told him to take a deep breath and calm down cause there is no way this guy can him him." My nephew then looked at the hitter and said, "sorry... I don't mean to be mean but its true." He then pulled his mask down, squatted behind the plate and patted his glove. The kid struck out on 3 pitches.
That's the moxy it takes to be a major league catcher! And that's why I want to give him this book!
When I was eight years old, my dad took me and my brother to my first Braves game ever. I had no interest in the sport, I just loved using my dad's binoculars to look at the stars and the big screen! At one point in the game, I happened to look up and watch Javy hit a homerun. We were sitting somewhere behind home plate, and I got to watch the ball fly over the outfield seats. I was, however, more mesmerized by the man circling the bases! Even at eight, I had good taste. :) After this, I would watch the Braves simply to see his beautiful face, and eventually I fell in love with the sport and team, too. I was completely heartbroken when Javy went to Baltimore, but I didn't let it stop me from watching the Braves! If it weren't for him, I would have never become a Braves fan.
I've been wanting to meet him for eleven years, but I haven't had a chance. A couple of years ago he signed in Marietta, and my parents drove for over an hour so that I could meet him. I legitimately brought two cameras, back up batteries, etc. I was finally going to meet him! Once we got there, one of the men informed us that his son had a baseball game, so he didn't end up signing after all. I will meet him one day! I would LOVE to win Javy's new book, simply because he has impacted my love for the Braves like none other, and well, because he's amazing.
Javy is a huge reason I became a Braves fan. Growing up here in St. Louis, I didn't get to see or hear much about them except when they were on TBS. Javy was my favorite player instantly. I was a catcher for my softball team and idolized him. For the start of my senior year, my coach went to a Braves/Cardinals game and waited outside the players entrance for Javy. He returned with the autographed photo I attached. My aunt framed it and my senior pictures were taken with it. It is one of my favorite autographs and hangs in my Braves room now. My 31st birthday is Tuesday and the Braves have remained my favorite team/obsession since. I would love nothing more to add to my collection than a book about my favorite Brave.
I have been a fan of his since I really started following baseball hardcore around the mid '90s. (David Justice was my favorite player when I was too young to know any better.) I've always loved catchers because in my opinion they have the hardest job on the field. And the fact that he was a power hitter just reeled me in. (There's no need to mention his looks because you all know that already!) I also love how hard he played the game and how serious he took it, but without ever seeming overly upset if he struck out, didn't block a ball, etc. Well, except for that one time he broke the bat over his knee when he popped a ball up in the infield. I played softball from the time I was four years old and after watching Javy, I decided I wanted to be a catcher, too. When the opportunity came in eighth grade I took it and I caught for my school and travel team ever since.
Last year, my dad and I went down to the Braves Fantasy Camp in Kissimmee, FL because Javy was one of the coaches. It was so good to see him play again after four years of retirement even if it was a scrimmage against the campers. The players were giving each other crap for signing autographs because there were many of those guys with books of cards getting them signed to sell on eBay, but Javy still found time to come over to us and signed anything and everything for everyone who was there. I got two cards signed myself. They weren't my first two autographs, but they mean a lot to me because they are the first ones I've received in person. After the game was over, I waited at the edge of their dugout after everyone else had left the stands. Javy came back over to get his stuff out of the dugout. I managed to utter the words, "Mr. Lopez, do you have a moment to take a picture with me?" He smiled really big and said, "Sure!" Now I know he may not have wanted to and I'm sure it gets old when people ask for autographs and pictures all the time, but he said yes. And he said yes with a smile on his face. If he was annoyed, he didn't show it. I jumped down on the field and my dad snapped a picture with us. We both told him thank you so much and he smiled again and said, "You're welcome!" Best day of my life.
This year, I wanted Javy to sign an 8x10 of the picture of us together so my dad and I travelled back down to Fantasy Camp. There was an adult softball team from Venezuela playing in a tournament at the same complex and they were watching what was going on at the field Javy was at. One of them got his attention and he came out of the dugout and started taking pictures with them and signing baseballs. It may sound silly, but I kind of felt bad joining in because they seemed to really have a connection - all of them laughing and speaking in Spanish to each other. I waited til they were through and held out my picture to Javy. He smiled so big and said, "When was this?!" I told him about meeting him there the year before and he started asking me questions and talking to me while signing my picture. He even let me take another picture with him. He was so nice to sign all of our items and take pictures with each one of us. He didn't look annoyed, he didn't rush anyone, he didn't turn anyone away. He just smiled. He asked questions, carried on a conversation. laughed, joked. I truly believe Javy Lopez is the nicest guy in baseball.
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