IT WAS IN MARCH THAT I first reported for the Philadelphia Business Journal that Mike Schmidt, one of the most celebrated third basemen in baseball history and easily one of the most iconic Philadelphia sports heroes, was launching a charity wine: a Zinfandel.
Now, I may have thought it a little funny, if only because two worlds seemed to collide, and when I went to the product’s first wine tasting for media yesterday, it may have seemed a little sillier still when I took a freight elevator to the basement and wandered passed the Citizens Bank Park groundskeepers in pursuit of the tasting. But, to be fair, as we all know, Schmidt is putting his name on the line to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis research.
On Friday, he said he would be embarrassed if the product’s donated total didn’t reach “six figures.”
That’s good stuff. But, I wasn’t the only one who thought it a little strange; peep Inquirer Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki with a brief mention of the matter.
What’s more, it came full circle when my photographer – the incomparable Sean Blanda – asked Schmidt why did he end up with wine as his vehicle for philanthropy.
In the end, the answer we all might expect came out.
I’d probably rather have a beer.”
Still, Schmidt gave a lot to Philadelphia – and took a lot of heat for a long time, despite his Hall of Fame career – so I’ll push for some more coverage of the wine. We all must hope my editor will take it a bit more seriously than I did at first.