Two years ago we ran a story about a free bat give-away on Christmas Eve. Well it is that time of year again and Randy Hartl, the owner of Rally Bats is at it again. Between the hours of 10:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M. on December 24th, Rally Bats is giving away free bats at the factory in Bay City, Wisconsin. (Bay City is across the river from Red Wing, Minnesota).
The kids have a chance to sign their name and he engraves their bat in front of them so they can see the process. Free of charge! It's a pretty cool deal and he'd like to get as many folks there as possible. So grab your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews and head over.
As his flyer says, “Bring nothing but your love for the game and a smile.” Rally bat is located at: W6147 230th Ave., Bay City, WI. Their phone number is 715-594-3864.
Here is the story that precipitated the bat give-away:
This is the story of “the ball” from Christmas four years ago. Please read this and I hope you enjoy it.
It was just a typical Christmas Eve morning. Randy and the kids were out Christmas shopping for my present, a little early this year, as it is the morning and some stores are still actually open. So while I was enjoying my quiet time, I thought I would check out the bargains on Craigslist.
Anyway, I found this ad that said, “Want to give some kid a wonderful Christmas”. That sparked my interest enough to click on the ad and read further. As I read the ad, I thought to myself, could this be for real? The lady had a signed Kirby Puckett baseball that had been in her china hutch for years. Her and her husband decided that it really wasn’t that important to them, but knew it could be the highlight of some kids Christmas, so they were offering it for free. All you had to do was email them why you would like to have it, and then of course, pick it up, in downtown Minneapolis.
Well, I didn’t think too long before I replied:
Do you still have the ball?
My son would just go crazy over this. He is 11 years old and baseball is his life!
We had to go stand in line for 3 hours to see Kent
Hrbek this summer, and then Braden was too awestruck to even talk to him!
Wow, you will sure make some kids Christmas!
May God Bless You!
So, now I have to call my husband and tell him that if he gets a weird phone call to just answer it! I fill him in on what has happened so far and his reply is “Are you nuts! Do you think this is for real? We need to drive to Minneapolis to pick up a free signed Kirby ball!” Listening to him, it did sound a little crazy.
About 45 minutes Randy calls me and tells me the lady actually called him about the ball! He said she sounded really nice and he thinks this could actually be for real. The only drawback is that he has to go pick it up. After shopping Braden and Randy set out for their Christmas adventure. Randy hasn’t told Braden any of what is happening. Braden is kind of a cautious kid by nature, and even being in a big city when it is getting dark kind of scares him, and now, here he is in a pretty nasty part of downtown Minneapolis, on Christmas and even Randy isn’t real sure this is that great of an idea anymore.
Randy tells Braden to look for Christmas lights, since that is the only real landmark that the lady has given him to find her house. Sure enough, in the middle of abandoned houses and boarded up apartments is a beautiful little house with Christmas galore! There shoveling her sidewalk is Donna, just as nervous about who she is going encounter, as Randy is.
As Randy and Braden walk up her sidewalk, Braden is still trying to figure out what is going on. He gets closer, and Donna introduces herself and pulls a baseball from her pocket. Now Braden is really confused. As he is looking at his Dad trying to figure this out, she holds out the baseball to him. As he is looking at it, she turns it around so he can see that it is signed. As he read the name on the ball, his whole face lit up! He asks Donna if he can hold the ball. She says “hold it – you can have it” – “Merry Christmas”. Randy offered to pay her or send her a gift for the ball she just kept smiling and refused to take anything. They talked for a few minutes, said some Thank you’s and she went inside to be with her husband and family, and Randy and Braden headed for home.
Braden was quiet on the ride home. I am sure he realized what a generous gift he had just received. It is not to often that a total stranger would give a gift and expect nothing in return. Randy explained that is really what Christmas is all about.
Braden is to young to even consider the money value of this gift, he is a baseball lover, a Minnesota Twins fan through and through, and this ball means so much to him. He dreams of being on baseball diamond, I think every young boy does, and having a ball signed by Kirby, brings that dream home. He knows there won’t be any more balls signed by one of his baseball heroes, and he treasures it!
On Christmas Day, we received this email from Donna:
Hi, It was nice to meet you both. I was so glad I got the e-mail about your son and his
Passion for baseball. I told your husband that I had gotten about 35 to 40 inquiries in just a few minutes.
I read all of them and yours struck me as the one I needed to reply to first. It was so worth it to see Braden's face when he saw the baseball. I knew then that it was the right choice. You have a wonderful son, and I know he will appreciate the ball.
Hope you and your family have a great Christmas. --Donna
Here are some easy directions: