Skip to main content

Former Player Proposes Marriage on the Field in Lakewood

Three's a crowd, Buster...Image- Jay Floyd
For one New Jersey couple a unique meeting at the ballpark led to a new meaning for the term baseball diamond.

Brian Parker spotted the woman of his dreams from the bullpen bench at Lakewood, NJ's FirstEnergy Park on July 9th, 2010. The right-handed reliever for the Orioles affiliate Delmarva Shorebirds wasn't summoned to pitch that night, but it didn't stop him from getting up and going through his usual warm up and stretching routines to inch closer to a young blonde Brick Township native that he felt drawn toward.

"I was acting like I was staying hot, but really I was just trying to talk to her," Parker, a 19th round draft choice by Baltimore in 2007, stated. "I ended up putting my (phone) number on a baseball and we decided to hang out and throughout that whole next year it was back and forth trips between the both of us."

The lady that caught Parker's eye was Kristin VanDeventer, who was enjoying a group outing with her church group, family and friends that night.

Parker, a native of Washington state, would soon move eastward to be closer to VanDeventer.

"We actually did have a long distance relationship. We did see each other a couple times throughout that year. I flew out and met his family in Oregon and after that first year, he actually came out to live with me in New Jersey and we've been living together every since," the dazzled VanDeventer said just minutes after she experienced the surprise of her life.

With Parker's former team, the Shorebirds, visiting, the Lakewood BlueClaws helped to put together a remarkable surprise marriage proposal.

Four years after the couple met at FirstEnergy Park, Kristin's same church group was planning another outing to see a BlueClaws game. VanDeventer was selected as the group's leader and was assigned the duty of throwing out a ceremonial first pitch prior to Friday night's contest.

Parker, who no longer plays organized ball, after three seasons in affiliated baseball and three years with the independent Newark Bears, was disguised in full catchers' gear, including a chest protector once worn by Phillies star Carlos Ruiz.

Nervousness rushed through Parker's body as he was kept out of site from VanDeventer in the opposite end of the home dugout from where she stood on the field, preparing for her pitching task. Every little possible concern and oversight went through his mind.

"What if she recognizes my sneakers? I should have brought spikes," Parker restlessly muttered.

"I'm more nervous now than I was when I pitched on that mound," he shared with a pair of BlueClaws players.

"There she is in the white sunglasses," he gushed, ducking behind players and team personnel.

The entire BlueClaws roster and staff knew what was about to take place and many of them were anxious for the landmark life event that was about to take place.

"I did it in a restaurant with no one watching and I was very nervous. I can't imagine what he's going through," 2010 first round draft pick Larry Greene Jr. said.

"This guy's got some (guts)," Lakewood manager Greg Legg exclaimed.

On the field, Parker caught a strike tossed by the unsuspecting VanDeventer, who was quickly distracted by the on-field announcer. Parker stood from his crouching position, approached the love of his life and took a knee before her and thousands of witnesses. He popped the question. The answer was an overwhelmed "yes".

A pair of familiar faces from the Delmarva side were able to witness the amazing encounter unfold. Ryan Minor, Delmarva's manager, coached Parker in his playing days and current Shorebirds hitting coach Paco Figueroa was once a teammate of Parker. Neither man recognized the incognito prospective groom until after his mask came off

Credit was given to VanDeventer's mother, Mary, the keeper of the original phone number baseball, for assisting with the planning of the group outing and other sneaky details involved with the marriage proposal.

Thanks to some family friends, everything was caught on video and Parker was fitted with a microphone to record audio of the big moment.

"It was one of those dreams I had," Parker shared about where the plan began. "I thought it was romantic and would make it special for her. And since we met here four years ago, I figured this was the only place we could do it, here, on our anniversary. I figured it would be perfect that way."

No doubt, it was.  While he spoke about all that had happened, Parker's new fiancee stood nearby beaming and gleaming with some fresh jewelry on her left hand.

The Shorebirds defeated the BlueClaws by a score of 9-8. There's no firm word from the couple on which team they were rooting for, as, clearly, they both felt like winners regardless of whatever happened on the field after they exited it that night..

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

This Guy Speaks For All of You

This individual, interviewed by FOX 29 on Friday as the Phillies arrived back at Citizens Bank Park, said it best. When asked how he felt regarding the Phillies, he told Steve Keeley that he was, "Stoked, baby!" The unidentified phanatic then proclaimed, "We are talking about the Fightins here, the Fightins! Said!" Check out the media player below, as the transcribed version certainly does not do this phireball of phandom justice. The Phillies forced game 6 of the National League Championship Series with a 4-2 victory over the Giants in San Francisco on Thursday night. Game 6 will feature Roy Oswalt vs. Jonathan Sanchez in a return pitching match up from game 2. First pitch is scheduled for 7:57 pm EST at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Be sure to tune in on 97.3 ESPN's Weekend Sports Guide with Tyrone Johnson this afternoon around 1:15pm to hear me chatting about the Phillies! 97.3 is based in Atlantic City. You can listen live online HERE . _________

Who is Your Favorite Willie 'Mays' Hayes?

PhoulBallz.com is wondering which individual who has portrayed Willie "Mays" Hayes is the favorite of the public. Hayes, of course, is the character made famous in the Major League motion picture series. In Major League , Willie "Mays" Hayes was portrayed by budding Hollywood actor Wesley Snipes, who would go on to action movie superstardom. Snipes has starred in major motion pictures like the Blade trilogy, Passenger 57 , Undisputed and many more. Snipes remains an impact Hollywood actor, despite legal troubles related to income tax evasion. Snipes was replaced for the sequel, Major League II when his busy career, and possibly the film's budget, would not allow him to return, by Omar Epps. Another budding actor, Epps had previously worked with director David S. Ward, on the film The Program , and landed the role of Hayes, who had become a Hollywood action star over the off-season that occured between the two films. Epps' career portraying athletes rol

Wassup with dat? Vito Friscia edition

Friscia, image- Jay Floyd What's up with that Vito Friscia guy?  Well, he's a 24-year-old righty batting catcher that was drafted by the Phillies out of Hofstra University in 2019 with the team's final selection, 1200th overall, in the 40th round. But what's his deal?  Friscia opened the season with Class A Advanced Jersey Shore, where, in 16 games, he notched a .264 batting average with a pair of home runs, five doubles and seven RBI.  Last week, when Triple-A Lehigh Valley needed a reserve backstop, Friscia was promoted to fill their void.  When Rafael Marchan returned from a short stint in the big leagues, Friscia was assigned to the Double-A Reading roster.   Is he just a backup catcher?  For now, it seems that's his role.  But check out this quote from BlueClaws skipper Chris Adamson from earlier this month when I asked him about which player stood out to him as a guy that deserved recognition, but may not be getting it. "Vito Friscia is a guy that, earl