In a wide-ranging Zoom call with reporters this past week, Washington Nationals’ infielder Eric Thames talked about a variety of topics, including one awkward fan interaction which occurred in South Korea, while he was on a date, and another in which the enthusiastic supporter wanted to shake his hand in spite of the fact that he was in the middle of eating a messy burrito.
“And there’s just like cheese on your hand, and you’re like, ‘I’ve got stuff on my hands.’”
“But they don’t care, they just love the game that much,” Thames added.
He also talked about his mother visiting him in South Korea while he played in the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) between 2014-16.
Thames, who lives in Las Vegas now, but was born and raised in California, acknowledged that he dismissed the idea of playing in Korea when it first came up, but eventually took a chance that paid off and led him back to the majors after he’d put up a .349/.451/.721 line, 102 doubles, and 124 homers over 390 games and 1,638 plate appearances over his three seasons playing for the KBO’s NC Dinos.
While he was there, his mother visited him in spite of her concerns about traveling abroad.
“My mother was terrified to travel to Korea. Like I was the same way, I had no idea what to expect,” Thames explained.
“Her father, my grandfather, served in the military, so he would tell us stories about the Korean War, so my mom was like, ‘North Korea?’ all this stuff. It’s like, ‘Mom, it’s not North Korea. You’ll love it, it’s like New York City.
“She flew out there, and she was like, ‘This is really nice. It’s really safe in the restaurants and this and that.’ And I’m like, ‘Yes!’
“It’s funny like, she was so afraid, like how people are so afraid of the unknown and all this stuff, but once you get there it’s like, ‘Oh, this is just like our hometown.’ Like, ‘Yes, mom.’”
“So she went to a game, she was dancing,” Thames recalled.
“It was awesome to just see her get out of her comfort zone and enjoy the game. It made my heart melt.”
That’s it, a nice quick story/anecdote for all you mother’s and sons and daughters out there to enjoy today!
Happy Mother’s Day to all FBB readers. What? You want to know about the fan who talked to Thames while he was on a date in Korea? Okay...
“I was on a date and...” Thames laughed, “... this girl came down to see me, and she’s a foreigner, a great, great woman, and I gave her a kiss at the end of the date, and this fan came up behind me, and like tapped me on the shoulder and was like, ‘Oh, Thames! Thames! Can you sign a picture?’ and I was like, ‘What? Like, hey I’m busy right now.’ But it was like so funny.”
Again, Happy Mother’s Day. What? You’re still reading and you want to know about the pic up top that has Thames holding a coloring book?
The new Nationals’ first baseman was asked what he’s been doing to keep himself busy in addition to working out as much as he can while he waits for the 2020 season.
“Coloring books, reading. I haven’t been watching too much TV, I don’t watch a lot of movies and stuff,” Thames said.
“A video game here or there, but yeah, a lot of reading, just trying to stay sane, but now it’s starting to get hot. It’s supposed to be 100 [degrees] today.
“I might go for a walk, walk around the block. That’s pretty much what I do in the season, or offseason, just hang out, books, keep my brain occupied and then go to the field.”
But wait, a reporter followed up later, did you say coloring books?
“I’ve done it years ago,” Thames said, noting that sometimes he’ll get so lost in it that, “I’d lose like three hours.”
“It’s nothing special. It’s not like me drawing this stuff,” he added.
“It’s something to pass the time. Art is always good.”
“It’s not me drawing. If it was me drawing it would be like stick figures.”
Again, Happy Mother’s Day.