Kevin Huber, of Elida Road Tire Service, is a car guy.
When a customer walks through the door, he may remember their vehicle before he does their name.
“I will say to myself, ‘That guy owns a Dodge Charger,’ or ‘He’s a Ford F-150 man’ before I think of their name,” Huber said.
He is also a baseball guy.
Names are no trouble here when it comes to his favorite team, the Cincinnati Reds.
“I can rattle off the starting lineup of the Big Red Machine to this day,” something Huber immediately does before others in the room can even say Johnny Bench.
But even more so, Kevin Huber is a baseball guy on a mission: He wants to take all of his grandchildren to see their first Reds’ game.
“My oldest sister, Deb, took me to my first game when I was a little guy, and I went to games with my Dad up until his death. It’s special,” Huber said.
Two of his grandchildren have already spent the day at Great American Ball Park with granddad, with four others — ages 13 to 3 — yet to go.
Over Memorial Day weekend, 10-year-old granddaughter Lily Harvey, of Elida, made the two-hour pilgrimage south on Interstate 75 to see her first Major League game.
“It was so fun,” she said. “We had great seats, met a player and had a hot dog and peanuts.”
Great seats, indeed. Huber, who has sat anywhere from the nose-bleed Red seats at old Riverfront Stadium to behind home plate, scored tickets in the front row by first base for Lily’s first game.
“Robert Stephenson was pitching that day. When he saw Lily had a certificate saying this was her first game. He came over and talked to her and signed her cap,” Huber said.
Earlier in May, Huber’s son, Jon, and grandson Wyatt drove up from Huntsville, Alabama, to see the Reds play the San Francisco Giants. It was Wyatt’s first game and grandpa, son and grandson each wore a Yasiel Puig jersey to mark the occasion. A highlight was seeing the Reds’ highly touted rookie, Nick Sanzel, hit his first home run.
Father’s Day weekend was celebrated by taking daughter Heather Harvey (Lily’s mom) to her first game, his seventh trip to the ball park this year. He’ll tell you that’s what he enjoys about baseball — it’s where memories are made.
In that regard, he has one that he especially cherishes.
“It’s when my son took me for my 50th birthday to a Reds’ game,” Kevin says. “We sat Row 1 behind home plate. It was special because he had just returned from Afghanistan, where he was deployed.”
Huber’s not sure how many games he’ll attend the rest of the year, but he has a bold prediction.
“I can see the Reds finishing in second place. They’re so much better than last year.”
ROSES AND THORNS: A Lima woman is only two-thirds of the person she used to be, and that earns her a spot in the rose garden.
Rose: To Gloria Kershner, of Lima. She gave up the fad diets, and instead started doing her own cooking and began exercising. The result: She dropped 130 pounds and counting, going from 331 pounds to below 200.
Rose: To Thomas Dalton and Cameron Flores, who were named Bowler of the Year by the Lima Bowling Association.
Rose: To John Bayliff, Valery Bayliff Fultz and Becky Bayliff of Bayliff & Son Funeral Home in Cridersville. They held a special ceremony on Flag Day to honor Vietnam veterans.
Rose: To Boy Scout Troop 777 of Lima. On Flag Day, it held a special ceremony at the Veterans Freedom Flag Memorial outside of the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center to dispose of tattered American flags.
Thorn: Former Elida schools maintenance worker Matthew Burton still owes the district $40,000 for using school funds to buy building materials for his private business, state auditor Keith Faber reports.
Thorn: There still has not been an arrest in the savage beating and burning of a German Shepherd dog in March. Lima police are asking anyone with information to come forward.
PARTING SHOT: “Been in this game one-hundred years, but I see new ways to lose ‘em I never knew existed before.” — Casey Stengel, baseball manager.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.