tampabay.com

Bobblehead

By JOHN C. COTEY
Published March 27, 2007


They arrived Monday, much to the delight of Ridgewood principal Randy Koenigsfeld.

His wife called.

"They're here," she said.

Koenigsfeld let out a sigh of relief. They had to be here by Thursday, when he could proudly introduce them to the world. He had nervously tracked their flight for days now, from the second they left Thailand all the way to Memphis and finally landing safely in Tampa, where they all piled into a truck to make the drive to New Port Richey.

As he sat in his office, he counted down the minutes until the bell would ring and he could race home to see them, all bright-eyed and smiling, with their baseball caps pulled tightly on their heads and their sunglasses wrapped around their heads and propped up by the brim of the cap.

Upside down, of course.

"I've seen pictures," Koenigsfeld said. "They look great."

Angelina Jolie, eat your heart out - Randy Koenigsfeld has himself six Larry Beets Bobblehead Dolls.

So while you and Brad Pitt raise your overseas acquisitions, changing wet pants, pouring cereal and wiping noses, Koenigsfeld is going to enjoy his all the same, from the orange and gray Ridgewood baseball uniform right down to the signature silver moustache.

This is how Koenigsfeld, a former baseball assistant coach, will say thank you to Larry Beets, for coaching his boys Jon and Ben, for winning 500 games, but mostly for leaving an indelible imprint on the school and community.

A plaque would have been too easy, and T-shirts too cliche. Besides, some guy in the newspaper wouldn't stop talking about it, so what the heck.

Bobbleheads it is.

Thursday at Ridgewood's baseball field - which some day will be known as Beets Field, but that column isn't scheduled until 2011 - Koenigsfeld will give away his bobblehead booty. The Rams play Parkway Central that night, a team coming down for the weather and walking smack into the middle of the county's first Bobblehead Night.

"Dude, check this out, so we go to New Port Richey for a baseball game and, get this, it was Bobblehead Night ... at a high school game ... dude! That's crazy!"

There's no need to arrive early Thursday for this one - "the first six fans get a bobblehead!" it is not - but do bring your wallet.

Ridgewood will raffle off three of the bobbleheads, with tickets going for $5 a pop. Two will be auctioned off, silently. Make a bid, cross your fingers.

And of course, one will be presented to Beets, the only coach Ridgewood has ever had.

"We wanted to do something special for him; this is it," said Koenigsfeld, who spent about $600 on the bobbleheads, hence the reason there won't be enough for everyone.

Personally, Thursday will be a sad night for me, as I'll have to find something else to randomly throw into my columns. But don't worry about me, I'll be okay.

After all, Cal Baisley Beach Blanket Night, Heidi and John Castelamare His and Her Pez Night or John Benedetto Autographed Mini-Football Helmet Night can't be too far behind, can it?

Can it?

John C. Cotey, who is always open to great ideas, can be reached at johncotey@gmail.com or 727 869-6261.