Even on what started as a very happy day, there is sadness in the Pittsburgh Pirates universe: Kenny Geidel, known simply to the fans at PNC Park and other Pittsburgh sports venues as "Lemonade Guy," has passed away.
Nobody in the city of Pittsburgh could match [Geidel's] intensity or work ethic, and trust me when I tell you I'm not saying that to be cute. We'd watch this man go up and down those long steps at Three Rivers in a driving rainstorm, or the steep cement tiers at the Civic Arena, relentlessly in pursuit of selling his stuff. He worked — and I mean worked — at Pirates, Steelers and Penguins games.
A piece of Pittsburgh has been lost ...
At first glance, this seems like a pretty local story and I was hesitant to post anything.
But after seeing the love pour out from Pittsburgh fans on Twitter and clicking on several videos of Geidel on YouTube, it occurred to me that there's probably a "Lemonade Guy" in every big league town — the wandering ballpark fixture who remains a part of the baseball experience even as the roster churns every season. The reassuring presence that lets you know that you're back in familiar territory.
Here in Chicago, that title might be claimed by a few, whether it be Scottie Pippen's beer-selling twin, the poor old man who timidly hawks licorice ropes and cotton candy, or the abrasive hot dog vendor whose gravelly call can be heard over rush hour on the Kennedy or Dan Ryan expressway.
It leads me to wonder: Who's the man (or woman) on your local scene? Whose passing would hit you in a weird way, even though your interactions were always limited to a couple of dollars, a bag of peanuts and some suds in a cup? Who's the "Lemonade Guy" in your local universe?
Here's one more great tribute to Kenny Geidel ...