'Priceless': 87-year-old fan gets 'game ball' after her first baseball game in 30 years

Jeff Bobo • Jul 26, 2018 at 7:00 PM

KINGSPORT — The Times News handed out about 200 free tickets to Wednesday’s Kingsport Mets game, but it’s unlikely that anyone had more fun than 87-year-old Barbara Bell, who attended her first professional baseball game in 30 years.

Barbara is originally from Rochester, N.Y., and she and her husband regularly used to attend Rochester Red Wings games. The Rochester team is currently the Twins’ AAA affiliate, but was most likely the Orioles’ AAA club when the Bells were going.

Barbara and her daughter Debbie Bell attended Wednesday’s game with their “God given sisters” Debbie Campbell and Gina Turner.

It was an exciting back and forth game, and the outcome was in question right down to the last pitch.

But the excitement wasn’t over for the ladies after the last out.

Wednesday was Times News Night at the Mets Game, and during the game Debbie Bell had stopped at the pavilion to thank the Times News for the free tickets.

She mentioned that she had brought her 87-year-old mother ,who hadn’t been to a game in a long time, and they were all having a wonderful time.

Times News Advertising Director Billy Kirk threw out the first pitch for Wednesday’s game against the Danville Braves and had the ball signed by Mets players.

After the game, Kirk intercepted the ladies in the tunnel on their way out of the stadium and presented Barbara with that game ball.

Barbara had admired the Mets jersey she got to wear as a prop while posing for a KTN “Happy Snaps” pregame photo on her way into the stadium.

“I know they took the jersey away from you when you took the picture,” Kirk said.

“Yeah, I was so disappointed,” Barbara replied.

“I’m going to give you a team ball, signed,” said Kirk.

“Oh, thank you so much. This is great,” Barbara responded.

Debbie Bell said they will definitely be back to watch the Mets play again. She had only one minor criticism.

“But they better have Cracker Jacks next time we come.”

Barbara added, “I’ve enjoyed this so much. I’m from Rochester, N.Y., and my husband and I used to watch the Red Wings play quite often. I have not been to a ball game since, but I’ve enjoyed this so much. I’m 87 years old and I’ve had a ball.”

What were her daughter’s thoughts on the evening?

“Priceless,” Debbie Bell said. “Absolutely. You just don’t even know. She had heart surgery. She had her aortic valve replaced May 1. I’ve had five breast cancer surgeries. We’re grateful. We had an absolutely amazing time tonight ... except there were no Cracker Jacks.”



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