This is the American Dream, my friends.
Meet Vince Rainey, a 25-year-old snacks vendor for the Daytona Cubs. Until last week, Javier Baez played for the Single-A, Florida League Chicago Cubs affiliate, which also spawned players such as Starlin Castro, Ryne Sandberg and Kerry Wood. And like all of the above, it seems that Rainey, too, will have his day in the Major League sun — but not with the Cubs (naturally).
Rainey, whose distinctive refreshment-hawking style has made him somewhat of an attraction at Daytona Beach’s Jackie Robinson Ballpark, spends most of spring training at Viera’s Space Coast Stadium, working Washington Nationals games. That’s where he caught the eye of Nationals’ brass, who believe that Major league talent is Major League talent, whether it be on the field or in the stands.
Near the end of spring training in March, Vince received a hand-written note on personalized stationery from Mark Lerner, principal owner of the Washington Nationals. It was an invitation to come work for the National League team in Washington, D.C.
After more than a decade hawking such ballpark delights as frozen lemonade, cotton candy, peanuts and, most famously, ice-cold beer, in the minors, Vince had received his call up to the majors.
“I’m ecstatic,” Vince said as he proudly held the note he carries in his wallet. “My entire life, I’ve been waiting for something to happen because everything I do – every beer that I sell – I put 100 percent into it. Every sale – peanuts, cotton candy, whatever.”
But Rainey won’t exclusively be hauling snacks for the Nationals. The part-time bartender with a bacherlor’s degree in communications from the University of Central Florida will also receive training in the organization’s marketing department.
From an awesome piece in the Daytona Beach News Journal:
“I think Vince Rainey would be a great addition to Nationals Park,” Lerner said. “He’s extremely hard-working, has a great booming voice and has an infectious sense of humor, which I know our fans would love.”
Example: if Rainey sees a parent drinking beer, he attempts to guilt them (in a nice way) into getting something for their kids. “If you’re drinking beer, shouldn’t your kids get a cotton candy?” he’ll shout. And peanuts, he loudly proclaims, are “high in fiber, low in calories!”
Rainey has been a vendor for the Cubs since he was 13.
Vince is quick to give others credit for molding him, and his grandparents, Henry and Magdelean Rainey of Ormond Beach, are atop that list.
“They adopted me when I was young – 8 years old,” said Vince, who also lives in Ormond Beach. “I owe everything to them.”
Just another bad deal for the Chicago Cubs, but a great story for the rest of us.
Many thanks to Minor League Team Names.