He did what with Tom Cruise?

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I once met a kid named Rope. He was friends with a kid named Storm. Not kidding. They were teammates on a high school football team in southern Alberta. There was nothing special about them other than their unique names and their on-field skills.

And then I met a kid named Jett. I met him a couple years ago in Phoenix at a spring training game. Jett Bandy was a catcher with the Los Angeles Angels. (He’s now with the Milwaukee Brewers).

Jett is his given name – his grandfather’s name is Chester (Chett) and his father’s name is John. Jett is a mixture of both.

Cool name, but the story on how he was able to climb his way to the major leagues is made for Hollywood (literally).

Jett is the oldest of four siblings and his father John quickly realized he needed to get a part-time job to help pay for his kids’ interests in sports. Bartending is a rather easy gig to hold down, but to set himself apart from other drink slingers John wanted to add flair to his practice.

He spent hours in his garage at home learning to spin liquor bottles like a basketball on his fingertips, throw them over his shoulders and behind his back.

John was so good at this bartending thing he caught the eye of a woman at a bar who was involved in the movie industry. She was looking for someone to coach Tom Cruise for the movie ‘Cocktail’ (1988). John Bandy got the job and worked with Cruise for months and toured the world with the cast for his 15 minutes of fame.

This brief brush with Hollywood helped John pay for Jett’s baseball fees and equipment.

***

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Now that the Chicago Cubs have finally wrapped up their two-weeks-long World Series celebrations, one touching story has emerged from all the self-congratulating.

Infielder Javier Baez, despite his cockiness and penchant for striking out, owns a story of unselfishness and kindness.

Baez’s younger sister Noely Baez died a couple years ago due to complications from spina bifida. Javier and his sister shared a special bond and her death hit Javier especially hard.

But a Cubs fan helped to lift his spirits. Grace Davis, like Javier’s sister Noely, was born with spina bifida. Grace was one of a handful of Cubs fans who were randomly selected to present Cubs players with their World Series rings during an on-field presentation at Wrigley Field.

Grace’s favourite player is Javier Baez, partially due to the story of Noely Baez. Grace’s dream came true in early April when she met Javier on the field and handed him his World Series ring. The two have since become friends and Javier admitted Grace’s friendship has helped ease the pain of losing his sister.

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