City Councilman Jon Gerlach tells what he calls, “A uniquely FredNats story”

by | Sep 12, 2022 | Sports, Ted Schubel

Courtesy Fredericksburg Councilman Jon Gerlach (Ward 2).  This was included in an email he regularly sends out the week of City Council meetings.  Photo courtesy Jon Gerlach entitled “The Negotiation”


There are moments in our lives that we will always remember. This is one of them. It’s about baseball, a 12 year-old boy, and my friend Seth Silber who co-owns the FredNats team. If you saw “Field of Dreams” it’s also about a baseball player … and his proud father. You might want to sit down before you read this. A FredNats rookie, Cortland Lawson, had a remarkable night on August 26th here at Virginia Credit Union Stadium. In the 7th inning, with bases loaded, Cortland stepped up to the plate. An astonishing thing happened next. He hit his first home run as a pro player. Not just any home run, but a Grand Slam! And adding to the beauty of the night, Randy Lawson, Cortland’s father, was at the ballpark to see his son’s first professional homer. This is where the story gets even more interesting: a 12 year-old boy caught the ball.  I was with Seth Silber when, a few minutes later, the boy walked up, zealously clutching the grand slam baseball. Almost immediately, Randy appeared and introduced himself as Cortland’s father. Explaining that this was his son’s first homer as a pro player, Randy politely offered to buy the baseball from the boy who caught it. The boy listened, but held fast, not selling, even for $150. A long silence ensued. At that point, the ever-reasonable negotiator Seth Silber came up with an elegant solution. He offered to walk the boy over to the Team Store, buy him a FredNats jersey along with a new baseball, then walk him to the dugout where Cortland would autograph the new baseball. Randy would get to keep his son’s first home run baseball as a family heirloom. Everyone happily agreed, and off they went. Randy Lawson proudly watched his son play professional baseball and hit his first home run – a Grand Slam! He was also on the field celebrating with his son after the FredNats clinched their spot in the Playoffs last week.I was deeply saddened to learn while writing this piece for the Newsletter, that Randy passed away unexpectedly the other day. Our hearts and prayers are with Cortland and his family through this very difficult time.  Baseball is so much more than just a game. It’s really about the incredible human stories that are found deep within the game itself.




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