JUCO love story: Andy Weaver’s life changed forever at 1994 World Series
The story of how Andy Weaver came to be on the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series committee differs based on who tells the story.
One thing is certain: The story has the same happy ending.
Weaver was a pitcher for Butler County Community College (Kansas) in 1994 when the Grizzlies finished third. While he was at JUCO, he met his future wife, Megan, at the tournament banquet at Two Rivers Convention Center, where she worked as a waitress.
One week later, the two went on their first date and started a 2½-year long-distance relationship that led to their marriage.
Eventually, they returned to live in Grand Junction.
With that relocation to the Grand Valley came Weaver’s inclusion on the JUCO Committee as a member of its marketing team, where he’s throwing sales pitches at potential game sponsors for the same tournament he threw pitches in more than two decades ago.
“I’m just glad I have the opportunity to give back to JUCO,” said Weaver, whose full-time job is in pharmaceutical sales in Grand Junction. “It’s given me everything I have professionally, and my family and I have all fallen in love with Grand Junction and the entire area.
“I have family in (the Denver area, and) had never made it all the way over here until that tournament,” he said. “Coming to JUCO truly was a life-changing event for me.”
The JUCO Committee is a volunteer group of baseball enthusiasts, each of whom have different roles in organizing the annual tournament — ranging from ticket sales to practice-field preparation to marketing.
Though Weaver isn’t the only committee member who is a former player — Tex Tolman, who is in charge of practice fields, is another — he is the only member of the marketing team who can give a sales pitch about the tournament based on his experience playing in it.
And to him, it’s an easy sales pitch to make.
“Given the perspective of actually playing in the tournament, I felt like Grand Junction was absolutely enormous when I came here,” he said. “I really had no idea it wasn’t so huge simply because of the enormity of the production that was put together.
“The support of the community and fans is unbelievable, and I sure don’t lose enthusiasm by remembering back to my time as a player.”
Weaver was the starting pitcher in final game on Memorial Day in 1994, the game that features postgame fireworks and typically draws 10,000-plus fans. Butler beat Manatee Community College (Florida) 19-5, and Weaver, who got the decision, finished the season with a 9-2 record.
It was before he ever took the field, however, that he met Megan.
Andy said when he and his teammates were at the JUCO banquet, he kept pestering Megan, who was waiting on his team’s two tables, for extra sauces for everyone.
Megan, who said she might have been the only college-aged waitress working that night, said she didn’t remember that incident since she was getting extra attention from so many players who were close to her age.
A few days later by a chance encounter, Megan was with a group of friends who ran into Andy hanging out with a few teammates at Good Pastures restaurant, and they recognized each other from the JUCO banquet. Andy got her to come watch him play the next night — a Butler loss to Galveston College (Texas) — but he still got a dinner date out of it.
The date went well enough that they kept seeing each other even after Megan went back to school at Colorado State University and Andy went off to attend school and pitch at Division I Northeast Louisiana (now Louisiana-Monroe).
The relationship continued after Andy started playing baseball professionally, though his stint playing in the minor leagues didn’t last long.
“I was 5-foot-11 and could throw 90 to 92 mph,” he said. “There were an awful lot of guys out there like that.”
Andy and Megan, after spending thousands of dollars on long-distance calling cards and plane tickets to visit each other, got married in November of 1997. Andy graduated from then-Mesa State College one year later and, after moving to the Front Range, eventually relocated to Grand Junction in 2010.
When an opening on the JUCO Committee came around late last year, his name was mentioned to JUCO Tournament Chairman Jamie Hamilton to fill the opening.
Andy wasn’t the only one thrilled about getting on the JUCO committee.
“This is something I’d dreamed of for him from the time we’ve been together,” Megan said. “One thing about my husband is that he’s a very passionate person, and he’s even more passionate about baseball. It’s safe to say that his experience coming to the (JUCO) World Series shaped his life.”
Andy and Megan have four boys: Dylan, 15, Jacob, 13, Lucas, 10, and Josh, 8. Attending JUCO has been an annual experience for the Weavers.
Now, Andy gets to help organize the tournament that helped give him the life he has today.
“Passion sells,” Andy said. “JUCO and everything about it is a pretty easy sales pitch.”