Dodd fan just wanted senator to sign his baseball |

Dodd fan just wanted senator to sign his baseball

by F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer

Whit McGuinness’ sole mission was to get an autograph from Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd during the Democratic Forum held in Carson City on Wednesday.

It was pure luck that McGuinness, a Connecticut native 30 years removed, arrived at the rear of the community center just 10 minutes before the senator did. It was startling when the retired Nevada corrections officer walked into a cordoned-off area and shouted twice as Dodd emerged from his car, “Hey Chris, please sign this baseball for an old Yankee!”

On Thursday, a picture of McGuinness’ being stopped by a deputy accompanied a story about law enforcement at the event on an inside page of the Nevada Appeal. It shows McGuinness holding a pen and ball and waving his arms in the air.

All he really is, he said, is a fan.

“I’m a Chris Dodd guy, and I was just trying to get a ball signed.”

McGuinness said he was certain when Dodd saw his Quinnipiac University sweatshirt and heard the comment about Yankees, the senator knew where he was coming from.

“I could see in his face. He was smiling, he was happy.”

Dodd did smile and wave as he walked into the building. He did not sign the ball.

McGuinness said he was mortified by the story in the paper. He thought it made him look rude, and he wanted people to know he had said, “Please.”

He said he was still angry later that morning when he went to work out at Eagle Fitness. That is, until the people there approached him about his picture.

“I was a little bit of a celebrity,” he said, laughing about it Thursday afternoon.

“They told me I overreacted (by being upset), and I probably did.”

In retrospect, McGuinness said, he might have gotten too excited when he saw Dodd. But his mission was to get Dodd to sign a baseball and when he saw a part of his home state standing in the parking lot of the Carson City Community Center, the moment overtook him.

“As emotional as I was, I didn’t mean to scare to anybody,” he said.

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.