The one constant, through all the years, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again.
– Terrance Mann in “Field of Dreams”
Baseball was life.
I had grown up as an avid fan of the sport and now I had the opportunity to be a part of it – I was offered an internship in the position of Associate Director of Public Relations with a minor league ball club. Since I had just finished an internship with the Oakland Athletics, I assumed this would be similar.
Long story short – it sucked. However, I did gain a husband and masters thesis out of the gig. So I suppose there were some redeeming benefits.
Ten years ago, I found myself standing in a concourse tunnel. A-Ball baseball was playing in the background. One of the concession stand lackeys had wandered out from behind the rotisserie hotdogs, stale popcorn and ever-emptying beer kegs to catch some of the game.
(Because who doesn’t want a summer job watching free baseball? The intoxicating sound of cleats echoing against concrete tunnels, the inebriating scent of freshly cut grass mingling with the slightly damp dirt of the infield topped only by the heady crack of bat against ball or thwack of ball into a leather glove.)
“You really can’t go wrong with a left-handed pitcher,” I mused to no one in particular.
Jon: I’m a left-handed pitcher.
Me: That is the worst pickup line ever.
Jon: No really, I play college ball. Just working here for the summer. I’m seriously a left-handed pitcher.
Me: That is the best pickup line ever.
Weeks later as I hid from my miserable job in Concession Booth 1, gnawing on a day-old Snickers bar, he interrupted my pity party monologue.
“Why don’t you forget about that and let me take you out to dinner?”
Our first date was to Denny’s. Because patience is not one of my many virtues. Even a little. So rather than wait for the weekend to hit up a classy joint like Elephant Bar (hey – I was 21), I had buffalo wings at 1 a.m. after he put the empty kegs back into storage.
Over hot wings, ranch dressing and celery I attempted to convince him I was the perfect woman because I could crochet, cook, clean and watched Sports Center on a regular basis. (I did not include my talent-levels on the cooking or cleaning. But just so we’re clear – I can totally crochet and I do watch Sports Center thankyouverymuch. And in baseball, that’s like batting .500. Which is awesome.)
Five years ago today, I married him. That’s right. I married the hot dog boy.