I wish I knew how to quit you

There are three things in my life which I really love:  God, my family, and baseball.  The only problem – once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.  ~Al Gallagher, 1971

I developed my love of baseball from my dad. I learned very early on that sports was at the core of his heart and if I wanted to spend more time with him, liking sports was the way to do it. And so I started watching sports with him. I remember spending a lot of time cheering and yelling along with him while watching baseball, football, basketball and yes, even professional wrestling. But baseball was his first love and it became mine. I had a blast collecting baseball cards and helping my dad catalog his. We even took ever opportunity to give each other the “Bash Bros.” forearm.

photo by: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Admittedly it’s been a long while since I have been fanatical about sports in general and baseball in particular. When I once was a repository for random stats for just about every player on the Yankees, I slowly saw that blind, rabid fanaticism fade as I began working in sports. While I thoroughly enjoyed the game while I was working, the last thing I wanted to do was come home and watch SportsCenter and be reminded of work. Maybe there are some doctors that like to watch Grey’s Anatomy but I didn’t really like the idea of being at the stadium for 12 plus hours to come home and watch listen to the talking heads spout about whatever else was going on in some other stadium. Every one else got to come home and leave their jobs at the office and the only way for me to do that was to turn off ESPN.

And so I stopped actively watching baseball and ESPN. It was just too much for me and was a necessary move to keep me from getting burned out. I needed that break from the game even though it did cause me to basically become clueless about all sports. I used to be able to name the starting five for every basketball team in the league and hold court in just about any sports debate but now all I can really do is shrug my shoulders. I didn’t really care but I did feel that burning shame when people instinctively asked me for my opinion not knowing that I was no longer as attuned to the sports world has I used to be. I wanted to be that person but my information was just so old that I had to fake it by being vague. Because the more vague you are, the more accurate you can be.

But now that I’m no longer working in sports for the time being, I’m starting to renew my love affair with it. In the past year I’ve been finding myself actually listening to the games on the radio and tuning in to them a lot more than I had in the previous five years and it feels great. While I probably won’t be watching SportsCenter anymore [it’s now like E! News with sports than anything else] it feels good to get back to the game I love. So much has changed; I need to reacquaint myself with my Yankees and learn who’s who among the pinstripes. I can’t believe Derek Jeter is 36! Wasn’t he just 30 and incredibly productive and effective? Now he’s arguably getting close to the twilight of his career. We all can’t be Ozzie you know.

Will I regain the extreme fanaticism I once had? No, I won’t. That was me before I peered behind the curtain. I can still appreciate the game for what it is and get swept up in those moments as a fan because, no matter how jaded you are, you can’t help but enjoy the feeling of excitement and/or agony that surges through your body when you’re watching your team compete.

And that is what keeps me a fan.

A league of our own

So last night was our annual company softball game and it was so much fun. I haven’t been able to attend the past few years since it’s usually been on a Wednesday when I had Bible study but since I’m on my one-week break and this year was held on Thursday, I was finally able to attend.

And boy was I missing out all those other years!

Our company is fairly large with a few different offices spread around so we don’t always get to see everyone on an everyday basis but the general rapport between everyone is great. The event is kind of a big deal around these parts: this year there was even an emcee, a National Anthem singer AND photographers [yeah, I know]. But in all, it’s just like any other softball game at the park. There’s plenty of pizza [we had two separate deliveries!] and beer, soda and water [several people took their beers out to the playing field with them] and it was all very casual though still teeming with that competitive vibe that makes things that much more fun. There was even a homerun derby afterwards!

We broke into four teams and played 3 total games: 2 semifinal games and then the championship game. With 17 players on our team, we had to rotate in. I started on the bench but was put in as catcher during the second inning and eventually finished the game after sitting out the next two innings [the other people were lacking in some skills]. I did have a fairly decent showing at the plate, though I made good solid contact, I didn’t get the ball out of the infield [hitting was never my strong suit] and I was just glad and relieved that I didn’t stink up the joint like I did during batting practice when I whiffed on all five pitches.


I was really nervous about playing because I knew there would be a few women out there who really could play. I knew I wouldn’t be able to compete on their level, having never played softball in an organized way, but thankfully I was able to keep up and didn’t let myself down.

Hopefully it’ll be scheduled so I can participate in it next year. I definitely want to do this again. There was so much laughter and good natured teasing going on. One of the interns [on my team] had a bit of a rough night though, after boffing a couple of catches that he was teased about, he redeemed himself with an inside-the-park homerun only to throw himself back into the doghouse after failing to run out a pop fly that the other team ended up dropping. Had he made it to first base, we would have won. Oh well.

I wasn’t too bummed about losing though. At least that meant I was free to leave whenever. I left at about a quarter to 9 and the championship game was not even halfway over.

I am, however, kind of considering picking up a glove to use in the future. I started out using my dad’s old glove, one that’s been around for forever. I think it might be almost as old as I am, but ended up switching with a coworker since the original one wasn’t as padded as I would like. I bruised a finger while fielding throws because of the way the ball hit the glove. Besides, you never know when you’ll need a baseball glove!

Hey, your fan is showing…

Over the last weekend I was kind of half watching the Battle of the Bay: 49ers versus Raiders while working on my Econ midterm [that I got an A- on!] and twittering about it when I got into a fun little battle of words with a Niner fan. The banter went back and forth, mostly about how crappy the Raiders are and my lack of a denial [I mean, they are!] but what stood out the most was this exchange:


While I am still a huge sports fan, I mainly feel the fanatic part of me has largely been tempered after taking classes at Michigan. I just don’t get caught up in the glitz of things like I used to; I’m just not as emotionally attached as I used to be.

That is a potential side effect but it doesn’t happen to everyone who works in sports. Some people still manage to maintain the complete fan naiveté, others become more tempered [like myself], and still others pretty much have their inner fan completely subdued as if they’re dosing up on Xanax or something.

Anywho, so my secret is out. I’m not that big of a sports fan anymore. I hardly keep up with anything and I’m lucky if I can remember who was drafted when [much to the chagrin of my nephew, who CONSTANTLY likes to ask me about so and so or who that football guy is]. Now compare that to the me in high school when I could recite the starting five for every basketball team in the NBA, the first 15 guys drafted in both the NFL and NBA drafts [oh, and when I actually watched the draft!] and when I was ready to go to death for my favorite teams. My life revolved around Sportscenter, so much so that I wanted to work for them. Yeah, I was ready to move out to Connecticut. Heaven forbid you say anything negative about someone I liked. I complained and moaned like the most seasoned of sports-radio call-in listeners about what I would do if I ran the team or how I would have managed a certain situation.

So pursuing a career in sports was the most obvious of things for me. If only I knew what that would entail. I’ve said it a few times before but I remember my very first day of class at Michigan, sitting in a classroom in the CCRB [Central Campus Recreation Building] above the squash courts and down the hall from the weight room with anticipation, only to be told that I would systematically be destroyed and built back up. Okay, not in those exact words but I’m sure that’s what Dr. George really meant to say.

Who knew that by the end of my four years there I’d turn into a pretty savvy and arguably [by some] emotionless fan. I was effectively groomed for management, which was pretty much the point. You can’t be a raging fan and properly manage a team [or, to be honest, work for a team]. You have to be able to make the proper and necessary business decisions, because after all, it is a business. Looking back, I know I would have sucked as a General Manager because I would have been too caught up in the fan aspect of a player instead of looking at it from a more critical eye. There are many layers that typical fans [not all of them!] miss out behind every decision.

And don’t get me started on trying to reason with a die-hard fanatic [trust me; I used to be one of them!]. Like many things, you cannot have a logical discussion with someone who operates wholly on the emotional side.

I did notice that when I started working for the minor league baseball team, my subsequent viewings of Sportscenter plummeted. It just reminded me too much of work. I wanted to come home and escape everything that happened that day and watching baseball highlights all night was not helpful. Then I began to dread going into extra innings because that meant I would be getting home that much later or that, at one point, didn’t care who won; I just wanted someone to get a run so I could finally go home!

I’ll let you in on a little secret: during the really long extra inning games, most front office staff are no where to be found because they’re in their offices finishing up as much work as possible so they can go home sooner after the game ends.

So in an effort to maintain my sanity, I started branching out and watching and paying attention to other things. I just don’t find it fun to be immersed in something all day and then come home to surround myself in the same stuff. Sometimes you just need a break and figure out how to better balance your work/life.

But I will say that I still have those moments of pure fandom; when you’re kicking back at a game and you’re caught up in the moment. Like how I was always excited when the home team knocked in the winning run in extra innings, or nearly going bat crazy watching that epic Yankees-Red Sox extra inning thriller a few weeks back. Or how much fun I had watching the Mariners’ play in Seattle.

And those moments feel soo good.

The fan in me hasn’t died. It’s just realized that the sun will rise again and the world will continue on whether or not the Yankees win the World Series.

And that, my friends, was a hard lesson to learn.

Take me back to the ballgame!

Yesterday’s game was so much fun. I’m glad the rain broke in time for the first pitch. There were some serious doubts as to whether or not they would actually play it.

But Pat finally showed up in time for the trek to the ballpark where we missed former American Idol winner Taylor Hicks do his thing to the National Anthem. I later heard mixed reviews about the performance.

Though I don’t know what Pat was more excited over, the game or the pound or so of fudge I surprised him with. Considering the way he was protecting the bag as if it were a football, which brought on references to “Necessary Roughness.” Or it could have been the evil introduction to bacon-wrapped hot dogs.

Yeah, I had another one and this one tasted even better, probably because of all the hate it got last time I sampled one. It’s like contraband now. Though at almost $7 a pop [like I guessed] this definitely won’t be an all the time thing. More like once in a blue moon.


Unless Pat ends up having the bbq we discussed featuring our own bacon-wrapped hot dogs. Then it’ll be a twice this summer thing [considering I already have one of those twice this summer dogs hopefully the freak outs will be kept to a minimum this time around].

And what was I most excited by? Catching a glimpse of myself on the jumbotron during a replay of a homerun! I’ve been on the jumbotron a couple times already during the crowd shots [in Detroit and at a Giants game with Jacki, Sally and Nicole] but it’s always a thrill to see yourself up there. Of course with my super bright jacket it’s hard NOT to pick myself out of the crowd.

Hopefully I’ll get the chance to catch a few more games there and in Oakland this year with everyone. We always have such a fun time. And maybe if the bf heads out this way during the summer I can cajole him into taking in a game. Maybe?

Rain, rain go away…

Ahh, it’s time for the office’s annual field trip to Opening Day! Well at least I hope we get to make it since it started raining this morning. I’ll be so bummed if it doesn’t. Everyone else got to have their opening days!

Anywho, I pretty much managed to get my work done leading into today’s office abandonment so I shouldn’t have too much to worry about with catching up for tomorrow. At least I hope so because if the game is called, I won’t have anything to do today since I took care of everything!

Now begins the waiting game on our end. We’ll be heading over en masse in about an hour and I can already feel the restlessness in the office. It’s like the last day of school here. Even the execs are wandering around! Good times.

So let’s figure out what it is that I will eat today. Hmm, a polish sausage? Chili cheese fries? Chicken sandwich?

Or maybe a bacon wrapped hot dog that everyone came down against? Controversy never tasted so delicious before.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.