August 5, 2011

A Story About Baseball

This was my newspaper column for this week, as well as an Editor's Pick on Open Salon.
Her guys may be fanatics, but she’d rather sit the bench

Bear with me; this is indeed a story about baseball. I have to round the bases before I can get to home plate.

Last night, I needed to water some new shrubs. Some workmen had rolled our hose back into the reel, which sits on a rock bed adjacent to the house. I went out the back door in ancient, floppy pink house shoes, expecting to turn on the faucet for the sprinklers.

Instead, I unrolled the hose into the yard and arranged it so the water would hit both our new lilac bushes and new grass. I ran back across the prickly straw over the new grass and turned the water on, as sharp rocks poked through the bottom of my worn slippers.

I stood back to assess where the water was going. It wasn’t even close. Rather than step in the rock bed again, I ran out under the sprinkler and moved it. I reassessed. Without my glasses on, it seems I couldn’t get close. After three attempts, I got it right, but was soaked from head to toe.

Back in the basement, I passed my husband who was watching a baseball game, and I headed upstairs to dry off and change clothes.

I returned to the basement, and my husband said, “Oh, did you just take
a shower?”

What is the point of this story?

This is a story about baseball. My husband did not see me go outside; he missed the entire Water Drama, and didn’t witness my passing him dripping like Niagara Falls.

Why? It’s because the Cincinnati Reds now broadcast in High Def.

I know you are as excited about this mesmerizing social development as I am.

Now I can see the sweat on Jay Bruce’s brow.

I was born to a Cubs fan, married a Reds fan (still National League) and now my son is courting a girl who is a Red Sox fan. (I know, American League. As I write these words, their Saturday night date is a Nationals/Mets game.) Last Sunday I spent the day with my mother so my father, brother, husband and nephew could go to Wrigley.

The men in my life really like baseball.

I’ve been in more major league baseball parks than most people. I saw Denny
McClain pitch in old Tiger Stadium; I sat across from the “Green Monster” in Fenway, and I’ve stood on home plate in San Francisco.

I saw Rafael Palmero hit a few out of the park at Arlington, Texas, and I witnessed Bo Jackson’s first White Sox at-bat, when he smacked a home run out of old Comiskey on a cold April Opening Day.

I have attended many games in Cincinnati and Chicago. We were there on Opening Day at Riverfront Stadium when former owner Reds owner Marge Schott brought an entire parade, including a large elephant onto the field.

But here’s the problem: I don’t give a Wiffle ball about baseball.

There, I said it. I’ve pretended to like it for more than half a century, enough to learn important baseball words like “change-up” and “tater.”

But I don’t suffer heat well, and so for every stadium I’ve listed I also know where the First Aid station is. That’s where they keep the free “cool” packs.

On my fortieth birthday I drank one cold beer on that hot July day and threw up for twelve hours. Rather than leave the park, my entire family of eight people moved from wonderful third baseline seats at Riverfront to the shaded
patio above the outfield. Of course we didn’t leave the game, it was Cubs versus Reds.

That was the same game where my dad put the mail-order tickets in his bank lock box and it nearly took an Act of Congress getting re-issued tickets. Then before game day, he remembered where they were.

I’m as done with baseball as I am with rock concerts, short dresses, and high heels. I will watch the occasional game sitting next to my husband, tossing out occasional appropriate remarks.

“Did you see Scott Rolen hit that tater?”
Now I live in Evansville where the “red bird” isn’t the Indiana state bird, it’s a Cardinal as in St. Louis Cardinals — Stan Musial, Whitey Herzog, and some fella named Albert Pujols. I have learned a few things.

Like why did the manager leave Cubs pitcher Rick Sutcliffe in so long during the 1984 playoffs?

Who in the world likes the designated hitter? I mean, come on.

And what about Texas Ranger Josh Hamilton whose Windex-blue eyes are so translucent that his day average is a miserable 111 yet he can pop those home runs out at night?
Of note, I need to tell you about the game I did not attend.

While in Anaheim, CA, my brother and father attended an Angels game and saw legend Nolan Ryan pitch, while mom and I stayed at the hotel and watched a rerun of “The Flip Wilson Show.”

Now, that’s entertainment!

© By the author 2011. Amy McVay Abbott is a freelance writer who is over baseball. She does love her husband, son, and father very much, and will continue to support their interests.

She loves hearing from readers at



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