When I was a little girl, my parents and I would make occasional trips up to Traverse City to visit family. My Grandma had a transistor radio, and while I spent most of my evening time in Traverse City sitting on the porch on Peninsula Drive counting the cars by color with my Great-Aunt Besse (I’m named after her), I remember crawling into bed with Dianne and listening to baseball. I didn’t understand the game at all, but it was time with my grandma when it did happen. It didn’t happen often because she was married and her husband scared me. I asked a lot of questions, and I wish I’d asked more because I’m pretty sure she knew more about baseball than she was telling. I’m also pretty sure that once I was older she was probably drunk and trying to fall asleep. She let me have the olives out of her martinis, and sometimes she scared me a little, but she loved baseball. I wish I could go to a game with her. We’d heckle the other team and talk about how they looked in their baseball pants. My Grandma was that kind of woman.
Fast forward 29 years. I’m on the internets, meeting people.
“Have you even met this person?” I think that’s what my Mom said to me the first time I went to a new city for a running thing.
Nope. I hadn’t. It was 2006, and I was telling her how I was being picked up at the airport by someone I’d never met, to run a race and hang out with people I’d never met in person. Turned out I hooked up with someone (that I’d never met before that day – the sex was great, sorry Wendy), made a lot of friends, and started my travels around this country.
The person I hooked up with lived in Oakland, and I was 29 years old and idealistic, so I thought we’d have a real relationship. Now that I’m older, I realize how silly that was, but I also thank him for taking me to my third ballpark to see the Tigers play. I’d seen the Tigers in two parks at that point: US Cellular Field and Tigers Stadium. I went out there to visit (or something, I mean come on), and he was all, “you like baseball, let’s go to a game.” I wasn’t a fan then like I am now, but I said sure, let’s go. So we did, and I went to a game at O.Co. Park number three.
We lost that game, and some of the OCo fans were assholes, but my then boyfriend is a colorful person who takes no shit, so when they were razzing me, he shut it down quick. (tattoos and piercings everywhere were scary in 2006, I guess). We won’t talk about the Tigers in 2006, okay?
Fast forward a few years after traveling just to see people (I had people at my house – which was a disaster – I’m a terrible host, and I admit it. I don’t like having people in my house. There. I said it), and my parents were like “who are you going to see now?” Back then it was just going to hang out because I missed my friends.
And then all of a sudden I left a job and had some time on my hands. Enter the Hot Stove. That time of the year when people talk about baseball but there are no games, and why the hell NOT pay attention to it? So it’s February of 2012, and I’m paying real close attention and I get a new job. My Mom is all, “Let’s go on vacation,” and probably to her dismay, I said, “SPRING TRAINING!!!!” But she said okay and we did, and my love of baseball was reborn.
We didn’t know who a lot of those guys were, but we cheered for all of them. We contemplated getting strawberry shortcake, we had hot dogs, I had beer, we ate barbecue, and I’m pretty sure my Mom learned how to love baseball. We stood in line to get Prince Fielder’s autograph (he’s a nice guy, and he’s huge. Also? He’s incredibly polite.) Yeah, we had a beach day (I sat in our chairs, she went for a long walk, and we didn’t kill each other, so the trip was a huge fucking success), but it was a baseball trip.
I started my new job in April of 2012, cognizant of the fact that I had to earn a living, but also newly aware that baseball was a new part of my life. Once upon a time it had been traveling to see people to run races, now it was traveling to see my team play baseball.
As much as I’ve always loved what I do (I’m a workers’ comp attorney), I realize that I don’t love it enough to not use all my vacation time. So I started planning. I was just going to go see the Tigers that year and vaguely looked at the schedule. Lots of games in Chicago, maybe I’ll go to two cities. Sounds good.
I went to two games here in Chicago because it was warm (oh, and assume it’s US Cellular Field unless I say otherwise) in April, and I got hooked. I went to the game with a friend from high school, and we rekindled a friendship. Then I realized the Tigers were coming to Chicago in June to play at Wrigley. My Dad was all in. He can’t come to ST because tax season, so we planned to go to this game. We did. They lost. I went to the game the next day though . Tigers won.