It’s baseball season, and I love baseball! (No, that’s not totally correct.) I like baseball! (Not really.) Baseball is okay. (Kind of like broccoli – I’ll eat it if it’s there.) I’ll watch baseball if I’m at a game.
However, from 1963 to 1968, pretending to really love baseball served me well. There was this “blond-headed guy” in our church youth group who loved baseball. He listened to every Dodger game possible and was a “Walking Dodger Encyclopedia.”
Despite what people said, the fact that my father owned season tickets to Dodger Stadium (It will always be Chavez Ravine to me) had nothing to do with the fact that the blond-headed guy and I started dating.
In order to keep this guy around, I knew if I could “talk baseball,” I might win a few points. I memorized the Dodger batting order and the players’ stats, learned how to keep score in the program, reviewed all of the rules of the game and mastered the ability to stand up and shout, “He’s out? Are you blind?! He was safe!”
My favorite was, “Throw the bum out!” I loved joining the crowd by appearing to be disgusted. My acting ability was enhanced, but my knowledge of baseball was not increased. “Being out” and “throwing out” totally confused me.
What is “out” in the first place? When a player was “out at first,” he still was in the game; but when they “threw him out,” he would storm off the playing field never to be seen again.
It was years before I could figure out what that all really meant. Kind of like I never knew why, during high school football games, we would all yell “First and 10, do it again!” What did we do in the first place and why would we want to do it nine more times?”
I still wonder why we sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” when we are already there. And why do they call it the World Series, when only teams from North America are playing? There are some good teams in Central America, and don’t forget about Japan!
One of the perks of dating the blond-headed guy and attending Dodger games whenever possible was the food. On our dates, a Dodger Dog was a gourmet meal. Also, I discovered that if you buy a frozen Carnation Chocolate Malt during 3rd inning and put it under your seat, it will be the perfect consistency by the 7th inning.
Then there were the peanuts. I’m sure that every time we were at the game, the cleanup crew said, “Jake must have given his seats to Pete and Pat again! Just look at the huge mound of peanut shells! It’s a regular Mt. Whitney!”
So here I am, five years of dating and 48 years of marriage later for a total of 53 years of impressing the “blond-headed guy” with my love of baseball.
Has anything changed? Do we still share the love for the Dodgers? That’s a firm “Yes,” but in a different way.
Pastor Pete still follows the games, checks the scores, and continues to “bleed Dodger blue.’ Me? I listen to Vin Scully’s voice and wish that I could be at Chavez Ravine with a Dodger Dog in my hand, a chocolate malt defrosting under my seat, a pile of peanut shells at my feet, and the blond-headed guy beside me. I might even eat a little broccoli.