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Monday, May 21, 2012

Take Me Out to the Ballgame...A Not So Instant Replay

In the absence of our Fearless Leader, who is drowning on the links at the Atlantic City Golf Club for the 28th Annual Ron Jaworski Celebrity Golf Challenge, the underling is filling in with a re-posting of story she wrote for The Daily Bark in 2010.

I walked into my friend’s house the other day and her son the cop, who’s 30-something, was watching television.  We said hello to each other and then he abruptly turned back to the TV.  I took a look-see and he was watching one of my favorite shows, “Pardon the Interruption” on ESPN.

“Uh, gee, is that Michael Wilbon?” I asked.  He slowly turned his head and just kind of stared at me.

“Yes, actually, it is,” he replied.  “I’m surprised you know that,” he said as he turned back to the TV.  The camera switched and I pounced.

“And THAT’S Tony Kornheiser!” I said.  A huge smile spread across his face…along with some shock.

“OK, now I am impressed.  I mean it.  That’s really impressive.”  He continued on to say that he never met a “girl” who knew anything about announcers, sports, etc.   Yeah right, buddy, ‘cause we’re busy reading Cosmo!  I decided to pull out my big gun.

“You know, Mike, I even play Golden Tee.”  A huge smile spread across his face.

“No way!”  It was a classic girl-beats-guy moment until my friend yelled from the other room, “Do you even know what Golden Tee is, Mike?”  There was a brief moment of solidarity as we both looked at each other and rolled our eyes.

“Of course, he does!”  I yelled to her as I shook my head.  I turned back to Mike and he was, once again, staring all glassy, pie-eyed at Kornheiser and Wilbon.  Moment passes by in a flash…

Yeah, so I am a girl.  I love to wear pretty underwear, and prefer dresses and skirts to pants.  I don’t leave the house without makeup…even when going to the beach.  I like to go out with my BFF and get a mani/pedi…right before we head to our new “go-to” place for an Irish Car Bomb, a round of Grey Goose Gimlets, and a go at the Golden Tee machine.  I prefer trivia games, cold beer, and sports bars to mah-jong, wine spritzers, and tapas bars.  I decorated our pool room:  there’s a Fenway sign; a photo of my son’s running the bases at Nationals’ Park; a photo of Wrigley Stadium I took while on a road trip with my college roommate; and about half a dozen books on baseball and stadiums.  On my bucket list:  visit the stadiums of my favorite teams and get Chase Utley to autograph one of my photographs.

Here’s the deal:  I love sports.  I love the competition.  I love the beauty of the movement; the squeak of the sneakers as my Villanova Wildcats run up and down the court; the roar of the crowd when the Eagles win and the equally loud “Boos” when our QB’s pass doesn’t complete.  I love watching the puck race over the ice and boy, oh, boy, I absolutely LOVE when the gloves go down and the Flyers fight.  The form of a pitcher throwing a ball is a thing of beauty and I am fascinated by the stance of any player at bat…I can spend an entire game photographing the pitchers and batters and then hours examining them…and I do.
Cole Hamels on the mound against the Washington Nationals 8/1/10

Stats?  Eh, yeah…no…not so much.

Sure, I love the trivia part:

Cal Ripkin, Jr. tied Lou Gehrig’s home run record one night and his consecutive game record the next.  That’s cool.

Mike Schmidt once hit a baseball off a speaker hanging over 100 feet above the field and 200 feet from home plate at the Astrodome.  Can you say HOMERUN???

Philly-born, Roy Campanella’s first major league game was also the last game ever played at the Brooklyn Dodger’s Ebbets Field.  See, to me, that’s synchronicity.

In the 1972 season, the Phillies only won 59 games, 27 of which were won for the Phils by Steve Carlton.  Where was the rest of the team that year?

In 1975 I started high school and used to watch a really cute boy play baseball, hoping he’d notice me.  He didn’t.  He went on to play with the LA Dodgers.  Who is he?  Angels manager, Mike Scioscia.  Now I watch him on TV.

January 11, 1981:  In near-Artic temperatures, my beloved Eagles beat the Dallas Cowboys 20-7 to win the NFC Championship game.  I was there and still have my ticket stub.  It was about 5 above zero, but you wouldn’t know it at the Vet!  There were guys behind us without their shirts on…I think they were the founders of “The 700 Level Club.”

Some of my all-time favorite movies are “The Natural,” “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” and “Invincible.”  Why?  Because they’re all about the little guy making it against all the odds.

Ryan Howard at bat against the Washington Nationals 4/12/11
Stats just don’t do it for me.  I couldn’t care less what Ryan Howard’s at-bat stats are (.275).  I just like to watch him hit that ball.  He is a beast at the plate and when I watch him swing, I can see the power coming off him from his head all the way to his feet.  I love photographing that.

It doesn’t matter to me if Chase Utley drops the ball (OK, well, yeah, it really does) as long as I get to watch him run, slide, whatever…he’s so damned hot to watch!

When I watch the Phils play (sadly, only from Nationals Stadium these days), I’m not watching for errors.  I’m watching form.  I’m watching for speed.  Sure, I want to know why a play fails, but I actually like watching HOW it fails more than I want to know why.

Maybe it’s another guy-girl thing.  Maybe I am a hopeless romantic and don’t even know it?  I think my best date would be sitting in a REALLY great sports bar with a guy who is willing to listen to me wax poetic on what I love about a particular sport or team AND who then – genuinely and in a fun way - helps me understand the stats, who’s a better player and why.

Here's a news flash guys:  there are lots of girls out there like me.  We love sports as much as you don't count us out or roll your eyes, or even act surprised when we express an interest or show even a cursory knowledge of a sport.  Instead, embrace it and us...then take us out to the ballgame!!! 

Originally posted 6/27/2010 on The Daily Bark, owned by Bark Tees.  Visit them at
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