Then read an article I wrote for the Los Angeles Times back in
May, 2000. Baseball runs in my family ...
'When Hot Dogs Sizzled and Bats Cracked'
I don’t remember my first live baseball game, but my mom sure does.
I was only six, but by the middle of the second inning at Yankee Stadium I must have figured something was wrong. These were not the games I watched every weekend with my dad. The action on the field lacked some ingredient. Commercials, of course! When were they going to stop for the commercials? I blurted out.
In that instant I sent a wave of laughter through our section and fell in love with the game.
Afternoons came to mean sand in the bathing suit and Mel Allen’s voice doing Yankee commentary on the radio. The crack of leather against wood mixed with the sizzle of hot dogs on the barbecue. I was the kid who knew the rules, who spoke the lingo. RBI’s, three and two, that ball is going, going, gone.
When my family moved across the country, I still savored the murmur of 50,000 people ordering peanuts and beer. I ran errands up and down Ventura Boulevard to the strains of Dodger Blue. I balanced my checkbook to Vin Scully’s play-by-play.
Then I got married and the music stopped.
My husband played tennis and road mountain bikes. He polished his shoes over an unread sports section. I was never a sports widow. It was awful.
My baseball meditations dwindled down to the minutes spent in front of the bathroom mirror. I put on mascara and caught a few scores on the radio sandwiched between talk shows and stock quotes.
Then last December my oldest daughter announced that she wanted to try her hand at softball. We explained how she would have no free time in her (read: our) schedule. But she was adamant. So we went into enrichment overload.
Every weekend found grandparents, parents and younger sister hunched up behind the backstop at home plate. We cheered on the Fly Girls in their green T-shirts and black slider pads. I controlled my father from heckling the umpire.
My daughter discovered the joys of televised sports. She sat in the family room calling pitches and cheering home runs. When I reminded her about schoolwork, she assured me the game would be over “soon, Mom, soon. It’s the top of the fifth.”
Two weeks ago as guests streamed in for our Passover Seder, my second base/right fielder cradled the remote and booed the umpire during a Braves game. I watched from behind the kitchen counter as I doled out gefilte fish.
When her friends arrived, I reminded my daughter to be a gracious hostess.
It was the bottom of the seventh, a tough call. She screwed up her face to protest. Then realizing she had a compatriot in crime, she jumped up from the sofa. “Tell me who wins,” she said and tossed me the remote.
The next day mother and daughter pulled a squeeze play on dad. I bought four tickets for a game in June. At least my husband likes peanuts and beer.