From what I can tell, most of the savvy people who read this blog couldn't care less about professional sports. But "writing to my audience" isn't one of my great strengths, so I'm still going to tell you that I am very excited that baseball opening day is this weekend.
(Caveat: No sports knowledge needed to enjoy the rest of this post, I promise.)
Actually, maybe I'm more excited about the idea of opening day than about opening day itself.* Because the one team I really root for, the Orioles, has almost no hope. And although I enjoy the occasional trip to Dodger Stadium, I spent most of my time at Dodgers games last year watching drunken assholes threaten to beat each other up (last half of this post, for example), which is sort of a waste of time.
So to celebrate the beginning of another baseball season, I was trying to come up with an inspiring baseball story for you, and the closest I could get was this fond football-related memory. It'll have to do:
In the early 1980s, my grandfather had a work-related connection that enabled him to become friendly with several New York Jets players and the Jets' head coach, Walt Michaels. Once, as a present, he got Coach Michaels to sign a green-and-white business card that proclaimed me an honorary assistant coach.
I probably still have that card somewhere - because I still have approximately everything I ever owned during the 80s - but at the time, I carried it with me everywhere. You know, just in case I needed to impress the ladies.**
This was back when the Colts were where they belonged - in Baltimore - and for a few years in a row, my grandfather would come visit us when the New York Jets were in town to treat my family to a game. One time, we were running kind of late, and we arrived at Memorial Stadium seconds before kickoff. Every parking spot within a mile of the stadium would be filled. We were facing a long walk and the prospect of missing critical Jets-Colts action.
Driving the family Buick, my grandfather ignored all of the LOT FULL signs and brazenly pulled into the stadium's VIP lot, which seemed odd because not only was it reserved for VIPs, but, as you know, it was full.
His left hand on the steering wheel, he stuck his right toward me in the back seat. "Do you still have your assistant coach card?" he asked. I reached into my wallet and pressed the card into his palm, just as we pulled up to a confused parking attendant.
"Here," my grandfather said, shoving my very unofficial credential into the guy's face. "I'm a Jets assistant coach. Need to get in right away!" My grandfather looked back at me and winked.
The attendant quickly handed the card back and pointed us to a vacant spot just yards away from the stadium entrance. We were in our seats for the opening kickoff.
I don't remember anything else about the game, but it's hard to forget that kick-ass parking spot.
SFTC Shoutout: A quick thanks to SFTC's newest "Followers" (sounds cultish, but really isn't). Thrilled to have you aboard the SFTC train this week. When we have our almost-inevitable IPO, you'll obviously cash in big time.*** If you haven't signed up yet, please do. I think you just have to click the "follow" button in the box near the top of the right column over there >>>
It's free, it's fun and it tastes great!
* I think I'm bastardizing a phrase from When Harry Met Sally here. If you can confirm, please do.
** This didn't work.
*** Technically, I don't think that really makes sense, and the IPO is probably not so much "inevitable" as it is "not even a remote possibility," but the point is that I'm glad you're among the first to show your faces (or joysticks, as the case may be) on the site.