I was driving around last week, passively listening to the radio tuned to a local sports station, when I noticed that my body was tingling, I felt a warmth around my heart, and a lightness of spirit all over.
It didn’t take long for me to realize I was coming down with Baseball Fever. It happens every year at this time.
The radio had stirred up all the thoughts and feelings that I tend to suppress during No Baseball Season. That’s not to say that I ignore baseball for those months. Quite the opposite. I use the time to dust off my growing collection of bobble heads, organize my Junior Giants paperwork and photos, decide which team shirts to keep in the rotation, and plan for get-togethers with my Giants family.
In early January, we had the second annual slumber party. Four of us who sit in the same row at AT&T Park went to Catholic school. Not at the same time or place, but we have a bond that is understood by people who learned to spell and diagram sentences under the watchful eyes of women in penguin-style black dresses. Who, by the way, seemed to love baseball. Janet, Joan and Jane have allowed me to join the group event although my name starts with a ‘C’. Since my confirmation name is Judy, I’m Judylyn for the evening. It works.
We talk about our favorite players, discuss season highlights, and predict how the boys will do this summer. We wonder how the new guys will fit in, but know that almost everyone does well under Bochy. And we drink and eat in a way that the nuns would never have approved.
A few weeks later, we needed to get the whole gang together so we’d have the strength to make it to April. We met for lunch at Momo’s. We discussed players, past accomplishments, how we thought the Blue team from the south would do, the changes in Arizona with Tony at the helm now, and our 2016 hopes. After all, this is an even year.
But no signs yet of the Boys of Summer. *sigh*
Fortunately February brought some welcome player sightings in rapid succession. I was finally invited to the Giants Town Hall meeting, and was greeted by Lou Seal. We sat 2 rows behind Buster and got to stare at the back of his head. We heard players talk about the upcoming season. Ah, pure baseball joy!
The next day was Fan Fest, and at a special season ticket autograph session, I got to talk to Buster and Matt and Hunter (the other one). We listened to interviews, walked around the park, and soaked in the ambiance of my second home.
But February had even more surprises. The following weekend was the Junior Giants Commissioners Camp where I met other coordinators and got lots of ideas for our league. The day ended with dinner in the Giants Clubhouse, photos with the trophies, and a turn at the batting cages. Noah Lowry, former Giants pitcher and now a Jr. Giants commissioner, supervised our batting session but I failed to ask for any advice.
Needless to say, it’s harder than it looks. At least my bat touched 2 out of 20 pitching-machine throws. Note the choice of words . . .
I was starting to feel better. The boys were heading to Arizona, and would be back in town soon.
The season officially kicked off a few days ago at the Play Ball Luncheon, a benefit for Junior Giants. And a chance for face time with the boys. They’re looking good, and they’re ready to go!
The season starts Monday for the Giants on the road, and at home on Thursday. On that day, I’ll meet friends at high noon in front of the Field of Dreams quote so Jane can lead everyone in the annual reading of the quote. This sets the tone for the season and reminds us of the hope that baseball brings every year.
At last, the boys are back in town. All is right with the world.