Take me out to the ball game

I think there are only three things America will be known for 2,000 years from now when they study this civilization: the Constitution, jazz music and baseball.
Gerald Early

Am I really writing about sports? It feels strange, but I think I can do this.

My Dad loved baseball, so, well, thus, I loved baseball. I grew up in Albuquerque. We had no Major League baseball, but we had an AAA team, the Albuquerque Dukes (Now the Isotopes). They were the LA Dodgers' farm team. So we felt connected to the Dodgers, even if only like the little brother of the Homecoming King feels connected to greatness. My first job was selling snow cones, cotton candy, and peanuts at Dukes games when I was 12. I felt really important. I loved being at the ball park. And I learned to enjoy watching games.

We went to LA for a summer trip when I was 13 and we went to a Dodgers game. And I learned to love the Dodgers even more than I already did. Especially in the late 70s and early 80s when the Dodgers played the Yankees in several World Series. I learned to hate the Yankees. I learned how to read MLB baseball columns in the newspaper and it felt grown-up to be able to understand it all. I also learned that the National League was good and the American league was bad. Oh, and Democrats were good and Republicans were bad. Oh, and once I played little league for a year and then as a teenager played church soft ball, but all I learned is that I wasn't cut out to be a baseball player (terrible hitter, bored to tears in left field) and despite that I still loved baseball.

In my early 20s I moved to New York for a few years. It was the first time I lived in a city with an MLB team. It was exciting. Before I knew it I had started to follow the Yankees. Soon I went to a few games at that old incredible baseball park. One of those nights I bought my first baseball cap. I started calling myself a Yankees fan. It was hard to tell my parents. (Although, considering the number of things I had to reveal to them, this was a very small thing). Still, I think it was hard for my father to accept. Was my attachment to the Yankees another version of separating myself from all I'd been raised with?

In my mid 20s I moved to Los Angeles for a few years. I already loved the Dodgers. It was quite easy for me to slip back into a relationship with them. I went to a couple of games. I love that stadium too. I eventually ended up living just a couple of miles from it. Unfortunately, It was not a great time for the Dodgers and they didn't make the playoffs or play in the World Series. Still, I rediscovered my earlier orientation and I became realigned with the National League and the way that involves seeing the Yankees as part of the axis of evil.

In my 30s I moved to Philadelphia. I had never thought much about the Phillies. Weren't they just cheap cigars that people hollowed out and filled with weed? It was only a matter of time before I became attached to this under-dog of a team. Had it really been 25 years since any professional team here had won a National title? The losingest city in America? Well, darn it if that isn't a great story-line. We went and saw a game in the brand new stadium that opened up five years ago. I couldn't resist. I became a fan. I started learning the players' names and their stories. I started getting my hopes up. In 2007, we made the playoffs. And in 2008 (as most of you know) we won the World Series! It was a phenomenal experience. The street party was incredible. And the parade went right down Broad Street–50 feet from the house. We went to the roof and watched it stream by on a gorgeous fall day.

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And here we are. A year later, and the Phillies are in the World Series again. It's really exciting. But isn't it funny? Look, there are my two other teams in the running. Sadly, the Phillies had to battle the Dodgers to get to the World Series. It's a real bummer. And truth be told, a Dodgers vs.Yankees World Series would have been the best line-up. It's been a long time since those teams met and that is such an old exciting rivalry, a rivalry that played out during my formative baseball years. Plus, I'm a bit of a socialist when it comes to national championships–spread the wealth, you know. So I kind of wanted the Dodgers to win the series. Shhh! Don't tell.

But, BUT. In 106 years in baseball, the Phillies have only met the Yankees once in the World Series–and lost. They are the only team of the original eight National League teams who have not beat the Yankees in the World Series. This may sound like a ridiculous thing, but there is a lot of historic shame in this fact. A Phillies' win needs to happen to make things right in the world. Don't you think?

Most important, though: The Yankees (Baseball's team with by far the most World Series wins (26 total. Aye, aye, aye!)) must lose!

Exciting few days ahead. Don't miss 'em!

A couple other weird things I've thought of recently: If I were a stewardess, who on these teams would I secretly want to do in the bathroom? Isn't baseball awesome the way you can just stare at close-ups of an athlete's face and body–especially in HD? Kind of like tennis. That Cole Hamels is a babe. And I'm partial to Chase Utley. But how bout that Alex Rodriguez? He's quite a hunk, huh? Those eyes, that body. I can see why Madonna wanted a piece of that. The stewardess question helps keep the boring parts amusing.

How about those pitching box graphics and the ball velocity thing and the sportscasters talking about which pitch would be best to throw? Really makes watching the game a lot more interesting. Sure wish they had all that stuff when I was a kid.

What's up with some of those Yankees wearing the high socks thing? Very old school. Is this a new trend? I hope not. Anything else you've noticed about these playoff games? I love this time of year–even when the Phillies aren't in the World Series. Yeah, October!


18 responses to “Take me out to the ball game”

  1. lane says:

    hey this is exciting, i just saw the news, PHILLIES! very cool.

    i love any new york team that wins, i don’t really care. so i know it’s cooler to hate the yankees, and MANY new yorkers HATE the yankees, but i don’t. the street party is always so fun. mets, yankees, whatever.

    (nothing will ever top the giants superbowl in 2008.)

    and finally . . . “if i were a stewardess . . .” ?

  2. ScottyGee says:

    As a kid (mostly through osmosis) I became a Yankees fan. As a teen I lost interest, but got swept up in the ’86 Mets World Series. Through most of my 20s I didn’t watch any sports, but when I moved back east in ’98 I started watching the Yankees with my dad — I was crashing at his house over the summer, and it just seemed natural to watch games together. He was much more of a National League kind of guy, but we bonded over laughing at Paul O’Neill’s temper tantrums at the plate, and Tino Martinez’s seemingly endless grace.

    This year, I’ve found myself interested in baseball again when I realized that there are still a few players on the Yankees that were playing on the ’98 team. Silly, I know, but it’s nice to feel a connection to a bygone time through seeing Jeter batting or Rivera pitching. So I’m rooting for the Bronx Bombers. The really funny thing, however, is that if my dad were still alive, I’m sure he’d be rooting for the Phillies.

  3. Rachel says:

    Farrell, I have zero to say on the topic of baseball, but hearing you talk about sports is kind of foxy.

    What’s your take on Johnny Damon? Stewardess material, or no? (It was over for me when he left the Red Sox & shaved.)

  4. Dave says:

    Yeah, I’d say I lean towards the Mets when I pay attention (the Yankees don’t need another fan), but I can’t root against a New York team. Still, the party on Broad Street would be pretty cool if the Phillies took it.

    Baseball is 1000x more interesting in the post-season.

  5. In high school I worked as a cameraman for a local television station, and was able to shoot pioneer league Dodgers games in Great Falls, Montana. That was a ton of fun. I was born in NYC, so I picked the Mets as my official team. I’m not a big baseball fan, but as Dave points out, the post-season is a ton of fun. Anyone can pony up enough commitment to the sport to be a post-season fan.

    Baseball is so much cooler in HD. Last night Susan and I went for a run down by the beach, then walked into a sports bar for burgers and to watch our beloved Dodgers get finished off by your Phillies. Congrats, Farrell! But I can’t help to think that the series would have been entirely different had Broxton not effed up so bad in the bottom of the ninth in the previous game… he was one freaking pitch away from tying up the series, and then it would have been 3:2, and the teams would have headed back to Dodgers Stadium. Damn, that was harsh!

  6. trixie says:

    farrell, i like reading your posts and realizing that you are even more adorable than i already thought you were.

  7. Tim says:

    While I really love that you have written about baseball, Farrell, I’m a life-long Dodger fan and just can’t talk so much about this right now. I about had an aneurysm on Monday night when Broxton blew that game.

  8. Tim says:

    farrell, i like reading your posts and realizing that you are even more adorable than i already thought you were.

    Okay, that’s the cutest comment ever. Get an airplane bathroom!

  9. lane says:

    any one give a shit about the angels?

    i don’t but you other california people? gene autry? anahiem? all that?

    they are like the mets in ny.

  10. Jeremy says:

    To answer your question, Lane, I’m pretty indifferent to the Angels; I am definitely rooting for them against the Yankees, but I would certainly be cheering on the Phillies against the Angels (even if three of my favorite people didn’t live there), although they’re not going to win. People in Orange County tend to like the Angels, including many of my students.

    It is fun to read your take on baseball, Farrell, though this post also made me wonder–do the, uhhh, revelers who knocked down your streetlight make you more or less excited to root for your home team?

  11. Natasha says:

    Yes, Lane, my 5 year old son is a huge fan. He writes the first letter of his name ( “A” ) with a circle on top. We try to make as many games as we can. He plans to play for them, when he grows up. Although I support anything he chooses to do, I am gently trying to redirect him to consider the Dodgers or… his own band, since I’m redirecting…

  12. lane says:

    yeah, i though some of you were out there in Angels land.

  13. swells says:

    The Angels creep me out, as do professional sports in general, but Scotty and I were JUST having a convo the other night about the foxiness of Bucky Dent. Now THERE’s a stewardess’ high-flyin’ dream! And my current unsporting attitude is certainly not lifelong, because in the late ’70s I was absolutely the biggest fan the Dodgers ever had. I have folders full of box scores and articles that I cut out and marked up. Probably about the same time you were a Dodger fan, Farrell, with that killer infield. I was ALL about the NL in the sevs and could practically name every player in the NL (plus the dreaded Yankees, who are also still totally sevs to me–Graig Nettles, Thurman Munson, all that). That to me is baseball’s heyday! (hey, who moved my dentures?)

    Also, Farrell, you are the sexiest stewardess I could ever imagine.

  14. Stella says:

    #3 – i was all over johnny in the halcyon sox days…and stunned that he joined the yankees — if nothing else, he should leave so he can regrow that facial hair.

  15. farrell fawcett says:

    Dear Lane, you are right about “stewardess,” I should have referred to myself as flight attendant. gender neutrality above all–even in my skirt.

    Rachel and Stella–yes, it’s a real shame about johnny. He’s just not sexy like that. I hope he grows a pair. Beard and long hair, again.

    Rogan and Tim, I’m sorry about Monday night and your aneurysms and Broxton harshing your mellows. You’re right. That series changed entirely with that one hit. It would be much more fun to have another two games in LA–and an ultimate LA victory.

    JZ, Philly, like every city, has it’s share of knuckle-heads. It was weird though, last night, being so close to senseless vandalism. Wish I’d made a video. Fwiw, the traffic light is back up today though and working fine.

    swells, oh yes, we could talk. Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Ron Cey. These were the Dodgers who I got to know. Two of them were Dukes. For sure, those were halcyon years. And yes, Bucky Dent was a stone cold fox. I’m getting my pantyhose wet just thinking about him.

  16. lane says:

    thank you, bravely put.

    now return to the mosh pit.

  17. Stewardess says:

    Andre Ethier is pretty foxy too.

  18. South West Air flight attendant says:

    Total babe. I once “served” Andre on a flight. With four day scruff. Yumm. And so polite, he blew me too. Shame he’s not going to the Series. He makes watching those games so much better.