YOU PLAY BALL LIKE A GIRL!

Most people assume I’m quiet, timid, and conservative all the time . . . until they watch a Yankees game with me.  People say there’s two sides to every story, and there’s definitely two sides to me: the shy, unassuming seamstress, and the outspoken, opinionated woman who always likes to come out and play for a baseball game.  Since I was named after the Brooklyn Dodgers, I had no choice but to learn the game and while I’m not an avid fan, I find I have moments of being passionate about the sport.  I don’t read the stats or understand exactly what the meaning of “two games out” means, but if you want to know if I have an opinion on inter-league play or putting a salary cap on baseball, I absolutely do.  As a kid I was no stranger to T-ball or softball, and my sister and I could tell you all our favorite scenes from “Major League,” “The Sandlot,” and “A League of Their Own.”  Even though we weren’t skilled softball players, my dad still loves to watch us play on old video recordings and cheer us on.

Petco Park

While it’s not my primary focus to attend a game, I decide to reconnect with my childhood by spending an evening at Petco Park.  Since it’s my first time arranging a trip on the Trolley, I anxiously await my arrival and look out the window and begin to see parts of San Diego that are familiar to me from a previous visit several years ago.  It amuses me how it seemed so far away, yet now that I can see where I once was, I feel as if that last visit was only a day ago.  As I leave the Trolley and head to the stadium, I’m very attracted to Petco Park’s unique look.  It doesn’t have that steel frame look, and instead it has a tiled texture of rust and a light tan.  I’m impressed with the shrubbery hanging down from the top and the water trickling down from the wall by the entrance.  While I enjoy reminiscing about seeing a game as a kid at the older stadiums like Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, I am impressed with the modern look mixed with an old-fashioned brick building nestled across the field from me.

Normally when I eat out I’m always ordering the dairy-free, sometimes gluten-free, no meat dish (yes, I’m one of those people), but I decide you only live once and my family history will destine me for high cholesterol anyways, so I go in search of a hot dog.  I’m used to only having hot dogs, crackerjacks, peanuts, popcorn, and beer as menu options at the ballpark, but nowadays it seems you can find just about anything.  I’ve seen many different options from veggie dogs to barbeque to sushi.  While all of these items sound tempting, I tend to stick to the traditional menu, otherwise I don’t see the point of being at a ballpark.  As I enjoy my hot dog covered with mustard and relish, I’m fueled with the intention of enjoying and critiquing the strategy of this game.

Home Plate copy

As the game continues, I find I am definitely not the only one who has opinions about the game.  The crowd is small, but everyone stands up and cheers every base hit and stolen base and jeers at every questionable umpire decision.  On my hot dog quest, a fan dressed in a brown monk’s robe and rope belt yells, “LET’S GO PADRES!” as he makes his rounds through the stadium.  All of this activity is no different from my work in theatre.  The field is much like a stage where performers tell a story, or in some ways play a game.  While most people think of needing a star in order for a show to be a hit, nothing could be farther from the truth because without a supportive cast and effective crew, the show sparkles only so long.  The same is true in baseball, for a star player can help a team, but without a strong foundation of infielders and outfielders, the team can only succeed to a certain level.  In the end, both rely on strategy, focus, and a strong sense of teamwork in order to receive a loud applause from eager fans.

Tonight is no exception from these principles as the Padres use several stolen bases, multiple RBIs, and bunting to win the game.  As I watch the players, I think back to my days in the outfield with my knees bent ready to catch a fly ball.  Nowadays you could toss me a small object and I flinch at something flying at my face.  I’ve given up trying to toss something to someone else, since it always seems to bounce off to the opposite corner of the room in a dark abyss.  Despite my flawed athletic skills, I can quickly settle into predicting an umpire’s calls or make a judgement call on whether or not a team should purposely walk a batter to strike out the next player.  I will always enjoy the excitement and character baseball has brought to my life.  I may be meek and timid like a mouse, but if you ever want to see my inner dragon unleashed, take me to a baseball game with the Yankees as the opposing team.  I may play ball like a girl, but I watch the game as a loudly cheering fan.

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