In a previous life (a few years ago), I was single. One Friday night, I got hold of my company’s tickets to the Durham Bulls minor league baseball game. I invited five friends to join me and left all their tickets at Will Call, because I really enjoy arriving early and relaxing and watching the field crew prep the field. (Plus I was hoping I might be approached before the game by the promotions staff; I’ve always wanted to put on one of those inflated suits and sumo-wrestle one of my friends.)
My company’s seats are a few rows up from the visiting team’s dugout, or as I always like to tell people, “behind the third baseman’s butt.” So I was sitting there enjoying the weather and decided to call my friend Jill, who lived in another state. As I was talking to her, I watched one of the visiting team’s players walking by on the field, and I said, “Jill, I think this guy is looking at me.”…
But then I thought, “Nahhhhhh.”
Later, during the game, I noticed that another of the visiting team players kept turning around all the time, looking into the stands. I didn’t know if he was looking at me some of the time, but he sure kept turning around a lot. So I said to my single chick friend Jen, “Number 34 keeps turning around. What the hell is that about?” But we really didn’t pay much attention to the visiting team otherwise, except that Jen, a Yankees fan, noted that they were the farm team for the Yankees. Being single chicks, we were more interested in the home team players, whose photos we were checking out in the game program. Unfortunately, we didn’t find any of them very attractive, and to our great disappointment, our third baseman’s butt wasn’t even all that great.
So the game ended, the home team did not win, but not wanting the evening to be a total loss, I managed to convince everyone to go out for a beer at a nearby Irish pub. Jen agreed but made me promise not to let her stay out past midnight because she had to work in the morning.
At the pub, Jen and I entertained the others with tales of our escapades in bars with bass players, hockey players, and other playas, but by midnight, everyone was ready to go home, so they all left. Everyone but Jen, of course, who still had half a beer left.
We decided to leave our table and mosey on into the bar area, where Jen would finish her beer and we thought maybe we might find some boys with accents. We had noticed on previous visits some accented guys who hung out there. Well, unfortunately, there was no room for us to sit at the bar, but we found some space to stand by the wall -- only there were two full beers on the ledge there where we wanted to stand. Not wanting to usurp somebody else’s space, I looked around to try to figure out who the beers belonged to. I asked the tall guy standing next to me if they were his.
“No. It’s yours,” he said.
So I stood there and started noticing and pointing out to Jen some specimens of nice noses on the guys in the bar. It related to an earlier conversation – I have a thing for nice noses, ok? It’s an illness. But I was trying to point out what constitutes a nice nose. In doing so, I also started to notice not only nice noses but nice faces at the bar, too. And they all seemed to know each other.
Next thing I know, the guy next to me leans over and says something like, “You guys come in here a lot?”
Me: “No, not really. We were just at the Bulls game and we decided to come here after.”
Guy: “Oh. Who won the game?”
Me: “The other team.”
Guy: “Who were they playing?”
Silly Me: “Oh, some farm team for the Yankees. Probably don’t make half as much money.”
Guy: “Oh. Because we’re ballplayers for that other team.”
My first notion was that he was bullshitting me, but I instantly realized that would explain all the tall, healthy, nice-looking men. So I just started laughing at myself, all embarrassed.
The guy kept asking what I was laughing at all the time. “Are you laughing at me?”
“No,” I said, “I just think it’s funny I was watching the game all night totally oblivious and...here you are.”
He told me his name was Brad.
I got bolder and told him that baseball was the first sport that I liked – until it was quickly surpassed by hockey. Apparently, this offended him.
He said, “Hockey?! What’s that? What the hell’s hockey?!”
I said, “Dude, a hockey player would KICK. YOUR. ASS.” (He was kinda tall and lanky.)
Brad: “Yeah, but they can’t throw 90.”
Me: “No, but they can SHOOT 90, and I bet you can’t. And besides that, they could KICK. YOUR. ASS.”
Meanwhile, Jen had sat down at an empty seat at the bar and was talking to another player. I thought she had heard Brad when he told me they were the ballplayers, but she didn’t. Nevertheless, she managed to make a much better first impression than I did. When the guy next to her at the bar asked, “You havin’ a good time?” she must have mentioned going to the game. When he asked her how the game went, she said, “Well, pretty good for me; I’m a Yankee fan.”
It turns out that her guy was Canadian and had also played hockey growing up. He agreed with me that a hockey player would kick Brad’s ass.
Well, I started to look around at the other players in the bar. I noticed a guy who looked like # 34, the one who had seemed to be glancing into the crowd all night during the game. So I said to Brad, “Is that guy there 34?”
Brad: “I don’t know how old he is.”
Me: “No, I mean, is he NUMBER 34?”
Brad: “I don’t know. Hey Sam, what number are you?”
Brad points to me and says, “She recognized you from the game.” Then to me Brad says, accusatorily, “Why, do you like him?”
Me: “No. I just noticed that he kept turning around and looking at everybody.”
Brad [accusatory]: “Was he looking at you?”
Me: “I don’t know! Maybe. I don’t know!”
Brad: “You know, baseball is a lot slower than hockey. That’s what we do; we get bored and look for the hot chicks in the stands. Where were you sitting?”
Me: “Behind the third baseman’s butt.”
Brad: “Oh, that’s my roommate! Jeff, come here. She says she was staring at your butt.”
Could I possibly get any more embarrassed?
Jeff the third baseman says, “Oh, yeah? Well how is it?”
Me: “You know, I don’t remember; I was mostly looking at the BULLS third baseman’s butt. Maybe if you turn around and show it to me right now– ”
So Jeff turns around and shows me his butt.
Me, rather stunned: “Yep. That’s a pretty nice one.”
Jeff: “I remember you.”
Me: “Yeah right.”
Jeff: “You were sitting at the end of our dugout.”
Thinking he must have just heard me say that I sat near third base, I said, “I don’t believe you.”
Jeff: “Yeah, there was a girl on your right and a guy on your left.”
Thinking he must just be guessing now, I asked: “What color hat was I wearing?”
Holy shit! The guy saw me in the stands? Was this the guy who was looking at me when I was on the phone with Jill before the game??!! He was really cute.
But I felt somewhat sorry for Brad, who seemed to be getting jealous. So, trying to flaunt my fabulously encyclopedic knowledge of baseball, I said to Brad, “Yeah, I don’t like the designated hitter.”
Brad: “Him?” He points to the guy talking to Jen.
Me: “No! I mean, as a principle.”
Me: “I just think, you know, you need to play both offense and defense.”
Brad: “You’re saying basically you think the pitcher should hit?”
Brad: “I’m the pitcher.”
Oops! It turns out that he’d been the starting pitcher for the first five innings, and I had no idea.
Well, I just kept right on offending him all night. It seemed to be working for me. Beers and shots kept magically appearing before me whether I wanted them or not.
Naturally enough, I became bolder as the night (and the drinks) wore on. I boasted, all proud-like, “You know, I keep stats for the company softball team.”
Brad: “Why don’t you play?”
Me: “Um, well, let’s just say I’m better at keeping stats.”
At some point, I remembered my promise to Jen, and I teased her, “Um, it’s well past midnight; don’t you need to leave?”
“Uh, no. Shut the fuck up.” she said.
I figure Brad had at least three beers and two shots in the span of about an hour. Or I guess maybe almost two hours. Then, he was smoking. He’s an athlete for chrissakes! I totally ribbed him about it, but he said he was the pitcher and he didn’t have to work for four or five more days. He knew he was leading the good life.
Well, the bar was closing, and next thing you know, Jen and I are standing on the street with half a dozen baseball players. Brad clearly did not want the evening to end. It occurred to me that he was really young. So I asked. He was said he was 23. Twenty-three! The players started to guess our ages. They thought I was 27. I said, “Yeah, let’s go with that.” But eventually I admitted I was 35. They didn’t buy it. I was flattered.
As the pub was several blocks from their hotel, Jen and I offered them a ride. One of them at least (I think # 34) walked back, so I thought we could accommodate the rest. Jen said she could only handle one passenger, due to all the dog stuff in her vehicle. So I thought I could take four. I had fit five people into my Volkswagen New Beetle before. But when two of them crawled into the back, it was obvious there was no way in hell my back seat was going to fit three six-foot athletes. I think one of them ended up riding in the back of Jen’s car with the dog crates.
In my car was a guy from the Dominican Republic who seemed really sweet. Also along was the cutie pie third baseman Jeff (Brad’s roommate). And of course Brad had shotgun. I ended up having to drive around the block several times because I was just going to drop them off, but of course Brad wanted me to park. Meanwhile, somebody in the back seat was checking my ID, not believing I was 35. Somebody back there said, “Man! What is a hot, sexy 35-year-old doing never having been married?!”
“THANK YOU!!!!” I gushed, now completely consumed with disbelief in the situation and the total unexpected wackiness of the Universe. I’m sure I glowed in the dark.
We finally pulled into the parking garage, and everybody piled out. I was trying to figure out what to do – was Jen going home? I got out of my car to ask her, and then she pointed out that all the other guys (besides Brad, who was still hanging around me) were taking a leak right there in the garage! So I looked over, but not before jealous Brad yelled, “Quit looking at his penis!”
I wonder if that parking garage had surveillance cameras?
Well, most of the guys ran off for the hotel, but Brad was waiting around for me. Jen was bummed that her guy had taken off, too, but she needed to pee, and Brad was very willing to take us up to his room so that she could.
I have a vague memory of walking past the hotel desk clerk with Brad’s arm around me, feeling really really slutty.
We got to the door of his room, and he was about to have me go in first, but I was concerned that his roommate could be in there naked or something. What the hell was I thinking?! Why didn’t I just barge in and ask for forgiveness later?!! Because, yeah, we walked in, and there was Jeff, shirtless. Hhhhhhhhhhadjkkkkk!
Jeff put on a shirt, and Jen went to pee. God knows why, but Brad took OFF his shirt, and…OMG, what was I doing there? He was TWELVE years younger than me. He had no chest hair.
Well, the TV was on – tuned to a sports channel, of course – and on it, there was an athlete being interviewed. His answers sounded really corny, so I said to Brad and Jeff, “You boys been practicing your clichés?” If you’ve seen Bull Durham, you know what I was referring to.
So they chimed in, “Yeah, you mean like, ‘I’m just happy to be here. I’m gonna give it 110 percent, and the good Lord willing, everything will work out alright in the end.’?”
I started looking at the game program, which I had brought in from my car. Although it didn’t have pictures of the visiting team, it did have their stats.
I said to Jeff, “You ain’t no six-foot-two!”
I walked over to him physically and then backtracked verbally, “Yessssss, you are.”
He really looked like he was ready for bed, and Jen was out of the bathroom and wanting to leave, but Brad was having none of it. I noticed he had the same cell phone as mine, so I started to look at the gallery of photos in it, but he took it away really quickly and forwarded to a picture of his grandmother. Why am I thinking there were photos of another girl in there? And more importantly, WHY DIDN’T IT OCCUR TO ME TO TAKE A PICTURE?
Well, it was clearly about to get really awkward in there, so I said we had to go. Brad put on his shirt and I thought maybe he’d walk us out to the cars. But he stopped at the elevator, and Jen went down to the lobby without me.
Brad was all like, “Don’t you want to stay?”
I go, “Uh, yeah, I think that would be kind of weird.” Especially considering that his roommate, whom I found more attractive, was in the room.
Brad: “We can go to your place....”
Me: “That’s like 30 minutes away.” (And it was already 3 a.m.)
He attempted to convince me with his lips, and I remember wondering if there were surveillance cameras in the hallway there, but mercifully, my cell phone rang. I picked up and heard Jen’s voice:
“GET YOUR ASS DOWN HERE!!!!”
So, that was that. I got in the elevator and left.
Why didn’t I take him up on his offer? I guess that’s the wisdom of a wicked 35-year-old witch.
But still, I spent the weekend giggling to myself: “Some farm team for the Yankees – probly don’t make half as much money.”