Living in Pennsylvania all my life, I had never before seen what we baseball fans consider the light at the end of a long, baseball-less tunnel. It’s what we call “spring training,” maybe you’ve heard of it. The trip had been planned a week in advance, but I didn’t get that feeling of being awestruck with childlike wonder until I got out of the car and stood before the gates. Having lived without baseball for four months, Scottsdale Stadium was a dream come true. It’s playing home to the San Francisco Giants for the next few weeks. I don’t even like the Giants, but I had to be there. How else could you possibly imagine spending your Wednesday morning besides watching Buster Posey take BP? And Hunter Pence walked past me. I don’t even like Hunter Pence. But he walked past me.
I know I was supposed to be there on unofficial, official business and I tried my very best to remain composed – at least on the outside. On the inside, I’d say I was a mixture of a one direction fan girl meeting Harry Styles and a little kid running down the aisles of a toy store, pushing all the buttons. It resembled something like this:
“Look at the field! Look at the grass! And the dirt! And look! An official Giants sign! And look over there! Pitchers! And they’re skipping! And doing arm circles! Oh. My. Gosh! There’s Madison Bumgarner! And is that…? It’s Jeff Samardzija! Ugh that hair… And Cueto (Ha remember that time he dropped the ball in the wildcard game against the beloved Pirates? Of course, you do!) And there’s Mark Melancon! Oh my. And – is it true? Do my eyes deceive me? – Island Noodles! I don’t even like Island Noodles. But they’re here too!”
I just wish that there weren’t quite so many people, or at least press people – who even likes them anyway? I know I could’ve done without them. But as for the others that were there, they were all just fans excited to see their team come out of hibernation. Another thing I noticed about them was that most of them seemed to be entering the ninth inning in the game of life – I promise I’m not selling them short or putting expiration dates on them in any way, I’m rather quite fond of extra innings.
I chatted with the usher-looking guy whose purpose was to tell anyone who approached him that that was far enough and you can’t go past here – what people usually do when they don’t want to share food. He was a lifelong Giants fan named Gary and, from what I could tell, he was living the childhood dream we all have once we’ve committed ourselves to the game. He was very nice. I wouldn’t want his job though. Being that close to your favorite team every day and not being able to interact for fear of getting fired. That’s not something I’d want, but Gary seemed happy and that’s all that matters because that’s what baseball’s for.
But like all good things, this day came to an end, and far too soon, but one simply cannot stop the rain just by throwing a dirty look up at the sky – believe me, I’ve tried. I could’ve stayed forever. But this is just the beginning and there’s much more to come.