Those years from pony to AAA are lean years playing in small towns traveling from game to game in a hot bus late at night or early in the morning. The players get squat for pay.
In the early 80's I was living in Charlotte, NC which, at the time, was home to the Charlotte O's which was the AA team of the Baltimore Orioles. I was a season ticket holder. The stadium was an old wooden one in a neighborhood about a mile from my own. I sat in Section F with the other season ticket holders there. We were a family. Such great fun.
And we loved those players. I lived in a house with a swimming pool so about once a week, we'd have a pool party for any and all players who wanted to come. And we fed them hot dogs - by the fucking truck load. Those boys could eat.
They were so young and so eager and so hopeful. One of the ones who was a regular at our pool was Cal Ripkin, Jr. who went on to garner a bit o' baseball fame. He was as nice as you could imagine. Another one who played center field and had the best baseball name EVER was a guy named Drungo LaRue Hazewood. He was adorable, sweet and funny. He made it to the big leagues for about a minute. And died young-ish of cancer.
I had a 14 year old stepson who thought he wanted to be a pitcher. The manager of the team - who had been a pitcher - would give him pointers and work out with him in the back yard. SO SO SO nice.
Anyway... This whole entry is because of a tweet I just read. The Everett Aqua Sox are the A team of the Seattle Mariners. They are in the playoffs and they are getting to play their first playoff game in the Mariners ball park tomorrow night. Those kids must just be beside themselves in anticipation. I cannot imagine. What a very fun thing for them to get to do. Kudos Mariners.
I won't be there because I have an early hot chicken date with ljtourist. He called a little bit ago looking for swimming pool info and we talked ourselves into dinner at Henry's Chicken Joint with Ma'ono's Fried Chicken & Whiskey as a backup in case Henry's is crowded or closed or something.
I made a couple of dolls and some chocolate chip cupcakes (not pictured and not fancy - Paul and Mary would turn their noses up instantly but I don't care).
Baseball game tonight.