Back during my college days, I used to do a different sort of writing. I wrote articles for a student newspaper at the University of Virginia. I accepted every article proposal that came my way. Student functions? I covered those. A new facility for housing dusty library books? Yep. That was my scoop.
One day, my editor called me to show his appreciation. In return for having taken every crappy assignment that was handed to me, he had a special gig to send my way – attend a baseball fundraiser auction and interview the two speakers, John Grisham and Tommy Lasorda! What wannabe fiction writer would not want to interview John Grisham – the Lord of Legal Thrillers? Yeah. I wanted that gig.
So my first order of business was to call my in-house baseball aficionado.
“What is John Grisham’s connection to baseball?”
Note, this was before the internet was the internet we know and love today, but who needed internet when surrounded by my family of baseball trivia dudes? They’re not just baseball trivia buffs. These guys play the game, “name that major league player”, and the next person names another player whose name begins with the last letter of the previous player. They know their baseball. They keep stats on minor league players to pre-guess who will be picked up by the big leagues.
And I received a crash course in baseball not-quite-trivia. Any local who follows sports would have known that Mr. Grisham was instrumentally involved in the set-up of a little league park here in the area. Unfortunately, I don’t usually follow sports, so I was out of the loop, but the man in my life brought me up to speed.
Since that time, I have actually witnessed an unassisted triple play at Three Rivers Stadium. I’ve been to
during “Pets in the Park”, and
I have attended multiple games for Pirates Farm Teams.
But before that, I was pretty baseball naive.
“He’s a little league Commissioner for our area.”
I love my baseball nerd. “Well, that’s really cool. Little League Commissioner. I just have one more question.”
There was a long pause on the other end of the phone – the sort that precedes a fearful wait while someone you love asks a question that you know will devalue everything you hold near and dear.
“So I’m good to go on Mr. Grisham. Now, do you know, who is this guy, Tommy Lasorda?”
Nearly twenty years later, that man is still married to me... still holding on to hope.