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Wednesday, 09 April 2008

Play Ball

By Mage Bailey of Day Tripper

Last week I tried on work pants. All but two were tight in the waist. I obviously ate well this winter - or sat well. Yesterday I visited my doctor and got new meds for my arthritis. Yesterday, too, I had two crowns repaired.

Then late last night, I hung a uniform for work on my computer room door. Only this morning did I think to check the weather. It will be chilly, the forecast tells me. I add a turtleneck sweater to go under my official red shirt, my black Polartec, my official red coat. Do I need long johns? I have time yet to think about that addition to my wardrobe as I prepare my lunch.

In my rolling bag, I’ve packed hat, scarf, gloves, water, lunch, dinner, snacks and most importantly, a book. Until last year, I wore my old college backpack. It was much easier to move about on bus and trolley. It was much easier to hide away at my job site, for I can take my things to work if they cannot be seen by the fans.

For it’s that time again. Baseball season is upon us. Many hundreds of workers in all uniform colors will be descending on ballparks all over America hours before the gates officially open.

I run a gate that says “Team Member Entrance.” It’s a bit like Disneyland; really, it is the employee gate. Guest Service Representatives come in my gate. Security officers cut through to their Command Center on the far side. Paramedics and police come in as do radio, TV, and head office personal. Kiosk, housekeeping, gardeners, and food service employees go through their own door on the far side, but once they are in, they can come in and out my gate all evening. Fans can’t use my gate at all, but once in a while a player might come through.

After five years of this, they know what to expect from me. I look for their credentials. This year they are purple with brand new pictures. They don’t need to wear their uniforms, and many change in their locker rooms. I need to peek in their bags, purses, and lunches. They know this and smile. Only one still gives me a hard time after five years.

Today is a good trial day, an exhibition game day. We will find out what works and what doesn’t. I arrive at 1330 to check in, open my gate at 1400, and have time to scrub down my table and chairs. All the new employees will be on a list at my elbow, and I will welcome them all with a lopsided, giant smile to the ballpark.

By seven oh five, one more year of magic is ready to begin. Fans fill the stands. Ball players are in the dugouts, batting practice is over, and wonderful food smells begin to fill the air. Filling the tunnel out to the field is a Navy honor guard, a young lady to sing the national anthem and a young man picked to throw out the first ball. Down on the grass, one young child stands ready at a microphone waiting to call out, “Play ball!”

[If you would like to contribute to The Elder Storytelling Place, the guidelines are here. We would all be pleased to read your stories.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post



I think you have the neatest job in the World.

I read your blog all the time and see the pictures of you smiling at everyone and it makes me think you are probably the best liked staffer at the ball park.

You always seem to welcome everyone as though they are VIPs, so it makes them feel good about coming to the field whether for work or play.

I'm not a big fan of baseball, but that sounds like a good job!

Great story. You capture part of this sport that so few of us know about.

I've had similar thoughts as Nancy many times as I've browsed through your arena snapshots. If I came to that park, I'd prefer to be greeted by you at YOUR gate, not the one for regular fans. I hope they appreciate you.

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