Almost Famous

June 12th, 2005 / #work

In my line of work, you get to meet some pretty unique people. There are the regulars, the grumps, and even the quasi famous.

My good friend Calvin is a regular and has been going to A league baseball games ever since I was a baby watching the Clearwater Phillies from the comfort of my dad’s arms in the bleachers at “Jack Russel Stadium”: The Phillies have since relocated to a fancier ballpark, changed their name, and got really, really bad, but Calvin remains steadfast in his support of local baseball. Now, he comes to every Dunedin Blue Jays game, every time sporting a ball cap with the logo of any team _but_ the Jays. But I don’t mind; his quirkiness gives me something to do every day.

There’s also Bob. Bob sits two rows directly in front of Calvin and is a man of about 60 years. Peering out of his thick rimmed black glasses, Bob takes it upon himself to inform me nightly that “I’m going in after this inning.” While this could have the potential to get old after a short while, it doesn’t. I like Bob, so I let it pass. One time, I accidentally knocked over his cup of Mountain Dew, so in addition to his suggestion that I will soon become the star pitcher of the Dunedin Blue Jays (a notion that is actually not so far-fetched with this team), we have a running gag that if I’m within twenty feet of his soda, he and Calvin surround the cup with their hands as if it were a flame that they did not want to be snuffed. That’s always a gas.

There’s also Annellen, who sits on the third base side, a strange location for a local that pulls for the home team. Usually, the third base side is over populated with visiting fans and ballplayers’ hot girlfriends. Anyhow, Annellen is my favorite. She’s about 55, is as skinny as a rail, and has short, dirty blonde hair in the form of a bowl cut that sometimes covers the top of her gold rimmed glasses. Our inside joke is that she always arrives late. Without fail, if it’s the middle of the second inning, you can probably look over and see her walking up the steps to her seat from her smoking sanctuary on the main concourse. Her greatest attribute, though, is her laugh. Remember how Urkel chuckled? You get all of that snorty goodness and more when Annellen lets out a hearty guffaw. It’s wonderful.

There are more regulars, but I have yet to learn their names. There’s Man Who Sits On First Base Side Who Calls Me A Giant Blue Chicken; there’s Woman With Way Too Much Makeup And Outrageously Large Diamond Rings Who Sits Behind Home Plate; and who could forget Man With Randy Savage Mustache Who Repeatedly Suggests That I Trip The Kid During My Race Around The Bases. Oh, how I love my newfound family. Christmas’ll suck when I have to buy greeting cards, though.

In addition to the local yokels who come to support their team, there is the occasional party pooper.

For example, on the first night of my new profession, a man slapped together a string of curses that would make Eminim blush and violently pushed me, threatening to knock my defenseless avian block completely off. He didn’t use the word “avian,” though; he was sufficiently smashed from $1 beer Thursday.

You also shouldn’t mess with scouts from the visiting team. But they look so lonely out there behind home plate with their little radar guns and their scorecards. If you so much as touch one that doesn’t want to play with you, though, they can get awful intimidating.

However, all the negative Nancies that make my job less entertaining lose their effectiveness when I get to meet certain people. Mind you, I use the term “meet” very loosely: I’m not allowed to speak under my giant idiot suit. That said, I have been able, in the course of my working life, to be in contact with some nifty personalities.

The first week of my job, I played with Roberto Alomar, the 12-time All-Star that played with the Devil Rays for what seems like ten minutes at the beginning of the season. Later that month, I met the Hooters Calendar Girl of the Year. Her name escapes me at the moment, but when it comes to really good looking women, names don’t really matter anyway.

But Saturday night, and this is the greatest of my achievements, I got to entertain Mr. Brian Goff. The name probably doesn’t strike any chords, but in the Peterson household, Goff’s reporting on Fox 13 has been a staple for years. I remember watching him on the early morning news when I was a wee lad in the fifth grade. It was interesting to get to be in actual contact with him; it was even cool until he got a few beers into him and, as he walked down toward the concourse, announced to me so eloquently that “he had to pee.”

It’s tough to be a celebrity sometimes. To always be in the limelight and rub elbows with people of such caliber is a demanding life. But you know, I deal with it. So, if you’d like to do lunch at Sardi’s or discuss some contractual hubbub, have your people call my people.

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