The Long and Winding Road

Another season has nearly come to an end. Well one part of the season does come to an end later today as the Senators are set to play their final road game of the season tonight in Richmond. The season, wins and losses wise, hasn’t gone the way many of us thought it would go or hoped it would go. The Senators are 62-74 and have been out of the playoff race for most of the final month.

But this blog is about baseball, at least not about wins and losses.

I’ve spent more time this past week in Richmond just enjoying the time in the afternoon at the ballpark. There’s nothing I’ve experienced in my life, my working life anyway, that is like the late afternoon in a ballpark. Typically, the home team takes batting practice at 4:15pm followed by the visiting team at 5:00pm. For the 90 minutes during batting practice, there isn’t a whole lot going on in the park. Oh yeah, in places you can’t see from the press box front office folks are scurrying around tidying things up and getting the park ready to open the gates to the fans for that evening’s game.

As much as the quiet solicitude is nice, it’s also a rush when the gates open and fans begin to enter the park. There’s nothing like that energy to get in the mood to broadcast or play another game. Since I’ve never worked at an amusement I don’t know for sure what it’s like when the gates open in the morning, but I’d guess it’s something like when the gates open at Disneyland.

I think, for whatever reason, I’ve reflected more the latter half of this season on this and other things related to working in baseball. One never knows what the future holds so I wanted to savor the many different aspects to doing this job.

Working in baseball can be a grind, whether a member of the traveling party or a front office member that doesn’t travel. The season tends to be measured by homestands and road trips. The season starts and before you know it, the calendar has turned to May, the weather is warmer, and more people are coming to the game. Then you blink again and you’re sitting in the press box at The Diamond in Richmond writing a blog about the end of the season. If time would have passed this quickly when I was 11, I wouldn’t have hated school so much!

Traveling with the team means I’m not around to take care of a lot of little things, that become big things, throughout the course of the season. I couldn’t possibly survive at my job without the help of many people.

One such person is Todd Matthews. Without joking about it, Todd is one of the few people older than me working for our organization. He works tirelessly at keeping the suites and boardwalk organized. This season, more than others, he has been a huge help to me with several corporate clients. Without him and his dedication, I’m not sure where I would be right now.

Matt Dudas has spent the year interning for me. I’m not sure what he would have to say about me, ha, but I’m happy to say that he’s improved since he started working for the team. Oh he still has a lot to learn about being prompt and prioritizing, but he’s better than he was and his on his way in his new career.

All of my co-workers put in countless hours and receive very little outside recognition. People don’t really understand how many hours it takes to put on a homestand. Generally, they are at the park from 8am until at least 10:30pm on the day of a game, every day. If we have a seven-game homestand, that means they are working those hours for seven straight days. Most people think what we do is glamorous, well, I’m not sure that’s a word I would you to describe our lives. For the single people, it’s nearly impossible to start a relationship with the hours that are worked for nearly six months.

I just want to publicly say that I respect each and every one of my co-workers and that I’ve enjoyed working with them, through the ups and downs. It may come as a shock to some of you, and not a shock to others, but as I’ve aged it seems I’ve become more like a curmudgeon than I care to think, instead of some happy-go-lucky Californian that I think I used to be. I think it’s time to find that guy again!

I also want to say thank you to Tony Beasley and Matt LeCroy for being the type of men you want to spend time with on a daily basis for five months. I have learned a lot from them, both about baseball and about life.

When I started this in Ogden in 2002, that feeling after my first broadcast was over was one of elation, and secondly of fear. I was elated that I was now a professional baseball broadcaster and the fear was that my cell phone was going to ring saying I was fired.

It’s hard to imagine but this weekend, barring any rain outs, I’ll broadcast my 1,500th game. There are many, many others that have done far more games than I, but still a staggering number to me considering I didn’t go on the air the first time in Ogden until a week after my 39th birthday.

I don’t know what the future holds, whether it holds another 1,500 games or no games (personally I’m hoping for more games), but whatever happens I’m thrilled to have worked with so many good people with the Raptors, Wizards and Senators, and all of the others throughout the leagues I’ve been in.

Just remember, April 4, 2013 is just around the corner and another season of Senators baseball. Maybe it’ll be the one that fans talk about forever, we can only hope!

 

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