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24 Hour Game Diary Pt 6

Saturday, October 18, 2003
11:08 pm
Arizona time (Pacific)

I have just had my first major league shower.

And damn it felt good. It is patently clear that this is the locker room of the team with the tallest player in the majors, because the showerheads are set so high it’s hard to reach them when you’re 5’4″ like me.

We just had a phone call from Dontrelle Willis, who pitched two-something scoreless innings tonight in Yankee Stadium. (The Marlins won 3-2–the turning point being when Pudge picked Nick Johnson off third. Ouch.) Dontrelle, just last year, was in the minors in Kane County, Illinois, and the host family he stayed with have a daughter named Stacey who plays baseball. She is one of the pitchers on my squad in this game, and she’s great–so outgoing and friendly to everyone. Kind of like Dontrelle, I guess! He has stayed close with the family and there was a piece in USA Today about them last week when Dontrelle was pitching in Chicago in the NLCS. Anyway, through Stace we got Dontrelle on the phone and put him over the PA system and onto the game broadcast. Dontrelle’s message to all of us playing: “Enjoy it!”

I finally got a hit, and scored a run. When my second shift started, I was the leadoff batter. I had spent the previous few hours feeling queasy again, drinking Powerade, trying to eat something, and watching the first 7 or so innings of Game One of the World Series. I kept telling myself: you will not be queasy when the time comes. You will feel fine. At 7:45 or so I went down to the batting tunnel and threw for about five minutes with a woman named Kathy. (Cathy? Kathe? I’ll have to look it up in the progam.) At this point I am so tired I am definitely not remembering names well and how to spell them is another story entirely.

So I led off nice and fresh, and faced Kelly, whose last name I have now forgotten but who we have all been calling “The Stud.” (Wait, I remembered. It’s Manzie. Again, not 100% sure on the spelling.) She’s the one player from Australia and she is GOOD. She’s a lefty, she can play all the positions, and she can pitch. I decided I was not going to let her get ahead in the count. The first pitch she threw me was middle away and I smacked it right up the first base line, a hard shot that hit the bag and kangarooed into the outfield. As I stood there panting on first, the umpire came over and said “You ought to be on third by now!” I replied, “That would require me to run faster than I do!”

John Denny, Jr. gave a special clinic on how to take a lead yesterday, and how to do a “delayed steal” after all our regular work was done, so give him part of the credit for my run. Step, step, shuffle, shuffle, then secondary lead… I did it several times, on each pitch, and then saw a pitch that looked like it was heading for the dirt. It was funny, it was like it was all happening in slow motion. As the pitch left Kelly’s hand I could see it was going to be low, so I turned my shuffle into a break for second. I think the ball might have actually hit the dirt and rolled away. By then I was busting it for second so I have no idea if I was credited with a delayed steal or if it was a passed ball/wild pitch. Who cares? I was on second.

Jeneane was yelling to me to get off the bag, and telling me whether I was okay, based on where the shortstop was. I got a good lead, took off for third on a grounder that ended up getting through or something; I don’t know–I was just watching Jeneane who was waving me in. I scored standing up. I believe this was in the 24th inning, but I can’t be sure.

I had a couple of long sprints in the outfield, playing left again, and pulled my right quad. It hurts. I got more and more hobbled as the innings went on. My whole squad got quite tired. Our squad captain, Lisa Frey of Little Fall, NJ, who is a great player, let a couple of balls get by her as we were all getting lead-footed. I told her the story about Joe DiMaggio, the one where he said he knew it was time to hang ’em up when he would think “go get that ball” and his body would say “who me?” Our last inning in the field I think we gave up seven runs. Why are the Red-Eyed Nites more tired than the African Gray Birds? Perhaps our name doomed us?

The score now stands 70-43 Gray Birds. But we have 12 hours still to make up the runs…

Time for me to find some food and perhaps sleep for an hour or two. The live bands are wrapping up at midnight and then DJ TC Wildman will play and spin tunes until 8am.

I have no idea how I am going to make it through the 2-4 am shift, which should be my last shift. I can barely walk right now, much less run. More later.

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