How to be a self-respecting female baseball fan

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<<donotrantdonotrantdonotrantdonotrantdonotrantdonotrantdonotrant>>

I repeated this to myself a few times before starting this post. I promise to try and be on my best behavior. You will likely need to remind me. I hope it doesn’t get so bad that you unfriend me. But. It’s possible.

WEAR YOUR FUCKING PINK HAT. WEAR IT PROUD.

Oh god. That happened fast. Sorry.

<<donotrantdonotrantdonotrantdonotrantdonotrantdonotrantdonotrant>>

You know how to be a self-respecting female fan? Be a fan. It’s that simple. Have fun. Don’t be an asshole to the people near you. Cheer on the home team. Respect the classy players on other teams. Be intrigued when you learn something cool about the sport or your team’s history. Your gender doesn’t matter. We all play by the same rules.

Drink some goddamn beers. Look up meaningless bits of trivia on your phone. Do the last part in the bathroom stall if you like. Come back to the seats to wow everyone with your knowledge. I don’t care. It’s not a lesson in the Civil War. No one will be better or worse if you know who pitched game two in 1986. Knowing that doesn’t make you a good person. It makes you good at remembering things. I’m so happy for you.

It’s a sport. It’s supposed to be fun. You’re not in your house. You’re not working. HAVE SOME FUN AND GIVE EACH OTHER A BREAK.

Girls like pink. Most of us anyway. Wear the hat. It’s adorable.

A girl is somehow weaker, stupider, more fair-weather than your dude cousin from Toledo who borrowed your jersey and doesn’t know the first thing about the line up? Because she’s in a pink hat? Fuck. You.

<<donotrantdonotrantdonotrantdonotrantdonotrantdonotrantdonotrant>>

I am sick and tired of women getting pushed around. I am sick and tired of having this conversation. We’re equal. Done.

My current boss is the CEO of a growing company. We generate tens of millions in revenue each year and help tens of thousands of people who are at a crappy crossroads in life. She’s one of the smartest, savviest people I’ve ever known. She could crush you with a single look. She’s the best boss in my career to date. The last meeting I was in with her, she was using a glitter pen. You know what her favorite color is? I’m not going to even answer. Fuck. You.

You want to be a self-respecting fan? Friend? Employee? Partner? Parent? Do the best you can. Be easier on yourself. Be a shit load easier on those around you. Stop feeling like you have to apologize. Rise above the petty bullshit.

Wear the pink hat.

<<endrant>>

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The most frustrating things about going to a ballpark that is not Fenway

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I grew up on baseball. My dad obsesses on the sport. So, by the time I was old enough to show a modicum of interest, he seized on the opportunity.

At the time (early 80s), we were living in San Diego and routing for the Padres. My first official ballpark experience was there. I remember absolutely nothing about it, except that it was still a time that you could hang around and ask for the players’ autographs. I was a die-hard Tony Gwynn fan and happily hung out after the games, waiting for his scribble in my book.

Fast forward a few (many) years and I was a young woman living in Boston, going to odd Sox games when coworkers had a leftover pair. I remember drinking too many beers and casually routing on the home town heroes. I enjoyed Fenway, but it had fleeting importance in that focused-on-a-perfect-social-life decade.

But as always, time rolls on and so do priorities. The sous chef and I  got close to the requester if this post – a committed Sox aficionado – and his gorgeous bride (who also happened to be my college roommate) and a passing interest turned into season tickets.

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As a minor point of trivia, the first year we had the season package was 2004. I’m not saying we directly played a role in breaking the curse, but us baseball fans are a superstitious lot. We were at Fenway that year. A lot.

For the first few games of that season, I can’t say it felt a whole lot different than those random games in my 20s. But then something happened. Suddenly, we were good. Better than good. A little great. Powerfully scrappy. Hungry for the big prize.

Everything changed. The city held its collective breath. Sportscasters beat their chests harder than normal. When Papi brought his bat across the plate with the kind of force that spun his feet and ankles towards his mama in heaven, we clenched our fists and cheered heartily. We’d waited 86 years for what was at our fingertips.

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The park vibrated with anticipation. The cold metal railings of September and October baseball were taut and burned the touch of an ungloved hand. Noses stung with the crisp fall air and smell of spicy steamed franks. The grass – exhausted from a season bearing cleated feet – held on to its unnatural green by the sheer will of the grounds crew. You could feel it in every pore by the time you hit Yawkey Way.

Of dozens and dozens of amazing memories of Fenway, the one I’ll have till the day I die, is sitting in a shitty corner of right field taking in the 3rd game of the ALDS that year. We were playing the Angels – up two games in the series. We were losing. It was the first time I’d ever been in the park post-season. Vlad Guerrero had hit a grand slam earlier in the game. I’d already chucked it up to a no-win.

The game went to extra innings and ended with a walk off home run from Ortiz. Players danced on the field after wearing dirty unis and champagne.

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The question posed for this post asked about the frustration of visiting other parks. There is no frustration. I now frequent AT&T and the Coliseum in Oakland. Both are charming and fun in their own ways. I am not frustrated.

But they are not magic. I will never be at those fields and walk up the ramp in April to breathe in a smell that can only be described as “possibility.” Fenway is magic. It stands alone in that capacity.

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For the record, the requester also asked for the best pitchers’ numbers. A long standing joke of our Fenway tribe. I’ll go with 38 and 45. He’ll know why.