|One Woman's Perspective on baseball: Love of the Game||| Print ||
Written by April Addington (Contact & Archive) on April 23, 2003
As I grew older, I found myself watching baseball more and more, which pleased my dad, since he loves baseball too. He was raised in a Yankee-loving family and told me stories of Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle, as well as Babe Ruth. I was always fascinated and wanted to hear more.
My late Uncle Paul was a devout Dodgers fan and followed them intently from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. Whenever we went to his home, my Aunt Mildred would tell me Uncle Paul was inside watching his beloved Boys In Blue. When I went in to see him I’d hear their parrot squawking "Dodgers Suck! Dodgers Suck!” It was always comical and my uncle would get so worked up about it.
While growing up in my native Colorado, Denver got its first professional baseball team, the Colorado Rockies, in 1992. That was the same year that the Florida Marlins came about. I will never forget the day I was watching the news with clenched fists and half-chewed nails, wondering if we would actually get the team. When they announced that we did get a team, my dad and I were so happy and excited. I had been to Denver Zephyrs/Bears games as a kid, and I vaguely remember Grandpa taking my brother and I to see the Angels, and Uncle Paul taking us to Chavez Ravine aka Dodger Stadium to see the Dodgers play. I had a team of my own finally and looked forward to going to their games. By then, I was a lot older and would remember them better too.
I went to my first-ever Rockies game in 1994. I got a sunburn, Rockies souvenirs, lots of cake (since we had a birthday party for a friend's son at the game), and saw the Rockies mascot be born. It was a day I will always remember.
The Rockies held the All-Star Game and Fan Fest at Coors Field in July of 1998. I applied for a job working at Fan Fest for all 5 days and got it. My job was to run the Fantasy Play-by-play machine and watch fans do the color commentating for games. I really enjoyed that, and even did a few myself once I was off work. I have always been interested in sports journalism, so doing that was a way to try something I had never done before. The whole atmosphere of Fan Fest and the All-Star Game was awesome. You can really learn a lot about the game attending Fan Fest. They had a place where you could see how the bats, baseballs, and gloves were made. There were all sorts of contests. There were many tables of cards and memorabilia. You could have your picture taken with a huge cardboard cutout of the Rockies team, and the pictures would come back looking real. You could have your picture taken and put on the front of Baseball Weekly, wearing the jersey and helmet of your favorite team. I did that as well. There was also a Fox Sports Net booth there where you were able to take a picture as an announcer, and I did that one also. So many fun things to do, and I suggest going to it whenever it's near your area.
I have learned so much about baseball through the years, and when I meet people, they think it's great that I have such a passion for it. It didn't used to be that way though. For a while, guys would ask me why I liked the sport and then taunt me about it. They figured I was into it for the tight pants, the after-game action at clubs, and for money. I sure surprised them when I said that none of that appealed to me whatsoever. We women have gotten stereotyped as being gold-diggers. In reality, many of us are not that way at all. I sincerely believe women can love sports just as much as men, if not more.
In 1999, a sportswriter for the Denver Post wrote a huge segment on baseball players and female fans. It was a very good segment, except for one thing that bothered me. They made the female population out to be groupies and gold diggers, when in fact, many of us are not that way. For the longest time, many players were afraid to meet their female fans because of that segment. I took matters into my own hands and wrote a letter to the man who did the segment and told him my thoughts, explaining that not all of us are that way and that we shouldn't be stereotyped as such. I got a lot of kudos from fans for standing up for the females too.
I have met many players in my years of going to games, and have only found one that was rude. I won't drop any names (unless requested), but will tell you that he is an older gentleman who is a very fast runner and a great player, but he needs to lose his bad attitude. The players I've met besides him have been friendly, polite, funny, flirtatious, and downright sweet. I found a secret to meeting the players: go to see them at Spring Training, where they are more accessible than during the regular season.
In March of 1999, I went to my first-ever Spring Training in Arizona. I took off a week from work and drove myself to Phoenix for a week of fun, sun, and great baseball. I stayed with a friend of mine and during that week, we went to so many games. I had such a great time that week and vowed to go again in the future.
In June of 2000, I moved from my beloved Colorado to Arizona. I took a seasonal job with the Arizona Diamondbacks and got even more involved with baseball. I was an usher/ticket taker, but the experience I got that summer made me respect the game and the fans even more. I met some great people that way and some of them, I still keep in touch with now. Baseball bonds people in many ways, whether it's as a fan, a player, or a family/friend/relative of a player. Every one of these people has an utmost respect for the game and its players. Many people turned their backs on the sport during the strikes, and some have just now returned to watching on the TV and going to the ballparks again. There are also those who got so discouraged with the strikes and will never come back to it. To each their own. I know I love this sport and its players with all my heart. I received a gift I love from my grandfather and it will remain with me forever.