Everyone should have a favorite player. For the longest time Mary’s was outfielder Jason Bay. In June of 2008 we were in Pittsburgh doing college visits with Mark. Obviously a trip to PNC Park to see the Pirates was required. It was a Saturday night and the Bucs were scheduled to play Tampa Bay. After about an hour rain delay the game commenced. It was a close well-played game with neither side getting more than a one run lead. After nine innings the game was tied so it went into the tenth…and the eleventh…and the twelfth.
It was really getting interesting as both sides were throwing their whole rosters into the fray. At one point Tampa needed a pinch hitter but had used up all their position players so pitcher Jamie Shields came up to pinch hit (he reached base on an error). Pittsburgh on the other hand, had been experiencing injuries to their pitchers so they were using a couple of one-game callups that weekend to augment their exhausted pitching corps. It was a delightful game but it was taking us deep into the night and some of us were getting a bit tired. In the bottom of the thirteenth Jason Bay ended it all with a homerun. Mary immediately declared that he was her favorite player.
About a month later, Bay was traded to the Red Sox and so became one of my favorite players as well. For the rest of 2008 and all of 2009 he was one of the primary mashers on Boston squad. Then he rather foolishly departed via free agency and signed with the New York Mets. The Mets play in Citi Field, a pitchers park if there ever was one. Bay’s offensive production went down the drain. It took a few years but he career essentially fizzled away, leaving Mary without a favorite ballplayer.
That is until August 14, 2015. Mary and I took the trip up to Baltimore to see the O’s take on Oakland. The evening did not start out well for me. I paid $1 for a scorecard but the one they sold me was left over from the Tigers series earlier in the week. No Oakland players; just Detroit. I complained to the man who sold it asking for my money back but he said he needed to get it “approved” before I could get my refund and the person who did the approvals was down on the ground level, far away. Rather than watching me complain, Mary led me down to fan assistance where I could tell them my tale of woe. Fan assistance then gave me the entire media stat package that they give to all the announcers/writers. So in the photo I am reveling with my information packet feeling like I’m the most informed fan in the park.
Anyway the game itself was awesome. Lots of hitting. 17 hits by the A’s (Coco Crisp had three doubles), 16 by the Birds. Chris Davis had a homerun that may still be in orbit. And to the delight of the fans, it went into extra innings. Then in the bottom of the 13th inning Manny Machado hit a homerun, ending the game so we could all go home, and filling a void in Mary’s life by becoming her new favorite ballplayer.