I’m walking over towards the dugout and figure I’ll just lean against the fence and get a picture there, and Kristine is mumbling something in an increasingly panicky voice, something about “security” and “can’t go near the dugout” and whatnot. I’m not really paying attention, because really, she can’t possibly be serious. So I get to the stairs and turn around to pose, and KH2 is waving her arms frantically.
KH2: No no, you can’t go near the dugout! The security…..hey, I’m sorry, she doesn’t know…..
A menacing-looking Security person is coming towards me, as I stand there incredulous. Are they fucking serious??
Security: Miss, you…
Me, tersely interrupting: I’m moving.
I try standing at the very end against the dugout fence, but no, that too is verboten. So I stand about a foot in front of it, and look sullen. Which isn’t hard to do, because now I’m a little pissed.
Me, to Kristine: Are you serious? So every other Bat Girl gets to actually sit inside the dugout for their games, and you’re ready to have Security haul me off because I’m too close?
(Please note the pictorial evidence, of Katie Whosiwhatsit, the Bat Girl for the Chicago Cubs, IN THE FRICKING dugout both before and DURING THE GAME.)
KH2: Umm….I…..I’ve only worked here since November! I don’t know! I’m just the messenger!
Me, surly and incredulous: So what do we actually get to do, other than stand here on this little circle?
Me: Do you know which ones? Buehrle, Konerko, Prbzbzbzbzbynski?
KH2: I don’t know….
Me: Just out of curiosity, are any of the Blackhawks here?
Finally some players start heading onto the field, while at the same time, kids are descending on the ballpark, coming down the aisles such that the players are on the field, and the kids are in lines going up the stairs in the stands. Since we’re on the field, KH2 starts taking us on the rounds of the players. Where it becomes clear they have no idea who we are or why we’re there. Breast Cancer Awareness Game? Ha.
This is how it goes. We get to a player, wait patiently, then KH2 taps said player on the shoulder. The ensuing dialogue is as follows:
Ha, just kidding! This is how it really goes:
KH2: Umm, excuse me…..could you maybe take a moment……maybe just quickly sign her shirt?
Honestly. So I get my shirt signed, my brother gets his ball signed, and Mickey is annoying me because here my brother and I are, trying to be polite and not suck up too much of the players’ time when there are these long lines of kids, and Mickey is having each player sign a ball AND her shirt.
Me: Mickey! Pick ONE, ball or shirt! Don’t be rude.
Mickey: Oh, okay.
She then ignores me and continues to have them sign both. So we make the rounds like this, and are hustled quickly past one side because the Dodgers are practicing their pitches there, and all the players are perfectly nice and gracious – which is cool, given they have no idea who we are – but we don’t get to chat with any of them. Except one, who is my new hero: Gavin Floyd.
Yes, Gavin figures out that we’re somehow “special” – maybe he notices the shirt with the huge pink ribbon on it – and actually takes a moment to chat with us. About the weather, the game, whatever. We’re talking with a real live player! And I get my picture with him! Swoon.
After we make the rounds, we head back to the little circle and meet up with Stacy.
Stacy: Ooh, I like all those signatures on your shirt. Are you going to wear your shirt…..when you throw out the opening pitch?
Omg! Much happiness and exultation! My brother now decides I owe him drinks, and I happily accede. I get my fricking opening pitch!
Elated, we head off to the stands, and are told to come back at 12:15 to go back on the field for some special pre-game ceremony. Not sure what that is, but I know that for other games they’ve had some walk around the field for the Bat Girl and her family and friends, and a coterie of other survivors, all with much fanfare. I call Cori to find out where she is.
Me: Cori, I get to throw out the first pitch! Where are you guys? Are you close?
Cori and my mom are joining me and my brother for the on-field ceremony, yet neither is here yet.
Cori: There was confusion about who was picking up whom – we’re driving like maniacs on the Ike! We’ll be there soon!
My brother and I wander about, I track down margaritas and swig one down, find my mom and her friend Suzanne, and finally get a text from Cori.
“Just jumped out of the moving car, on my way to the gate.”
Sweet! See, this is the definition of a true friend – someone who’s willing to jump out of a moving vehicle for you.
Finally Cori gets there with her family, along with Robyn and Adrienne, and Don’s here already, so the gang’s pretty much all here. Whee! Time for fame and glory!
We head back in and go back onto the edge of the field, and I get the ball that I’m going to throw out. The first pitch! Yay me! Yay…wait, what?
Stacy: Okay, so we’ll have the first pitch, and then you’ll go….
Me: Wait, I’m the second first pitch? Who’s throwing the first one? Patrick Toews? Some kid with cancer?
Stacy: Let’s see……some seasonticketholder (she says this really fast).
It seems that perhaps I’m a last-minute add-on, probably as they realized that they’re having just a season ticket holder trump me on the first pitch. And this Bat Girl thing is supposed to be a big deal – at least based on how every other team has done it. So I chit chat with the kid who’s throwing out the first first pitch.
Me, to kid who’s maybe 17, and whose dad clearly got him this gig: So what’s your deal? Why do you get to throw out the first pitch? (please note that I say this in a friendly fashion – he seems like a nice kid, and this whole day is just kind of entertaining, quite frankly.)
Kid: I honestly have no idea. I don’t even deserve this.
Me: So you don’t have cancer, like me?
Me: Hmm, well then, you had better throw out a good first pitch. Do you play baseball?
Kid: I do play baseball.
Me: Awesome! So it had better be a fastball over home plate.
Me, adding: No pressure or anything.
I then talk to the coordinator guy, who explains to me the sequence of events.
CG: Okay, so you get to the mound, and you can stand on top of it, or before it…
Me: Oh, I’m definitely standing on top. No guts, no glory, that’s what I say.
CG, looking at me with something akin to respect: Well. Okay then. Good for you!
I have a new fan. And this guy I like – he’s friendly and knows his stuff. But I honestly can’t even say I dislike anyone we’ve met – they’re all very nice, especially Stacy and Kristine, but it’s also clear that their White Sox higher-ups put little thought into this day, at least in terms of what women might like. A guy? Yeah, he'd be excited at just breathing the same air as some White Sox players. A woman? Yeah, we pretty much want to be made to feel special.
Because no, there’s no pre-game ceremony. They sing the anthem. Kid throws out the first first pitch. We high five each other as he’s coming in, and then it’s my turn. I wave to the crowd, and am suddenly nervous – I stopped practicing my pitch 2 weeks ago when I was told I wouldn’t get to throw anything. Damn. I would take my time, but who the hell wants to watch me stand there and dither? I give the ball a little toss, then throw it, and……..close! One little bounce, less than a foot from home plate and Buehrle. Whew, I’ll take it.
As I’m walking up to Buehrle as instructed, I tell him “I think it’s great all the work you and your wife do with dog rescue organizations!”
Him: Oh, that’s all my wife’s stuff.
Talk about a fallen idol. Well, not fallen really, since he's still very gracious and it was cool to get a chance to meet him – but still a bit of a surprise. Though throwing out a pitch? Yeah, freaking awesome.
(Next: why this was the best day ever.)