Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bring on Spring [Sports]

I know that I'll never be accused of being a tomboy—please, my big earrings will blind anyone within a 5-mile radius and too much movement will chip my pedicure—but I do love the sports. Not playing them or anything. Lord, honey, no. Sweatin' ain't really my thing. (Unless it's for my beloveds, mmmwah Georgia Dawgs, cheering them on from Section 117, Row 30, Seat 19. That I will sweat for.)

And now? Now we are approaching baseball season. Skip right on over March Madness. (My bracket totally blows. I tumbled fast.) Baseball is my second fave after college football. I watch more pro ball than college. Braves all the way. Hello? I cheered during the Dale Murphy days, and I got to witness the "worst to first" team of the 90s. I tomahawk-chopped my way through high school, politically correct or not.

I was allowed to drive to Atlanta back in high school, the fab four (Amber, Ben, me, Matt), to go to weekend games. Well, actually, one of the boys always drove. (I still can't believe my parents let us do this. I mean, 17, downtown ATL? And not a cellphone among us. One time we stopped at such a sketchy gas station that a police officer reprimanded the boys for leaving us alone in the car while they went inside to use the bathroom. Or maybe it was to buy more water? We always had huge water bottles, the four of us. We were totally obsessed with drinking water. Little teenage freaks.)

Oops, Mom, Pop. Did you guys know that story?

We parked far away—in unlit parking lots—paid some crusty man $8, and walked beneath overpasses to get to that dirty ol' Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Then, in college, we skipped class to head over to the shiny new Turner Field for the businessman's special: cheap seats and $30 hot dogs. (I hit the college games, too, because they were free with ID, plus you usually got free ice cream and you could work on your tan too.)

Okay, anyway, I digress. This post is all over the place. That's been a trend lately. I'm out of my medication.

All this leads to the question: Did I ever tell y'all about the big ginormous obsession I had with Mark Lemke, he of the 1990s Braves? Second base? No? I have a hat he wore during a game. Sweat and grass stains and all. I am [still] so proud of that $20 hat. It came with a very official letter of authentication. Ahhh, yeah. The Lemmer. I could recite all kinds of random stats—personal and sports-related. Some I still remember. (Hails from: Utica, New York. Birthday: August 13, 1965. Full name: Mark Alan Lemke. Three triples in the '91 World Series. Switch hitter. Hit a game-winning single in game 3 of that series. Knuckleball pitcher.)

Scary, isn't it?

I religiously clipped every sports article that mentioned his name. I stayed up all the way through extra-inning games. I conned my little brother into handing over the autographed ball my dad got him. (Rickey came home with this before I was a fan. I tend to make these decisions overnight, and I give it my all.) I had piles and piles of Lemke's baseball cards. Glossy photos? Check. I'd beat anyone who came near my stash within an inch of their life. I'd tape 1 p.m. games on my VCR, because I didn't get out of school till 2:30.

I'm gonna say this is the last thing most of you would ever guess about me. I like to keep you people on your toes, okay? Play ball!


r.m. said...

I love this post for many reasons, but mainly because I too am a huge fan of Atlanta Braves baseball--even though we've been totally sucking it up lately.

I do think it's pretty hilarious that you were obsessed with Mark Lemke. I always thought that his voice never fit his face, kinda like David Justice. I thought maybe they should swap voices...

- Rachel

Matt Peed said...

Ah, so much in this takes me back. The Murph years. The old stadium. The miracle of '91 -- man, the whole state felt alive. The chop. Lemke! I don't blame you. I practically had a man-crush on him. Who wouldn't after all those triples? One more and we would have won it all.