A Baseball Conversation Worth Documenting
I had a date a couple of months ago with someone that had found me on Match.com. We did the normal dance–corresponding via email, I eventually gave him my phone number which I told him was for actual phone calls not for texting*, and a week later we agreed to meet for drinks near my office after work.
We’ll call him John, though that’s not his real name. John seems like a great guy from the start of the date, though I can’t say the physical attraction is strong. He works at a school, he is well read, and it’s incredibly easy to have a conversation with him… at first.
After talking for 20 minutes, John brings up the thing that caught his eye about me was the fact that I am very knowledgeable and passionate about baseball. He said, “as a big baseball fan, that’s wildly attractive to me.” When he dropped phrases like “big baseball” and “wildly attractive” I couldn’t help but get excited about the fact that I was going to have my first real face-to-face baseball conversation with someone since I moved to Washington, DC. I braced myself.
But the conversation that followed, was one of my favorites that has ever happened with someone who identifies themselves as a “big baseball fan.” I should start this by saying that I do not judge levels of fandom as some do. If your interest in baseball really is attending Fenway Park in a Beadazzled Jacoby Ellsbury shirt and eating ice cream out of a plastic helmet, that is totally fine with me. If you’d like to crown yourself the Biggest Cubs Fan Ever (!!!) because you like to sit in the Bleachers at Wrigley at drink Old Style, more power to you. If you’re a sabermetrics nerd, attend conferences, and feel like you’re going through actual withdrawal symptoms in the off-season, that’s fine, too.
John, the gentlemen in question, is a New York Yankees fan. First, he insisted there be some sort of riff between us because of the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry, which I find fascinating. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had semi-successful relationships dating Yankees fans, and I wouldn’t decide not to date someone based on the team they supported or whether or not they liked baseball at all.
But, there are a few things that happen in these situations. In fact, I actually feel bad for John. In John’s head, he assumed we could have a very vague conversation about baseball, in which we could share our mutual love of the sport. In John’s head, the conversation goes something like this:
But unfortunately for John, I am not the type that can be satisfied with vague conversations about baseball, and admittedly when I sense that is as deep as the conversation is going to go, I tend to push a little bit for my own amusement. In the real conversation, I challenge John after he admits that he has never heard of Barry Larkin. And when I’m challenged to guess his favorite baseball player, who I figure out by his clues is Don Mattingly immediately, I could not help myself but guess players that fit the criteria that he might have never heard of.
Here is the real conversation that John and I had at the bar near my office on our first (and last) date. And I’m sorry for being mean to you, John. Sometimes a girl can’t help herself.
*Gentlemen, I beg of you: if you’re trying to build a relationship with a woman, do not take her phone number and text her incessantly. Connection and interact are made best in face to face environments or by talking via the telephone. Weeks of texting is not only a turn off, but completely unnecessary…especially if you use text-speak.