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Lorelei Tabor

Being a Baseball Chick

I don't dance on bar tops. I don't stumble drunkenly to the handsome guy by the jukebox and extend an invitation to my apartment following closing time. I'm afraid I don't even send drinks to strangers. My strategy is so much simpler and causes no hangovers. I'll approach a guy, flash a winning smile, and ask, "Do you know who owns the record for the most strikeouts in a World Series Game?" If he knows the answer (Bob Gibson), we'll just talk baseball stats for a while. If he's clueless, I'll kindly fill him in. Either way, he's usually so knocked out by my knowledge of America's pastime that he asks for my phone number. Works like a charm.

I'm known as the "baseball fanatic" in my circle of friends. I've explained the infield-fly rule at least a dozen times to baseball newbies. One guy pal and I discuss our favorite teams (the Reds and the Cardinals, respectively) virtually every time we talk. Even if another guy is present, he still chats baseball with me. That puts a huge feather in my Cardinals cap.

At the ripe old age of 11, I became a baseball junkie. One evening, I joined my dad in watching the 1991 playoffs. I became hooked. I watched every game, my mind locked on each play. I loved the strike-out on the 3-2 pitch. I loved the defensive handiwork of the second baseman as he'd turn the double play. I loved watching the catcher block home plate as he braced himself for the collision.

I tell anti-baseball people you can't become a fan watching any random game. You need something magical, like the 1991 World Series. Every game was a nail-biter, and they played the pivotal game seven -- a necessity in making a World Series truly memorable. I rooted with every fiber of my being for the Twins. Kirby Puckett, Scott Erickson, Chuck Knoblauch -- those were my boys. My favorite fan sign ever comes from that Series -- "Hrbek, buy a vowel from Vanna." And when my Twins won, I felt I was jumping around the field with them.

I watched Ozzie Smith and Willie McGee play their last games at Busch Stadium and became a little misty-eyed. The tears all-out flowed when Cal Ripken, Jr. played in his 2,131st game. They flowed again when Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris' single season home run record. I hurled objects around my living room three years later, when Barry Bonds hit his 71st long ball of the season. I lost my voice screaming when the Diamondbacks knocked the Yankees off their throne in the 2001 October classic.

Baseball not only makes great memories, but also provides for excellent debate topics. Should Pete Rose be in the Hall of Fame? (Yes. He has the most hits and played harder than anyone else who ever played the game. Enough said.) Should we have the DH? (Nope. Nothing cheapens the game more than a guy in the batting order who doesn't play a field position.) Who's the greatest 3rd baseman of all time? (Mike Schmidt. Brooks Robinson fans, feel free to argue.)

I've debated, discussed, reminisced, and argued about baseball with men and women of any age. I notice that men especially sit up and take notice when they discover I actually know a thing or two about baseball. It's apparent I'm not just watching to see attractive men in uniforms. And then I see that glint in their eyes -- that certain sparkle which results from finding someone who shares your love for the greatest sport on Earth. If you're a baseball fan, you know what I'm talking about.

©2003 by Lorelei Tabor

Lorelei Tabor holds a Bachelor's degree with majors in public relations and English. She is currently pursuing her master's in communication. Her hobbies include baseball, writing, and classic movies. She resides in Kentucky.

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