I’ll be honest. I was reluctant to go when I discovered it was going to be FAMILY Field Day rather than a ladies-only Baseball 101 this year. It isn’t that I dislike children. I don’t. I rather like children. Now, whether or not they like me, on the other hand, is a whole other story. But with the addition of children to the mix, as well as parents-who-are-watching-their-kids, now, I was a little wary on the whole thing. BFFD was not particularly expensive given all that was included, but when one is on a budget, one begins to think very carefully about how to use one’s “disposable income.” (You’ll have to forgive me, I was an Econ major for a long time.)
It was a fun day, though, it began on a slightly silly/panicked note. A friend of mine, Tyler, was leaving town the night before (Friday). (This blog, incidentally, shares its birthday with Tyler. Hurray, Tyler! He is not a baseball fan. But he is an Atlanta fan.)
|Friends circa elementary school. :)|
I went out to meet up him, his girlfriend Awesome Amanda, and a bunch of friends. But before that happened, I met up with my best HAC Linda, since I was going to be watching her toy fox terrier, Izzy. (Izzy is very small, and very sweet, and very neurotic. All of these traits lead to hours of hilarity.) I got home, exhausted, since I have a Big Girl Job now (no more waitressing, y’all. I don’t know if I ever mentioned that. I’m no longer in Customer Ser—Oh, wait. Sigh), and I have the attention span of a 3-year-old and the energy level of a 60 year old. (I made those numbers up. With SCIENCE.) I was not home at the time I intended to be home in spite of my Big Girl Job, which mentally exhausts me. I’m masochistic, it seems. And then I wonder why my body hates me. :P
|Best HAC Linda & the Roaring Izzy-Boo|
So I set the alarm and went to sleep, intending to check my email in the morning to confirm final details of BFFD. I knew that it started at 10, so I figured that I would get up at 7:45. That… turned out nice. I had forgotten that I had a dog with me, you see. And she was simply not cooperating that morning. She wanted to cuddle and sleep, but also run around and meet all the strangers with their strange new smells. I just wanted her to pee and poo. She didn’t/wouldn’t. I left the house at 8:53 after making some phone calls to Lauren about details, as my email told me pretty much nothing.
|Screencap: My email|
|Screencap: Lauren's email|
Lauren: Did you check your Spam folder?
Me: Yes. In spite of the fact that I have it set specifically so that anything from “@braves.com” would not go into the Spam folder.
Susan: I got a phone call to confirm what my email address is, and I got the same email as Lauren.
I’m beginning to think my email address is on some kind of taboo list or something for Braves related emails (unless they’re trying to tempt me into purchasing their wares with promises of discounts and/or free shipping and the like). Maybe they’re trying to tell me something? :(
After securing a promise from family members to watch the pup, let her out to do her business (which, they later reported, she didn’t do… she just sniffed everything and strained against the leash, trying to dash across the street and into the yard of a neighbor with a dog that is probably a gazillion times her size), I set off to Turner Field. I got there at 9:57AM. Signed in, dashed around the stadium and into the stands, where everybody else was, and found Lauren and Susan.
|check out the enthusiasm on everybody's faces. ;P|
ALSO, BROOKSY IT'S TOO EARLY TO DIP.
And here were our “instructors.” Hello, C-Mart, Georgie, Meds, Brooksy, EOF, & Deer Jonnay!
They were so excited (especially Brooks).
And off we went!
First station was the hitting station. There were at least 30 of us in a group, I think. And Jose Constanza was the hitting instructor (with the little kids) and then someone-whose-name-I-can’t-remember-who-was-very-nice taught the rest of us. We hit off a tee. I whiffed first. It was… amazing. Lauren has a picture of me missing the ball ON THE TEE. D; My own pictures weren’t so amazing… And I am not very good at editing photos, I feel. (That’s why the idea is to always try to get it right the first time.) But I got 2 good shots of Susan, and that was really about it… Everything else was blurry. Basically? Photography FAIL. And this is why I am an amateur. :P
|Photo was SO dark, but Susan is SO cute!!|
Had to keep it.
Next station: RUN THE BASES. This was staff, and no players. I did not run those bases. Are you kidding me? It’s nearing noon in Atlanta in the summer and you want me to run these bases in my inappropriate shorts and bad knees? Nope. I skipped that, yessir. I did not take pictures. I thought about it briefly.
Third station: Fielding grounders with Brooks Conrad and Kris Medlen. The group split into two, with no real guidance as to how many Brooksy should take and how many Meds should take. Brooks was closer, so most people stayed with him. Lauren, Susan, and I (aside: I just noticed that all of us are “uns”… our names… right, irrelevant) headed over into Meds’ line. He asked if we wanted gum, and then tossed a handful at us like… confetti. Except that it’s gum. (And it was GROSS… like… seemed like it’d already been chewed!) And we laughed at him for throwing it at us like he’s on a parade float or something. He shrugged and said, “I gotta bribe people to come hang out with me” or something along those lines. (Oh, Meds… don’t be ridic. Like you actually need to bribe people with gum to hang with you. Honestly.)
I don’t have a glove, so Lauren lent hers to me. Let me just say, that I haven’t put a glove on my hand since I was in the ninth grade. I won’t tell you how long ago that was, since it sort of depresses me. And I hadn’t thrown a tennis ball (much less a BASEBALL) in at least five years (hmm, just checked. Yep, still depressed.). So you can imagine my shock that the ball actually almost made it all the way near Meds. He was not super close either. And he would trick you after a couple of turns. This was my second favorite station because Meds was so fun, and because our line was so short, we could just continuously get back in line and field-and-throw. He gave pointers (“Ok, plant your feet! Good!”), and he was totally encouraging when you made throws that fell just a little short (“You almost got it!”). Good times. When I did get one to him finally (guess I was sufficiently warmed up by then?), he said, “Hey, good job! You got it all the way over!” Cue Aly BEAM.
Pictures are few and far between. Sorry. I think, at this point, I decided that I was going to play with Lauren’s New Camera (part 1). As such, Lauren's camera suddenly got a jillion pictures because of my messing with it. Sorry!!
Station 4: Jonny Venters & Eric O’Flaherty, our cutie lefty bullpen monsters, in the visitor bullpen. This, I was nervous about.
1. I cannot catch. I have the very worst hand-eye-coordination of any relatively healthy human being I know.
2. I cannot throw. I know I just threw with Meds, and I USED to throw in the baseball games with all the neighborhood kids we could scrounge up. But that does not mean I can actually throw. Plus, my old wrist “injury” (for lack of better word) still plagues me a little bit.
3. Um, hello?! I’m standing next to members of my darling Braves. That’s going to get any girl nervous. I’m not exactly known for being outgoing and gregarious, you know. [This reminds me of an episode of Doctor Who called “The Girl in the Fireplace.” One of the lines goes (about the King of France), “He is the King, and I love him with all my heart. And I look forward to meeting him someday.” Obviously, these guys are not kings, but it’s kind of a similar thing? Sort of? Ok, maybe not. I’ll shut up. But… check out that episode. Totally awesome.]
Here are some pictures I took of EOF. While I’ve managed to get several great Jonny pictures in times past, pictures of EOF never seem to do him justice. I was on a mission. And that mission was to get a flattering shot of EOF.
|This was not it.|
This is blurry and generally bad, but so cute.
So it stays.
|Isn't our Eric O'Flaherty gorgeous? Our Reliever is Better-Looking Than Your Reliever. Depend on it.|
This picture STILL doesn't do him any justice.
This is the best I could manage. I took a lot, too
It seemed as though we weren’t going to end up pitching though, because… again, the lines were not organized, it was just “Ok, we’re gonna coach you a little bit on how to pitch. THROW A BUNCH OF PITCHES GOOD JOB!” We didn’t get near able to go when they started calling time, and trying to usher us along to the next station. I was about to be resigned that we weren’t going to be able to pitch when Lauren walked right up to EOF and said, “We’ve got time for pictures, but not enough time for everybody to pitch?” Eric looked genuinely sorry, and said, “You didn’t get to throw? You should have gotten in there! Some of the kids went 2 or 3 times.” In my head, I was thinking “Yeah. In each line.” I’m an older sibling. I’m also the oldest cousin. So I’m used to just letting kids do whatever while I watch. But honestly, that’s a bit stupid since I had to pay to participate… only not to participate. So Eric O’Flaherty being super-amazing, told us that he would catch and we could throw RIGHT THEN AND THERE. By this point, EVERYBODY in our group except Lauren, Susan, and me were out of the bullpen. It was literally our group guide, Jonny, EOF, and us girls.
OH. EM. GEE.
It just occurred to me that I could/should have mentioned that it would be my birthday the next day. Guess that shows how important it is to me. Like, I recognize that it is my birthday. But I don’t plan or expect fantastic things to happen. It’s just another day. If I do something cool, “yay!” If not, that’s fine, too.
Right. So Susan went first and did such a great job! (Let’s take a second to talk about how ADORBZ Susan is, please. She’s so cute!! And funny. <3) I went next, and felt utterly stupid. I had no idea what I was doing, honestly. My first pitch made it to EOF, and he was very much like, “Hey, not bad!” But when he threw it back, I couldn’t catch, and it hit me in the chest, after I fumbled the ball. I’m not used to gloves… or catching. This has never in my life been a strong suit. I have an ill sense of balance as well. I can only sort of walk in a straight line, and I cannot stand still without swaying and maybe falling. These are true statements. So if I am ever pulled over stone cold sober, and given field sobriety tests, I’m pretty sure that my butt is going to be in county lock up. I told EOF that I couldn’t catch in what must have sounded like a pathetic voice, but I really was mortified. I CAN sort of catch… sometimes. He on the other hand, was apologizing for throwing it at me… but come on… I’m supposed to catch it and throw it back. Jonny was like, “I’ll catch it for you, don’t worry.” Thanks, Jonny! So after I embarrassed myself a little bit more (I think one of pitches went the complete wrong direction, groan). EOF made the most hilarious “oops/yikes” face. Then Lauren goes, throwing hard, and the guys are all surprised. Meanwhile, she’s like, “Oh, that was soft.”
Susan and me: “hooooookay.” (with a side of rolled eyes for me)
EOF: “That was NOT soft.”
Jonny: :O “Looked pretty good to me!” :O
Yes, Lauren. We know you throw hard. ;)
Much to the relief of our chaperone/guide person, we made our way over to Station 5: Pop Ups with Cristhian Martinez. We were way behind the crowd. Cristhian saw us approaching, and came up, held out his hand. “Hi, what’s up?” I shook it, “Hi!” Lauren shook his hand, “Hi, we’re sorry we’re a little late!” Susan shook his hand and said, “Hi. I’m Susan.” (See, not only is she cute, she’s a smartie, too.) Cristhian seemed kind of taken aback by this, but only for a split second, grinned and said, “What’s up, I’m Cristhian.” We took pictures with Cristhian instead of catching pop ups. Then we took pictures of ourselves. Then a nice man took a picture for us. And then… it was time to go, and I didn’t catch a pop up. But like I said… I can’t catch. Really, though, at that point, all I wanted was water. It was a very hot day.
|Attempt 1: I like this one best, but I do NOT enjoy my hair.|
|Attempt 2: Why am I leaning so awkwardly??|
|Attempt 3: A nice man took this picture...|
I want to crop myself out of this otherwise great photo.
Station 6: Autograph Session – You know. A line forms. You get your crap signed (in my case, the free t-shirt from the event which I will never wear), exchange small talk and pleasantries, and shuffle along. I got a picture with awesome Eric O’Flaherty… I heart him forever, to Infante and beyond. (Can we have a conversation about how this man is literally gorgeous? Absolutely beautiful.) Got one with Brooksy, too. Yay! And also, Jose Constanza. Yay! Everybody was so nice. Loved it. Then it was time to eat… I ate a hamburger and then I downed 2 bottles of water and half a bottle of Coke.
OK. Pictures! Bwaahaha!
|Eric O'Flaherty :)|
(I look like I'm up to something...)
|hehehe, Jonny's trying to get out of the way of my pic with Brooksy|
|Brooks Conrad is all grins!|
(Jonny succeeded, sort of, in ducking out of the way...)
(I look 12, wtf)
|Cute Alert: Susan with Jose Constanza|
(so adorable I want to barf ^_^)
|Jose Constanza! (I love how happy he always is!)|
Thanks for taking those photos, Lowen!
I did not go on the free tour because I wanted to leave the oppressive heat for some air conditioning. I am a delicate flower, y’all. I wilt in the heat, and I throw “like a girl.” (The heat this is actually somewhat of an issue. I hate the heat; I do not handle it well. I do not like the sun. My tan does not indicate that these things are true. Thanks, Braves, for luring me out of my cave to be in the sun and get some vitamin D.)
Overall it was a fun experience. My girls and I hung out and “played baseball.” The players were all ultra nice. But I think my conclusion would be this: I’m not sure I would go to another Family Event. The kids were pretty cute. But I’m a single chick at said “family event.” Which, honestly, really meant, “Kids event with lots of chaperones.” So of course they got all the attention and instruction. Again, it’s fine to give kids a little extra, but hey… us single ladies (and guys) paid for this as well, so of course, we’d also like a fair share of instruction. That just didn’t happen. By all means, give the kids extra, but please make sure that the rest of us at least have a turn too.
Photobucket link for mediocre photos.
Lauren’s post is over at Braves Love. Be sure to give it a read for a different perspective (hint: there are more pictures. I gave up bothering) (yes I’m sure you’ve actually already read it shut up).
Aaaaaaaaaaand I’ll try to crank out a few more posts soon!