Tuesday, June 30, 2009

For Those Of You Keeping Score At Home, Give The Fence An Assist

Now that This World We Live In is completed (except for the copy editing, which I loathe so much I refuse to acknowledge it remains to be dealt with), I am searching for new goals, perhaps even a new career.

The goals are pretty easy. My goal for today was to take care of some mother stuff, write a detailed, tastefully whining, email to my brother about the mother stuff, read 100 pages in the biography of Emily Post, due back at the library on Monday, and write this blog entry. So far so good.

The new career part is naturally more tricky, especially since I've had the old career for 40 years now, and until last night, thought myself limited in the skills needed to do any kind of honest work. Or even dishonest work.

But last night a new career option literally fell into my lap.

I'm going to be the center fielder for the New York Yankees.

Lest you think this is some kind of ridiculous fantasy, allow me to explain. Last night I went to a Hudson Valley Renegades game. They're the minor league A team for the Tampa Bay Rays, and they were playing the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Mets A team. I've been meaning to go to a Renegades game for a long time now; their stadium is about 35 minutes from where I live and quite an easy drive.

What prompted me was that my friend Cynthia (one of the very few people who knows the entire fabulous ending of TW) is on the board of Jewish Family Services of Orange County, NY, and they were holding a fundraiser at the game. You could sit in the third base picnic area and eat all the kosher franks you want.

Who could resist?

I went to the game, ate all the kosher franks I wanted (one), and sat down behind a low wrought iron fence. I kept an eye on the game (the Renegades lost 9-1), while chatting with various people.

While I was sitting, and after I'd finished my hot dog, one of the Cyclones (I don't know who, but I guarantee you it's a future Hall Of Famer) hit a foul ball. It flew over the third base seating area, bounced somewhere nice and high, bounced again on the wrought iron fence and landed directly in my lap!

I'm hard pressed to name a greater moment in my life. I met Eleanor Roosevelt, but I have no memories of that. I've won three blue ribbons at Orange County Fair (for popovers, frozen desserts, and chocolate cream pie). I've been a New York Times Best Selling Author. I even made Dean's List once in college (although they misspelled my name).

But my wildest least likely dream has always been to catch a ball during a game. I've watched zillions of baseball games on TV, and every time I've seen someone catch a ball, I've whispered, "Oh, how I wish that were I." Okay, I really whispered, "Oh, how I wish that was me," but I've been reading a biography of Emily Post.

And now that dream, the dream of so many short plump just past middle aged freelance children's book writers, has been realized. I get a little teary just thinking about it (and about the black and blue mark on my thigh from where the ball landed).

I jumped up and screamed in ecstasy (there are witnesses). I posed for pictures (granted, I made my friend Cynthia take the pictures with my camera, but I still posed). I gestured to the Renegade's mascot that I had caught the ball (it seemed quite impressed). I held onto that baseball, only allowing one kind of old guy to hold it, because I knew if he tried to steal it (which he assured me he wouldn't) I could tackle him and bring him down. I didn't let any kids near it, not that any of them seemed to care.

It was suggested to me that the Mets are in greater need of my services as a center fielder, and it's true that it was their franchise's coaching staff who most likely noticed my incredible fielding skills and promptly text messaged Omar Minaya about me.

But I was brought up to be a Yankees fan. My kitten is named for one of their greats. So sorry, Mets. My destiny is to be a New York Yankees center fielder.

Mantle. Rivers. Cabrera. Pfeffer.

Mickey, Mickey, Melky and Me.

It's the stuff of legend.


Bethany said...

That's a thrilling account! I also always wanted to catch a ball at a game. The couple of times we'd go to Tiger Stadium while I was growing up in MI, I'd wear my glove the whole time, even while eating. I'd also end up reading the program instead of watching the game. One time, when I was ten, I even sneaked a novel in with me to read. I'm thinking that might have dashed my chances, even with the mitt.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Happy July 1 Bethany-

I strongly recommend sitting behind a wrought iron fence. I think it's more effective than wearing a glove. And it would give you a place to prop up a novel.

A number of years ago, my brother and I went to a Double A game in Albany and a foul ball came flying into our area. I ducked in terror and the ball ended up in the row behind us.

Those balls are scary. Unless they bounce neatly into one's lap!

Wendy said...

This entry is why I have always loved your books. What a delight to read. Thanks! This blog is like always have a snippet of a Susan Beth Pfeffer book to read.

When I was growing up, I always took a novel to ballgames (parties, concerts, the store, restaurants, church--though not even my parents tolerated that one, etc.). I kind of miss that level of devotion to reading. Now ballgames (and baseball are the only ones I attend) are entirely about eating and socializing. I never have any idea what is happening on the field and I'm okay with that.

Dawn said...

Oh, Oh! You should totally become a librarian! LIBRARIAN, LIBRARIAN! You could still write some but you could also work in a library! Yes! Oh---and you should move to northern Kentucky and you should bring your mom.

-Dawn :)

Anonymous said...

A great story, but I must admit to being disappointed in it.

You only ate one hotdog? Worst yet, one Kosher hotdog?

Oy, what a shame.

As it says in my word verification, I am 'efistled'.


Linda Jacobs said...

I'm sitting here chuckling. You really do know how to tell an entertaining story!

I'm a baseball nut, too, only for a Boston team. (However, is there an player cuter than Derek Jeter?)

Linda Jacobs said...

any player


Anonymous said...

Hi Susan
Love your books and enjoy reading your blog, too.
Nothing more exciting than being at a baseball game. Go Red Sox!
The food, the crowd, the vendors yelling "Peanuts!" a little piece of heaven shaped like a diamond.
Congratulations on getting a game ball!!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello to Wendy, Dawn, Glen, Linda Jacobs and Anonymous-

I feel like I'm surrounded by Red Sox fans. Nice Red Sox fans.

I love baseball. I grew up in a baseball household. Every summer, my father and brother would recite the list of the 1923 Yankees starting lineup. That was my father's favorite team, and Babe Ruth was my father's favorite player. My father claimed he heard on the radio when Babe Ruth pointed his finger to where his homerun would go.

Hmm. My word verification is "rotho." That's awfully close to Rutho!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful story. I'm a baseball fan, too. Haven't you ever heard of the Huntsville Stars? (yeah, right)

I never caught a ball, but I did write a little something while watching my nephew play little league one hot summer. I got brave and sent it to Highlights. What do you know?! They liked it, too. "Baseball Fever" coming to a magazine near you. (no idea what issue. I'm waiting.)


Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Congratulations WandaV!

Selling short stories is so difficult. At least it always was for me.

And Highlights is a premiere children's magazine. I can't begin to guess how many stories are submitted to them annually. To have yours selected for publication is a major league triumph.

I am very impressed.

Anonymous said...

Amusingly, the comment I posted ended up in the financial blog. See below.

W. Slezak

Yvette said...

What a fun post. Glad you didn't get hurt more than a bruise on your leg. I can imagine the force behind those fouls! Yikes.
Have you read The Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger? I am leading the book discussion this summer at the library, and it's about a boy in 1940's Brooklyn, starting up a pen pal friendship with a ball player, told through their letters, telegrams and other "documents". For a baseball fan, it'a an interesting piece of "history", though sentimental. (Sorry to say, I'm not one, but if I had to pledge my allegiance, it would have to be to the Mets, since I'm a Jersey native....and now living in Red Sox Nation...oy...!)

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi W. Slezak and thank you for both your comments-

I watched the movie Fallen Sprarrow a week or two ago, and since Walter Slezak is in it (playing a charming, but not necessarily trustworthy European), I thought of you. So it's a double pleasure to hear from you again.

And yes, I sip deeply from the Fountain of Yute!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Happy 5th of July Yvette-

Much as I'd like to whine and groan about my black and blue mark, actually I'm unscathed. The ball landed light as a feather on my lap.

I haven't read The Last Days Of Summer, but in these first days of summer, I think I'll just enjoy the baseball season as it now is and wait until the chilly days of winter before getting nostalgic!

heather t said...

Ha! This was great. Congratulations!

Also, if you need some help copy editing, just say the word. :)

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Heather T-

The help I'll need with copy editing is restraint from physically attacking the copy editors (not that I've ever actually met one).

Copy editors like everything to be clean and perfect, and I'm not a clean and perfect kind of a person, so there are natural disagreements.

For all I know, copy editors are just as eager to use physical force against me as I am to do same to them.

Good thing we're never in a room together!