Monday, October 27, 2008

Rainy Days and Mondays...

Once again, the World Series is delayed by rain. This time around, they got the game going but were forced to suspend it in the 6th because, for some reason, the umpires didn't want to use scuba gear to keep going. And the home plate ump left his prescription goggles at home (ohhh, snap!). So the game has been suspended. This gives the Tampa Bay Rays a one-day reprieve, and The Common Man something to watch tomorrow afternoon when he should really be working.

What struck The Common Man the most, as he watched the Philadelphia's infield turn into a Slip and Slide track, was how dirty B.J. Upton's uniform got in the top of the 6th. Indeed, when water hits the clay and dirt of the infield, the result is a cement-ish, paint-like goop that clings to any surface. And when Upton skidded into second-base like he was waterskiing, his pants ended up caked with bright brown ick.

It's not every baseball fan that's going to notice these things, but The Common Man was fortunate to spend two summers as a clubhouse manager for a minor league team. All The Common Man could think when he saw Upton's pants was "that's gonna be damn near impossible to get out." It's a strange perspective to have as a sports fan, The Common Man thinks, to allow laundry analysis to shape one's thoughts and impressions of historic action on the field of play.

Yet, this is what being a clubhouse manager hath wrought. The Common Man watches Upton slide and flashes back to early mornings on the day after a road trip and finding bags and bags of muddy, damp, smelly uniforms, taken off the team bus and dumped unceremoniously on the floor. Wondering just how many times he'd have to run them through the inadequate washing-machine to get them the gleaming white or stark gray that The Common Man's bosses expected. Often, he'd be at it for 4-5 hours before all the laundry was done on those days, taking a brush to the stains and scrubbing with all his might.

It was terribly frustrating, difficult work. But frankly, The Common Man enjoyed it. The job (even the laundry aspect) deepened his love, appreciation, and knowledge of the game and made him even more eager to stay up until 1 AM, watching a game end. And it helped him understand the amazingly complex and substantial network of people who support ballplayers and who never get noticed. So tonight, The Common Man salutes those real men who don't mind washing a bunch of jocks jocks, who make and lay out a banquet both before and after each game, who clean and shine every damn shoe. Here's to you boys, though tonight The Common Man is glad that, he won't be the one up until 1 AM making sure Upton's pants are ready to go tomorrow.

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