My days in the clubhouse reached a fever pitch about this time 34 years ago. I picked the right year to become batboy—the year Seattle hosted its first Major League All-Star Game. As the visiting clubhouse batboy, that meant that I would perform batboy duties for the National League All-Stars.
The players started filtering in a couple of days before the game. Players and their equipment would arrive at all hours of the day and night. This began a three-day stint of living in the Kingdome for me. Bags would arrive from a foreign city and team. I would look in awe at the arrival of these players from the "other" league.
This was in the days before interleague play. The American and National Leagues didn't compete against each other during the season. The only time they would meet would be in the World Series.
It was the only chance to see the stars from the other league. You would read about a star from the National League all year. Maybe see him on the Game of the Week on Saturday. But, you would never have the chance to see this player in person except for the All-Star Game. The awe of the "other" league is lost now as interleague play allows fans to see both leagues throughout the year.
Our clubhouse manager, Fred Genzale, played the role of drill sergeant during the season and he kicked it up a notch with the arrival of the All-Star game. Every locker was perfect—cleats, uniforms, shower shoes and stools.
The locker room looked amazing with different uniforms from all the teams displayed in
front of the lockers. While
behind-the-scenes, things looked peaceful, that was about to be shattered by
the craziness of the All-Star festivities.
This was years before the spectacle that the All-Star game has turned into—but it was still party city.
Events launched all over Seattle some exclusive to the ballplayers and … um … the people who knew how to get into them!
The outside distractions still didn't live up to being in the clubhouse with the All-Stars. Some of my favorites were Steve Garvey, Joe Morgan, George Foster—even Pete Rose. My most memorable player, one who took me under his wing as if I was his son, was catcher, Gary Carter of the Montreal Expos. He turned out to be one of the nicest guys that I would ever meet in baseball.
The clubhouse was full, the city was buzzing and we hadn't even stepped onto the field yet!Jim Devitt is the author of the #1 Kindle Bestselling Young Adult novel, The Card. He's also a healthcare consultant specializing in helping healthcare companies and practices develop a social media marketing platform, and maximize cash flow. You can find him posting weekly to Indies Unlimited and occasionally as a contributor on Yahoo!