I have made a terrible trade. Back when we started driving to work together, Sean and I came to an agreement which—now that I think about it—we came to way too easily for him not to have plotted it sneakily in advance. The agreement was this: in the mornings, I would decide what we listened to on the stereo. In the evenings, it would be his choice.
For three months, I felt like I'd won the lottery. For some reason, wresting control of the radio on the way to work was far more important to me than what we listened to on the way back. Throughout January, February, and March, our morning commute unfurled mostly to the dulcet tones of Evan Dando, although sometimes I'd mix it up a little with the Vaccines, Peter, Paul & Mary, the Bevis Frond, or the Head & the Heart. Mornings become a lot more bearable when you can start the day off with a little headbanging in your own car. (Don't think you can headbang to Peter, Paul & Mary? Ride to work with me one day, my friend. You have some things to learn. )
So all was going well and everyone was happy. And then baseball season started.
I feel I must pause here to tell you what a huge baseball fan Sean is. All I hear, all year round, is how many days it is until baseball season starts. And then when baseball season does start, all I hear is what time we need to be home so a certain person can watch a Yankees game in hi-definition.
I mean, I don't mind baseball—indeed, you may remember that I once hosted a baseball party, aged fourteen—and I'm always up for a game or two every summer, provided there is sunshine, beer, and a player with a hilarious name (Bumgarner! Pujols! The laughs never end!), but it did not occur to me, back when Sean and I struck up that infamous deal at the beginning of January, that I would spend 45 minutes in the car every evening listening to baseball on the radio. Because baseball games are on the radio in the evenings, see.
Damn it, that sneaky bastard.
If there isn't a Yankees game on, he'll listen to a Giants game. If there isn't a Giants game on, he'll listen to your five-year-old's Little League team playing catch in an elementary school parking lot. He isn't fussy. If there are bats and a ball, and people using the bats to hit the ball, he'll listen to it. Correction: WE'LL ALL LISTEN TO IT.
Oh, I sound like I'm giving him a hard time, but I don't really mind. There's actually something about listening to baseball on the radio that's rather pleasant. The announcer's voice is strangely timeless—it sounds like it could be coming from any decade in the last century—and the reliably familiar cadence of it is somehow soothing. Listening to baseball on the radio frequently makes me want to buy a pair of stockings with seams up the back, or put on a poodle skirt and find a soda jerk to make me an egg cream, or crack open a TaB and ask people what they thought of the Watergate hearings.
What I don't get, though, is how invested Sean is in it. Could you explain this to me, if you're into sports? It's something I can't wrap my mind around, being about as interested in a team of people kicking, throwing, hitting, passing, or catching a ball as I am in the contents of my cat's litter tray. He'll get upset if they lose a game. He'll stew if it was close. He'll whoop and shout and punch the air like a poltergeist posessed if they win. And the craziest part is that he has no control over the outcome! (Whatever, buddy, wearing your lucky underpants doesn't count.)
Am I alone in this or are there other people out there whose partners are as heavily invested in how far a dude in capri pants can hit a ball with a stick? Should we form a team of our own, perhaps? You be in charge of finding us a stadium. I'll make us some cute shirts.