We just kicked off our summer baseball season in Las Vegas.
A note on Las Vegas: A year ago I’d never been, and I really had no desire to go. Now I’ve been four times, and I still have no desire to go. My husband loves it, and mentioned this weekend that he could see himself retiring there. Yikes.
I loved summer baseball last year and the year before. It’s really always been my favorite. I love seeing guys from all over come together for two months and become a team. I love watching my husband be the head coach. I love the laid back atmosphere and just getting to see guys play.
But I dreaded this season. I really don’t know why. Last year I put a lot into summer baseball because I helped my husband with a team we owned. When we moved to California, he became the coach of a team that started within an existing organization. It’s nice that I didn’t have to do anything, but the anticipation was gone as well.
Until Thursday. I started getting excited for the new season to start and eager to watch baseball again. And on Friday morning, we drove to Las Vegas to kick off our season. While there, things just got better. I think I’d forgotten how much I love my game-day role as coach’s wife. I started to bond with this new group of players, I got to watch their first moments bonding together, and I got to see my husband bond with them as well.
All that aside, this weekend was chaotic.
For starters, our team just didn’t play very well. It was a rough start, to say the least. And when that happens, coach’s brain is constantly distracted with trying to troubleshoot and develop new ideas.
We had 12 players for four games. If you don’t know too much about baseball, you might be thinking, “Great! That’s a team of 9 and 3 subs!” But if you know a lot about baseball, you’re thinking, “Mayday! Mayday! Pitching shortage!” The good news was that our position players got plenty of at-bats. The bad news is we had to stretch out our pitching and now have no idea who is going to throw on Tuesday because none of our pitchers will have enough rest by then.
Another issue with such a player shortage is that there’s no one to do the game-day tasks. No one to coach first base. No one to catch bullpens. No one to chase foul balls. No one to keep the scorebook. So I ran the scorebook. Confession #1: I’d never kept the official scorebook before. I was slightly terrified. Confession #2: I didn’t have any pencils, only pens. I was completely terrified.
It was hot. Friday had a high of 96. Saturday’s high was 102, but the “feels like” temperature was 108, and at one point my car’s dashboard said it was 116. Sunday’s high was 106. I suppose these are somewhat normal summer temperatures for Las Vegas, but I do believe they are abnormally hot for late May.
All that heat considered, I’m no stranger to long days at the ballpark. I know the importance of sunscreen, and I keep it in my purse. Waterproof and sweatproof sunscreen. I reapplied every two hours for the first two days of games, and I still got the worst sunburn of my life. On the third day, I reapplied sunscreen every 75 minutes, and it still got worse.
Don’t get me started on the water issue. It is the home team’s job to provide water for the away team. I think every sport is like that, right? But when you’re playing an outdoor sport in 100-degree weather, water is especially important. On the first day, the home team’s coach did not have water for us, but he reassured us he would provide water on Saturday. So I went to 7-11 to buy us water. On Saturday, there was still no water for us. Back to 7-11. Sunday, no water. At least by Sunday our players learned to bring their own water. I could probably write a whole post on water in summer baseball, but I’ll spare you [for now].
Despite all the chaos, it was a ridiculously fun weekend. Even with our losses, it was fun to start a new season and get to know a new team. That is exactly what I needed to get excited and mentally prepared for this summer we have coming up.
But let’s hope what happened in Vegas stays in Vegas and we can have some smooth games from here on out.