This week Heather, Annie, and I are meeting up with my family in Arizona for our annual trip to watch Spring Training baseball (for non-baseball aficionados these are practice games played before the regular season). We always have a wonderful time, and even made an especially meaningful trip with Maddie a couple years ago, but on one of our first trips twenty or so years ago my twelve year old self was lucky not to have been dragged from the stadium in handcuffs and tossed in the back of a police car.
The drama began when I was sitting in the stands of Scottsdale Stadium with my Dad and this kid in front of me, Sean, turned around to chat. Sean was a little older and had a cocky air about him, but he quickly made it clear that he was just as obsessed with the San Francisco Giants as I was. After the game ended Sean asked me if I wanted to try to score some player autographs (which I most definitely did), so I made plans to meet my Dad in front of the stadium in half an hour.
Sean and I lined up with a bunch of other kids near the players’ exit, but after fifteen minutes, when we had yet to procure a single autograph, Sean turned to me with a mischievous gleam in his eye.
“Dude,” he whispered. “I know something we can do that’s way cooler than getting autographs.”
“Really?” I asked, my interest piqued.”What?”
Sean motioned for me to follow him, then sneaked past an usher and hurried down an aisle. I followed Sean and sat next to him in a front row seat that looked out at the now empty field.
“This is cooler than getting autographs?” I asked, confused.
“No,” Sean replied like I was a fool. “But going into the locker room is!”
“How the heck are we supposed to do that?”
“It’s easy,” Sean said as he looked around. “All you have to do is jump onto the field and go into the dugout. There’s a door in there leading to the locker room!”
“I don’t think you’re supposed to do that. I’m pretty sure it’s trespassing.”
“It’s no big deal. I’ve done it and so have all my friends. If anyone catches you just say you’re looking for Angel.”
“He’s the Giants’ bat boy. And a personal friend of mine. No one will give you any crap if you say you’re looking for Angel. Trust me.”
Sean stared hard at me with his beady little eyes.
“So what do you say? You gonna do it or not?”
Though I can’t explain exactly why today, I told him I would do it. Sean smiled a Cheshire grin as I climbed over the rail and jumped down onto the field. I then hurried into the dugout and through the door Sean told me about.
As I crept down a dark hallway my heart did cartwheels in my chest. Instead of turning back, however, I continued forward until I stepped into the San Francisco Giants’ locker room!
I spun around in awe and examined the racks of bats, the players’ jerseys hanging in the lockers, and the all-around awesomeness until…
“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING IN HERE?!”
I gasped as Mike LaCoss, the Giants’ towering left handed pitcher, exited the shower with a towel wrapped around his waist. LaCoss was mustachioed and mean looking.
“I, uh, I uh -”
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN HERE, KID?!”
My knees began to shake. As LaCoss glared at me I fought to maintain bladder control.
“I’m, uh, l-l-looking for Angel.”
“The bat boy.”
LaCoss’ face burned with anger.
“THE BAT BOY?! ARE YOU F-ING SERIOUS? I’M CALLING SECURITY.”
“My mistake. Bye!”
I bolted back the way I came leaving a cloud of dust in the looker room. Upon stepping back onto the field and looking into the stands I saw that Sean was nowhere in sight.
Out in front of the stadium I quickly found my Dad.
“Get any autographs?”
I shook my head, motioning toward our car.
“No, but I sort of met Mike LaCoss.”
My dad nodded, impressed, and we got in the car. As we drove off I decided never to speak of my crime…until now that is. Here’s hoping there’s a statute of limitations in Arizona on trespassing.