In life there are certain places one is not allowed in. The places are obvious and we know better not to go in them or else you will suffer the consequences.
This year is the 20th anniversary of my most humiliating moment in baseball.
I was an eager college student wanting to help the baseball team at Sacramento City College. I was going there working towards my AA in Physical Education, and then transfer to Sacramento State. I had thoughts of coaching baseball, and despite having very little playing experience, I had plans to work in professional baseball.
There are times in life when your plans are just dreams. I was soon going to discover the fine line between plans and dreams.
In the winter of 1992, I made plans to help out with the SCC baseball team. I wanted to help out on the field. The staff suggested I help in the press box as the scoreboard operator. I figured take what you can get. So I volunteered to work in the press box.
Over winter break, life threw a few curveballs at me. I wasn't really in the mind set to go to school. I also lost my enthusiasm for working in the press box. So I reported very late to helping out with the team.
In baseball, there is one place no one but players and coaches are allowed in......the clubhouse. It's a players escape from the playing field. Very adult things are discussed in there. So imagine a bunch of cocky college kids discussing drinking and chasing skirts on their weekends.
So I figured I was part of the staff, I was allowed in there. One player walked up to me and said, "Excuse me, your not allowed in here. It's for players only." I assured him I was with the team. He kept insisting for me to turn around and leave. I didn't heed the warning signs. I demanded to speak to one of the coaches. He told me that they were out conducting drills. So I went out to where the coaches were, only to discover THE WHOLE TEAM was sitting around shooting the bull. They all turned to look at me. One of the coaches smiled and waved me over. That song 'Smiling Faces' should have been playing in the background. The smile wasn't so friendly. "What the hell do you want?", one of the coaches asked. I told him I was volunteering to help with the team."Who says we need help? Ain't no one here want to talk to you!" By this time the whole team is laughing at my expense. I could feel everyone looking at me. By this time I felt like I needed to leave.
One of the coaches said, "Where ya been? I never heard from you, so I got someone else to do your job. Is there anything else you need?"
I apologized to the coach, which only brought up more laughs and mocking. I felt like the most worthless person in the world. I turned around and I could hear them making fun of me, then another loud laugh. As I left the player who tried to stop me said, "Did you find who you were looking for?" I just kept walking and wanting to hide. I never went back to help out. That's when I learned that outsiders are not welcome in baseball clubhouses. It's a sacred place for a privileged few.
Years later I worked as a clubbie for the Solano Steelheads of the Western Baseball League. So without even trying, I worked in baseball and finally felt as if I belonged.