I tried to stay away from the spray, slip in and grab my quote or three, slip out and go write my story. I tried to keep a low profile and slyly survey the scene for Saturday's story, make a quick observation for history's sake. I tried.
Unfortunately, a few players saw me meekly peeking around into the clubhouse Friday after the Biscuits clinched a playoff berth with a 5-4 win over Mississippi. I paid the price.
They started inviting me to have a closer, first-hand look as they sprayed champagne and other "social sodas" around in celebration. I said no. They started chanting my name and beckoning me to see the mess they were making. I declined.
Ryan Christianson, with a paternal look in his eye, walked out of the clubhouse to where I was, safely sheltered in an area unprotected by plastic and off-limits to their party, and never said a word. Like a gentle dentist guiding a patient to the drill, he put one hand on my elbow and pointed the other, which had a beverage in it, toward the door.
I figured it would come to this. The reporter always gets dragged into the celebration, whether he's willing or not. I had considered my options: a) I could acquiese and take it, perhaps gaining a shred or two of respect, and getting it out of the way; b) I could resist and be thrown into the spray, thus losing what little reputation I have; or c) I could resist, the players would give up, and I'd have no respect whatsoever.
I chose A.
Just as I was about to reach the door, ending my walk of the Green Mile, I was still clutching my trusty notepad, board and scorebook. Michael Coleman mentioned that I might want to leave those outside and spare permanent damage. I obliged.
Soon, I was on the plastic and a target. My clothes may recover from the drenching of a lot of "social sodas" and such. I didn't drink any of it, took my soaking and went on with life. I dried off what little I could, gathered my quotes and returned to the press box in wet shirt and shorts.
I typed my story while starting to shiver from the cold. I think I made deadline.
I've never been through that type of situation before, but I'll be better prepared next time. I had a change of clothes, at my hotel a mile from the stadium. After I sent my story, I scurried back to change and took my wet clothes to my hero of the night, Trustmark Park's visiting clubhouse manager who offered to wash them.
Maybe next time for the Biscuits will be in two weeks, when the Southern League championship is decided.
See you there, Biscuits. I'll bring the rain coat.
I'm very proud of you for taking one with the team! Many of us would have loved to be in that situation, simply because the only way we even know that stuff happens is through old films and TV. Instead of a being a passive observer, you got to be part of it! And, the fact that the team wanted you to be there speaks volumes about how they really feel about you--believe it or not, we fans are envious of your good fortune (and you even had the club house wash your clothes? Golly! It don't get much better than that!).
I think the Biscuits also may have been getting some revenge. As one of them said after I had toweled off: "That makes up for all the stuff you've said about us the last five months."
The clubhouse guy offered to wash the clothes. I just took him up on it. There's no telling how bad that stuff would have smelled.
The team even went after a batboy. The batboy said he feared arrest when he left the stadium. Heck, so did I.
"Uh, officer, I know I smell like I just swam Anheuser-Busch River and bathed in a still, but I've had nothing to drink." They'd have thought the breathalyzer was broken rather than I was completely sober.
Post a Comment