Since I wouldn’t have dared to play an infield position when I was in Little League (I’ll admit it, I was a little scared of the ball), and I rarely made it to first base as a hitter, I never had much of an opportunity to chat with the first baseman.
So now I feel like I’m missing out on some sort of insider/guy thing when I watch baseball on TV and see the runner on first engaged in small talk with the first baseman.
What could they possibly be talking about?
- Are they talking about what they are going to do with the $25,000 they are going to earn for that night’s game? (According to an ESPN article, the average salary when Opening Day rosters were finalized at the start of the 2015 season broke the $4 million barrier for the first time. Unless you’re Clayton Kershaw, whose salary of $31 million, along with an average number of starts of about 32 games per year (including post-season), works out to be slightly less than $1 million per game.)
- Are they talking about what their plans are for after the game?
- Are they talking about other players?
- Are they talking about the hot babe in the second row behind the third base dugout?
- Are they talking trash?
- Are they talking about the pre-order they just made for the Lamborghini SUV?
- Are they talking about how painful it is to talk to reporters after the game?
- Are they talking about how much they miss steroids?
- Are they talking about how it seems pretty likely that Pete Rose will never get into the Hall of Fame?
- Are they talking about how the filet mignon in the clubhouse before the game was a little overcooked?
Since I know I’ll never get to be part of such a conversation, I’ve often thought the best way to find out would be to write a book called “Conversations at First”. It would be a fun book to write; I’d get to interview not just first basemen, but lots of baseball players (maybe even my all-time favorite, Cal Ripken, Jr.).
I even thought of some of the questions I would ask:
- who’s your favorite player to have a chat with
- who’s your least favorite
- what was the funniest thing a player said to you at first base
- is there any player who simply will not engage in a conversation
- is there any player you refuse to have a conversation with
- have you formed any friendships as a result of your first base conversations
- if you could pick one former player to chat with at first base, who would it be
- does a conversation carry on from a previous visit to first base earlier in the game
- does the first base coach get to be part of the conversation
And then a very personal question, which I would hope at least one person answers yes to:
- were you ever scared of the ball when you were little
*Please note that the phrases “small talk at first base” and “conversations at first” have been copyrighted, and I have filed a patent for any book or article that includes mention of a first baseman for the next 20 years…