It’s 3 p.m. and the kiss on my cheek fades as Ken leaves for work, a seemingly simple gesture performed by countless spouses on an ordinary day.
The Yankees have come to us this time; a three-game stint in Baltimore during a few chilly spring days after their April 26 visit to the White House less than an hour south of Camden Yards.
We pretend for three days, Ken and I, that he has nothing more than a 30-minute commute into the city, leaving in the afternoon and returning after the household is snoring, once again planting a soft kiss on my cheek as I doze close to midnight.
“Did they win?” I mumble as I turn on my side, feeling disappointment that the Orioles managed to find a burst of energy to beat the Yankees in spite of Baltimore’s atrocious start to the season.
But we don’t get used to it – this ritual of the 3 p.m. kiss and commute. It’s just a tease and we know it. And not that Ken wishes to work for another team – he does not – what could possibly compare to the New York Yankees experience?
So just for three days we pretend that he doesn’t have to pack a bag, go on the road, hop a plane, hail a cab, commute by train, and exist as a dad and a husband through cell phones, texts and emails.
Yes, just for three glorious days, the Yankees come to him.
It’s not essential that I actually watch a Yankee game when Ken is home on an off-day since he treats me to a play-by-play from his favorite perch in the TV room. As he’s “doing his homework” (how’s that for an explanation why a husband needs to watch so much baseball?) Ken calls out sporadically, “3-nothing Yankees!” … or … “CC Sabathia has a no-hitter going!” … or whatever pinstripe action is unfolding on the screen. (He gets stirred up when he’s watching his guys.)
“What inning?” I called out about that particular game, knowing no player can count their baseball chicks before they hatch.
Now, call me oblivious, but I don’t always listen 100% to the baseball lingo floating around our house (being that it’s a daily occurrence), so I’m thinking Ken meant CC was pitching a perfect game.
Later, when Ken’s final game report echoed from the TV room that Sabathia gave up a hit in the eighth inning, I commented something about a perfect game.
That’s when Ken quizzed me. “Beauty,” (he calls me Beauty), “Do you know the difference between a no-hitter and a perfect game?”
Although I could describe a perfect game as when batters are up 1-2-3 and out 1-2-3, I failed the quiz by improperly describing a no-hitter (and how long have I been a baseball wife?). Well, I knew what I meant.
And although I didn’t describe it correctly, at least I know what a perfect game most definitely looks like, since I’ve been dusting a framed scorecard autographed by Dennis Martinez that has been on display in Ken’s office for 19 years. It’s a keeper.
Okay, that’s a white lie. I haven’t been dusting the scorecard for 19 years because, well, I don’t actually dust.
Martinez’s perfect game July 28, 1991 is one of two that Ken has had the privilege of calling as an announcer — one in the National League and one in the American. That’s some kind of baseball statistic right there, folks, since only 18 pitchers total have tossed perfect games in MLB history. The earliest two were recorded in 1880 and not another happened until 1964!
That perfect game between Montreal (2) and Los Angeles (0) was made sweeter for my husband to witness — and call — since Dennis is a former Orioles teammate and was a Montreal Expo starting pitcher during Ken’s run at The Sports Network in Canada.
Before the YES Network evolved and Ken was a Yankees announcer on the Madison Square Garden Network, David Wells was the second pitcher to decorate Ken’s office with a perfect scorecard May 17, 1998 (New York 4, Minnesota 0).
Super! Another dust collector … uh, I mean … keeper.