There’s a metal gold and red lifetime stadium pass in our kitchen junk drawer about the size of a credit card. It reads: “American/National Major Leagues of Professional Baseball present this LIFETIME PASS to KENNETH SINGLETON AND ONE in appreciation of long and meritorious service.” It’s signed by then American League president Lee MacPhail Jr. and then National League president Charles S. Feeney (leagues no longer have presidents, according to Ken).
The pass is scratched up, bent, and very tarnished – after all, it’s old. Ken retired from the field 25 years ago. He saw the pass sitting on my desk in my office as I’m writing.
“I was looking for that,” he said.
“You were?” I laughed. “Why? When would you ever need this?”
Hard to imagine stadium personnel would require Ken to show his permanent metal pass to get into a Major League ballpark, nor can I imagine him attending as a fan in the first place to watch a game. (Why should he when he can view sports on his High Def TV from a choice of nine brown La-Z-Boy recliners in our theater room?)
Besides in the stands at Oriole Park at Camden Yards during Cal Ripken’s 2,131st consecutive game in 1995, where Ken had been invited to participate in a postgame ceremony, I’ve only seen him sitting in press boxes (not counting the bleachers at our three sons’ Little League and Minor League games).
Wouldn’t it be comical to see the look on a front gate attendant’s face when we tried to push through the turnstile using Ken’s metal lifetime pass?
“What IS this antiquated thing?” I’d imagine s/he would ask us. “Hold on, I better get my supervisor.”
My guess is that no stadium staff member has ever laid eyes before on a Major League Lifetime Pass.
“I think once you play 10 years, you get one,” said Ken. He cracks me up – he thinks he might use it “years from now.”
Guess I’ll be the “AND ONE” he takes along.
This is an old story but a favorite. Mother’s Day reminds me what a terrific mom I have.
Fourteen years later, my non-sports fan mom Gina still regrets declining a game ticket after Ken and I had invited my parents to the Cal Ripken Jr.’s “2,131” grand events September 5-6, 1995 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. We were allowed six tickets for each game: the tie of Lou Gehrig’s consecutive game record, and the record-breaker.
For the first game, my dad Louie (peeking through the photo to your left) and my sister Pamela joined us, as did our then-16-year-old son Justin and his girlfriend Michele. Mom had agreed to babysit our youngest son at our house, then aged 3. She didn’t quite understand the hoopla created around such baseball milestones.
Before the game, the Orioles hosted a fabulous VIP party with some big batters in attendance: Tom Selleck, Johnny Unitas, basketball pro David “The Admiral” Robinson, The Young & The Restless soap opera star Don Diamont, Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Earl Weaver, Olympics speed skater Bonnie Blair and other sports-related greats.
What a thrilling and memorable evening!
When I phoned Mom to check on the tot, she was frazzled. It was one of those “I want my Mommy and Daddy!” nights. He had been crying “plenty loud,” she said since we left, and “Mom-Mom” was unable to console him. Worse, he had seen us on TV, retrieved the car keys, and demanded his grandmother drive him to the stadium.
A night of babysitting hell.
Adding to my mother’s misery, I mistakenly mentioned, “Guess who’s here? Guess who we met? … Tom Selleck!” to which my mother’s wail could have been heard from our Baltimore County home all the way downtown. (She adores Tom Selleck, who doesn’t?)
“Do you mean I gave up a chance to meet Tom Selleck for this?” She was – and remains – in disbelief that she was stuck at home all evening trying to calm an irate toddler while her daughters and husband hobnobbed with Hollywood.
Sorry Tom, but you missed meeting a very pleasant lady – and a great babysitter. Thankfully, being the great Mom-Mom she is, it wasn’t the last time she agreed to watch our kids.