By September in the Singleton household, admittedly, I’m weary of baseball. Let’s just get the Yankees to the World Series already, and get Mr. Singy home to make spaghetti.
If I had a dollar for every baseball game I’ve watched (um, sort of watched) being a Singleton, I could have loads of fun at The Dollar Tree. (You thought I was going to say I’d be rich?)
Throughout Ken’s radio announcing days for the Montreal Expos, TV broadcasting for Madison Square Garden and the YES Network, our son Justin’s little league, high school, and Clemson University games, his summer leagues (including Cape Cod), and on up to his Minor League career in the Toronto Blue Jays’ Triple-A system … whew, that’s a ton of baseball for someone who connects with the phrase ants in her pants.
Wait … forgot to count two other sons’ rec council baseball games. Now we’re up to 19 years’ worth of being a baseball mom and wife, loyally sitting through mega-innings of a sport with which I have a love/hate relationship. Good thing the tickets have been free.
It’s not a secret – Ken admits it, too – baseball is a slow, methodical, and sometimes
L-O-N-G game. I’ve been the one in the stands reading a book (hey, a girl has to prepare for rain delays somehow), and I’ve walked around stadiums to stretch my legs and people watch. I’ve hunted for the healthiest stadium food possible and even shopped in team stores to pass time through extra innings, although our household does not need one more jersey, cap, or jacket in the closets. (Wait – do they make high heels yet with team logos?)
I try to pay attention, honestly I do, but the distractions are too great … watching people pig out or guzzle beer, noticing kids more bored than I am fiddle with their dad’s hat or fold their stadium seat up and down 42 times. I contemplate why that girl walking up the aisle would want to show that much cleavage in a male-dominated venue (oh right); and calculate the time we’ll get back to the hotel to catch a “Sex and the City” rerun.
Basically I’ve decided that watching baseball is like going to work with my husband. The sport has been extremely good to the Singletons, certainly, I’d never want to sound ungrateful (that’s the love part). Baseball feeds our hungry teens and my shoe fetish. Yet it separates our family for seven months (that’s the hate part). We miss Ken, and Ken misses out on family life such as birthdays and weddings, meeting visiting cousins from Italy, simply hanging out with the kids – and the most recent, as you may have heard Michael Kay announce on air – the birth of our first grandson September 21.
We can bring Ken’s face into our living room via airwaves, sure, but that is no substitute for the real deal.
Yes, 19 years is a lot of baseball. Excuse me while I run out to the dollar store.
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Robert A Modica: Ken, somewhere I read that the Red Sox believe
Diasuke Matsuzaka’s injury is from being extensively used in the
baseball classic. Is there a limit in innings a pitcher can pitch, or
is it left up to the coach on how he wishes to use them? And do you
think the players are getting in the best of shape, playing in the
classic as apposed to Spring Training. Always a Yankee!!!!!
Ken Singleton: There is no real limit to the innings a pitcher can throw. Now, as opposed to the past, there is more of an effort to protect pitchers arms by monitoring their innings. I think stressful innings the WBC as opposed to the gradual getting ready in Spring Training can cause injury. Pitchers are very competitive and may try to reach back for a little extra on a fastball when they are not quite ready to do so.
Jerry Kohut from Woodbridge, N.J.: “How does Ken feel about the in-studio hosts using the term RBI instead of RBIs? “I have never heard any of the former player analysts say RBI unless it was one. Why do they insist on not using the plural? None of the Yankee announcers have said it. I’ve never heard Scully or Mel Allen say it when I was a kid. I grew up saying RBIs and I’ve never heard the singular use of this until a few years ago. This is a totally new phenomenon.”
Ken Singleton: “I agree with Jerry. It is RBIs; that’s the way I say it most of the time. They might do this because RBI is already plural – runs batted in. There are a lot of things in baseball that might not be quite the proper English. Jerry’s right – only recently some people started saying RBI. I don’t know why.”
Kathleen Hannan from Tarrytown, N.Y.: “Did Ken ever think about managing?”
Ken Singleton: “Others have often asked me the same question. No, I’ve never thought about it. Managing does not provide much in the way of job stability. I’ve been broadcasting for 25 years and not many managers last that long, particularly in one job.”
Chris Warbach from Poughkeepsie, N.Y.: “How did Ken hook up with YES? He was an Oriole. Why doesn’t he do Orioles games? Although I’m glad he’s with us….”
Ken Singleton: “It’s kind of a long story but the reason I don’t do Orioles game is, when the opportunity arose, they picked someone else. Basically the management from MSG wanted me to work their games. They approached George Steinbrenner and told them I’d be good. Steinbrenner wasn’t sure because I had never played for the Yankees; instead I had played for their rival.
He eventually said OK – Mr. Steinbrenner knew I was from Mount Vernon, N.Y., (born in Manhattan) and he gave a local guy a break. So I went with the Yankees and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. At first, many Yankees fans wondered how someone who never played for the team could do the games, but I’ve been doing Yankees telecasts for 13 years now, counting MSG, and they’ve forgiven me for all the bad things I did to their team.”
If I had my way in the bottom of the eighth inning, I’d stay in my seat. The kids, however, drag me upstairs to the press box to see “Dad” in live YES Network TV action.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m always proud of hubby watching him in the booth – he’s happiest around baseball. Yet I feel we are just in the way of everyone doing their jobs, even though the TV crews are extremely accommodating and friendly (they give us free water bottles).
It’s been fun over the years talking my way up to the press level. No one in 18 years has ever asked to see my ID in any ballpark in America or upon driving into any stadium parking lot. Seems they believe a mom with two kids in tow claiming she’s Mrs. Ken Singleton is telling the truth.
Basically though, standing in the booth would be equivalent to you going to your spouse’s job and watching him or her work. It would be like Ken standing over my shoulder right now in my office as I write.
Although the TV experience is a bit more commonplace for me because I’ve been around it so long, when we bring along family members or friends, it’s refreshing to watch them get fired up experiencing live television up close and personal, and meeting other sports celebs who may happen to walk past.
I’m tickled our kids have the chance to see Dad at work, because being that he was retired from the Major Leagues well before they were a glint in his eye, our youngest son and daughter have been attuned only to Ken’s second career. They witness behind the baseball scene, whereas Singleton boys No. 1 and No. 2 as youngsters were closer to the field (at times on the field!), able to see Daddy play the game, hang out in the dugout during batting practice and high-five all the players.
Their experience was different being up close and personal with pros like Cal Ripken Jr., Brooks Robinson, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer and many other Hall of Famers and Major Leaguers.
Wherever Ken has worked – on the field or in the press box – has always made his family proud to stand behind him.