My essay “Impermanent Ink” appears in Hobart’s 2016 baseball issue.
In the summer of 1987, my father took me to my first minor league baseball game. At the time I only vaguely understood the hierarchy of professional baseball. It didn’t matter to me that most of the players I was going to see that night would never step on a Major League field – these guys were pros, and I was excited to watch them play.
I was seven years old. I had disproportionately large teeth and, potentially, a mullet (I know unequivocally that I had a truly horrific mullet during this era of my childhood, but the exact chronology is a little hazy). I was just learning to play baseball, blissfully unaware that I was already nearing the peak of my trajectory as a player. I topped out somewhere between the daily whiffle ball games in my backyard and little league, but I very quickly acquired the hallmarks of lifelong fandom. I collected baseball cards. I memorized stats. I watched my hometown team, the Seattle Mariners, consistently lose in the gloomy confines of the Kingdome. Continue here.