I'm sitting here watching the Rangers taking on the Mariners on a Sunday afternoon. The M's are wearing their old school home uniforms today, and it prompted Tom Grieve and Steve Busby to recount Seattle names from the years when they wore these. And it reminded me of the time I set the Seattle lineup.
Stop me if you've heard this one (just kidding - I'm telling the story anyway, so shut up and read on).
It was June 1984, and I was working the best part-time job ever. I was the press box attendant, a sort of aide to Media Relations Director Burt Hawkins. I met more players and former players that summer than I have in all the rest of my life combined. Some of men I met: Don Drysdale (1984 was his HOF induction year), Brooks Robinson, Yogi Berra, George Brett, a naked Jim Rice (a story for another time)... Tom Grieve gave me his APBA game... I had a lengthy conversation with Cal Ripken, Jr... I had dinner with Bob Uecker... It was an amazing summer.
The bulk of my time was spent sitting in the press box watching the game with the writers (Tim Kurkjian and I exchanged trivia questions every night), but my responsibilities started several hours before game time, and one of my jobs was to go to both clubhouses and get the starting lineups for each team. I would type them up (along with the umpire rotation), make copies, and take them to all the media booths. The first drop off was to Chuck Morgan and the guys who ran the scoreboard.
For some reason, that day I mistakenly marked Al Davis as the DH and Ken Phelps at 1b. They were usually the other way around. When the information appeared on the diamond vision scoreboard, Seattle manager Del Crandall called the booth wanting to know why the two were switched. Chuck Morgan was looking at me and about to throw me under the bus when Crandall said, "Ah, you know what? Keep it that way. Davis could use a break."
So my lineup stayed. Seattle scored 10 runs in their win that night - no doubt because of the defensive change in the lineup.
Crandall never asked for my help again. It was his loss, of course, as the club didn't score double digit runs again until mid-July. In fact, they only scored double digit runs twice more before Crandall was fired at the end of August.
Alas, I started my teaching career that fall and had to give up the press box job. In later years I would work on the grounds crew for a time, and then after the Rangers moved to the new ballpark, I spent several years as the night and weekend supervisor for the call center. Those were also fun part-time jobs. And while those jobs didn't interfere with my teaching job, they also didn't give me the opportunity to set the starting lineup.
On the other hand, there was the time when Nolan Ryan insisted I be the one to prepare the bullpen mound before one of his starts. But that's another story.