Last year during game 6 of the 2004 ALCS my phone starts ringing. Normally, I don't answer calls when my Red Sox are playing such crucial games against the Yankees. But I needed some karma & answered the phone without paying attention to the caller-ID.
"Oh good, your home"! the excited voice on the other end says. "Mom, is that you?" I respond back. "Yep, it sure is...but I didn't think you were home and was going to leave a message -- so I'm glad you picked up because I know you're watching this game, and so am I"
"Good" I say "because we need all the support we can get."
Then my mother shouts, "whose this Johnny Damom guy? Because he's Qu-hoot."
As I'm laughing I say, "oh, that's the only reason why you're watching the game?"
"Well, it's one of reasons why...but you know I usually watch the last few games of the World Series if it's exciting...and I know how much you love the Red Sox. So I started to watch the game" then she adds, "who is he!?"
"What happened to Derek Jeter, Mom? Last year you called me to tell me how cute you thought he was," I reply.
"I still think Derek Jeter is cute...but I like this Johnny Damon guy much much better - how come I've never seen him before?" she asks.
"Because this is what happens to guys like Johnny Damon when they're playing in Prime Time, Mom -- people like you get to see him" I answered.
"Is he any good?" she says. "Yes, Mom" I say, "he's a very good all-around player."
"Great, because I really like him & he's really sexy, and I was hoping he was a good player too" she confessed in shear delight.
This is not the first, or second, third, nor tenth time something like this has happened because my Mom has always had her eyes on baseball players (and professional athletes)
The first baseball-related player I recall my mom having "the hots" for was a little league coach when I was 9 years old. And come to think of it, several Mom's had the hots for him too. He wasn't even my coach, but my mom sure wished he was.
He had that same longhair as Johnny Damon, but not the beard. He always wore those Dolphin style shorts that were so popular during the 70's (I'm sooo glad I was not old enough back then to ever had been spotted wearing those things)
But I can say this much...he was a really nice & super cool guy. His name was Dick Rudolph, he was a songwriter/producer, he was once married to singer Minnie Riperton, and his son Mark, was one my biggest rivals.
I remember how happy my Mom got when she found out Dick was going to be one of the coaches for my City All-Star team. Because that meant she'd get the chance to see him parading around in those skimpy shorts all summer long.
Yet on the other hand, my Mom enjoyed seeing him in his Sassoon Jeans just as much during the cooler times.
Some of the other notable pro athletes my Mom had the hots for while I was growing up were (in no particular order): Sandy Koufax (retired pitcher) Roman Gabriel (football) Jack Snow (football) Gail Goodrich (basketball) Andy Messersmith (baseball) Steve Yeager (baseball) Ken Singleton (baseball) Lou Piniella (when he was a Yankee) Eli' Nastase' (tennis) Tommy Lasorda (kidding) My Dad (a cross between James Caan & Don Sutton) My Stepfather (resembles Joe Torre)
Do you see a pattern here? Well, there is none because my Mom is an equal opportunity looker.
I wonder who it'll be this year when the Chicago White Sox take the field Saturday night to host the Houston Astros for the 2005 World Series.
The Astros are filled with bearded ballplayers right now because the team made a pact before the Post Season started not to shave until they lost. But funny thing about that is my Mom has never been too fond of facial hair on men.
Not to take anything away from the White Sox, but I can't really see my Mom falling for the chin-straps worn by Mark Bhurle & Freddy Garcia. On the other hand, maybe my Mom will fall for the likes of clean-shaven John Garland, Joe Crede & Scott Podsednik or even go-teed Paul Konerko. Or maybe, she'll like saying the names El Duque' & Damaso Marte.
Perhaps she'll go off the board & into the dugout and dig on White Sox Manager, Ozzie Guillen. After all, we're talking about a woman here who thinks the singer Yanni is the sexiest man alive.
So stay tuned to find out who will be my Mother's next Johnny Damon.
-I love you Mom :)