I can tell it's almost baseball season: Tonight is the 28th annual Sun Baseball League draft.
It started with five and grew to 12 and now there are three original guys left. (Or so they say, but that math isn't working for me as I look around the room) But six of the 12 go back as far as I do (or did) to the late '80s.
I don't play anymore. I moved away, and moved out of Sports. And, frankly, these guys are damn serious about their league. And it doesn't even involve money. Most fantasy teams involve money these days -- but not this one. These guys play for pride.
It used to be all sportswriters. Then at least all journalists. But now, there are six working journalists who play. A PR guy or two. Two unemployed writers. A lawyer. Even still, all the others used to be sportswriters at one time or another.
And for a lot of them, it's the social event of the season. (And I'll bet Paul blogs about it, too. Dennis is live blogging, here).
It's also an all-boys game these days. Not because they wouldn't let the girls play; I played, Cindy played, but that was pretty much it. No, the guys are just way more into it. In the old days, there were no wives or girlfriends who came. Probably because we held the draft after the paper closed, about 1 a.m. (Although I seem to remember my Dad going in my place to draft my team when I was in D.C.) These days, the girls go just to say hello, see the baby pics of the newly married guy(s), trade stories about way back when. We tend to man the big board of picks, and I feel like an aging ring card girl.
So I'm sitting here doing the math and I've known the old guys -- the original five by my count -- for 27 years. Since I was 17. (I'm trying to decide which sounds more dramatic. I think the first). And the lawyer for probably 25.
The lawyer loves this game. I don't think he does very well, but he plays all the same. One year he was visiting me in Paris, and he stayed up all night so he could draft from France. This year, there are three absent players: one in Dallas, one in Seattle and one in Arizona (covering ball). We're getting technologically more savvy ... everyone is texting and e-mailing. I expect eventually everyone will use his laptop.
Someone picks, someone else trashes the pick. Someone else still can't resist turning a comment into a double entendre. There's not much work talk these days ... it's become a bit of a dark topic, and this night is for fun.
We've been at it two hours, and we're not even a third of the way done. And Paul calls out "JP up, Vic on deck!" and the picks continue.