When I am not prowling around the ballpark, I spend the rest of my working time at Project Management for ATT.
It is actually a pretty good gig: I work with great people, and mercifully, I work from the office I have in my home, which is about as convenient and cozy as it gets.
I tend to start my day pretty early workwise—at 7 AM—largely because I am an early bird, but more because the ATT universe is pretty much spread across that same broad splash of existence.
I drive a lot of meetings during the week, and they are all virtual. That means the good side is no one ever knows if I am still in my jammies, but the bad side is very few of the people with whom I interact ever meet face-to-face.
Since the work day isn’t like it was when I was younger—as in people had desks in offices, which eventually became cubicles, and they gathered in meeting rooms to discuss projects and plans, sometimes tying into another group in another conference room—it does become hard to get to know and appreciate the folks with whom we interact with in a personal way.
No dropping into someone’s space, looking at the pictures of their family, and a calendar of some passion, like sailboats or skiing or cooking, and prints of art they like or photographs taken while on a family holiday decking the walls.
So, when I am running a meeting, as we are waiting for the masses to join, I like to ask where people live, and that often leads to, “Oh man, your Chiefs are hot,” or “The Mets have some pretty good live arms, if they can get a little hitting they should be very good.”
Of course, on occasion there is someone who simply does not like sports—or equally curious, thinks of NASCAR as one—and that is fine, for I am a Bay Area guy, and I have a lot of friends who would rather go to a concert or hiking than get caught up on the machinations of the Raiders.
But generally, folks have a team and love their team accordingly, and during football season, on Monday calls are happy to discuss the previous day’s agony or triumph.
I have found it interesting, especially over the past couple of months with the baseball playoffs looming, as a couple of my bosses (we are talking up the corporate chain) live in St. Louis, and though my partner Brian Walton is on the east coast, he is a well-known source of Cardinal information with his site, The Cardinal Nation.
Furthermore, our other partner, Lord Z himself, is a Bostonian, so it has been interesting this post-season, as we all had our teams and fingers on the playoff pulse (well, now everyone but me does).
It was fun when Michael Wacha was no-hitting the Pirates messaging my bosses Patti and Matt, not only asking if they were tracking the game, but noting that this was an adult version of being in grade school and listening to the Series with a transistor radio and earphone discretely cabled up through my shirt.
With another group, my friend Sancha Maston, who now lives in Texas but was born in the Bay Area, and I can commiserate over the Raiders, who, for the first time since maybe 1983 might look like they are starting to have a team.
I say this because that team loyalty thing is such a tricky business. For, as I have written, I have been a Raiders fan since 1960, and suffered and struggled with them for years.
But, as they moved to Los Angeles, and then abandoned their “Commitment to Excellence” in lieu of dedication to mediocrity, I grew weary of them.
So, I have always justified the fact that I do player and team analysis, and thus have to remain objective. Thus I really should not have a favorite team (in fact wearing sports team regalia, let alone rooting in the Press Box is strictly verboten, unless you are one of the media folks from the participating teams).
Still, it is odd that as much as I loved the Dodgers as a kid in Northern California in the 60’s, they seem like such a foreign body to me now, removed several owners from the O’Malleys, that I don’t really care how they do.
Although, I have to admit it was a thrill to meet Vin Scully last year, the voice of the Dodgers of my youth.
But, other than that, I really don’t care how they do in the playoffs.
You see, this team loyalty stuff getting into one’s bloodstream is a difficult thing to shake.
But, it certainly binds us as well.