I started today much like I start everyday. I launched a browser window and entered dbacks.com in the address bar then navigated to the Job Opportunities page. Each morning I cross my fingers hoping that the Diamondbacks are looking for an Assistant to the Assistant of the Assistant to the President and CEO.
Like every other day I am crushed to find no such job opening listed. But today was a little different. Today there were actually jobs that would allow me to realize my dream of one day working in Major League Baseball.
There on the page was a want ad searching for someone to become part of this amazing organization. It wasn’t just any job, this was an on-field position where the successful applicant has access to the playing field during the game.
I thought back to my childhood when like every boy I would imagine myself stepping out of the dugout or the bullpen to the loud cheers of thousands of adoring fans, tipping my hat then making my way to the playing field.
The title stated, “The Arizona Diamondbacks are looking for 2015 D-backs Legends Racers!” Here is an opportunity to not only be out on the field during a Diamondbacks game but to actually be a legend! You skip over having to be scouted in high school or college. You don’t have to wait patiently by the phone on draft day hoping a team will call your name. You don’t have to leave your family and live in sponsor housing with 10 other players and travel on 12-hour bus trips to play in front of crowds smaller than your high school graduating class. You don’t have to try and make ends meet on a salary that is far below the poverty level as you make your way through the minor leagues. Ok that last part may still apply for this job, I don’t know.
This was a dream come true. I eagerly looked over the qualifications praying that I was somehow a match. The job requirements seemed fairly simple:
- Comfortable performing in front of 40,000+ people
- Reliable, punctual, and courteous
- Ability to wear a 45-pound costume for hours at a time
- Available to work at least 35 home games, including evenings, weekends & holidays
- Applicants must be 18 years of age or older
- Athletic background is preferred
Reading the first bullet I had to admire the optimism the Diamondbacks had. Besides Opening Day and Randy Johnson’s number retirement I couldn’t see any other game on the schedule that would draw greater than 40,000 people. But hey, I am all for thinking positive. I once threw out a ceremonial first pitch in front of a sold out then Bank One Ballpark and I didn’t throw it in the dirt so I think I have that requirement nailed.
The second bullet was likewise fairly easy for me to adhere to. I am already at the stadium as soon as the gates open every home game so I should easily reach the punctuality criteria. As far as being courteous, I once held the door open for a Dodgers fan, a Yankees fan, and a Red Sox fan and I didn’t even slam their heads in it when they walked through. That’s not just courteous, that should distinguish me for sainthood.
The third requirement is the one that scares me. I have to be honest, I have never had a 45-pound giant head strapped to my shoulders nor have I tried managing my daily tasks wearing such a contraption. Oddly, I don’t have a 45-pound head lying around the house that I could even test my stamina. I tried putting the neighbor’s black lab on my head but both the dog and the neighbor threw a fit about that. For a minute I considered putting a 32-gallon garbage can on my head but then I remembered the garbage can still had the remnants of that Super Bowl party from two weeks ago and there was no way I would be putting that on my head.
The fourth requirement was another no-brainer. Not only would I be willing to work 35 home games, I would gladly volunteer to work all 81 away games too if it meant being able to watch more baseball. This seemed like the perfect excuse I could use on my wife, “Sorry dear but the Diamondbacks need me. I HAVE to go on this road trip but I promise I will be back right after the World Series.”
I had to laugh at the age requirement. I have Diamondbacks shirts older than 18 years. Well, that’s not completely accurate; I bought my first jersey in 1996. Oh my gosh, I DO have jerseys older than 18 years! I’m suddenly feeling very old.
That last qualification isn’t really required. They said they prefer someone with an athletic background but for the right applicant I am sure they would accept an athletic supporter. I’ve been cheering on the Diamondbacks since 1998 and the Legends since 2010 so I definitely qualify.
Looking over the list its like this job was made for me. I was just about ready to start filling out the paperwork when I read the last paragraph, “Mandatory auditions will closed to the public and by invitation only. They will be held on Saturday March 7 at Chase Field.”
Whoa, I have to try out? And they are going to make me run against other youngsters who likely aced the athletic background requirement. Suddenly I had visions of being in the Randy Johnson legend costume and seeing Racing Gracie who has never won a race not only beating me but lapping me and the race doesn’t even make a complete lap of the stadium.
It is a sad day when you begin to realize that you are even too old to be an assistant to a mascot. Yet another dream has been shattered.