One of the cool things about working for a minor league baseball team is all the apparel I have with the team’s name and/or logo on it. I am a walking advertisement for the Windy City ThunderBolts.
This is not cool in itself (I hate advertisements, after all), but it is always fun when you get recognition for your services because of your clothes.
In Chicago, I like to walk around, telling everyone I know about how cool I am because I am a professional baseball announcer. Somehow, no one really seems to think that’s so cool. They’re wrong, not me. I encounter some people who hear that I work with a baseball team and are very impressed. This is because they think I am a player. The second that I reveal I actually work in the press box, not on the field, they lose interest.
One problem with Chicago is that they have two big league ballclubs (OK, one big league team plus the Cubs). They don’t care about a small independent team from Crestwood. In fact, even most of the people who are keen on minor league ball instantly think of the Kane County Cougars. Never mind that we are located in Cook County (home of Chicago). When I explain that the ThunderBolts are actually from the Frontier League, independent of any major league organizations, people have a difficult time comprehending.
Sometimes I get, “You mean like the Flyers?”
“Yes, just like the Flyers with the major difference that the ThunderBolts exist.”
My point is, the team doesn’t get a lot of notoriety at home. When we’re on the road, that is sometimes much different. I sat at a food court a few weeks ago in Washington wearing a ThunderBolts t-shirt when someone walked up to me and asked if I was on the team.
I was initially surprised by the question considering I was 500 miles from Crestwood. Then I remembered that I was only about 500 feet from the Wild Things stadium. This was a Washington fan who knew the league. It felt good to be recognized as a ThunderBolt. Of course, then I had to come down to earth and remember that he asked if I was on the team, not if I worked for the team.
That is a problem wherever I am. It doesn’t happen often because I avoid talking to people as much as I can – I’m a curmudgeon, you see – but I have had the following exchange a time or two in my day:
Random Stranger: Are you with the team?
RS: (Smiles) What position do you play?
Me: I’m actually not a player; I’m the radio guy.
RS: (Smile disappears) Oh, well, that’s interesting too.
No it isn’t. I’ve come to realize that I’m a nobody unless I can hit the ball, which, if you refer to my last post, you know I can’t.
On this particular day in Washington, though, the gentleman who asked me about being on the team was still pretty impressed by my radio status. That’s one. I’ll take it.
Today, at McDonald’s, my server, reading my shirt asked who the ThunderBolts are. I told her we’re a baseball team from Chicago in to play the Lake Erie Crushers. She had never heard of the Crushers.
Yes, this logo wields a lot of power.