Favorite Sports Fan of the Week: Stacey May Fowles

#FFOTW

Stacey May Fowles is a writer with a column in The (Toronto) Globe and Mail, a new book, “Perfect Game,” due out in 2017, and a lifelong love for the Blue Jays. Sign up for her Baseball Life Advice here.

What is your first sports memory?

October 20, 1992.

It’s probably not really my first sports memory, but it is the one where I think my passion for baseball was solidified. I was sitting with my dad just beyond the wall in center field at SkyDome for Game 3 of the Blue Jays vs. Braves World Series, where I got to witness, in person, what has come to be known in Blue Jays circles as “The Catch.”

Long story short(ish,) David Justice launched a Juan Guzman fastball deep in our direction, and Jays center fielder Devon White rapidly chased it to the wall. Mid-sprint, he launched himself into the air to snag it (while hurtling face-first into said wall) and threw directly to the cutoff man after the catch was made. The ball then sailed into first baseman John Olerud’s glove, Braves runners Deion Sanders and Terry Pendleton crossed up, and Pendleton was called out for passing Sanders on the basepath. Olerud seamlessly threw to third baseman Kelly Gruber for the final out. Gruber chased down Sanders and tagged him on the heel as Sanders dove for second base. The umpire, Bob Davidson, called Sanders safe, denying the team what everyone knew was a triple play. (And what would have been just the second triple play in World Series history.)

It would have been enough that White sacrificed by launching himself headlong into the abyss, but then he went on, impossibly, to get the ball into what was, Davidson be damned, indeed a triple play. After all was said and done, that single catch captured my burgeoning 13-year-old baseball imagination like no other thing I had ever seen.

What is your favorite sports tradition?

I’m a total sucker for the seventh inning stretch. I can’t sing to save my life, but for whatever reason I always belt “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” at full volume. (Fair warning, if you ever go to a baseball game with me I’ll force you to sing it with me.)

I always make a point to be at my seat for the song, and actually get a little irrationally annoyed when people don’t respect it. It’s just such a nice, silly, for-the-sake-of thing, and life doesn’t give us too many of those to enjoy.

What is your favorite sports moment ever?

As a Blue Jays fan, I think I’m required to say Jose Bautista’s bat flip in the seventh inning of Game 5 of last year’s ALDS, but I’m going to go a little more personal for my fave.

There was a relatively inconsequential Munenori Kawasaki walkoff double in May 2013 that has a very special place in my heart. Some hard things were happening in my life at the time, and I went to the ballpark to take my mind off them and get some reprieve. That Kawasaki at-bat was the kind of unlikely, magical, beautiful baseball thing that felt constructed just for me. I’m pretty sure I hugged a handful of strangers at the end of that game.

Which sports figure would you name your child or pet after?

I have long dreamed of naming a puppy after David Ortiz who I would always call by his full name.

How do you take your hot dog?

My shameful confession is that I just can’t eat hot dogs anymore. I used to make a tall can and a hot dog my baseball ritual, but after so many games and so many poor dinner choices I’ve gone off them almost completely. When I did partake, I kept things pretty simple. Ketchup, relish, and mustard, with the occasional hot pepper.

What is your at-bat/walk-up song?

I think about this question more than is reasonable. Lately the short list has included Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy,” Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long,” and George Michael’s “Freedom! ’90.”


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