2008-02-16

Baseball season starting

2000-08-28 Safeco Sign


In October 2006, I was in St. Louis for a business trip. Unfortunately, this happened to be during the World Series.

Mrs. and Mr. LDK picked me up at my hotel and we headed to a wonderful Italian restaurant for dinner. Of course we got stuck in the mass of traffic that was heading for the stadium.

We spoke a little bit about the Cardinals and the games and the Yankees and baseball in general for several minutes. And then I thought it was kind of silly for us to struggle to talk about it like this. I said something to the effect of, "You know, we all have more than enough geek cred that we don't have to talk about sports."

As I recall everyone relaxed a bit and we settled into a series of exciting conversations about science, Star Trek, technology, astronomy, and doctoral dissertations.

(Is that how it went LDK, or have I just twisted things to meet my own personal mythology?)

Spring training is slowly getting started and opening day will sneak up on us before we realize it.

This year I plan to follow the Mariners more closely. I've always been a Yankee fan, but I rarely read the sports pages. After all, by favoring the Yankees, I've already made the right choice so why read further?

But this is business. As a marketing guy in the high tech world, I need to be able to converse with two groups of people -- the techies and the non-techies. When it comes to the work related stuff, that's no problem.

When it comes to the non-work small talk, it gets a little more complicated. I can talk to the geeks with no problem. From a pop culture stand point, they're my peeps. Heck, I own the domain for Shatner-Palooza.com. I can easily discuss the holy trio of geek topics: Star Trek, Star Wars, and LOTR, and have impassioned arguments on them. I'm no longer an expert in the Marvel/DC universes, but I spent enough time there in high school to understand the basic mythology and hold my own in a conversation.

The sports people, on the other hand, are more of a challenge for me. When they find out I live in Seattle, the first thing they ask about is the Mariners. And I have very little to say. Sometimes I can steer the conversation to the ballpark and talk about Safeco Field (an awesome ball park, by the way) but I can't intelligently discuss the line up or player performance.

I have no intention of becoming an expert or memorizing books of stats; that's not me. But I do need to get to the point where my face doesn't go blank when I'm asked about relief pitching.

It's not a question of pretending to be something I'm not. It about having something else to talk about in a conversation and having the tools needed to build those business relationships.

And even if this initiative fails, I will go to a few games this year. There's something relaxing about sitting in Safeco Field with my feet up on the empty seat in front of me and a beer in my hand, while the sun gradually dips below the waters Puget Sound. The beauty of the game is its own reward.

2 comments:

LDK in STL said...

Lies... all lies...

As for the need to be up on the sports world to help in the business world, once a VP (female) of my former company told me (also female, in case you haven't figured that out by now) that I should watch, study, and become knowledgeable about pro golf so I would be able to converse and get ahead in the (male) business world. I did not take this advice and I don't seem to be adversely affected. After all, that was, my doctoral dissertation we were talking about.

RollerKaty said...

I'm pretty geeky but I love me my Mariners. I don't really like sports or other baseball teams per se, just the Mariners. They are so consistently bad year after year (with one or two exceptions) so I've given up on actually hoping that they'll have a good season. I just loving going to the ball park, drinking some beer, eating a hot dog... and keeping score on the scorecard (I know, I know, so nerdy). Sigh... makes me wish for spring.