Four years ago, I was leading a semi-snakecharmed life. In March of 2013, I went down to Spring Training for a few days. Not only did I see my family and watch some great baseball with the 'Pitters, but I snagged a couple of great interviews while I was there - Joe Paterson and Eric Chavez talked to me from Salt River Fields, and I had a great chat with Luis Gonzales about the World Baseball Classic. The very beginning of the 2013 regular season was promising for the Diamondbacks. After finishing a disappointing .500 in 2012, we were all happy to be starting out strong. By mid-April, the boys had put up some high-scoring games.
Something else interesting happened in the beginning of the season in the life of snakechamer. I had signed up for OKCupid on a whim when I heard my best friend was on it. On April 12th, I saw an email that said there was a guy with a 98% match rating, so I checked out his profile. His profile picture was taken at Christmastime, with a string of holiday lights framing his face. One of his other photos was a goofy picture of himself with his sisters at a breast cancer walk. I don't remember what the rest of his profile was like, but I gave him five stars. The next day, he messaged me.
We haven't stopped talking since.
In particular, on the night of Sunday, April 21st, we talked for five hours. The details are fuzzy, but it was the best five hour phone call I've ever had. We could not wait to meet in person.
There was just one problem.
The next day, Monday, was the Diamondbacks' first game of the season in San Francisco, a game I always went to. Tuesday I had a late afternoon/early evening meeting, and Wednesday was a D’backs-Giants day game. So we initially made plans to meet up Thursday after work. We quickly realized we could not wait four days, so we shifted it to Wednesday evening after the game. That was still too far away. I couldn't change my Tuesday night conference call and of course I wasn't going to miss my seeing my Diamondbacks. But, I did have all day on Monday before leaving for the city for the night game.
“If you tell me we can meet tomorrow, I will email my manager right now and tell her I'm taking a personal day tomorrow,” Mario told me.
It was nearly 4 o'clock in the morning by the time we hung up the phone with plans to finally meet in just a few short hours. We arranged to meet at noon at a park around the corner from my house. It gave us several hours to spend time together before I had to take the train to San Francisco for the game.
Two hours after we met, we knew there was no way he was going home so soon. We couldn't be away from each other now that we had found each other. So, Mario decided to be my date for the game that night. While this seemed to be an easy decision, it meant he would come over and meet my parents. Right then. On Date #1. And although Mario has been a Giants fan since he was a kid (and his two Halloweens dressing up as Will “The Thrill” Clark proves that), he also freely admits he's not a huge baseball fan. But to spend time with me, of course he would do it.
We went home, changed into cold weather clothes (San Francisco is always 10 degrees colder than anywhere else in the Bay Area), grabbed my Diamondbacks jersey and All-Star Game hat, and headed up to the city. We got to AT&T Park when the gates opened two hours before first pitch, as I normally did. I picked up my guest/press passes from the office while Mario bought himself a brand-new Giants ball cap. (I, of course, did not have any Giants hats to lend him!) We went inside and I took him down to the area near the dugout. I introduced him to my autograph seeking friends whom I have known since 2002. They took pictures of us with the biggest grins on our faces. We went down to the tunnel by the clubhouse where my security guard friend, Gus, (a really big dude) was happy to meet Mario but also threatened him and made him promise to take good care of me. No pressure there. I love my “Protective Older Brother” baseball family!
I don't remember who all I introduced to my new boyfriend. Probably Jody Jackson, who always did the early season series. Maybe Ian Kennedy and Josh Collmenter. Eric Chavez would have had a lot of fans there looking for him, the former Oakland golden boy, so he probably came over and said hello too. I know I thanked Casey from the D'backs media office, and I waved to Steve Gilbert and Nick Piecoro when we got to our seats in the row right below the press box. (Best seats in the house.)
To be honest, we didn't pay much attention to the game. I know it was a decent game and that the Diamondbacks lost. I did not recall, until I looked it up earlier this week, that it was a walk-off loss. (I'm glad I wasn't in charge of the recap that night!) The most important part of the night was when I told him I was falling for him incredibly fast and he'd better decide now whether to be in or out, and to remember that I knew enough people in high places to get all 42,000 people in the stadium on my side. He promised me he wasn't going anywhere.
On April 22nd 2013, we had our first date at the Diamondbacks/Giants game in San Francisco.
On April 22nd 2016, Mario proposed on a boat in Lake Tahoe. (I said yes.)
On April 22nd 2017, we will get married in front of our family and friends. (No, not at AT&T Park.)
And tonight, we will go up to San Francisco to see my Diamondbacks take on his Giants. Neither of us feel great, we're busy with wedding preparations, and there's a very high chance of rain, but the first Diamondbacks/Giants series of the year is an important tradition for us.
Please, Diamondbacks - all I ask for is a win!