I got the bad news while standing next to an encrusted pile of dirty snow at my freezing and miserable bus stop the other morning. There in the Strib sports section was an item announcing the Twins’ selection of Larry DiVito as head groundskeeper.
Larry DiVito? That’s the job I wanted.
Especially during this bleak and endless winter my mind keeps drifting to a sunny expanse of lush green grass at the new Target Field. There I am in my T-shirt and shorts, a rake in my hands, mopping my brow, telling my guys that the third-base line needs a closer trim, warning them to be on the lookout for a small patch of crab grass in right-center field.
Just then, Joe Mauer emerges from the dugout. “Hey Steve,” he says, squinting. “Nice job on the grass.”
“Thanks,” I say, getting back to my raking.
But now I have the gnawing feeling that it’s not going to happen. Larry DiVito got the job. And I’m stuck shivering on this hellish, icy corner waiting for the 11A. Ten years I spent writing about the possibilities of a new ballpark with real sun and real grass. More than once I told Jerry Bell (president of Twins Sports Inc.) that my dream job was on the grounds crew. Would he give me a chance? Jerry would chuckle, thinking I was making another one of my feeble jokes.
So now my only recourse is an open appeal to Larry DiVito for a spot on his crew. Here goes:
I know you ran the grounds crew for the Washington Nationals. What a coincidence! I used to live in Washington. And I see here by the paper that you’re a native of San Francisco. Did you know that I used to live in the Bay Area? Great wine out there.
In addition, I’ve had outdoor experience. When we lived in the suburbs, my wife had me out in the yard constantly pulling weeds, digging dandelions and setting up the sprinkler. Occasionally I even cut the grass. (She says I smoked more grass in my college days than I ever cut during our married life, but that’s not true.)
I’m also familiar with tarps. I had a classic sports car once and pulled a tarp over the top to protect it from pollen, sap, rain and other stuff. I’m a cheerful worker. And, as my doctor will attest, my back injury has almost cleared up.
Yours truly, Steve