Tis the Season!

by Sarah Curry

YEEEEE-HAH!  Major League pitchers and catchers arrive today for spring training!  Now, what does that have to do with quilting, you ask?  Well, it happened this way.

I’ve been a rabid baseball fan since I was 7 years old.  And it was FINE with my daddy (who was a 4-letter jock in high school and loved all sports, for all his life) when I showed serious “tomboy” tendencies.  And so, Daddy played catch with me.  And showed me how to “get down on” a ground ball, and even how to bunt.  Back then, TV barely existed, and only for rich folks – but Daddy and I listened to the Baseball Game of the Week on the radio every Saturday afternoon.  In 1949, a lot of the broadcast games involved the New York Yankees – they were doing pretty well.  Maybe that’s why a little girl in Hobbs, New Mexico fell in love with the Yankees.  And I have no other reason to explain my lifelong love of “TTELTH” (The Team Everybody Loves to Hate   ).

Back then, Little League didn’t exist (especially for us “delicate” girls), but I played a lot of street ball, and sandlot baseball, and pickup softball, and was even in a “mushball” league one summer while I was in law school.  I was a good infielder, a good hitter (never could hit for power, but I had a “good eye”, and nearly always got on base).  But unfortunately, my kids refused even to consider baseball, so I froze my butt off in a hockey rink for 11 years, grumblin’ and cussin’, and wishing to “have a catch” with my boys in the summertime.  Oh, well.

 

In ’96 or so, I discovered the quilting newsgroup, RCTQ (which stands for rec.crafts.textiles.quilting), and after “lurking” for less than 24 hours, began to tell my stories there, and just chat about stuff other than bias binding and perfect corners.  That same year, Derek Jeter was a rookie.  I don’t remember how the subject came up, but one of the quilters near Seattle mentioned that the Mariners had a pretty good rookie, too.  We got into a little squabble about which was the better-lookin’ young shortstop, and when it turned out that my Yanks played Janet’s mariners the first game of the season, she said A-Rod et al would whup Jeter’s Yanks.  I suggested that she “put your fat quarter where your mouth is,” we shook virtual hands on the bet, and next thing we knew, the RCTQ quilters who were baseball fans came swarming out of the woodwork, wanting in on that action.

Good grief.  There was a horde of them!  I had nothing to do with the mechanics of it (and was out-voted about the name – hmph), but out of that little snarl evolved the “Baseball Swap.”  Anyone can get in on it but for almost 25 years, we quilty baseball fans have picked a major league baseball team to back (one from each league if we wish).  We have a “Caller,” who announces things (including who’s playing who, today), and a “Statistician” who has designed a spreadsheet that figures out exactly who owes whom, for every single game of the MLB season.  EVERY SINGLE ONE.

Squares

Y’see, this isn’t really a “swap,” it’s a BET.  On every single game that’s played.  If my team beats your team today, you owe me one 6 ½” square of fabric.  If my team beats yours tomorrow, you owe me another.  If your team beats my Yanks tomorrow, it does NOT “work out in the wash.”  I owe you a square.  At the end of the regular season, the Statistician sends us the final stats, including what each person owes every other person.  She even sends labels we can print if we want to.  I bag up how many squares I owe (no duplicates in the baggies), put a label on a baggie to each person I owe.  Pack up the baggies (alphabetized) into a Tyvek Priority Mail bag and send them to the “Chucker”, who sets up paper bags and chucks the little baggies into the correct “bin,” then mails them all out to the individual “swappers.”

 

We usually add a little “graft” (a fat quarter) into the bag for the three volunteers who do the work, often pay up some side-bets, add little prezzies like Cleveland Indians pencils (I still use mine), and what FUN it is, to open the “payoff” bag and find allll those little baggies of FABRIC!!!  And in all these years (I was the Chucker for several years, and got to see ALL the fabrics, not just the ones from Yankees’ opponents), I have seen only one duplicate in the squares.  Amazing.  Our Statistician hasn’t reported this year, but her figures show that we’ve “swapped” over ten THOUSAND yards of fabric over the years.  But best, we’ve swapped stories.

Major League Baseball is about to begin again!  And while I like most all sports, baseball is this quilter’s game, and the Baseball Swap is a slurp of gravy.

...

Our glorious guest blogger, Sarah Curry...

"3d-generation quilter, 3d-generation grammarian/teacher, born and raised in Hobbs, NM. NMSU, twin sons (and when they started coming in litters, I was done with that sort of project), happily divorced since 1977, UNM Law School, civil litigation for nearly 20 years, now retired, 4 grandsons,  but still quilting – these days, almost exclusively from a legendary stash.  AllieCat and I grow old together, but she’s still an excellent “Quilt Inspector/Block Re-arranger”."

Leave a Reply

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.

Please wait...