Bob Hemmerle

Current job: Executive recruiter for Mattel and Hasbro toy companies. Cool because: While working as an usher at Phoenix Municipal Stadium ("I quit my job to go to spring training one year, and I was living with a girl and she said if I didn't get a job, I'd have to move out"), memorized location of every seat ("I never walked anybody down to their seats. I just said, `Go down three rows, make a left, make another left and you're there'"). Also cool because: Attends a game a day (sometimes two) every day during spring training: "I go every single day. I take the entire month of March off, whether anybody likes it or not. When most people are takin' their summer vacations in August, I'm breakin' my butt because I take all of March off. What I normally do is go to work about 8 and then I leave at 8:05. So I just pop in, check my messages and I'm history. There's a lot of guys who go out to twenty games. There's a lot of guys who go out to ten. There's only a handful that go out there at nine o'clock every morning."

Fellow travelers: "The last five years it's been real religious. We've got a regular bunch of guys who meet in the Scottsdale Police Department parking lot every year. There's a night manager of a Safeway in Petaluma, California, who can get Michelob beer for practically nothing and drives it down in the trunk of his LTD. Then there's a guy called Cigar. He has a real name, but in ten years I've never learned it. He's a four-cigar-intake-a-game guy, except by the seventh inning I'm always drunk enough to ask him for one, so he ends up being a three-cigar-a-day guy. He lives on a farm two hours from Busch Stadium in St. Louie. He only goes to Busch Stadium when the Giants are playing. The guy's like seventy years old. A real kick in the butt. Then we've got a Phoenix fireman, who sits out in left field with a bag of ice under his chair--he doesn't drink beer--but he's got all this water, and it's always cold. He's a pretty shrewd cat."

Another fellow traveler: Bob's brother Eric.
Favorite ballpark: "My favorite is Scottsdale Stadium, because you're right on the field. It's like an old-time ballpark."

Favorite place at favorite ballpark: "I have my headquarters at Scottsdale Stadium. We stand down in the left-field caliche. There's a fence about knee-high there, and you can lean over and pick up foul balls and so forth. Last year they put a beer stand down there, which really irritated me because it caused a crowd."

Second favorite ballpark: "My second choice would have to be Compadre in Chandler. You can sit on the grass out there on the foul line. I'm a big foul-line person, because I like to raise hell and a lot of times that bothers folks in the box seats. So I like Compadre because of the grass. And the stands have an advantage there, because they do not have backs."

Foul-ball strategy: "If I sit out in left field at Phoenix Muni, and if I scramble for a foul ball out there I could break my neck, because they've got those damn wooden backs on all the seats. Those are good seats anyway though, because you're right on top of the bullpen. I like Tempe Diablo because they don't have backs on their seats in left field."

Philanthropic activities: "Normally I get about a half a dozen foul balls during the course of a game. I give 'em away to little kids and old people with tubes comin' out of their noses, you know, that sort of thing."

Least favorite ballpark: "I hate HoHoKam. HoHoKam has a damn chain-link fence between the players and fans. It's like, what, are they afraid we're gonna throw beer bottles or something like that? There's a ten-foot chain-link fence that rises up between the fans and the players. Are they afraid of people from Chicago? I don't know. HoHoKam's a great park if you're sitting on top of a mobile home in left field behind the wall. But if you're gonna sit in seats, forget it. I only go to HoHoKam if it's the only game in town."

Favorite suntan lotion: "I use beer suds for suntan lotion. It gets me a helluva tan. I wonder what the hell it's doing to my skin, being out there every day for eight or nine hours."

Idea of a perfect game: "My idea of a perfect game is a no-run, no-hit game in the sixteenth inning and somebody hits a dinger and wins it. I don't like to go watch two American League teams score seventeen runs between 'em. That's not my idea of baseball. I like to see a no-hitter go into the tenth or eleventh inning. I live for extra innings."

Post-game strategy: "The main problem I have is where to go at four o'clock. If you're at Scottsdale Stadium, a place that's within walking distance of the ballpark is the Alley Cat. You can sit outside, it's a very clean, swanky kind of place, and prices are realistic. I mean, draft beer's a buck. I can live with that. And you can sit outside. If you sit out in the sun all day, you do not want to sit inside. When I go to HoHoKam, I try to get out of that part of town as quick as possible."

Hemmerle family motto: "The failure to show enthusiasm voids good memories."

 
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