News

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."

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Cap'n Dave