Jobs interfere with fans’ devotion

  • JANICE PODSADA / Herald Writer
  • Friday, October 6, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports


Herald Writer

John J. Richter lives in a beautiful condo, has a good job and makes a decent salary, but the 36-year-old rehabilitation specialist admits he’s still dependent on mom.

At work, Richter depends on his mother to call and tell him Edgar’s at bat, bases are loaded, and the count is three-two.

This week, working people without access to radio or TV had to rely on their families, friends and co-workers to provide Mariners play-by-play action.

Friday afternoon, game time, Richter was in a sweat.

Mom wasn’t at her home in Everett, wasn’t near a phone.

Richter could only hope his co-workers at Providence Everett Medical Center would give him the score.

Where was mom in the clinch?

"She’s at the game," Richter said, ruefully.

At the Broadway QFC grocery store in Everett, checkers, baggers, stockers and even managers had to depend upon the good graces of produce department staff to keep on top of the game.

At another QFC store, the meatcutters were the exalted ones. Next to the band saw was a radio, tuned to KIRO-AM.

Working fans were multi-tasking or on the run Friday.

At the Edmonds Law Center, Paula Huisman scurried back to her desk after a quick trip to the basement — she’d been up and down the stairs all afternoon. The basement is where the radio is kept, attorney Chris Willliams said.

Like many working fans, Huisman has perfected the art of listening to the game and getting some work done at the same time.

"I turn up the radio really loud in one ear, and then turn the dictation down low while I type."

Maybe that works, Williams said.

"She’s plugged in. She’s not getting anything done," he joked.

At Providence Medical Center, the Mariners playoffs turned the hospital on its head. Normally, patients rely on hospital staff for care and information.

Throughout the week, however, it was the staff who found themselves at the mercy of the patients.

Mary Bartyzal, charge nurse for the seventh-floor oncology unit, relied on her patients, all avid Mariners fans, to alert her to the hits.

Staff and patients had worked out a signal system.

When a batter "swangs," the patients push the nurse’s on-call button, Bartyzal said.

"On, off, on — Buzz. Buzz. That mean’s a hit."

But listening to Friday’s game proved a challenge. A staff meeting called Bartyzal away from the nurse’s station during the bottom of the eighth inning.

"Edgar on, two outs, and one runner on base — and I had to go to the meeting."

When the meeting broke up, Bartyzal raced out of the elevator and into the seventh-floor lounge, just as "Guillen laid down that bunt" as the M’s beat the White Sox 2-1 to sweep the series.

"The whole floor erupted then. Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep."

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