The bases are loaded, the crack of the ball against the bat heralds a home run, and the crowd in the stadium erupts with cheers. We invite you to slide on into the Community Closet, and step up to the plate in the newly decorated baseball bathroom to contemplate your own “Best Game Ever” baseball memories.
Baseball is the theme of the Community Closet’s latest annual bathroom redesign, continuing the tradition of redecorating the restroom from floor to ceiling with a focus on goods donated to the thrift store. In an upcycle home run, the team marked red baseball stitching on plain white ornaments donated to the thrift store to craft baseball ornaments suspended from the bathroom ceiling replicating a profusion of pop flies.
The idea for the theme came from long-time Community Closet staff member, Robin Zank, who wears her signature San Francisco Giants’ black and orange fashions every day. Community Closet founder and CEO Caron Cooper caught the baseball bug from Zank and has been a “Gamerbabe,” the name for hardcore female San Francisco Giants fans, with Zank for decades. The pair attends Giants’ games in San Francisco and displayed their custom “Gamerbabes from Livingston Mt say Git ‘Er Done Giants” sign at a game. It was a challenge, but they decided to share space with other baseball teams in the bathroom décor, including Livingston’s own Braves and Cubs. Note: none of the baseball décor in the bathroom is for sale and can not be taken as keepsakes.
While baseball generates ardent and regional fans it is a unifying sport that crosses generations, genders, ethnicities, and our history as a country. The game remains very popular with diverse ethnicities including Latino, Asian, and African Americans unlike most other American sports. “Baseball has been around since the civil war,” says Zank, “it’s stood the test of time. I appreciate that it’s the first sport to advocate integration in America and is home to civil rights leaders like Jackie Robinson. Baseball also is not a contact sport, is accessible to children and women in addition to men, and though it has intricate rules, it’s easy to play and understand.”
Baseball is also rich with traditions, from songs like “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” with reference to Cracker Jacks, to the classic Abbot and Costello routine “Who’s on First”, to the seventh inning stretch and fans catching fly balls. Food at baseball games is a big part of the experience and each stadium and region serves specialties at games that fans are passionate about.
“We’re lucky to be a part of a lot of community conversations here at the thrift store, and I’ve learned that a lot of us have a really significant memories around baseball,” says Cooper. If you think you don’t have any baseball memories, think about it for a bit and we’re willing to bet you have a childhood, family, or adult memory that’s baseball related. Cooper named her dog Buster Posey after the San Francisco Giants’ catcher. Shopper Kris King recalls playing baseball as a child with her siblings in their horse pasture with horse dung as bases. Community Closet manager Jamie Plummer’s mother was the Dodger’s Stadium clubhouse interior designer and the family got lifetime passes to Dodger’s games.
Jake Boehler, who has a baseball column in the Park County Community Journal and plays for the 2019 Champion Park County Cubs says, “I have played baseball every summer since I was 4 or 5. Every summer. It is a part of life. A big part of who I am. And without it, I definitely wouldn’t be here.” One of his favorite quotes is from Carl Yastrzemski, “I think about baseball when I wake up in the morning. I think about it all day and I dream about it at night. The only time I don’t think about it is when I’m playing it.” Zank says, “Baseball brings back lots of memories with my father. I feel like he’s there with me when I watch games. Baseball is in my DNA.”