Mitch Reilly, the head groundskeeper, is my boss. I told him the whole story, straight out.
"She was a nice-looking woman, Mitch. Late forties. Old enough to be my mom if she'd gotten a real early start. When she first come up to me in the bar, I thought for a minute she might be a hooker, y'know? But hookers her age look a lot shabbier than this woman did.
"I could tell she was a little embarrassed, coming up to a strange guy in a bar and trying to strike up a conversation. It didn't help that I was so much younger than she was."
"'Excuse me, sir, ' she says. 'May I speak to you for a moment?'"
"'Yeah?' says I, kinda cautious. I'm like, giving her the benefit of the doubt, y'know?"
"'You're a member of the ground crew at the ballpark, ' she says. 'I followed four of you here from Camden Yards after the game. I needed to talk to one of you.'"
"So I says to her, 'Why me?'"
"'It's ... kind of a delicate matter, ' she says. 'I didn't want to talk to all of you. I waited until one of you was alone.'"
"'So, not me especially?' I says to her. You know, Mitch, like, for clarification?"
"'No, ' she says. 'Not you especially. When the other three guys left and you were alone, you got elected.'"
"'So what is it?' I ask her."
"And she says, 'My dad died recently. He was a big fan.'"
"'Sorry to hear it, ' I tell her. I mean, I don't know why she's telling me this, but I'm just trying to be like, y'know, polite."
"'My dad was the same age as Brooks Robinson, ' she tells me, 'almost right to the day. And he used to play third base when he was young, just like Robinson. 'Course he wasn't, y'know, great like Brooksie, but the point is, he was a third baseman, and he was a huge Brooks Robinson fan, and, oh God, we didn't even live in Baltimore, but he loved the Orioles all his life!'"
"'Yeah, well. I'm real sorry about your dad, ' I tell her."
"'Reason I'm talking to you like this, ' she says, 'I wanted to ask you to do something for me. Something important. I would pay you —- very well —- to do it, and there wouldn't be any risk involved or anything.'"
"So I says to her, 'What? What do you want done?'"
"She looks around the bar to be sure nobody's listening, and says to me, 'I want you to scatter some of my father's ashes in Camden Yards. At third base. You know -- next to third base? Where the third baseman plays?'"
"'Are you nuts?' says I. 'I can't do that!'"
"'Of course you could, ' she says. 'Listen, I'm not talking about, y'know, all of his ashes. It's just a tiny bit. I got 'em with me right now, in an old tobacco pouch, right here in my purse. It's only a couple of ounces. And you could do it anytime. It wouldn't have to be during a game. It could be early in the morning, or late at night -- it doesn't matter! It's just —- I can't do it myself because they won't let anybody near the field. I could maybe drop them right next to the stands, you know? In foul territory? But that's no good. It's gotta be at third base, and I can't get out there. But you could -- easily!'"
"So I tell her, 'Lady, I could lose my job over something like that!'"