One of the things I have enjoyed the most since starting this blog is connecting with other members of the baseball community. I had an absolute blast chatting with Patti and Pottymouth, the hosts of the No Crying in Baseball Podcast. Listening back to the recording of our conversation, I realized I probably talked more than I should have, but it felt more like old friends catching up than it did an interview. That’s one of the best aspects of NCIB; Patti and Pottymouth feel less like hosts and more like drinking buddies you watch the game with.
Pottymouth (who remains anonymous because of her teaching career) grew up in Boston, where the culture is famously sports-crazed. Although Red Sox fandom was agonizing during her formidable years, Pottymouth has fond memories of games at Fenway Park with her father. She also recalls being a freshman in college during the 1986 World Series, a heartbreaking moment for Red Sox fans. After moving to Maryland in 1993, Pottymouth began attending games at Camden Yards, especially when the Red Sox were in town. It was important to her to maintain her identity as a Bostonian and Red Sox supporter.
As for Patti, she grew up in Cleveland, a similar “there’s always next year” baseball climate as Boston. Patti was by far the youngest child in her family, and during neighborhood baseball games, would be rolled onto the field in her stroller, representing third base. After Patti and her siblings grew up and relocated to various locales, they would hold family reunions at Jacobs Field, Cleveland’s profound upgrade from “The Mistake on the Lake.” Patti says parks like Jacobs Field in Cleveland and Camden Yards closer to her new home in the DC area “brought the fun back” to baseball. Her fandom intensified once she was introduced to exciting places to go see a game live. She even named her only child Camden, after the Baltimore Orioles’ home ballpark.
Patti and Pottymouth met around 20 years ago in Takoma Park, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC. Their respective husbands hit it off after meeting as members of the city’s nuclear-free committee. Mr. Patti and Mr. Pottymouth began going to baseball games together...without the wives. While Pottymouth was expecting her child, Patti hosted a get-together, and that was the first meeting of the NCIB hosts. Or, that’s at least how Patti remembers it. “There’s been quite a few beers since then,” Pottymouth noted. From there, Patti and Pottymouth became fast friends. Their children grew up together and were even teammates on a softball team coached by Mr. Pottymouth.
“The Pottymouth basement is the gathering place for watching sporting events because of the projector and the giant wall on which sporting events are shown. Both of our kids learned to swear by being in the room.” - Patti
“There are many parents who blame me for that.” - Pottymouth
Patti and Pottymouth had a friend who was starting to produce podcasts that noticed the amusing banter between the two during games. He thought said banter would make for an entertaining podcast. Although they were skeptical about the transition from commenting on a game as it was happening to talking into microphones, Patti and Pottymouth started the No Crying in Baseball Podcast in October 2017. Since then, they’ve recorded over 130 weekly episodes, talking all things baseball, just like they were doing as friends watching games together in Pottymouth’s basement.
“When we were looking for that anchor, it was the ‘Baseball Boyfriends’ because we were doing that anyway.” - Pottymouth
You may ask yourself, what qualifies a player to be a “Baseball Boyfriend.” While it is not a simple, black and white process, there are some rules. First, a player must have “mad baseball skills,” well, at least for Patti they must. Pottymouth prefers a good story over statistics. Next, it must be obvious that the player enjoys the game and is having fun playing it. Most importantly, a “Baseball Boyfriend” requires something special, interesting, or quirky within their story.
“We try to look at the whole person. We don’t just say ‘Wow! He’s an awesome third baseman. He’s my boyfriend’” - Patti
The simplest part of the “Baseball Boyfriend” equation is how a player gets disqualified from receiving the honor. Patti and Pottymouth have a firm stance against domestic abuse, homophobia, and racism. Afterall, what self-respecting human would tolerate such things in a boyfriend, baseball or otherwise.
One topic I was most eager to talk to Patti and Pottymouth about was women in baseball. I wanted some perspective to help formulate my opinion. I asked them what they felt the biggest hurdle is for women within baseball. It became very clear there is no simple, comprehensive answer. They first touched on women playing baseball.
“I think the biggest hurdle to women playing baseball is this idea that women need to play softball. Still, it seems like if you are a girl, you need to play this girl’s sport, and softball is not gendered, and it’s not baseball. If a little girl wants to play baseball, let the little girl play baseball.” - Patti
Pottymouth furthered the point by remarking that colleges need to get on board as well, offering a firm track for girls to play baseball from the time they are young to high school to college and so on. Patti and Pottymouth both feel strongly about the lack of dedicated investment to women’s baseball on a national level but acknowledge the exponential growth, thanks in large part to Justine Siegal and Baseball for All. They both have impassioned viewpoints about the issues surrounding women in baseball, yet are open to any developments that encourage more women to play the game, whether it’s a women’s league, a woman playing Major League Baseball, or both.
“If you make the team, you make the team.” - Patti
“Why let someone else make that decision. Let her make the decision.” - Pottymouth
Even though strides have been made recently with women taking jobs in front offices, on coaching staffs, and in national broadcast booths, there is still more progress to be made.
“Whenever we talk about somebody who is the first at something, we have this whole mixed feeling about “Yay!” We want to celebrate this person for breaking whatever barrier, and the follow up is ‘Are you kidding me? It took this long?’” - Patti
Since the pandemic has halted the start of the baseball season in the US, Patti and Pottymouth have kept the podcast going strong by following CPBL and KBO games. Pottymouth gives the weekly recording of the show merit as an important and healthy part of her life.
“Having this podcast is super helpful. Just to be able to talk about baseball and get lost in it is a nice antidote to the day-to-day stress we’re going through on so many levels.” - Pottymouth
Patti has enjoyed discussing the many aspects of baseball that go beyond the games being played on the field and is proud that the podcast has continued despite the lack of a MLB season thus far. Pottymouth views the situation as a positive opportunity to watch old games and talk about topics that wouldn’t have been watched nor discussed otherwise.
I can’t recommend the No Crying in Baseball Podcast enough. Check it out at nocryinginbball.com or wherever you get your favorite podcasts. You can also follow Patti and Pottymouth on Twitter @ncibpodcast.