Series note: This is the second article in a series of check-ins with fans in the Padres community during the coronavirus suspension of the 2020 MLB season. Last week, I profiled Petco Park organist Bobby Cressey. This week, it’s my pleasure to share FriarGal‘s story.
On the #PadresTwitter timeline, FriarGal is one of those accounts that defies pigeonholing. You’ll see her interacting with Schitt’s Creek GIFs, referencing Gen X music, calling out sexism and cheating in baseball, and defending Ian Kinsler. Sometimes, she combines a couple of her takes in a single tweet.
She can also rock the final score threads as she did last June when Manny Machado returned to Camden Yards for the first time since being traded to the Padres.
FriarGal was born into Padres fandom. Both her father and grandfather were baseball fans who went to Pacific Coast League games at Lane Field.
Her family roots run deep in the region. Her grandfather, who opened the first animal hospital in downtown San Diego in the 1950s, lived in the Bonita area and his uncle, Frank “Booze” Beyer, helped raise him.
You may have seen the Beyer name in the South Bay area on streets and an elementary school. Booze Beyer was a successful entrepreneur in the 1920s whose businesses included casinos, cabarets, and saloons in Tijuana. He gave away most of his wealth, including funds to build San Ysidro’s library and most of his land for schools and roads.
FriarGal’s father became sick with leukemia when she was just 5 years old, and he battled the disease for two decades before succumbing in 2007 when she was in her mid-20s.
My best memories of my dad are during periods of [his] remission when we were able to go to Jack Murphy Stadium.
I’m just so glad he lived to see Petco Park get built. We had seats above the home dugout and every game we saw together was perfect.
Much of FriarGal’s youth was spent as a child actress in community theater across San Diego County. As a teenager, she appeared in James Cameron’s Titanic (1997) as a passenger. Her career in the arts later included teaching ballet at a prominent dance company in Austin, Texas. An injury to her spine in 2004 ended her performance career.
Since the early 2000s, FriarGal has worked in the education field, most recently as an English professor and lead faculty for the general education program at a local university. She was laid off in October of last year.
How is she doing these days?
In the span of a year, my brother died, my dog died, and I was laid off.
I had started to get optimistic about job opportunities after a few recent interviews. Then the pandemic shut everything down.
I’m still fighting stress-induced ailments, like immune system flares and insomnia. I’m starting to have less abject terror, though, and I am hopeful that things will be okay.
It was hard to go through the last few months terrified on my own. At least now the world is freaking out with me.
She also has these two looking out for her.
As for her thoughts on our current reality of days without baseball …
I miss baseball for so many reasons. It’s a distraction, it’s entertainment, it’s pride and fandom, but it’s more.
There’s a rhythm and a pace of baseball that makes it a zen-like meditation, away from the rest of the chaotic world.
Over 162 games (I hear some teams get to play more than that), storylines develop, patterns emerge, speculation proves true or false, and trends change.
The heartbeat of baseball stays the same, though, and it feeds my soul.
Mostly here to promote fun baseball! My focus is on our experiences as fans and shared connections in the baseball community. I also produce content on social media, including vlogs and event coverage. Instagram: Michelle_baseballfan247 Facebook: Michelle Frost; Member: IBWAA, SABR