One of the good things about having moved around a lot in my formative years is that I can claim many places as my “hometown”. Petaluma, California is one of them. My first newspaper internship was in Petaluma and this summer around the same time my first book was released the city sent their first little league team to the World Series.
The timing couldn’t have been better.
A northern California city of around 60,000 hidden between the trend setting Bay Area to the south and the affected wine country to the north, Petaluma is a bit of an anomaly. There is an earnest quality to the little city lacking in many of the more “sophisticated” communities that surround it. Its quirkiness comes naturally — an ugly dog contest, wrist wrestling championships — and its Butter and Egg Day Parade has not become a parody as it might have in larger cities. But in recent years Petaluma had become synonymous with tragedy, including the 1993 kidnapping and murder of Polly Klaas and the 2011 death of local teen Danny Cox. It is no surprise then that when the Petaluma National All-Stars made it to the World Series this summer the whole town was happy to cheer them on. The local newspaper issued a special souvenir edition that featured full page ads from local businesses offering their congratulations and a theater broadcast the games on a huge screen. Local legend Jonny Gomes of the Oakland A’s helped raise money to house the players while they competed in Pennsylvania and celebrated with them at a private party after they returned home with a third place finish.
Even the local bookstore had a Little League display in their window. And it was there that a copy of my book could be found. It has been a happy time for Petaluma, and as the author of a book on minor league baseball, a good time for me to be a Petaluma native.