TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME
I hate baseball.
I can't help it - I do. It may make me un-American, but I find it incredibly boring and the uniforms are not all that attractive, rendering even the nicest rearend bulky. When I was a kid my grandparents had season tickets to the Angels games and every year for Mother's Day or Father's day I would, under duress and with a truly shitty attitude go and sit for hours in the stultifying heat and stench of BO, spilled beer and peanuts. Because there are no tie games in baseball during the regular season I thought for years that baseball games all lasted 12 innings because every game I ever went to took that long. Like four hours. I was never so pleased as when my grandparents got disgusted with the Angels and gave up their season tickets.
But over the last ten years or so I occasionally give baseball another try. I go to a game and hope that I'll get it. That I'll become one of those people who love to don their Dodger gear and go eat peanuts and drink beer with a bunch of other people wearing Dodger Blue. And every year my butt gets sore about the 5th inning, from sitting on the hard seat, and I get annoyed with the loud and rude people yelling insults at players from the opposing team and often even at the guys who play for the Dodgers. The most drunk and the loudest always sit next to me, in the row behind me and over my right shoulder. It provides me with an excellent opportunity to practice sobriety and patience and keeping my mouth shut.
Last year I went with my friend Elizabeth who is a HUGE Mets fan. I mean seriously, she's got BIG LOVE for the Mets. She has more than one Mets jersey to choose from when it comes to deciding what to wear to the game. She brought her mitt - which she got for Mets fantasy camp - just in case a ball should come our direction and for that I was thankful because it is a recurring nightmare of mine that I will get hit in the head with a speeding ball off the bat of some power hitter and appear on the jumbotron with blood spurting between my fingers and tears running down my face. Luckily no balls came our way but Dodger fans are just assholes to fans from the visiting team.
Well, actually a lot of them are just assholes.
But there is something to be said for going to a game with someone who is a fan. Elizabeth's enthusiasm was contagious. Or maybe not contagious, but I got how important it was for her to stay all the way to the end of the game so I didn't whine to leave after we sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame at the 7th inning stretch - which also happens to be the time that they stop beer sales. Thankfully the game ended after nine innings and although the Mets lost she still had a good time just being there in the stands.
I went again this last weekend with my friends the Thompsons. Daley is a HUGE Dodger's fan and he also has Dodger gear galore which he bedecks himself with for the game. Our seats were at the field level and the game started at 7pm. The night was hot and humid and the grass was surreally green, the Dodger's uniforms bright white under the stadium lights. At first I was confused because the St. Louis Cardinals were wearing grey and I know I've seen the Dodger's play in grey - so initially I was hooting and hollering for the wrong team. Because yes indeed, I was hooting and hollering.
It was a good game! There were homeruns and RBIs. Stuff was happening on the field and they play loud rock music and throw up the words "Make Some Noise" on the jumbotron. I figured what the hell - it was Friday and at the end of the week yelling your head off while drinking a cold Coors light in a plastic longneck bottle is pretty good fun. And when I got bored by the 3rd inning Liz and I went up to the stadium club where there was air conditioning and cocktails in glasses and we had shrimp cocktail and mushu pork prepared for us by the gourmet chef in the restaurant. We spent the next four innings up there in the cool A/C watching the game through the huge plate glass windows that separated us from the rabble.
We waited until after the 7th inning stretch and the singing of the song to go back to our seats where we found a pile of garbage and the crowd well on their way to an illegal blood alcohol level because cold Coors light in a plastic long neck bottle tastes like water and it was fucking hot outside even at 9:30pm. We got back just in time for the Dodgers to bring out Eric Gagne. I have no idea who he is, but apparently he's the guy the Dodgers bring out to pitch the last couple innings because he's so good no one can get hits off him. He has a weird goatee like beard that is basically frizz hair covering his chin and extending in a 3" scraggle. It's not a good look - I think he is trying to emulate that guy who is the lead singer in Metallica.
So Eric Gagne goes out and does his thing and the 8th inning comes and goes quickly. Yes!! Now if we can just get three quick outs in the 9th they can do fireworks and I can go home. The first out comes easily, but the next guy up gets a homerun and now the score is 7 to 6 Dodgers. And the guy after that gets on first. What up Gagne? I thought you da man? Da man who's going to get me home before the clock strikes 12. The crowd is on their feet screaming sensing that victory may not be so certain.
The crowd is going wild - nothing like putting a little pressure on.
And strike three! Woohoo! Game over!! Dodgers win!! The ushers line up on the field to keep the flowing crowd only on the grass. Not on the dirt. The jumbotron issues the request to "Please Respect Dodger Stadium" - yeah, this is crowd that totally gets the concept of respect. Uh-huh.
After about 30 minutes the stadium goes dark and the fireworks begin. I am not one who enjoys fireworks. Loud explosions make me jumpy. But these are the perfect distance away and they are playing Sweet Home Alabama and Jimi Hendrix and AC/DC and the fireworks are way cool because I have had several beers and I've got that good beer buzz going that makes me feel fond of the overweight tattooed folk who are my neighbors in the stands.
I had a pretty good time and I think that one baseball game a summer is a pretty fun idea. I just gotta go with people who love the game and have passes to the Stadium Club.