i went to the baseball game and all i got was this lousy heartbreak...
Yesterday my friend Chet invited me to go to the Dodgers/Braves game with his brother Q and friend Fat. I hate the Dodgers.
I accepted immediately.
Lemme explain sumpin: I was birthed and bred in the Bay Area. Berkeley, as a matter of fact. (No, I wasnt a hippie. But I did have friends named Forest, Meadow and Rainbow. And I once accidentally sat on Wavy Gravy, but thats a long story ) We folk from up North there, were a gentle, peace-loving, Chardonnay-drinking bunch. Give us a cup of Peets Coffee, a Patagonia jacket, a Native American Tribal Chant CD, and a basket of chard bulbs to plant in our shady backyards and were happy. We wont bother you unless you ding our Volvo in the REI parking lot while were in testing out the thermal resistance factors of the new Gore-Tex alpine sleeping bags. But bring the Dodgers, the Lakers, or the Oh thats right, LA doesnt have a football team * paw haw * and youll see the usually mellow social workers and web designers and high school English teachers acting like Jan Michael Vincent on Hard Copy (did anyone else see that?!)
So I was more than happy to sit in good free seats and forget the troubles (not The Troubles in Belfast, rather my own personal and less cinematic troubles) and catch a game. I love baseball, but not for the reasons so many do: the wispy, Ken Burns, those-were-the-days view of baseball makes me sick. The players back then were just as greedy and stupid and unfaithful as they are now. For The Love Of The Game my ass.
I know Chet very well. I barely know Q. Id never met Fat. Heres what happened:
Pre-game: Chet and I sit across from the stadium in a little park, drinking beer. I complain about my commercial agent. He tells me not to worry. I leap onto the picnic table and teach him the very simple chorus to a song I heard on the radio, which I still cannot believe I heard. For 15 minutes we shout back and forth: "Who dat is?" "Thats my babys Dad!" I put my last can of Budweiser down my pants and we go in. My bag doesnt get frisked. My balls are frozen. We find Q and Fat and our seats.
1st Inning: We eat sunflower seeds. The cast of Cabaret "now playing at the Wilshire Theater!" sings the National Anthem. As they pan one by one through the singers on the Diamond Vision, Q says, "Slut. Slut. Gay. Gay. Gay. Gay. Slut. Gay. Gay." Chet tells Fat how I got the nickname "Stee The No-Good, Running From The Law." Chet yells at Raul Modesi for getting arrested last year for a DUI. The family in front of us moves.
2nd Inning: We all put in a dollar and begin playing "the mound game". At the end of each half inning, if when whoever has the ball last throws it into the mound and it stays on the hill, the guys who is holding the money wins it. If it rolls off or never even makes it to the mound, the money moves to the next guy. I promptly win the mound game. We eat more sunflower seeds. 2-0 Braves.
3rd Inning: Chet gets double-paged by his girlfriend. He doesnt call her. "What if somethings wrong?" "Im not getting up." Chet drinks more beer. Fat tells me that hes moving back to New York in 3 weeks. I am jealous. An old couple sits next to us. Chet yells, "Good Dodger fans get to the game an hour late!!!" The old couple moves. We eat more sunflower seeds. 4-0 Braves.
4th Inning: I go to have a smoke. An usher wont give me a Dodgers temporary tattoo because Im over 13. I tell her that she doesnt know that for sure. She walks away from me, unamused. Q wins the mound game. I realize why I stopped eating sunflower seeds in Junior High. 6-0 Braves.
5th Inning: I discover that Fat went to Julliard. The unrequited love of my high-school life went to Julliard. I find out he slept with her regularly for a over a year. I go have another smoke. While Im trying not to cry, Fat spills his beer on the guy in front of him. The guy moves. 6-0 Braves.
6th Inning: We realize we forgot to play the mound game last inning. I ask another usher for a tattoo for my sick little cousin. I realize Ive gone to the same usher. I get no tattoo. We see the old couple, now across the isle from us, get up and head home. They stayed for a total of three innings. Fat tells me that Unrequited Love was fantastic in bed. UL used to "drip on him". As Bret Boone hits a home run, I try to figure out what he means by that. 8-1 Braves.
7th Inning: I get another beer. The mound game has dissolved. I try to lead section 139 in a chant: "Who dat is?" "Thats my babys Dad!" No one joins in. Fat tells me that he had a threesome with UL and a gorgeous Asian chick and that UL went on to have a six month relationship with another woman. I choke on a handful of sunflower seeds. Chet nearly gets into a fight when the Cracker Jack Guys bag o Cracker Jack rams into his head as he passes by. Q reminds Chet that he is 55". 11-2 Braves.
8th Inning: The Dodger fans head for the exits in droves. Chet yells at all of them. Two teenaged girls sitting near us move. I make Fat tell me more about sex with UL. Q guesses the attendance correctly. Chet owes him a dollar. We all agree that we secretly like the Bloopers they show on the Diamond Vision. 11-3 Braves.
9th Inning: Fat tells me to stop asking him about UL. I go to have another smoke. Chets upper palate is bleeding from the salt of the sunflower seeds. I make Fat tell me one more detail about the former love of my life. I wish he had not told me the one more detail. Final - 11-3 Braves.
Post-game: On the way to the car, a guy leans out his window and asks us why were wearing Giants and Pirates hats, respectively. We tell him: because we hate the Dodgers. He retorts: fuck you, shithead, and drives away.
Dodgers fans. Mental Giants.