Monday, April 22, 2019

Take me out to the ballgame.

While I was preparing for my trip to visit my younger daughter out in San Diego, I had a wave of nostalgia wash over me and I decided I'd get tickets to see a ballgame. The local denizens, the Padres, were playing the Red Stockings of Cincinnati, at 5:40 in the afternoon, on the Saturday before Easter.

I hadn't been to a major league game in quite some time because of the way the modern game rubs against my old-fashioned orientation.

First, I can't bring myself to go to a stadium built by tax-payer dollars, where the hoi polloi are financially segregated from the Goldman Sach-ers. I abhor the reality that my dollars paid for the place, and malefactors of great wealth get all the good seats. 

Second, and in the same vein, it sickens me to go to a stadium built by tax-payer money on ostensibly public land and then emblazoned with a corporate logo. That knocks the Mets' new stadium, the incorrectly-spelled CITI-field out of contention. Why should I go to a stadium named for a bank? What positive has a bank ever done for me? We don't even get toasters anymore.

Third, I refuse to go to Yankee Stadium--or, more properly, the new, ersatz, plasticine Yankee Stadium. They tore down the House that Ruth built, a cranky, creaky, iron-girded place for the house that Tax-Payers built so the bloated plutocrats could entertain their bloated clients for four innings while insulated from, as Mr. Potter called them in "It's a Wonderful Life," "the garlic eaters."

However, as I said above, nostalgia, and the prospect of spending a bit of father-daughter time in San Diego's sun with a cold beer and a frank, overwhelmed my cynicism and I bought three field-level tickets for $105 a pop, plus an extortionate $19.50 per "handling charge" and another $5 per of other sundry charges like "cauldrons of oil boiling fee in case of peasant insurrection."

My wife and I assumed our seats only 20 minutes late. It took us a full 40 minutes to get through metal detectors, bag inspection and wanding. Our daughter arrived 20 minutes later with a Mojito in a faux-plastic Mason-jar and two-spiked seltzers for my wife and I. I'm sure in total, Hannah was separated from $40 or $50 along the way. Not to mention the environmental cost of that plastic cup and the aluminum cans of vodka-laced fizzy water because people can no longer drink out of paper cups.

We took our seats and were soon surrounded by an assortment of unshaven drunks, adipose-endowed fans with their bellies exposed and grotesquely rotund dads feeding their similarly grotesque sons and daughters plastic corn-chips soaked in viscous plastic-cheese the color of Tang dating from 1967. 

Some of those drunks chose to stand up in front of us most of the game, resistant to my hoarse, Yonkers-trained, "Down in front." The lead drunk was bigger than I, and while I pondered fisticuffs, my breathtakingly level-headed wife calmed me down with one icy glare.

The Padres have a young player named Fernando Tatis, Jr., and one particularly busty drunk wore a t-shirt that scaled the heights of the evening's humor and she stood to show it to young Fernando every time he ran in from or out to his position at short. It said, across her ample bosom area, "Show us your Tatis," and the drunks rolled in the peanut-shell-strewn aisles every time she thrust her mammarial endowments out to the young Dominican.

After the game, much of the crowd headed to the bars that besot the streets surrounding "Petco" Field, a horribly inappropriate name for a stadium that doesn't, of course, allow pets. We app-ed for an Uber and headed to Hannah's neighborhood, where there are slightly fewer drunks per capita, at least on game day.

In my email this morning, this is an obligatory operating procedure in our present surveillance state, I received from the Padres a survey asking me how I enjoyed a variety of experiences.

My "ticket-purchasing experience." My "traveling to the ball-park experience." My "entry through the gates" experience. My "finding my seats" experience. My "courtesy of the staff" experience. My "purchasing food and drink" experience. My "entertainment at the game" experience and a few more.

They asked, of course, nothing at all about the game. Because the game is secondary, if not tertiary to going to the ballpark. There is no longer a stentorian stadium announcer who says, "Now batting in the lead-off position position position, shortstop, Lou Boudreau boudreau boudreau. Number five five five. Lou Boudreau boudreau boudreau."

That would be putting the game front and center and going to see a ballgame for 97% of people in attendance is about getting blitzed, seeing yourself on the ego-tron™, entertaining clients, and laughing at old-people who are shown dancing on the ego-tron™.

I left in a sour mood, to be honest. Feeling like I do so often in our modern world. That it was built by the super-rich to drunkify the middle-class and remove whatever money they have attached to their credit cards.

Many years ago I wrote a sincere letter to my Congresswoman proposing that we change our nation's motto, "E Pluribus Unum" (Latin for, "Out of Many, One) to the much more accurate "Shop 'Till You Drop," (Taberna Donec Stillabunt, if you want to stick with Latin. Since no one speaks either Latin, or English anymore.)

Of course, I never heard back from her. Like the idea of seeing an actual ballgame at the ballpark is passe, so too is being actually represented by an actual representative.

Again in Latin, O Tempore, O Mores. 

Of course, that means, in the Lingua Franca of two-thousand years-ago, George is happiest when he's grumpy. So leave him alone.

For anyone, like me, missing "Baseball When the Grass Was Real," take two-minutes and hear the ol' redhead, Red Barber, announcing Roger Maris' 61st round-tripper, from way back when I was a three-year-old, on October 1, 1961.

No comments: