In the Bleachers in Baltimore
"If people don't want to come out to the ballpark, how are you going to stop them?" - Yogi Berra
What I loved about being an Orioles fan back in the day was that a bleacher seat was $4.50 at old Memorial Stadium. When we had nothing to do we’d head through the bowels of Baltimore and catch a game. We’d sit in the left field line bleachers and watch our mediocre Orioles with a few greats on the team like Cal Ripken and a tornado of a closer called Gregg Olson who in 1989 was the first reliever to win Rookie of the Year. During many games we were like the stadium security, making sure the drunks remained civil and often we would heckle the most obnoxious or profane hecklers. On one occasion we refereed a skirmish as we sat between some rednecks and a group of preppie punks. When the hicks started to make like they were actually willing to fight over a baseball game we told them to shut the fuck up and watch the game. They did. At a game against Texas I screamed out at the top of my lungs to their runner on third, Julio Franco, “Julio, I have all your albums!” Granted, not a great joke but the entire left side of Memorial Stadium laughed at it.
My First and Only World Series Game
"You can't sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You've got to throw the ball over the goddamn plate and give the other man his chance. That's why baseball is the greatest game of them all. " - Earl Weaver
The Florida Marlins made it to the 1997 World Series after only five years as a team. Bill and I set off for Joe Robbie Stadium for game one without tickets convinced we could get in somehow. Unwilling to pay what the scalpers were charging we were resigned to watching the game on TV in a parking lot beer tent. After the first inning Bill came back from the can to say that they had opened up another section of the stadium and we got tickets for $20! A great game between Liván Hernández and Orel Hershiser with homers by Moisés Alou and Charles Johnson. Rob Nen threw the ball over the goddamn plate and got the save. The Fish won 7-4. To quote James Thurber (in his story of a cigar smoking, beer drinking, trash-talking midget) quoting Casey Stengel, you can look it up.
Loosen Your Tie and Act Your Age
"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?" - Satchel Paige
"The trick is growing up without growing old." - Casey Stengel
I like the fact that at a ballgame you can act like a complete idiot and people actually encourage you to do so. When you’re 21 you can act like an idiot anywhere without attracting much attention but at a ballgame even seniors can get crazy. It’s a game where everyone is expected to stand up and sing a silly song. In Seattle after “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” most people remain standing to shake their ass to “Louie Louie” hoping to get captured on the jumbo cam.
The Longest Game of My Life
“The clock doesn't matter in baseball. Time stands still or moves backwards. Theoretically, one game could go on forever. Some seem to.” - Herb Caen
June 8, 1998. Bill and I again at Joe Robbie stadium to watch the Marlins take on the Toronto Blue Jays in interleague play with Roger Clemens on the mound for the Blue Jays (I didn’t even remember that). There were 17,414 fans at the start of the game. 17 innings later (and if I remember correctly there was a rain delay) the Marlins prevailed 4-3. That’s ten innings without beer if anyone is counting…and we were. At the end there were less than 300 people in the bleachers if you count Bill and me (like we had anything better to do). A five hour and six minute game; sometimes baseball is hard.