Monday, July 12, 2010

Play Ball! (Or Whatever It Is That The Tribe Is Doing)

Well, here we are, more than halfway through the Major League Baseball season, and I’ve written very little about it, because, frankly, “playing baseball” is not what the Cleveland Indians have been doing to date. At a miserable 34-54, they’re 15.5 games behind the Chicago White Sox, and 5 games behind next-to-last Kansas freakin' City. On the plus side, they have no good players to trade away, so we fans are at least spared that little knife-twist.

None of that is to say that baseball is not enjoyable to watch, especially at the ballpark, and I’ve been lucky enough to see four games involving the Class A (short season) Boise Hawks. There’s something so heartwarming about hearing a parent explain the rules to a child at their first game, especially when the parent screws up the infield fly rule and you get to turn around, correct and berate him, and make him look like an idiot in front of his kid. Awesome!

There was a nice episode the other night – a couple of friends and I were involved in a gambling game in which a person throws a dollar into a hat and guesses the outcome for the current batter. If he’s wrong, the dollar stays in and the next person adds a buck and guesses on the next batter. This continues until someone guesses correctly and wins the pot, at which point the whole process starts over. Well, naturally, we were sitting behind an attractive mom and her daughter, who appeared to be about 5 years old. After a while, we began including the daughter in the game (one of us would throw a dollar in for her), and eventually she won a pot of about $20. Really … what’s more American than getting all beered up, hitting on some stranger, and getting her kid addicted to gambling? U-S-A! U-S-A!

Last night, I was invited by some other friends to sit in the luxury box seats ... front row, right next to the visitors dugout. I was a bit thrown by the ushers calling me “sir,” but I dealt with it. It was prime heckling territory, but alas, I have no gift for the ego-shattering stinging barb - fortunately, a sharp-witted gentleman next to us was there to suggest to every Spokane player that his shoes were untied, or else the Hawks would have lost by a far greater margin than the 9-4 score that they ended up with.

Peanuts, bratwurst, beer … the only way baseball could get any better is if they handed out vuvuzelas at the gate.

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