Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I meant to do that.....

Last weekend, my buddy and I took off to Baltimore to watch the Orioles play the Red Sox. He was the only Oriole fan in our whole hotel I think. And, at the Inner Harbor. But, everyone was really nice to him and didn't throw things at him. In anticipation of both the crowds and our overpowering thirst after having driven for 3 hours in torrential rains and bumper to bumper traffic, we tossed the bags into our room and jumped on the train to head over to the stadium. Score 1 for Baltimore's light rail system. On the way, we encountered a crazy man that was entirely "discombobulated" by "all these white people on my train." For 15 minutes, he went on and on about "what are all these white people on my train? Must be a ballgame today or something." No, really? You're surrounded by a train full of people in Boston apparel. You live in Baltimore, home of the Orioles. How in the hell do you not know that there's a game? I guess, though, if you're discombobulated, the days all run together.

After we left crazy man arguing with the Transit Cop, we herded across the street and headed down to the Harbor to get a cold beer or 12. And when I say herded, I mean it. There must've been a thousand people pushing and grunting across the street. Anyway, we walk like 100 miles or something and we could smell food from all the restaurants we're passing and all I want is a cold beer and possibly some wings and I'm ready to choke the next person that stops in front of me to take a picture of a ship that's been there forever and will still be there in the next 10 seconds, so let me the fuck by lady. Weeding through the crowd like some sort of shape-shifting predators, we made it to the end of the line. My friend thought we'd try the ESPN Zone. Neither of us had ever been in, but we'd seen it on tv, so what the hell, right? I stood in line at the bar for 10 minutes. For my first beer. As a matter of fact, right before I reached over and popped the head off of the bartender, 2 seats at the bar opened up. I yelled his name a couple of times and growled at encroachers, and we were seated. Finally..... And, from then on, the experience improved. Slacky The Bartender left, and Hottie the bartender stepped up. Not only was she cute, she was efficient. I think I fell in love just a little. And, the cheese fries were awesome. Of course, I hadn't eaten since 9 that morning and it was now after 5. A few beers later, we were tired of being jostled around in our seats, so we set off like all great explorers in search of a new bar stool we could call our very own.

I'm a sucker for a pub (shut up, Captain Obvious) and lo and behold (!) there we were right in front of one, up on the second story (up a periously twisty staircase...that was probably 6 feet or more wide and steel, but whatever) with a great view of the harbor when I walked outside to smoke. And ?! 2 seats right at the bar, right in front of the taps, right in front of the television. The bartenders were friendly, it was quiet, and we could watch the evening game right there from our comfortable seats. Rock on! An undetermined amount of time passed, the game ended, and we figured we'd better catch the train before it stopped running. Back up the 100 mile street and we finally caught the third train from the stadium. They may think about maybe adding a couple cars to the train on game days. I'm pretty sure that lady didn't like me rubbing up against her with every bump in the road. Or maybe she did. Hell, I don't know. I think she minded less once the train started moving, though.

Ah, day. I'm up like a kid at Christmas. This was my first professional game ever. I make noise and flip channels on the tv til my friend gets up and we head out for the train at 10. Um, yeah. It doesn't start running til 11. Fuckers. It's a 1:30 game. The earlier I get there, Baltimore, the more money I'll spend. Trust me. Anyway, 11 comes and we jam on the train so close that I can tell what people had for breakfast. But, we're on the way to the game, right? 2 guys behind us were talking about how they hated these days and if he'd have known there was a game he wouldn't have ridden the train (again, how do you not know?) and how he didn't buy a ticket anyway because they were too expensive. Sorry that $3 is killing you, man.

Pile out at the stadium, wait for the gates to open, hit the first beer stand in sight, and we're underway! My college paid for a picnic for us (the ticketholders/alumni) in the Bullpen area (if you ever get to do this, go for it!) so we went in and got our food and found seat and started looking around. Here's where the story gets good. Beer count = 2. I look up from my seat and what do my eyes see before me? Taps unencumbered by a cash register!!! Were they really giving me free beer for an hour and a half and lunch all for $22?? I may have found heaven right here. Let the day commence, eh? So, we walk around and look around and watch the players warm up from right above the bullpen (see what they did with the name there? ha!) and drank these free beers. It was awesome. I would've loved to have been able to watch the game from there, but that was not to be. 1:15 arrived ....and off to the nosebleed section. Beer count = 9.

We're up in left center, nearly at the top. I can see everything. Well, everything except the players, really, but I can make out the difference between the white dots and the gray dots. Meanwhile, the concession stand is right under our seats...with no line. ha! Here we go again. Manny hits homerun 501 and there are some other good plays and I can't get my camera ready in time to take a picture of this one girl in a really small tank top, but eh, what're you gonna do? The pile of bottles under our seats is growing and it's hot as hell, like Africa hot, up there. The game is fun. I love watching it on tv, but if I had the chance to go to a live game every week, I'd be all over it! Especially if I could sit up close. Beer count = I have no idea. I'm guessing that I'm nearing 15 or 18 by now.

We herd back out of the stadium and in search of food with a million other people. Hey, I said, let's go back to the pub and eat there. We're filing along the street all asshole and elbow with a million people when the sidewalk narrows. (If you made it this far, congratulations. This is the good shit) There's a curb or a flowerbed or something in front of me blocking my way. No problem, I think, because I can jump right up on that and keep walking. I'll wait while you laugh to yourselves. I think it was 6 or 10 inches off the ground. I lifted my foot approximately 1 to 2 inches and went right at it. See, in my mind, it looked good. Smooth. I was gonna kick this curb's ass. Little did I know that the curb was calling in reinforcements from its friends, flowerbed and sidewalk. In reality, it looked like I hit it, rolled on top of it, kept moving, and then rolled off onto the sidewalk effectively blocking the way of all the million people I was walking with. I hit it hard, rolled, and then fell onto the sidewalk and was laughing so hard I couldn't get up. My friend couldn't help me for laughing at me. Finally some nice guy helped me up and we were on our way. Thankfully nothing got broken (either on me or the camera) but I did get a nice scrape on my arm out of it. And everybody in Baltimore got a good laugh. And everybody at work yesterday also got a good laugh. I'm surprised my friend didn't call them right then.

We had dinner at the pub and a couple more beers and managed to make it back to the train without further incident. It's rumoured that I almost stepped on a homeless man that looked eerily like the lead singer of The Spin Doctors, but I don't believe that. I don't remember seeing him. So, obviously, I'm right. Beer count = I can't keep up anymore. I know it's still early and I'm out of money, though.

A free breakfast the next morning, some gas in the car, and we're back home by noon. Oh, what a weekend. I can't wait to do it again! Except maybe this time without all the falling. At least by me.


Give 'Em Hell Harry said...

That sounds awesome. I can't believe that was your first trip to a ballgame.

You should go to spring training if you get the chance. I went last year to Phoenix and it was awesome. You can see a couple of games in a day and they still allow the beer man to bring drinks to the seats. I went with 5 other people so we got a twelver every time he walked by. By the sixth inning we could no longer order in english and merely grunted the word beer as best as possible. My mother would have been proud. said...

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