Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Inflatables

Last night I was booed at Fenway Park. That's right, I joined the ranks of Jason Giambi, Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez, and most recently, Gov. Mitt Romney. (Granted, I wasn't booed by the entire stadium, but my section and the neighboring section of the bleachers all joined in.)

The thing is...people in the bleacher seats don't actually go to Red Sox games to watch the game. They go for every other reason in the book, but not to actually watch the game. Some go to drink excessive amounts of overpriced but cheap-tasting beer. Some go to buy their small children piles and piles of overpriced junk food, annoying balloon sculptures and baseball paraphanelia. Some go to workout--instead of going to use the stair master at the gym, they go to the Red Sox games and walk up and down the stairs and in and out of their rows over and over again, exercising their legs and increasing their metabolic rate while annoying the fuck out of everyone in their row and three rows behind them. And some go to pretend like they are at the beach, or to practice their volleyball skills. Yes, I'm talking about that strange breed of people that bring inflatable toys, such as beach balls, to the game, blow them up and then bounce it around in order to keep themselves occupied and not fall asleep from boredom at the game. I realize that baseball is a slow game and is difficult to follow at the park with the lack of NESN announcers or constant replays and updates, but if you can't sit back and enjoy the game at the park, maybe you shouldn't actually go to baseball games. Perhaps you should go to a movie, or a concert, or sit at home and watch the game on television, or...if you really like beach balls, maybe you should go to the beach!

Picture it: Red Sox vs. Texas. The game is tied 5-5 after only 4 or 5 innings. You are sitting in the bleacher seats, section 36. Right behind Johnny Damon in center field. It's a hot, muggy August night and you have just purchased two beers to keep you cool and hydrated. Every new batter the people next to you have to get up to take their kids to the bathroom/buy another ice cream cone/switch seats with the rest of their family in section 35, etc. The row in front of you is experiencing the same thing. You are constantly standing up and down, missing plays, home runs, strike outs, and what not because the person next to you/in front of you/behind you can't keep still long enough to watch a pitch. Some grandmother who HATES baseball is sitting right next to you and keeps commenting to the person behind her how bored she is, turning her body so that her elbow and back keep knocking into you, forcing you to scoot over in your already small bleacher seat. And then, as everyone calms down and another batter comes to the plate, you start to take a sip of your beer to relax and enjoy the game you paid nearly $30 just for your seat to watch, an inflated beach ball hits you on the head and everyone around your reaches and grapples, obstructing your finally perfect view, all in hopes of hitting the ball to someone else. What would you do?

I actually don't care what you would do. As I was descending the steps to take a wiz (after waiting for a change in batter so as not to annoy my rowmates--following the unspoken yet important rules of Baseball Etiquette) I chose to grab the fucking blow-up ball and pop it. Then throw it aside and continue to watch the game. I guess the crowd around me didn't agree with the choice that I chose to choose. One guy around me loudly proclaimed "Oh, yeah. You're a real nice guy!" And then the booing and hissing began. It lasted until I turned the corner and disappeared below the stands. Apparently the majority of the bleacher section spent their hard-earned money to whack a beach ball around Fenway Park. I did not.

In the line for the urinals (which is really just a superhighway with on ramps and off ramps that lead to the ultimate relief) I was still a bit shocked by my behavior and the events that took place in the stands. As I stood at the urinal my mind began to race: 'What happens next? Do I go back up there? Will people remember me and boo and hiss again? Will I get lynched? What should I do?'. I contemplated just staying down under the stands and watching the game on one of the small televisions they have for people to watch while waiting in line for beer. But that was ridiculous. Instead, I proudly marched right back up to my seat, my hat pulled down below my eyes and my head hanging low in hopes that nobody would recognize or remember me. It worked! Well, it worked until some other jackass across the section from me slit a huge inflatable purple dinosaur right up the middle after he got hit with it one too many times. Everyone in the crowd once again started booing, but I jumped up emphatically, cheering and clapping, receiving black stares from the people around me. Whatever, that dinosaur was fucking huge, and completely unneccesary.