Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Three Strikes

I'm not what you'd call the sports type.

No hand/eye coordination, no need to be part of a team, no real interest in watching games. So the last place you might expect I'd go on a dreary Wednesday night would be to see a baseball game.

But there I was at the Diamond with a baseball lover, someone who thinks baseball is a beautiful sport, unfolding languorously and organically in a way that football and basketball do not.


So we get our tickets and I have to question the price. $7, really, for a nosebleed general admission seat? Seems a little steep considering all the empty seats, but what do I know?

On the plus side, I see that the Squirrels are playing the Bowie Baysox, significant only because my best friend from college was living in Bowie when I first met her and I haven't thought about Bowie in decades.

But the best is yet to come. Inside, I find an almost fair-like world.

A high school band is at the top of the steps, playing their hearts out. Giant costumed mascots are looming over small children. It's "Wet Wednesday," so beers are $2 until 7:00 and people are buying them in bulk. It's also nurses' night, but the only person I see in scrubs is the guy with the microphone on the field shouting about $2 beers.

Beer vendors are hawking their wares from a strap-on case as you walk by them.

Down the concourse, I find carnival game set-ups with bored looking guys waiting for someone to play. The "picnic area" has been overtaken by khaki-clad men and women and the table cards read "Genworth Financial," so we keep on walking. The Dipping Dots girl is making cow eyes at her pimply boyfriend.

Where is the great American past time?

We head up to our seats, only to see that it's raining steadily by now. As we stand there looking out at the covered infield, a red-vested usher approaches us with a look of resignation.

"Yep, I think they're gonna call this game tonight," he says like he knows. This is news to us, we tell him. "Yea, well, they prolly won't announce it till 9:00."

9:00?? A game that was supposed to start at 6:35 is in limbo until 9:00? Surely he's wrong.

We find a dry spot on the concrete steps leading upstairs and look out over the Boulevard and eating a really bad hot Italian sausage with mushy peppers and onions on it.

From my vantage point, the rain is imperceptible, but there's a big overhang so it's really just that it's yards away. The baseball lover goes for a walk, tired of step sitting.

A guy with his hands full of nachos passes me to go upstairs, asking, "So, what's your forecast?" Feeling in the know because of what the usher had said, I tell him I think they'll call it.

"Nah," he says immediately dismissing my prognostication. "I think they'll start it up in about half an hour."

Well, that would be good news, so I sit back down, watching the trashy blond with the rhinestone-studded pockets on her jeans flip her hair while her man alternately looks on adoringly and checks his phone.

As the light fades, the concrete steps feel colder and harder, so I get up and walk the concourse, eventually running into the baseball lover. "Wanna go?" I ask, already knowing the answer.

On our way out, a perky guy in an umbrella hat reminds us that we can come back and exchange our tickets for any future game.

As if. I mean, go, team.

Where can a person get a drink around here?

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