Countdown to Reunion, Part 2 - Ejections & Dejection
T-minus 10 days and counting...
I used this past long weekend to prepare myself both mentally and physically for my upcoming college reunion, an event which promises to be 4 full days spent hammered beyond all recognition. Yes, of course, the initial plan will be to spend quality (sober) time catching up with friends and acquaintances, but if this weekend is any indication I’ll barely remember my old roommates' names after my second drink. Here’s the thing...spending the past few days trying to prepare for the recapturing of my youth has taught me two important lessons:
1. It’s not nearly as hard to get kicked out of Dodger Stadium as one might think.
2. I'm old. And lame.
Saturday morning I was up bright and early at 9am, ready for a magical day of baseball, beer, hot dogs and men in tight pants. Cubs games at Wrigley—-win or lose—-are one of life’s greatest treasures. And Cubs games at Dodger Stadium are...still fun. A little while before gametime our group of 15-20 people met up at the park outside the stadium and eased our way into a long day of drinking with a nice batch of mimosas. I’ve found that orange juice cuts through champagne so well you can quickly drink 3, 4...12 mimosas without even realizing it.
After an hour or so of pre-gaming we headed to the game and found our seats—-just outside the left foul pole, a couple rows from the field. Not only were we in prime homerun territory but we were also within earshot of the outfielders in left. We took advantage of this close proximity immediately. One of the guys in our group was a Dodgers fan and he and I quickly established a love-hate relationship by way of snarky attacks on the players. He clowned Soriano for his large paycheck and limited run production while I commended Soriano on his well-developed rear section. As you can see, I was right about that ass.
Later, I offered Luis Gonzalez words of encouragement when the Cubs hit back-to-back base hits right in front of him in left. I commended him for his fine attempts to run at such an advanced age and reminded him that those balls were at least 10-12 feet away from him—-a distance much too great for an 82-year-old in his condition to cover in any reasonable amount of time. All the while, I continued to clap and thank Soriano whenever he bent over. Things were going swimmingly.
There was most surprisingly little animosity between Cubs and Dodgers supporters in the stands. Everyone was enjoying the game as playful jabs were sent back and forth between fans. I kindly informed a Derrek Lee heckler that Lee is leading the league in batting percentage, at which point his friend kindly informed him that I was right, and he should close his mouth. See? Enemies working together in the pursuit of truth! I left for a half inning or so to get beer and returned to the cheers of a section of young, male Dodgers fans who said they’d gotten bored while I was gone and wanted to talk some more shit. I happily obliged. Our group even made friends with the cutest little Dodger fan ever, Frank, and his parents.
Sometime around the 6th inning the Dodger fan in our group was ejected from the game to everyone’s surprise but his own. You see he had announced, as the game commenced, that he would most likely be tossed. I still have no idea why he got the boot, as he hadn’t said much since the Cubs hit back-to-back bombs and took the lead. This incident was, in hindsight, a clear sign of what was to come. Midway through the 8th the game leveled off...the Cubs were up and it seemed they’d hang on for the win. With nothing much to cheer or boo about, I’d been quietly enjoying my beer and the gentle rays of the sun for about an inning and a half. Suddenly, early in the 9th, four or five security guards came down to our seats and said that I needed to come with them. I'll admit that I wasn’t sober at the time, but I was speaking, acting and walking perfectly fine. After a little back-and-forth like so...
–- “Why do I have to come with you?”
-- “We’ll talk up there.”
–- “I haven’t done anything, I’m not leaving my seat.”
-- “Just come with us, we’ll talk about it away from everyone else.”
-- “There's no reason for me to leave unless you tell me what I’ve done.”
...my friends said I should just go with them, talk to them, and come back. I told everyone to stay in their seats and let me handle it. Unfortunately, they didn’t want to send me off to the wolves alone, so 4 or 5 us trudged up to the concessions area with the fake baseball police. One of my friends wasn't as "cooperative" as they'd hoped, so he ended up handcuffed and taken to Dodger Stadium's secret, underground lair.
There, they decided he was officially kicked out of the park for the rest of the year, although I’m not sure how they'll do that. Will it be like the Wild West? Will they post his picture at the Dodger Stadium saloon entrances and challenge him to a duel if he dares enter? I imagine from now on he'll have to show up wearing a false mustache and sunglasses, using an alias like Lloyd Littlebutter to purchase tickets. How very exciting.
I managed to keep the baseball police talking and continued to stand my ground until the game ended. They made excellent points such as “you can’t say cuss words” and “you aren’t allowed to say penis.” I countered with logic, pointing out that the worst word I used was “ass” and that there were people all over our section saying the exact same things, if not worse. In fact, I distinctly remember several fans commenting on my..."bags." I can only assume they were talking about the bases. I was later told by a friend that I actually had said "penis." I believe I was commenting on another fan's need to overcompensate...who can recall such minor details? Regardless, last I checked “penis” is a scientific term that one should be able to use freely when discussing male genitalia. I just wish those baseball police were more mature. In the end, I left of my own free will, without the security guards.
Several Dodgers fans we didn’t know offered my friends their business cards and said they’d be willing to vouch that I hadn’t done anything to warrant being kicked out. I never got a warning, never got any complaints, never even had any good old-fashioned yelling matches with any other fans. (This game paled in comparison to the great "frosted tips" throwdown with the White Sox fans at Wrigley). Getting tossed was truly shocking and, pardon the pun, came completely out of left field. A few people mentioned this old hag whose chin was hanging on by a thread...
...as the possible snitch. She was at the game all by herself and appears just old and lonely enough to want to ruin the good times of the more youthful, attractive game-goers surrounding her. On the other hand, she may not have been the snitch, in which case it’s cute that she loves baseball so much she goes to the games all by herself. Also, sorry if that’s your grandma. In the end, not much happened in the 9th so I didn't miss much. I still think Dodger Stadium might wanna work on their security policy. If it's as easy as one complaint, next time I'm there I'm gonna tell the baseball police that the LA fan next to me told a small child to do something naughty to his Dodger Dog.
And as for me being old and lame...I spent the rest of Saturday night at the bars in Hermosa double fisting a rum & diet and...a tall glass of water. Yes, ONE half day of boozing and I was drinking like a high schooler for the rest of the night. If the bar had served wine coolers I probably would have ordered 'em. Then, I followed up that solid performance by not even going out after work Sunday night. Yes, yes, I know...my bender preparation isn't looking good at this point. I could tell you that my Memorial Day involved funneling, heavy drug use and doing blow off stripper's asses, but I'd be lying. I slowly sipped on some weak vodka and punch drinks, played a little cornhole on the beach and essentially proved to myself and all others that I am, officially, old. Something tells me I'm gonna end up in the back of the bus on the reunion wine tour shoving bagels into my mouth and trying to recover from my first half-glass of pinot all day. Ah, youth. So fleeting.