I Hope They’re Not Sitting Here
Baseball season is upon us again, and I thought it would be fun to make a list of the people you don’t want to sit around you.
Let’s just start with the obvious, especially if you have small kids like I do. You just know somebody’s going to spill something, fall over someone, or teach your kids some nice new words. Even if none of this happens, they’re likely to constantly yell obnoxious things in the general direction of the playing field. Like the time we were sitting in the outfield watching Ryan Braun (unfortunately for us) make great defensive plays all night. This guy kept yelling “Ryan Braun, you suck!” If he was trying to get in Braun’s head and mess with his game, it was definitely not working, but he kept it up all evening long.
The Know-It-All (Who Doesn’t)
My sister and I were once sat in front of a dad was and his young son (I’m guessing in the 7-9 range). Early on in the game, the dad was teaching the boy how to keep a score book. It was sweet, but he would get a little frustrated with the boy for not immediately grasping every concept. I honestly have no idea if he was correct in his scorekeeping, but nearly everything else he told his son during the game was wrong. Most people know that baseball is the king of obscure stats, like strikeouts by a left-handed, green-eyed pitcher with a one-syllable first name during the first full moon of June when the temperature is above 87°. There are so many qualifiers that it gets ridiculous. They usually show a player’s stats on the giant screens when he’s up to bat. So this guy starts commenting on the stats to his son. “Only 5 at bats this season? He must have spent some time on the disabled list.” Uh, buddy, it says right there beside those stats that they are for his last two ballgames. But he did inspire one of our favorite games. The Cubs had a player that night, Starlin Castro, making his major league debut. It said so in biiiiig letters right on the scoreboard. But this guy starts going on to his son about how this is Juan Castro, who used to play for the Reds, and wonder how he feels being back in the ballpark playing against his old team. So now, anytime we see a player with the same last name as a former Red, for instance Geovany Soto of the Cubs, we say things like “Look, Mario Soto (Reds pitcher ’77-’88) is catching for the Cubs. I can’t believe after all this time he can get down in that crouch!” So now we sound like idiots to the people sitting around us!
This guy was also annoying because he failed to get one of our pop-culture mash-up jokes. You can order t-shirts that look like jerseys and pick your own name and number for the back. Well, at some point when Joey Votto was up to bat, we started saying “How you doin’?” like Joey on Friends. So we got shirts like this:
Every two or three innings, this guy leans forward, taps my sister on the shoulder, points at his son and says, “He’s doing fine. He wants to know how you are doing?” Really.
Girls’ Night Out
These girls just came to the ballgame to be out for the evening, not necessarily to watch the game. They also may or may not be included in the ‘Drunks’ category. I once sat in front of several college-age girls who went on and on for at least three innings about their contact prescriptions and who had the strongest prescription and the worst eyes, and seriously, have you ever heard of anyone with eyes that bad?
The Excuse Me’s
These people sit in the middle of the row, but keep getting up, making everyone move. Bathroom breaks, food runs, you name it, they’ll get up for it. The first game I went to this year, I was with a group of five, and we were on the end of the row. There were two guys in the seats next to us, and then the row was empty the rest of the way across. A group of about 5 people walked up the steps, checking the aisle letters as they went, and stopped at our row. Excuse me, excuse me, we all got up and let them pass…then they proceeded to walk all the way to the end of the row. The guys next to us looked over and said, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Now, I have small children, so sometimes we get up frequently for bathroom breaks. But I always try to make sure to get seats on the aisle, and in the upper sections that usually aren’t so crowded. There’s also the method of waiting until several other people in the row have gotten up to go, leaving you with fewer people to bother. I don’t mind getting up every now and then, but it can get a little ridiculous.
‘Nuff said. And, yes, I’ll admit to being the person with the whiny kids every once in a while. Which is why S was banned from the ballpark for a while.
The Woman in the Bathroom Who Throws Used Feminine Products at People
Okay, full disclosure, this one was me. But it was a total accident. I wrapped it up, and lifted the lid of the little bin on the wall and tossed it in. Only I didn’t see until after I let go that inside the bin it was completely open into the next stall. And that stall was occupied. I froze for a split second trying to decide what to do. My first instinct was to hide in the stall until the other woman was gone. But then I realized that if she left the stall first she could just wait there for me. So I quickly decided to finish my business and exit the bathroom as quickly as I could. I spent the next two innings in terror that some woman was going to march up with security, point at me and yell “It was her!” At which point I would be thrown out of the ballpark. Nothing happened, however, and I can only guess that either the woman in the next stall did not notice what happened or saw the gaping hole in the divider and was exceptionally understanding. But on the bright side, now we both have a funny story to tell!
Me and My Sister
Okay, it’s mostly my husband who does not like to sit with us, but he has a very low tolerance for silliness while we quite enjoy it. There’s the aforementioned game where we pretend to confuse the names of the players. We also don’t like to leave until the last out, while my husband is more than happy to skip out early. The worst example of this was when we made him wait through a many-hour rain delay when we were getting beat by about 10 runs (the score at the end of the game? 12-0). To be fair though, we were sitting in a suite, so we were inside with plenty of food.
There are people who do enjoy sitting with us, however. We were at a game once, running through all of our routines, and we got enough questioning looks from the people in front of us that we had to explain why we were confusing the names of the players. At the end of the night they told us we could sit in their section any time. And after the nearly endless rain delay, after having already used most of the bullpen, the Reds trotted out a new pitcher to make his major league debut. We missed the announcement or seeing it on the scoreboard (irony, huh?) and we had no idea who this guy was. I said, “Now pitching for the Reds, the fan of the game!” I heard a chuckle next to us. It wasn’t my husband, but a photographer who had slipped in to take a few photos of the field.
During the rain delay…
There are plenty of people that we’ve had a great time sitting with at the ballpark. Once we were sitting behind a couple from Chicago, who came to Cincinnati to see the Reds play…the Marlins. My son had brought a friend, and behind us were several college-age guys who could have easily fallen into the ‘Drunk’ category, but we heard a couple of them nudging each other to watch their language because of my son and his friend. The Chicago couple had turned around and talked to the boys a little, and when the guys behind us heard where they were from, they kept nudging the boys and saying things like, “Hey, ask him how long it’s been since the Cubs were in the World Series.” And then, “Hey, ask him how long it’s been since the Cubs were even in the playoffs.” “Hey, ask him how long it’s been since the Cubs had a winning record.” And so on. But everyone had a good sense of humor that night, and the boys enjoyed being the center of attention.
The night of the rain delay was also the night I “met” Marty Brennaman, Reds radio announcer. We were being escorted down the narrow hallway to our suite, single file. My sister was behind me, and I felt a not-so-gentle poke in my back. I know my sister well enough to figure that I should probably ignore the poke, but I couldn’t help myself. I turned to the side and was face-to-face with Marty. I’m sure I looked a little startled, and all I could say was “Hi.” Marty said “Hi.” and turned into the broadcast booth as my sister and I dissolved into barely contained hysterical laughter. We remained somewhat composed until we entered our suite and completely lost it, falling to the floor with tears in our eyes. My husband and our escort, who were walking in front of us, had no idea what we were laughing at, and it was quite some time before we could explain.
Some of the vendors who work the ballpark are also quite entertaining. There’s one guy who advertises lobster tail and lasagna, which he doesn’t have, and then there’s sno-cone guy. We’ve seen him selling other things, but the first time we saw him, he had sno-cones, so he’ll always be sno-cone guy to us. He’s this tall skinny white kid, maybe about 19, with a pale face and long brown dreadlocks. We were sitting in the outfield a few rows back from the wall, so he came down from behind us. He walked down to the wall, turned around and just looked from side to side. Never. Said. A word. After a few moments, he quietly walked back up the steps. Completely silent. Every time we’ve seen him since, he’s never made a peep. We wondered, has he taken some vow of silence or is he just painfully shy? We may never know, but each time we go to the ballpark, we look for sno-cone guy.
We also look for people wearing Ryan Freel jerseys. I don’t know why, exactly, except that he was one of our favorite players and at some point we noticed that we usually see at least one Freel each time we go, even though he wasn’t a superstar and was traded several years ago. He was one of those guys who didn’t have the most talent, but he gave the game all he had. You had no doubt when he was in the game that he was going to leave it all on the field. It’s almost a game to see which one of us can spot it first. If we’re separated, we try to get a pic, which can be difficult to do undetected.
We’re not the only ones with customized shirts either. A couple of the better ones I’ve seen were the two Chicago fans wearing jerseys with the names ‘Who’ and ‘What’ and the numbers 1 and 2, respectively. Another good one was the guy who had ‘Fan Since’ in the place where the name goes and a year as his number.
Well I have rambled on, but if you’ve made it all the way to the end, congratulations! Now you know what my husband felt like during that rain delay!