Sunday, June 18, 2006

Notes from a Ballgame

Notes from a Ballgame

Just a few notes from yesterday's Red Sox/Braves game.

The crowd was divided fairly evenly, from where I sat, between the Braves and Sox faithful. A good crowd. A sellout crowd, though Turner Field suffers occasionally from ticket brokers who can't sell all of what they buy. There were still large empty sections in the upper bowl.

I liked the Sox crowd. Papi, Jason Veritek and Kevin Youkilis got the biggest pops. I enjoyed the "Youk!" chant from the crowd.

Lots of Sox fans up where we were. Had a father with three boys sitting to my right. They ranged in age from 4-8, and all three boys could follow what was going on, although the younger boys soon became more intent upon the water-spraying fans their father bought them. At times, I was collateral damage to the spray of the fans, but as hot as it was, I wasn't complaining.

(Had to laugh quietly to myself when the middle boy took his spray bottle and sprayed it on his younger brother's crotch, and announced proudly "you peed your pants!" Guys never get tired of that joke....)

It reminded me very much of some of the better games when the Cubs have come to town...and I found myself thinking a lot of the Playoff game between the Cubs and Braves a couple years back, when the crowd was split pretty evenly...though this crowd was a little more civil toward the end of the game...I think the sun may have sucked the animosity out of a lot of the more ill-tempered members of the crowd....

Steven and I sat in left-center field on the tickets I bought off Ebay a little while back. Good seats, and it even put me where I usually like to sit: in the middle of an aisle. Don't like having to get up and sit back down after every body on the aisle decides to get up.

However, it was right around 93 degrees yesterday, and there were NO VENDORS around when you needed one. In the sixth inning, just after I'd suffered my heat stroke, I caught the eye of one vendor. I just wanted water. No beer. Water. And she was selling Dasani for right around an arm and a leg. At that point, dehydrated and delirious, I'd have thrown in both arms, both legs and my asshole for a bottle of water.

But it was to no avail. By the time I caught the vendor's eye, she'd sold out of what water she carried....

The game itself was fairly enjoyable. Kevin Youkilis' first inning shot landed the next section over from us. Good energy from the Sox.

The Braves suck this year. Keep in mind that I don't harbor any animosity for the Braves. They're as local as it gets around here, and for a long time, the Braves on the radio were the only baseball I got, outside of box scores or the occasional Saturday afternoon national telecast. And at the very least, I've always appreciated the quality baseball they've played. Whether it's the veterans or the young guys they're bringing up from the minors, they all seemed to play that same brand of winning baseball.

But they suck this year. Lots of miscues out in the field, lots of muddy thinking. And one fly ball in the third had Andruw Jones and Matt Diaz both kind of loafing after it...don't know if each thought the other had it, but it led to a couple extra bases than it needed to....

So, that's unfortunate.

Good crowd participation. Gotta credit that to the Sox fans, but not that they carried the thing. I noticed the same thing at the Cub playoff game...the Braves fans, who don't bother when they aren't challenged (and a lot of whom just come to a Braves game to say that they've been at the Braves game), step up when the other fans challenge them. My favorite chant, one that caught up both the Sox and Braves fans was the "Yankees Suck!" chant that began when the Yankees and Nationals score was posted on the scoreboard...

The best part? There were a couple attempts at starting "the wave," but it never came to be. The crowd actually came to "watch the game." Gotta love a crowd that'll deny the alluring call of "the wave."

Also? Very little sunburn. A little on my elbows, the tops of my ears. But my lily-white ass didn't burn in the face of 93 degrees and blisteringly sunny, so I got that going for me....

Going tonight with the brother-in-law and sister. Schilling vs. Smoltz. Might be fun...


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