Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Tale of Two Games

On Saturday, I joined three girlfriends at Wrigley Field for the Cubs vs. Cardinals game. Twenty-four hours later I was at U.S. Cellular Field with my boyfriend watching the White Sox take on the Red Sox.

They were two totally different experiences for reasons I’m about to list. It's a toss-up which one I adored more.

Game with the Girls: What’s not to love?


The game started at 2:55, but the ladies weren’t mad when I was still on the train at 3:15. They waited patiently by the iconic statue outside Gate D -- a statue Felice identified as “Larry Caray.”

When a photographer from Cubsfan.com approached and asked for a picture, the girls were speechless.
FELICE (finally speaking up for the group): Uh, we’re not really Cubs fans.
PHOTOG: Oh, are you Cardinals’ fans?
FELICE: Um, we’re not really fans.


The upside: Sitting in our primo seats 10 rows back from the first base line – courtesy of McConnell’s dad -- we briefed each other on new love interests, new living situations and other topics. Three-plus hours is a delightfully long amount of time to catch up.

The downside: The lady sitting next to me had to tap me on the shoulder and ask me to lean back. In chatting with my girlfriends, I was blocking her $66 view of the game. Whoops. I apologized.


Being the only one dating an avid baseball fan, my girlfriends looked to me regularly for play explanations, which was an honor. I taught them that Derrick Lee is the one player we have to know to sound respectable. And they were horrified to learn about the ignorant Cubs fans who wore FUKUDOME shirts depicting a cubby bear with slanted eyes and other racist sayings. We smirked in disgust when we passed the T-shirt stands selling the shirts. “Horry Cow” later became our sarcastic catch phrase for the rest of our evening.


The Cubs got their butts kicked, 12 to 3. But me and the girls had a grand ole time sipping back beers, cracking each other up and stuffing our faces with hot dogs.

Game with the Boy: What’s not to love?


The game started at 1:05, and we got off the train at 12:55. “Perfect,” said my Baseball Boyfriend, a season ticket holder who admitted he would have been annoyed if we missed the first pitch. He claimed we could walk the 5 or so blocks and be in our seats in time for the start. I was skeptical, but damned if we weren’t there exactly when he said.

Granted, being there on time required me to skimp on the pre-game primping. I threw on a Brewers cap, slapped on some mascara and ran out the door. In my haste, I apparently smudged a big black line of makeup across my right eye, which Baseball Boyfriend pointed out, then sweetly wiped away by licking his finger and using his shirt to wipe away the smudge. Who said sporting events can’t have tender moments?


Upside: In taking the place of my Baseball Boyfriend’s usual season ticket partner on the third base line, I inherited a great view from which I could ask my most pressing questions.

Me: What’s that black thing that A.J. Pierzynski just threw down before running to first base?
B.B: That’s his shin guard. Sometimes batters follow their swing down and it hits their shins really hard.
Me: (feeling very proud for asking a good question) Interesting.

Downside: It’s hard to always sound like a smart student of baseball.

Me: What’s that white thing behind the pitcher’s mound?
B.B.: I think it’s a hot dog wrapper.


B.B. admits that I make him notice/think about things he would otherwise notice at games. On Sunday, he didn't notice that many people around us had Bobble heads. I wondered where ours were. During a bathroom break, I investigated the situation and learned we missed Sunday's giveaway but could get them mailed to us by calling the Sox corporate office. I am a proactive baseball watcher.


In the end, the Sox beat Boston, 6 to 5, which made my B.B. extremely happy, and in turn made me happy as well. No beers necessary for this organically fun date. But I did stuff my face with a loaded Kosher dog.

All in all, it was two very fun days at the park, for reasons all their own. Maybe I don't need to pick which one I liked better.

For me, it's the combination of both that defines good, old fashioned fun.


kathryn said...

very funny column. i always wondered what the white thing was in the outfield. now i know!

John said...

The white thing directly behind the pitcher at edge of pitcher's mound is the rosin bag, used by pitchers to gain a better grip when throwing the baseball.

And one more thing, when it comes to baseball, there's only team you need to root for, and only one team you need to know. I hope you wore your Cardinal red this past Saturday. You should have stopped by to say hello at the game.

Jim said...

I'm so happy to hear you're still holding true to the Brewers even down here in Chicago. Don't ever become a Cubs fan. Keep up the great writing.

Matt said...

Your B.B was F'n with you, he knew it was the rosin bag. Good to know that he has a sense of humor to mess with you.