Take Me Out... Please!

How about those Phillies, huh? It seems like the Fightin' Phils have been making things interesting lately, doesn't it? Last week I decided to take a look at these guys to see whether or not they were the real deal before they reveal themselves to be a giant fluke, which is only inevitable with any Philadelphia sports team.

I ended up attending the fireworks game over the July 4 weekend. Best fireworks these eyes ever saw, might I say. However, here's what kept an itch in my brain throughout the whole experience: setting tons of pounds of pyrotechnics (complete with violent explosions and loud bangs) over a parking lot filled with automobiles armed with gallons upon gallons of combustible fuel. How safe is that? Upon exiting the stadium, I half expected to find a scene resembling the Apocalypse waiting in the parking lot.

Speaking of safety at the ball game, one aspect of baseball that has long since perplexed yours truly is the brawl. A pitcher by definition has the responsibility of standing 60 feet from a man with a bat whose goal is to hit a ball right back at him. Yet if the pitcher hits him with the ball, all hell breaks lose and riotous combat ensues. Dude, he's been throwing the ball in your general direction all season, why are you so upset when he finally hits you? They act like they never saw it coming. Don't get me wrong, fights are exciting to watch. Baseball just doesn't strike me as a game of such high intensity and unbearable tension in which a fight can break out at any moment. Instead of a brawl, it would seem more suitable to find players of such a tempered and slow paced game as baseball to engage in a civil discussion of how to better avoid such an undesirable situation in the future.

Before I even got to the game, I noticed something else that confuses me. As we approached the stadium, I noticed this guy with a sign that read, "I Need Tickets." About 10 feet behind him was another guy who was trying to sell the 18 tickets in his hands. What I don't understand is why these two don't get together and solve each other's problems in one shot. It would make things a lot simpler. That's just one of the many changes that would be in effect if I ran the world. The most prominent change would be the invention of forever-puppies, which would subsequently be issued to every man, woman and child on the planet.

However, the true spirit of a day at the ball park is found in kicking back and enjoying the food. The mere thought of a stadium hot dog, cotton candy and a pretzel larger than my head brings a tear of joy to my eye and a hunger ache to my stomach. How can you not love the food service as well? Personally, I don't like to be bothered with having to get out of my seat and walk 15 feet to stand in a line for as many as 3 minutes in order to get a bite to eat. That's far too much of my time and effort to expend, and as we all know time is a precious commodity in a baseball game. I wouldn't want to miss the umpire dusting home plate like he's looking for fingerprints for the millionth time. Somebody watches too much Law & Order: CSI.

To resolve this lazy hunger dilemma, they actually have people walking around bringing food to you like some sort of royal banquet. Except that you have to pay them for this luxury. That, and they'll give you odd looks for demanding "another round of freshly slaughtered meat and hearty brewed ale for the Royal Court." Last game, there was this one old man with a cottony white beard roaming the stadium selling sodas off of a tray on of his belly, which was covered in a t-shirt of that bright Phillies’ red color. How could I possibly resist paying $4.00 for a soda delivered by none other than Father Christmas himself? I’ve been a good boy this year, so I thought I deserved it. Papa Noel seemed to agree with me.

The best part about going to the ball game has to be the fans. And by the best, I mean the worst. The absolute pits. Whether it's some five year old brat waving his plastic glove in your face for 9 innings or a large man who has to push past you as he gets out of his seat and moves to the aisle every seven minutes; the people have to be the least fun part of the game.

Actually, that isn't really true. Most people at the game are great. It's nice to high-five a complete stranger without exchanging a single word or awkward stare. Sharing an experience like that gives me the tiniest of hopes that mankind truly can exist in harmony.

It's the moronic bastards that see fit to tell everyone their bloody thesis on what's wrong with the game that leave me prodding my eyes with a used straw. I had the terrible misfortune of sitting in front of a pair of these jerks who felt a pressing desire to debate this topic through the back of my head for the duration of the game:

“They should let the fans decide how much each player makes.”

“No, no. The players should donate all that money to help clone Babe Ruth. They can really do it now!”

It was like having stupid in stereo.

Another problem I have at the ball game (not to sound like a big whiner, but...) is the public restroom system in place at the stadium. I just find difficulty in trying to urinate while there are thirty guys staring at my back and the sound of a roaring crowd in my ears. Reminds me too much of summer camp.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure the inability to urinate with onlookers is a vestigial behavior held over from humanity's days in the wild. It's a safety mechanism, really. Imagine prehistoric man out in the wilderness and having to tend to nature's calling. He had to make sure there wasn't a jaguar lurking in the brush, ready to pounce on him once he starts doing his business. Because once you start going, there's no stopping, even if you're leg is getting gnawed off by a ravenous beast. So humans, by nature, require a feeling of security before subjecting themselves to such a vulnerable activity and, therefore, I believe a new system is in order.

All in all, I would have to say that my day out at the ball game was well worth it and full of fun. Our national pastime still offers an excellent summer escape and entertainment for all. Though, come to think of it, I cannot quite recall the final score, the winner of the game, or the teams involved. I guess that means that other than the actual baseball part, you can take me out to the ball game anytime.

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