I went to the White Sox game last night. Frank Thomas, probably the best player in White Sox history was coming back into town as a member of the Oakland A’s. Frank was pretty grumpy when he was here, but he was a great player. Would he get booed? Cheered?Before the game, Frank spent a long time signing autographs and chatting with fans around the batting cage. When he came up to bat, he got a rounding ovation. It was a great moment. He then promptly smacked a home run. So did the next guy. And the guy after that smoked one off the wall. The White Sox manager came out to talk to the pitcher, and promptly gets thrown out for arguing balls and strikes.
As things settled down, the home plate ump calls time. There is a squirrel running around left field. The game was delayed for about 5 minutes while the ground crew chased him around. The good guys came back to win in dramatic fashion. Overall, it was a great time, and a reminder of how there are some people who ‘get’ what sports is about. Why they matter, what the emotional investment means.
In the middle of the game, I was talking to my friend about whether or not I should bring Big Brother to a game. He wouldn’t really be interested in the game of course, but he would have a great time overall. There are a ton of great things to do at US Cellular (besides watching the World Series champs in action). Right after we started that discussion, there was a commotion behind us. A White Sox fan yelled “CUBS SUCK” at a guy wearing a Cubs jersey. Now why you would be at Sox park wearing a Cubs jersey, I’m not sure. And if you were going to wear it, you’d think you’d be tough enough to withstand a few barbs thrown your way.
This Cub fan was not, he threw his beer at the other guy, and a fight ensued. There were kids all around. So, no game this year for Big Brother. Besides the fact that the north siders team is awful, in a complete downward spiral, there is the fact that the White Sox just won the series. Who the F cares what the Cubs do? They should have been throwing sympathy cards at the Cubs fans. However, it was half-price night, and there were a lot of younger guys getting wasted at the park. This included two guys who rotated going in and out for 2 beers at a time every half inning. They were so blitzed by the 6th, that they could barely stand. As the White Sox finished their dramatic comeback, they sat dazed and stared blankly ahead. It was more than a little sad.
When I got home, DearWife told me about one of our neighbor kid’s soccer games. The kid is 5, and is playing organized sports for the first time. Her dad is a good enough guy that he coaches 20 some 5 year olds on her team. In the middle of the game, he hears the opposing coach yelling at one of the opposing players who has just scored a goal: “STOP CELEBRATING. SAVE YOUR ENERGY.”Throughout the game, he’s yelling. He’s berating. He’s moaning. He’s whining. Our neighbor is watching the teams on the second field, when there is a foul on the first. Opposing coach’s wife, who is watching the same game as my neighbor asks him what happened. “I didn’t see.” “WHY WON’T YOU TELL ME WHAT HAPPENED?”
It went on like this for the rest of the games. Afteward, neighbor is walking back to the game, and the opposing coach’s wife thinks she hears him call her a bitch. Regardless of how accurate that might be, he did not say that. They pack the kids up in the car, and see the opposing couple walking in the parking lot. The wife grabs her husband’s hand to get his attention. She whispers in his ear. He picks up his pace and goes straight to neighbor’s car. “I’m gonna kick your ass.” The wife walks around to the other side of the car, where neighbor’s wife is sitting. Their two kids are in the back seat. The window is open, and the opposing coach is seething and menacing, eager to take his frustrations out on neighbor.
Suddenly, the opposing wife realizes that she knows neighbor’s wife. “Hey, how ARE you. Roger (not sure what this moron’s name is), I know these people.” As if the fact that the kids are in daisies or brownies or whatever completely mitigates the imaginary horror that drove them to the brink of a physical confrontation. “I don’t care. I’m still gonna kick his ass.”“Our kids are in the back seat.”“I don’t give a fuck about your kids.”Eventually, the husband steamed off, clearly upset that he was not going to be able to beat the crap out of my neighbor. I’m thinking the next Brownie meeting is going to be pretty fun.