Monday, August 27, 2012

The Rules of Baseball

I have been to Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City before, it is a very nice stadium.  When David and were much younger, we drove to Kansas City, watched the Rangers and Royals and drive back to Dallas all in one day/night.  It was brutal.  I am too old and too smart for that kind of nonsense now.

Fortunately, I am not going home until Friday morning and it so happens that the Rangers are in town to play the Royals beginning on Thursday night.  Once again because I only need one ticket, I am able to get a really good seat.

Center of the visitor dugout on the 4th row.  See Craig Gentry there peeking at me from the dugout?  He looks surprised to see me.

Craig isn't the only one who looks at me funny.  I get a lot of odd looks probably due to the fact that I am 1) alone and 2) a woman who is alone.  I think people keep wondering when my companion will appear.  I can imagine them talking - I bet she got stood up, poor thing.  That's what happens to big girls in their 40s. 
While it would be nice if David were here, I am fine at the game alone.  I don't go to the ballgame to shop or eat constantly (though one hot dog is a requirement) or chit-chat with the person I am sitting by.  I come to watch the game.
This cannot always be said for those around me and some people aren't as happy to be here as me.
The little girl in the white shirt across the aisle had a complete meltdown before the game started.  There were a lot of tears followed by some bribes involving ice cream.
There is a guy sitting to my right who isn't happy either.  It is warm and really humid out tonight and there are no empty seats in this row.  This man is BIG, as in spilling over into the next seat big.  He is hot.  He is sweaty.  He is unhappy.  He tells his friends several times that he wants to move.  They stay put.  He scouts seats they can move to.  Finally, in the 3rd inning, they move to empty seats several rows back.  This makes him and me both very happy as I am able to move over one.  The 2 seats to my left should be empty but two guys sit there because someone is in their seats.  One thing I agree with the big guy is too hot and humid to be sardined in with this many people.
As it turns out, this isn't my last encounter that that group of men.  When I go to get my hot dog during the singing of "Take me out to the ballgame", I pass them just in time to be smacked in the head by their overzealous, drunken swaying.
At this game, I really start thinking about the "rules of baseball".  I don't mean the rules of the game but more the rules of attending a live game - according to me. 
For example, there is a woman behind me who spends two innings telling her companions about how she decides what shoes to wear with what outfit each day.  TWO FULL INNINGS.  HER COMPANIONS ARE MEN.  I imagine they desperately want her to SHUT UP. 
The man in front of me screams at the umpire and is very upset over a "blown call" when the umpire calls Ian Kinsler out at second but Ian stubbornly refuses to go back to the dugout.
Ian warming up before the game, he is David's favorite Ranger.  He refused to leave second because he wasn't out after all.  When you steal second and are thrown out doing so it doesn't count if the batter at the plate gets a walk on that pitch.  I finally point out the walk so the man will stop yelling.
Later, that same man gets all in a tizzy when a Royals player hits a ball and it only goes a few inches.  The catcher jumps up and throws him out a first.  The problem?  The man says the ball bounced before the batter hit it.  That doesn't matter.  The ball could roll from the pitchers mound to home plate like a bowling ball and if the batter hits it, he hits it.  The ball is in play.
I realize that some of you reading this might not know these rules either.  That isn't my problem.  My problem is the swearing, yelling, booing and berating of the umpire.  Umpires get it wrong, they are just people after all, but if you don't know the rules of the game yourself, sit down and keep your mouth shut.
So sitting alone at this game, I came up with my "rules".  I reserve the right to add rules in the future:
Have a beer or two but don't get drunk.  I have to get out of the parking lot at the same time as you. 
If you want to talk to the people around you (or heaven forbid, someone on your cell phone), that's fine but don't talk non-stop, don't talk about things no one cares about (shoe lady), don't fight with your girlfriend/boyfriend/sibling/mom/dad/coworker/friend at the game.  And keep your voice down, everyone in your section doesn't need to hear your life story.  Finally, to the lady in the row behind me in San Francisco...there's no crying in baseball!
If you have to get up, be courteous.  Wait until the half inning or a pitching change or something like that.  The same applies when you return.  And try not to spill your food or beer on me when you come back too.  David and I went to a game where a couple stood up in front of everyone in their section to have their photo taken - in the last inning while game is still going on.  You have been here the whole game and NOW is when you are going to block the view?
Taken before the inning started.  The moon was foul that night.  Get it?  Foul?
If you are rooting for the visiting team, be courteous.  Root for your team, that's fine, but don't be obnoxious about it.  Actually, this goes for everyone, home or visitor.  Let's face it, Ian Kinsler, Craig Gentry and the rest of the team don't even know I exist.  It seems a little ridiculous that I would act like and ass and possibly get into a fight over the outcome of a play or game for someone I don't even know and who would probably be embarrassed for me if they knew how I behaved.
These rules could probably be summed up in two statements: pay attention to the game & be thoughtful of others.  Actually, these would be pretty good rules for most anything you do in life.
Hey you, lady in the red...stop texting and pay attention.  We are in foul ball territory and if one comes this way in a hurry, you need to be ready to protect yourself and your kid.  And don't start asking questions about what happened in a minute, you should have been watching.
While we are on the subject, don't leave your kid unattended and hey, kid - TURN AROUND.  If a ball is fouled and hits him in the head, it could be life altering.  A boy my daughter went to high school with died when a ball hit him in the head while he was warming up before a high school game.
This isn't a rule exactly, more of a pet peeve but I want to add it here:  Never, ever boo your own team.  Totally unacceptable.
No booing needed tonight, we win! And...
Bonus Friday Night Fireworks!

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