Take Me Out to the Ball Game, But Take Me Out of the Park

Guido and I actually went to the Marlins/Phillies game last night.  And we live in Broward!

I know how to get to the ballpark, but I noticed that there are exactly zero signs on I-95 advising drivers which exit they should use.  I spotted signs as soon as I headed west on 836, several seconds before the stadium itself springs into view.  Very helpful.  Not.

Frozen_Baseball_by_mark_omlorStadium personnel are very friendly and helpful until I pull out a cigar.  “There’s no smoking allowed in the stadium!” one screeches at me, horrified, like I’m injecting eyeballs with HIV serum.

I know there’s no smoking.  Can’t I just chew on it?

“No tobacco allowed!  It’s poisonous and doesn’t match the Liberace-inspired center field statue!  And it sets a bad example —  What if THE CHILDREN see you?”

You mean parents allow kids to watch these horrid Marlins?  That sounds irresponsible.

Last time we went , Phillies fans outnumbered Marlins fans by about a 70/30 ratio, and this time seems about the same, except for the ratio part.  Of the roughly 100 fans I count in the stadium, 70 of ‘em wear Phillies gear.

Guido and I grab two $10 cans of beer  (note to the late Dennis Hopper: a 12-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon costs less than $9  at Total Wine) and take our seats in Row 11 behind first base.  Great view, but apparently directly under a ventilator blowing tornado-strength Arctic air.  Playing baseball indoors is as sensible as mowing the lawn on roller skates.  I guess you can do it, but why?

The game pits two minor league pitchers against one another.  The Marlins’ Jose Fernandez is 19; until this season he hadn’t played above Single-A.  The Phillies’ Tyler Cloyd — how’s that for a throwback moniker? —  is 20, pressed into service thanks to injuries to the starting rotation.  Although Cloyd has some major league experience from last season, it is not in evidence in the first inning, when Juan Pierre lays down a bunt and Cloyd, clumsily covering first base, barrels into Ryan Howard (not a good career move), tying them both up and letting JP slide face first safely to the bag.

In some regards, the Phillies are a bigger disappointment this season than the lowly Marlins, who, thanks to the rape, pillaging, and gross malpractice of their ownership group, were not never anticipated to achieve a damn thing except a small profit.  The Phillies have failed to live up to their expectations: the starting pitching has disappointed, the bullpen is terrible, and they’re not scoring runs.  What’s nice about tonight’s game is, against a collection of minor leaguers still learning the game and trying to gel, the Phillies — and any MLB team — can look like the ’27 Yankees.

E.g. — Delmon Young has had a slow start this year,  Tonight he’s Lou Gehrig,  blasting one into the right field stands and crushing a double to left-center field.  (Despite this performance, he is removed from the line-up in the late innings and returned to his reinforced cage for safety reasons.  Delmon has what they call “issues.”)

The stadium is so empty, the only noise comes from stadium personnel — the keyboard player, the electronic scoreboards urging fans to clap their paws and other infantile behavior.  I’m actually afraid to fart, and not because I left my Depends at home.  Scoreboard data with the innings, score, line-ups, etc., constantly gets replaced with camera shots of fans, giddy and thrilled to be on camera.  (They somehow manage to avoid fans wearing other teams’ colors and gear, so we’re spared this indignity.)   Not only does this make concentrating on the game difficult, it raises the obvious question — Why do people go to a live sports event and spend time watching teevee?   One of the shticks is to pan around the stadium for senior citizens and encourage them to kiss, shown on the screen in a giant Valentine heart.  Senior porn.   Only in Miami.

A foul ball ends up in the vacant upper deck.  Nobody goes after it — maybe there’s no access up there.  It won’t be retrieved until football season.  Oh, wait — they don’t play football here.  Come October, this $500 Million albatross around Miami-Dade’s neck goes from nearly empty to completely unused.  Such a deal.

Guido and I are just freezing our asses off by the 7th inning.  A tiny cup of hot coffee ($5 — the green Starbux mermaid blanches in horror ) doesn’t help much.  A Marlins reliever,  one of several ineffective duds hauled in from god knows where on a bargain basement contract — appears on the scoreboard as “64 Below,” his number and name, but it feels like the temperature.  The Phillies are ahead 7-2, so we leave in the 8th.

There’s a whole lot wrong with baseball in this town, sports fans.  It’s a great game with a long tradition, capable of entertaining and educating  its fans, both experienced and novice.  But it’s hard to appreciate any of this under these circumstances, and the tragedy is that there’s really no end in sight.  What a waste.

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11 Responses to Take Me Out to the Ball Game, But Take Me Out of the Park

  1. julesagray says:

    oh we’re having fun with baseball up in this shit hole: Turns out the Ricketts fam (the suckers who own the Cubs) want us Chicagoans to foot the bill for Wrigley Field improvements. AND, if we don’t pony up, then they’re gonna move the team to Rosemont, or better yet, CICERO. I say let ’em go and then bulldoze that vomitorium AKA Wrigley Field and build a lovely park for dudes to have gay sex in.

    • Lu Senz says:

      Having spent many years in that park covering the Cubs, I’d have to say it’s simultaneously a gem and a travesty. As a major league facility — from players’ perspectives — it’s obsolete, and I know that certain top-rated ball players won’t sign with the Cubs for any amount because of the stadium’s conditions. What to do about this is great sports talk fodder, but in fact, they need to do *something.* I’d like them either to leave Wrigley alone. and go elsewhere (nearby, not bumblefucking Cicero), or perform a radical rehab that preserves the fan experience. If that’s possible.

      The Cubs, like many teams, have a long tradition of asshole ownership, and the Ricketts.clan fit right in.

      • julesagray says:

        The scuttlebutt around here is that the Ricketts should put that money on the field and not on structural improvements. Butttt…we all know that ain’t gonna happen.

        I bet Rosemont will welcome them with open arms.

      • Lu Senz says:

        I’m sure he’d rather put money (not his own, of course) into the facility — the revenue from upgraded seating and concessions goes directly to him. That’s what this is all about, of course, not team quality or fax experience or — HA! — the integrity of the sport and game. (God that’s funny.) I take it you’re aware of what happened here in Miami with the Marlins’ stadium fiasco, subsequent fire sale, and the results on the field this season. That’s what bad ownership can do. Ricketts isn’t THAT bad, but it seems many of them approach these issues with the same poisonous perspective. It’s funny how good Steinbrenner looks from this vantage point.

  2. Hose B says:

    Serves you right for going to a baseball game. You want real action, try MMA. Or a bullfight.

  3. Mr Schwinnckle says:

    You know, we were thinking of asking you 2 if you wanted to goto one of the games. To see the Phillies not those stinkin fish (Marlins not Dolphins (they are a mammal you know…) But who cares about either one of them. Phillies, now that’s a team to go see. Did they have Pat’s or Gino’s Cheesesteaks and Pretzels there instead of the Cuban food?

    • Squathole says:

      Best thing I can say about Marlins Park concession food is it’s better than the team. But so is the gruel you got in high school. I ate a pretzel — pure salt and mustard, nothing terribly interesting — peanuts, and popcorn laced with hot sauce. The pizza and nachos looked pretty vile. Even if they had cheesesteaks I wouldn’t eat one prepared more than 100 miles from 9th and Passyunk Avenues. Thank god for beer.

      • Mr Schwinnckle says:

        Damn I could go for a Pat’s, think that’s where you took us as soon as we got off the plane. No, I think we dropped off luggage, you got a Rolling Rock across the street, then we went for Pat’s or Gino’s. The one on the triangle shaped lot. Or better yet lets go get some Mara’s Italian!

  4. Wayne's World says:

    Too bad you weren’t packin’. You could have stood your ground and blown away those tobacco Nazis! God Bless the U.S. of effing A!

    • Living Will says:

      Interesting point, Wayne. I bet on any given night in that park, there are more people carrying guns than cigars.

  5. Borkon says:

    Maybe I saw you on TV, but there were ‘way too many Phillies fans to be sure. Anyway, a trip to Miami is just what the doctor ordered for the Phillies — they have some momentum as they head for Washington tomorrow separated by just one game. The way the season has been going, this is where they blow it entirely — and yet, it could also be the time when they finally get their shit together. See what hope can do? We never had this before the 21st century.

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