Monday, November 2, 2009

I Never Went to (any of the) Yankee Stadium

Back on Lakewood Avenue in Schenectady, NY, one of the neighborhood dads took some of the kids to Yankee Stadium on a yearly basis, but it always seemed to be when my family was traveling during Dad's time off. I have to believe Yankee Stadium is "all that" in its 3rd incarnation, because let's face it, you SHOULD be able to get a real palace for a billion and large change. (Congrats in advance for what I expect will be a championship in the new stadium's first year.)

While only briefly mentioning that I'll stand by my prediction of a six game Series with Jeter or A-Rod as MVP (oh my, out on a limb with those guys!) I had a little flashback about karma last night watching several batters foul pitches off. There are a couple types of fouls: those that are grounded outside the lines, some that squib into the dirt around home, long drives that drift off, pop ups, and then those hissing ones that come when the batter undercuts a fastball. I only made it to one Charlotte Knights baseball game this summer, and karma wound up looking like the lattermost foul.

Our group had just over 100 people in it and minor league ticket prices are very family friendly, so its a terrific event, one I should/will definitely take advantage of more, even if Charlotte is a heckuva long way from ever getting that team relocated from Ft. Mill to downtown.

So it gets to be the top of the seventh, and someone not in our group *finally* makes it to the game, and I should clarify that we're on the first base line about half way up the lower stands. Believe it or not, while there are PLENTY of seats to be had, this particular father makes a couple teenagers move so he, wife, daughter and two others can sit in exactly the seats he paid for. Sure didn't *seem* like it should be a priority if you're not arriving until the seventh, but he gets the seats.

Leaving a couple sodas and whatever with the wife and daughter, he leaves to get more of whatever is needed, and wouldn't you know it, less that five minutes after arriving, a wicked foul gets past the netting that only protects those directly behind the plate and homes in on those seats.

When I said 'hissing', I was two rows behind those people and I heard it coming. The daughter barely got her hand up and head half-ducked in time to avoid taking it square in the face, getting two dislocated fingers (and undoubtedly some heavy fear factor) from the deal. The ball blasts the soda she was holding, richochets hard off Mom's shoulder, continues off the left shoulder of another guy the row in front of me, and while we're all saying "wow! that was a smoking shot!" the ball bumps up against my sneaker. Being the truly good guy I am, I know karma will allow me to talk about how that jerk got his family blown up only if I give up the ball, which I do. "Would you like the ball as a souvenir?" I ask the teary and really shaken up girl, who uh-huhs me even if she probably hated baseball right then.

Now, I've told that story maybe twenty times since, but it never ceases to strike me as an unreal coincidence that the guy put his family there *right before* that missile came in. The only better story I have like that is going to a hockey game with the Junior Chamber of Commerce back in Albany, NY. They were shooting those t-shirts from a hand-cannon, and as I waited in the aisle in case the RiverRats mascot turned it our direction, I flashed on that Miller beer commercial where an old guy closes his eyes and sticks his glove up in hopes of catching a home run. The guy behind him snags the ball and drops it in the mitt, getting a manly chuck in the chest and beer tap from his buddy. Amazingly, that t-shirt smacked into my hand without me moving it an inch, and I immediately gave it to a girl whose birthday was the next day, even though it was actually MY birthday.

Nobody bought me a beer for that, and my baseline philosophy about those two incidents is, if there's no great difference between two choices, there is absolutely no reason to be anything less than gracious-cool about the options. Take those empty seats one row back; let the other guy into traffic when nobody is really going to get anywhere too quick anyway. And, when you get a clear cut vision about something like what happened with that hockey game, follow through on that feeling. At some point maybe karma comes back with thoughts about five or six particular numbers, but you will *always* have a story that makes you feel good when you tell it.

Glenn S.

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