The people of St. Louis love their professional baseball team.
How much do they love their professional baseball team? Let me see if I can put it in the context that an outsider can understand: St. Louisans love the Cardinals the way rational people love Batman.
Hard to believe, isn’t it? And Albert Pujols never saved the entire city from death because he stopped the Scarecrow from filling the city’s water supply with fear toxin. But he sure can hit a baseball a long way.
I usually stay out of it. If a city wants to love its baseball team, it makes no difference to me. But several weeks back my son’s school put a flyer in his backpack promoting an “All Stars for Autism” event, where we could sell tickets to an upcoming game and the proceeds would go to the school.
Fine. I did my due diligence and posted a notice on Facebook. Sister2 and her husband decided to come up. Stevie and one of her friends bought a pair of tickets. Yellow and Tim joined up. Even the Mother-in-Law was going.
Then it hit me: I would have to go. I’m telling you, the torments of living with autism are never-ending.
Now, for the past week St. Louis has been like the Amazon Rainforest. It rains every day. Sometimes hard. Sometimes with hail. It’s not the kind of weather you want to sit in while watching baseball.
Friday night a tornado or two ripped through parts of the metro area. I know this because the local media won’t shut up about it. Three days later and they’re still dedicating hours to storm coverage. At what point do you move from legitimate news coverage to exploiting a natural disaster for ratings? The Royal Wedding is in five days, people, I really need you to stop preempting The Today Show.
Pardon my rant.
The plan was to arrive at the stadium at 1:10 for the hot dog/nachos/soda/brownies event before the 3:10 start of the game. We arrived two hours before game time and yet there were long lines outside all the stadium entrances. Really? I’m here early for the food, but most of these people are not.
Turns out people were waiting for the free Red Schoendienst statues that were being given away to the first whatever-number-of-people showed up. My first thought was ‘Who is Red Schoendienst?’ followed by ‘How do you pronounce Schoendienst?’ followed by ‘What am I going to do with three Red Schoendienst statues?’ followed by ‘I wonder how many Red Schoendienst statues it takes to trade in for a Batman statue?’ followed by ‘I wonder how many of these are going to show up on eBay when I get home?’ (answer to the last question: 25).
We walked into the stadium and up the escalator to where the food was. Someone was giving away free bags at the door which was convenient for putting our Red Schoendienst statues in along with several bags of chips and bottles of soda that we walked out with to enjoy during the game. The food was plentiful, the seating was not. Someone from The Son’s school offered chairs to him and the MIL, and in return The Wife gave them a bag with two Red Schoendienst statues inside. Now I only have to figure out what to do with one.
The rest of us sat on the floor and enjoyed the hot dogs, nachos, chips, soda and brownies. We waited for Yellow and Tim but they never showed up. Eventually we made our way to our seats and Yellow/Tim showed up just as things were getting underway. They had made the mistake of taking I-70 and got caught in the storm traffic. Yellow and I share a lack of enthusiasm for baseball so we had a good time discussing life and Tim’s new bluegrass band.
For some reason we were not given seats altogether. Five of us were at one end of Row 13-14 and the other five were at the other end. The family sat in one spot while I sat with the friends in the other. I was kinda worried about The Son. Sitting still for a long time can be a challenge if there’s nothing exciting going on, and, did I mention we were at a baseball game? The family kept him occupied with chocolate Easter eggs, chips and soda. After the fourth inning we went for a walk around the stadium. That’s one big stadium.
By the seventh inning the Cardinals were ahead by one run and the rain, which had been on-again, off-again all day was finally on-again. Fortunately our seats were under an overhang so the rain didn’t touch us. It did stop the game. The tarp crew came out and rolled out the tarp, which was kinda interesting, and Yellow and Tim left. We hung out for a while but finally decided we’d had enough fun for one day. Diehards Stevie and Matt decided to stay to the bitter end. And it was bitter because the Cardinals wound up losing in the end.
Eventually we found the car — it’s a big lot — and stopped at Pi for some tasty pizza. Got home and learned that a friend had lost his roof, electricity, shed and tree in the tornado. I offered him a Red Schoendienst statue and it cheered him right up.
I’ll never understand baseball fans.