Tag Archives: St. Louis Cardinals

Baseball: Spawn of Satan

It’s been pretty well established by now that I will do practically anything for my loved ones. I’ll go to the opera, I’ll go to Shakespeare in the Park, I’ll watch movies based on Jane Austen novels, I’ll skip Free Comic Book Day for a wedding, I’ll go on a float trip, I’ll go on a cruise, I’ll get in an airplane.

I’ll do pretty much anything that isn’t an obvious risk to my life, like riding a bobsled or climbing a mountain to look at a lake. I didn’t know floating was dangerous or I would’ve marked that off the list.

Yes, I’ll do anything for family and friends. Even go to a damn St. Louis Cardinals baseball game.

This comes up every couple of years. The Cardinals do some kind of special day and someone gets cheap tickets and there’s usually a free hot dog and soda involved. This year it was SMS Day, and since Sister2 and her husband work there, they got tickets for all the siblings, their spouses, Andrew, and Nephew1’s family.

(Yes, I’m aware SMS is now MSU, but I still call Riverport Amphitheater Riverport Amphitheater and always will, so don’t bother correcting me.)

Friday afternoon 6 family members showed up at my house. We fed them, watched a movie and went to bed. I did not give up my bed for a change because, you know, I can’t move my all-important CPAP machine. At least, that’s the excuse I gave.

The game was to start around 1 p.m. The gang wanted to go down early, but as my luck would have it, there was some charity run going on downtown that morning. You may recall the last time I drove downtown I got stuck in traffic due to a charity run. Dear Charities: Please find somewhere else to run.

19146144_10103031499637564_1619088713922500371_nLaurie mapped out an alternative route and we made it to her parking garage without incident. Everyone was decked out in red — even my poor son was forced to conform. I wore my Hawkeye shirt.

Chuck wanted to see Ballpark Village, which is nothing more than a giant sports bar, but you gotta appease the tourists, so we walked through it on the way to the stadium. They were giving out god-awful ugly Cardinal shirts at the door. They were so ugly I would’ve worn one — if it didn’t have Cardinals crap all over it. We then used our vouchers for a free hot dog and soda and that was lunch. I was surprised to learn the Cardinals let you bring in your own snacks and drinks, so we came loaded down with food. That didn’t stop people from throwing down $5 for frozen lemonade when the man came around.

Made our way to our seats, where we were given free SMS Bears/Cardinals caps. I normally wouldn’t wear such a thing, but it fit nicely on my fat head, and it’s hard to find caps that fit well on my fat head, so I’m keeping it. I still kept my Thule cap on throughout the day.

We were early, so we had plenty of time to sweat it out before game time. Our seats were decent but in the direct sun, which was beating down heartily. I believe the temperature was 205 degrees. It certainly felt like it. I wound up with sunburned knees.

And then, the game began. Ah, Baseball. America’s sport. The same America that gave us President Donald Trump. When God decided to punish man for all his sins he did two things: 1) He kicked us out of the Garden of Eden, and 2) He gave us baseball.

Is there anything more boring and godawful slow as baseball? No, there isn’t. And I should know, I’ve watched Sofia Coppola movies. For those of you lucky enough to have never sat through a professional baseball game, let me paint you a picture:

There are two teams. One team goes into the field while the other goes into the dugout. One by one players leave the dugout to bat. The pitcher throws balls at the batter until the required number of balls or strikes or a hit is achieved. If you hit the ball, you get to run around in a diamond. Whoever makes it around the diamond the most wins.

Sounds exciting, right? And maybe it would be, if that’s what they actually did. But instead, one team goes out into the field and they toss the ball around. The pitcher throws it to the second baseman, he throws it to the first baseman, who throws it to the shortstop, and on and on for about 5 minutes until someone finally comes up to the batter’s box.

The pitcher stares at the batter for a while, throws a ball, waits another 5 minutes, throws a ball. If you’re lucky, they strike them out quickly. But nothing is ever done quickly in baseball. There will usually be 2 strikes and 3 balls and then an ungodly number of foul balls hit before that first out. And God help you if someone gets a hit, because then the pitcher has to decide whether to throw the ball at the batter, or at the guy at the base. This drags things out even longer.

Repeat. 18. Times.

Now, I can understand standing around playing catch when it’s your first time out there. Gotta warm up and all. But after the first inning — STOP SCREWING AROUND. Get On With It. I have places to be. Places with air conditioning. Places with shade. Places with comfortable seating.

19105519_10103031500296244_4945518494026833096_n

Somewhere around the 5th inning I turned to The Wife and I said, “As God as my witness, I’d rather be at Shakespeare in the Park.”

Or “Madame Butterfly.”

Or watching “Poldark.”

Or “Anne of Green Gables.”

Or sitting by the pool all afternoon.

Or having root canal surgery.

I took a few walks to get out of the heat. You know something is bad when I’d rather be exercising.

Eventually it ended. I don’t remember who won or who the other team was. We made it home without incident and that night we ordered pizzas from Stefanina’s. I wanted one of their delicious Buffalo Chicken pizzas, but Sister2 didn’t. Guess who “compromised” and wound up eating barbecue chicken pizza.

That night I got some small revenge for the day’s events by making them all watch “Logan.”

 

All Stars for Autism

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.