Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Field of streams

The many great shots from my snazzy new Canon PowerSnot ZPL-X9000-blue 28! blue 28!-hut-hut-hut! camera will have to wait for my computer to get a post-millennial software upgrade, but for the few people in the Western hemisphere whom I haven't told, I went to all three World Series games in Philadelphia, via the broheim's score of a lifetime. Well, two and a half games, for the moment; anyone even remotely interested in baseball knows about the mind-bogglingly horseshit decision by commisioner Bud Selig to play through the worst conditions anyone can remember seeing or even hearing about at a baseball game. No doubt Bud was in thrall to his TV overlords, who surely would've preferred Red Sox–Dodgers (understood) but given Phillies-Rays are likely at least praying for more than five games, and for a few to be completed on the day they begin. So when Bud allowed game 5 to slosh on even as Jimmy Rollins, possibly the top defensive shortstop in baseball, couldn't field first a pop-up and then a grounder, and the Rays splashed in the tying runs, the crowd turned on him. It was ugly, as anything involving Bud Selig's face would necessarily be.

Not only is he a member of the jowls-of-the-month club, he's also the commissioner

From our nearby perch we had a clear view of it all: For most of the game, the two sections in front of the commish's box chanted, "Let Pete in!" (On this I have to say I agree with Bud; Rose bet on baseball while he managed a baseball team. But also: who really gives a shit?) As the rain kept on soaking the field and players, and the temperature dropped, and the winds howled—and well known to Bud, Channel 6 Action News and Jeffrey Doppler was that it would not let up for 24-36 hours (despite Bud's claim otherwise)—the Rays doinked their way out of an early 2-0 deficit, through no real fault of Cole Hamels. By this point, the crowd had turned to, and on, Selig, screaming at him to halt the game. Bud gazed back, expressionless, turning half of Section 231 to stone in the process. Someone in our immediate vicinity paired his yelling with a finger-across-throat sign, which was probably meant as "stop the game already!" but which may have been interpreted as, "We'd kill you if we could." An unfortunate misunderstanding under heated (though freezing) conditions.

The game will be picked up tonight in the bottom of the 6th; if Bud didn't have his head up his ass—sudden thought: looking at that head, might it really be his ass?—it'd be top of the 5th (or earlier) and the Phils would be up 2-0 or 2-1. (Special notice to Rays' starter Scott Kazmir, who looked rattled after giving up a pair in the 1st—pre-soaking—and then proved his mettle by settling down till things had to be stopped. After all, it was just as cold for his team; ours just got stuck with playing the field when said field became totally unplayable.)

But I'm a Philadelphia sports fan, so I knew that however it was gonna go, it probably wouldn't be pretty. With the best seat I've had for anything since camping out for U2 in ’83 (got front row), I have no choice: I am happily returning to arschkalte (but by then, most likely dry) Philly for the rest of game 5. To say it's worth the effort is the understatement of my life to date. If the Phils win it all tonight, I promise all of America a free Taco Bell taco, during a three-hour window TBA. You're welcome.

A few things I learned while in the heated portion of Citizens Bank Park:
—Henry Aaron oozes dignity in person, even from behind, even if it might not have been him
—the Inquirer's John "Gonzo" Gonzalez looks like that nephew you really like and dresses like a regular schlub on gamedays
George Will eats his ballpark hot dogs like most everyone else: mit kraut, with his hands and like a hungry mofo
—free pizza is still always good