NOWHERE TO RUN. [6-22-10]

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I was seriously not pleased when the rain started falling in Flushing. I wanted a pitchers’ duel. I wanted Verlander v Niese. I wanted the tension, to sit in my perch behind home plate and watch them paint the corners. I was ready for this. I could see high and low, I could see inside and outside. I was set. I was ready.

And then it started to rain.

Pregame, I was at the ballpark early so I could finally meet the awesome Samara of equally fantastic Tigers blog Roar Of The Tigers. When I arrived, she was out in center field, waiting in line for Mr. Met. I arrived just in time to pry her camera out of her nervous father’s hands and capture the moment – Mr. Met expressing shock and dismay at her All Star Game Brandon Inge jersey. Mr. Met covering his eyes and shaking his head in sorrow. Mr. Met posing with her and giving thumbs down – and when she was done, her father commented, “What a great mascot,” and then the two of them expressed their disappointment in Paws, the Detroit mascot. “How can you manage to screw up a tiger??” I took her on a brief tour of the field level, acquired Korean food, and left her to her Field Box seats as I headed up to the People’s Seats.

For the sake of completeness, and because I got a good shot, I will mention that Kevin James had a movie to promote so he threw out the first pitch:

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When it started to rain, it started in left field first – no, I’m not kidding. We could see the cloud in left field and then we could see people start heading for shelter and I kept saying, “That’s not rain, that’s smoke from the sausage stand, or something,” and then the cloud moved to where we were sitting, and then it started raining for real. I toughed it out until I couldn’t tough it out, and then I resorted to crouching down under an umbrella, and just when I was literally getting up and saying, “Honey, I’m done, see you on the field level” the umpires called for the tarp and we fled to the field level together. We commandeered the Budweiser Designated Driver stand and started playing cards, attracting looks of envy, confusion, and in one case, a patron asking us what he got if he signed up to be a Designated Driver. He looked very confused when we told him we didn’t work there.

This sucks #raindelay

But it was a decent interlude – we are always prepared, or try to be – and when it was time to head back upstairs, I was heading for the escalators when TBF stopped me and pointed at the elevators. The last thing I wanted to do was cram into the elevators with all of the people going from the Delta 360 Club back up to their seats on the Excelsior Level, but I figured we’d wait for one or two and then I’d win the escalator argument.

The elevator arrived, the doors opened, and as I was stepping in, TBF whispered quickly: “Look discreetly to your LEFT.” I adjust my bag on my shoulder and glance over only to see GEORGE THOMAS SEAVER standing against the elevator wall, talking with the elevator operator, who is saying that she recognized him because she usually works over at the Seaver VIP gate.

I am standing next to TOM SEAVER.

No one is saying anything, until TBF looks over and says, “We’re all just pretending we don’t see you there, sir.”
“I was wondering if you all had such good manners or if you didn’t recognize him,” said the elevator operator.
Sure enough, on the next level, I had to step out of the way so I could let TOM SEAVER get out of the elevator, and squeaked “Have a good evening” or something as he passed by.
I stepped back in only to hear a girl say, “Who was that?”
“TOM SEAVER,” we echoed, TBF and I and the gentleman who was with her.
“I don’t know who that is,” she said.
We got off at the Promenade level and only then did we high five each other, hard and loud. I swear I had goosebumps on my arms.
“I TOLD you we needed to take the elevator!” TBF said, smiling.
[I have been close before but not THIS close.]

Omen? I wondered. Portent? Of course I never would have said it out loud and tried not to even THINK it.

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Given that the game was 2-0 when the heavens opened and the other side hadn’t gotten a hit yet, we wanted to be optimistic when we got back to our seats and saw Niese warming up and still in the game. I was a little sad that Verlander was out of the game. I know that as a Mets fan I should have been delighted, but I wanted to see him pitch a little more. On the other hand, I had no idea what we were about to experience once Jay “Can I Buy A Vowel?” Sborz came into the game. One hit batter, two hit batters…and while it was obvious he had just been called up, we didn’t know it was his first major league debut.

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“3rd inning of death, destruction, plagues of locusts/jay sborz,” said poor Sam via text message. [You can also read her take on the game.]
“YAY,” I yelled, as the Mets ran around the bases, driving in run after run. “DRILL CABRERA,” I also yelled.

The Tigers twittersphere was freaking out at the presence of Gerald Laird batting second in the lineup. I believe their nickname for him is “Potato”; if it’s not, it should be.
“Why?” TBF asked. “Does he look like a potato?”
I gestured at the screen.
“I can see that.”
“He also plays his position like a potato, as already demostrated.”
A nod.
“And he moves like a potato on the basepaths.”
(I am now, of course, waiting to hear that “Potato” is a nickname for, say, Miguel Cabrera, who might also be said to look and move like a potato.)

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None of this, of course, compares to the hilarity that ensued once Fu-Te Ni came in from the bullpen. I was well aware of this gentleman’s presence within Major League Baseball prior to tonight’s outing, I assure you. But there’s nothing like an hour of rain delay on a weeknight, in a game where there were two definite hit batters and at least three almost-hit, along with various fielding errors by the visiting team, to put one into a loopy frame of mind. Especially when at one point during the third inning of this game, we were 10-0, only to rapidly give back the ground we gleefully gained by a combination of pitcher abuse and dumb luck.

“WE ARE THE PITCHERS WHO SAY ‘NI’!” I tweeted.
I sat back in my chair and giggled madly.
“Ni!” I said, in TBF’s direction.
“I don’t get it.”
“It’s Python!”
“Oh, yeah. You know that’s not my kind of humor.”
“But you get the reference! Ni!”
There was some eye rolling as he kept being busy with his scorecard.
“NI!” I would yell, instead of boo, every time he threw over.
I tweeted in frustration that no one was getting it. I received multiple sympathetic responses, including one demanding a shrubbery.
“Tonight, the part of the shrubbery is being played by Gerald Laird,” I said.
Someone else offered that they called Ni “The Periodic Table,” which I found to be absolutely outstanding.

We got some more runs, and stopped giving them up. I think I started to feel comfortable again when it was 14-6. Part of me still wished for more runs. Part of me wasn’t going to feel comfortable tonight.

The Arpielle “Kids Cam” spot started, with “Ramrod” by one B. Springsteen as the accompaniment. This was delightful, but I’d like to point out to the person in the control room who clearly has a strong affinity for The River, given by the presence of various other Springsteen songs that get aired from time to time, that this is not a child-appropriate song. However, if it hadn’t been a cam song I probably would have gotten up and danced just to help keep myself awake.

You may think of “Ramrod” as this short little pop ditty with a nice Farfisa riff, but on the Rising tour it morphed into something – other, with Bruce doing the robot, extended organ riffs taking the band out into the audience, and the key line from Steve Van Zandt: “What TIME is it?” (to which the answer is: “Boss time!”) – to the point where, towards the end of it, someone produced a two-CD volume entitled “Ramrod Essentials”. Both CD’s were entirely filled with different versions of “Ramrod”. There was demand for such a thing; I believe that TBF (before he was TBF) was the person responsible for sending me a copy. The other story I can tell you about “Ramrod” is during that same tour, when TBF was at a show and noticed an ASL interpreter getting ready for the evening. Since the interpreters always have the setlist in advance, he strolled over to engage her in a chat. Once she realized he had been to a few shows and was familiar with the repertoire, she asked: “I’ve figured out most of them except this one – ‘Ramrod’. What’s that one about?” TBF’s polite and prompt response was “Sexual metaphor.” She sighed. “I was afraid of that.”

I tell you this not just to spread the gospel of “Ramrod” but to point out why this song had such special significance.

Now, if you think all of this is bad, nothing I did, said or thought at any point during the game tonight is as bad as the morons on the field level who started doing THE ROLL CALL. Take a good look at this photograph:

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Do you recognize anyone in it? If you do, please find them and smack them, hard, upside the head, and find out where their point of confusion is. Did we suddenly turn into the Bronx? Do we suddenly feel a need to bring another team’s moronic traditions into our fine ballpark? Are you that bored at a baseball game? If so, may I suggest a book or magazine? Not only were they doing the roll call, they were doing it without any regard to how one would properly do it, as they were including 1) the pitcher and 2) the catcher. both of whom were 3) VERY BUSY AT THAT PARTICULAR MOMENT. If you are that uninterested in the game, leave. Go home. Start the wave. I would rather have the idiocy that is the wave than start the idiocy x10 that would be the roll call at Citi Field. I don’t care that the players responded, two wrongs don’t make a w(right).

And luckily, luckily, we didn’t need to bring in Frankie and Igarashi got the last three guys out and it was time to go home, where I freely admit I danced barefoot to Motown in the kitchen in celebration.

Boooks!!!!


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