What Happened to Spandex?

Ohio summer for me must include one chance to swim in a lake or at the least a pool, one outdoor concert, and one baseball game. Having accomplished the first two, I looked at the Indians schedule and ticket prices and decided that I might have to watch a little league game to complete the list. How can a family of four afford to go to a major league ball game? The minimum you pay is $20. And who gets out with the minimum? You have to pay for parking unless you walk in from Chagrin.

Then my dear, charming, wonderful, handsome, kind, and generous nephew Richard Hite came to my rescue.  His company, Seibert Keck Insurance, owns some season tickets. He let me pick my date.

We persuaded Dan and Victoria to give up their seats BEHIND HOME PLATE, and sit with us three row ups and a little north of first plate. They are dear friends.

This is where I must confess that I know NOTHING about baseball. I go for two reasons: to look at the cute butts and pick my favorite, and to eat hot dogs and other indulgences.

Let the game begin!

When Rich’s assistant asked me which team I wanted to see I picked the Angels figuring that angels probably had cute posteriors. Truth is, I cheer for whoever is at bat. That is if I’m watching.

There are so many distractions at a ball game. There are those HUGE neon signs and the roving cameras show people doing pretty funny things—like singing like an opera star. Then there are the vendors bringing beer (at $7 a bottle!!!!) or cotton candy or even ice cream. Of course there is Slider and then there was a race of hot dogs. There is the Pep Group. I’m not sure what they are called, but they are young men and women who are supposed to get the fans pumped up. They do this by slinging a t-shirts into the stands. This  all is big fun for me.

Slider and Dan

Did I mention that my handsome and smart nephew, Rich Hite, gave us the tickets?

Once the game starts, Dave settles in to watch all the truly intricate, baffling, mysterious, secretive, and male club signals. He has tried to explain it to me, but I prefer to let the whole routine be a scientific experiment. The players touch their cap, point fingers between their crotch, spit tobacco juice, twitch a shoulder, shake and nod, pull their ears and other testosterone voodoo. Then they throw the ball and someone hits it. Those little signals don’t seem to mean a hill of beans but men must have their superstitious rituals.

My eyes, on the other hand, focus on who is out on the field. I must say that baseball has lost something for me. Isn’t it true that uniforms used to be spandex and tight over the rumps? Well, not now. They are more like work out pants and hang from the hips. Given that my first objective of rating butts had lost its appeal, I turned to my next goal: eating.

nice rearview

There is no hot dog as good as the hot dog you get at the ballpark. With a beer, two hot dogs, and a bag of Cracker Jacks in hand (about $20), we got back to the seats and devoured them in about 10 minutes. I know Americans eat in a hurry. I think this is especially true here.

Richard, I love you. Smooch.

The folks behind us came back with hamburgers and French fries. There was a deal on that combo. After a few minutes the guy behind me offered the rest of his fries to his girlfriend and another couple with them. I turned around and gave him my poor puppy dog look and he kindly offered me a fry. It was cold and not nearly as good as what we had. Could it be that I was filling up? Never.

The game dragged on and on and soon it was time for dessert. Dan and Victoria went and got what everyone really wants to try: fried cookie dough and fried Twinkies!! You think it sounds gross, but you know you really want some. The first bite of everything tasted divine. Then it started to look like greasy and cloying pig slop. Somehow, that did not stop us from finishing it all.

Around the 7th inning, we had to compensate for the disastrous game in which the Indians were losing AGAIN. We went for ice cream. Mid way through mine, I was beginning to feel nauseous. I truly had over indulged. But being a mid western clean-your-plate and think-of-the-starving-children-in-Africa type, I did finish mine. I did not want to see another vendor for a long time.

All these trips to the food vendors and over to visit Dan’s seats behind home plate, reminded me, once again, of what it is like to travel in public with him. At least twenty times during the evening, people would look at him kinda weird and say,”Are you Daffy Dan? I used to wash your car, or work at the deli, or know your sister.” There are so many people who remember going to high school with Dan that his class must have been over a 1000 and he must have gone to six high schools. He shakes their hand and thanks them for saying hi. As we walked back to our seats, Dan pointed out all the left over French fries for me to try.

Dan and one of his fans

Actually, the evening went kind of fast. I think I really only watched about 20 minutes of the game! People who are true fans don’t want to sit around me. I’m completely irreverent and don’t pay the proper respect for the tradition of this America’s pastime.  But it takes a village and I have my own traditions. In fact, the Indians could use about 20,000 more fans just like me.

Personally, I think the Indians could use my input to, shall we say, tighten up their uniforms, point out their players’ assets, and smooth over some strategic spots with their female audience. They could use a better marketing plan to fill up those seats. I am willing to offer my help for a reasonable salary.

I had a blast in Cleveland that Wednesday.

Rich, you da best!!


4 responses to “What Happened to Spandex?”

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  1. Dave says:

    Sorry Karen, it’s football with the tight pants. Baseball has always sported a baggier look.

  2. frugal franny says:

    The onlt time I ever attended a game was when I chaperoned 3rd graders at a Milwaukee baseball park in the 70’s and embarrassed my child by asking her teacher, “when’s halftime?”