Monday, July 26, 2010

Dog Day Afternoon in the Bronx: In Which Rickey Ventures Into the Bowels of Hell

Hey kids, what do you do when your baseball team of favor vehemently shits the bed? You hop a train down to your cross-town rivals’ stadium and root against them like your very sanity depends on it (because in actuality, it does). And that is precisely what Rickey did this past weekend. Like a pilgrim venturing into an unholy land, Rickey made plans with a friend to attend his first Yankees game in their snazzy new stadium.

Hearing that the Kansas City Royals were the opposing team, Rickey quickly procured himself a KC baseball cap and deeply immersed himself in Royals knowledge the night before the game. For a team that we weren’t aware was still officially recognized by MLB up until a few nights ago, the Royals certainly have some interesting things going for them. For example, did you know that Brian Bannister is not only alive and well, but actually occupying a starting pitching role for KC? No really, it’s true! Or that Wilson Betemit’s last name is in fact pronounced “Bay-tah-mee”? Crazy!

But probably the most striking thing about the Royals is how astonishingly bad a baseball team they are. Their heyday seems to have been in the 1980's when they were led by George Brett, a terrifying ogre of a man occupying third base who appears to have achieved Paul Bunyan like status amongst the Kansas City fan base. Things have deteriorated greatly for the Royals since then. In 2007 their team motto was “True. Blue. Tradition.” which inspired them to a 69-93 record. 2008 saw marked improvement as they changed their slogan to “New. Blue. Tradition.” and surged forward to a 75-87 record, marking the first time in five years they Royals didn’t finish last in their division. And then they finished dead last again in 2009. The 2010 season looks to be a turbulent one as KC has replaced their manager with baseball prodigy Ned Yost, whose previous credentials include the roles of obscure backup catcher on assorted 1980’s teams and part time taxidermist in Mississippi. Needless to say, much lamentation is transpiring in the Royals blogosphere.

And it was into this pit of despair that Rickey happily stepped as he headed off to the Bronx!
Yankee Stadium’s exterior façade is predictably grandiose. Walking in, one isn’t sure whether to expect to witness a baseball game or Yogi Berra locked in gladiatorial combat with a tiger.

And look, they even have a flutist to march you in! Apparently he’s there each and every game. Ladies, and gentlemen, the pied piper of the Bronx!
One of the more amusing sights was the fan tribute to recently deceased Yankee public address announcer Bob Sheppard, the so called “Voice of the Yankees” (the Mouth of Sauron, if you will). Here's his memorial!What a delightfully shitty memorial! When Rickey croaks, he totally wants to be commemorated like this: some soiled clothes strewn about, a bunch of dime store candles, and a few half empty bottles of beer. All that's missing from this picture is a forlorn three legged dog wandering around in the background. Shit, we think there may even be a few half eaten chicken wings in there. A true testament to the proud Yankees tradition!

After entering the stadium and enjoying two delicious Philly cheesesteaks grilled to perfection courtesy of Carl’s, Rickey and his buddy found their seats, and took in the view. It is begrudgingly impressive. The national anthem was played, and an image of the U.S. flag appeared on the Yanks’ jumbo screen with, we kid you not, the text “The Star Spangled Banner, as written by Francis Scott Key” above it. Well who the fuck else would’ve written it? Is there some Jethro Tull version of the song that we’re all totally unaware of? Mind numbing redundancy aside, the game finally commenced.

And then the effects of the midday heat sunk in. First off, you need to understand that it was 97 degrees and unbearably humid that day and that Rickey’s seats were in DIRECT sunlight. It might not seem hot in these pictures, but trust us, it was bad.

Enduring the Yankees’ unbearably loud PA system is bad enough, but when you’ve to put up with it in addition to Ra the ever living sun-god shining his magnifying glass of unrelenting vengeance upon you, things get a bit dicey. 75 SPF sun screen might as well have been Crisco. Unscrupulous vendors sold pocket fans for $20 a pop. Sweat poured from parts of people’s bodies in a manner previously deemed impossible by most medical professionals. Ice suddenly became currency. People were slumped against the stadium rotunda walls like the New Orleans Superdome circa August, 2005. And that’s precisely why, sometime during the third inning, Rickey thought it would be a good idea to power through his nagging case of heat exhaustion with a few beers. Smart, right?

Hell, Rickey was in hell. You probably can’t make it out in this image, but Rickey’s arm is like a freaking slip and slide. That grey damp mass to the left--that’s Rickey’s buddy’s shirt soaked in back sweat. Good news ladies: he's single!

The good news was that Rickey was not alone in his Royals pride. On the train ride down to the stadium, Rickey had proudly worn his KC hat and had been asked “are you really a Royals fan?” by more than one onlooker. Why yes friend, Rickey’s been a lifelong Royals fan ever since he discovered they still existed last night! But at the game, Rickey found other Royals fans just like him! People to engage with in highly informed commentary such as “this team sure is scrappy!” and “now that’s ROYALS BASEBALL!” Bottom line, this was a highly enjoyable game for a Yankee hater. The Yanks were undone by poor pitching and the Royals played small ball and capitalized. Here’s the final score Rickey savored while exiting the stadium: For Rickey, there is absolutely nothing more enjoyable than 50,000 disappointed Yanks fans walking dejectedly toward the parking lot. Look at the sad sea of tormented humanity on display in photo, it's like a Hieronymus Bosch painting! Shuffle home fools, YOUR TEARS SUSTAIN RICKEY. We have little else other than that to offer in the way of a recap. We do, however, have a video that Rickey shot of Alex Rodriguez at the plate. When a professional baseball player who commissions a portrait of himself depicted as a centaur is only one homer shy of his 600th career home run, Rickey figures it’s worth recording. And so we did. Behold, stunning video footage of the esteemed Alex Rodriguez NOT hitting his 600th home run!
The dude squawking "sitdownsitdownsitdownsitdown" is Rickey’s buddy. Funny how Yanks fans suddenly transform into Emily Post when they're at a ball game. The guy who jeers “NOT QUITE!” when Rodriguez blandly pops out? We will give you three guesses who that was… Eat a dick, A-ROD. Eat a big bag of dicks.

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Statler said...

“O.K., guys, this is how Rickey stole bases. Rickey would get on first base, take a lead and go. And if Rickey got thrown out at second, he’d get on base the next time and steal second, and third.”

That’s a little like Pablo Picasso teaching how to paint by saying, “I would take a bunch of different colored paints and put them on the canvas in just the right way.”


As the designated Yankees fan reader, this is about all the common ground I can muster after this post.

Bob "Melon" Melonosky said...

Not since Dante Aligheri, has this passage been so vividly recounted. Who knew Virgil was such a sweaty bastard?

Smitty said...

Ice as currency? Rickey must have been in some sort of Mad Max sequel, what with the searing heat and lack of sustenance. But then again, anything involving the Yankees is certainly post-apocalyptic. And I'm not even a baseball fan.

Adam said...

I feel like this is the sequel to CAST AWAY in which Tom Hanks is stuck in a mass of too many people, hunting fish with a makeshift spear fashioned from numerous drinking straws purloined from various eateries located throughout the stadium.

And Choo-Choo (I'm assuming that's him next to Rickey) is playing the part of the volleyball.

Hilarious post.