Most Intersting Things That Weren’t Baseball at Canaries Game
I was on vacation this week and on Monday night I took my daughter to a Canaries game out at the Birdcage. The tickets are great, second row behind the net close to the visitors dugout. The Canaries lost 6-3 to the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks, but the baseball was good. And that wasn't even the best part.
Early in the game one of the Fargo players fouled a ball off of his foot, turned in our direction and yelled "S---!" I couldn't blame him. I cuss when I hurt myself too. But it almost felt like he wanted to cuss loudly at either his dugout or the crowd. Cool.
Later in the game the Canaries scored on a play at the plate that looked like the runner was a dead duck. He wasn't apparently and the umpire called him safe, which I'm sure he truly was. Not seeing the play the way the home plate umpire saw the visiting manager, Doug Simunic, came waddling down the third base line to tell him what he thought of the call. Despite sitting close to where the argument was taking place, I couldn't really make out much of what was said other than a few words and phrases.
"Effing horrible" and "you're horse s---" along with just "horse s---" were among the terms my daughter learned, although she has likely heard them before. It is even more likely that she heard them from me.
Somewhere around the fourth inning the long standing Canaries Baseball tradition of naming a "Beer Batter" from the opposing team and said batter striking out came to fruition, scoring the thirsty of-age crowd a discounted domestic light lager. While a friend sitting nearby watched Jackie, I excitedly hustled to the concession stand where a subdued melee was taking place as people rushed in for their $2.50 beers.
Actually, subdued is an overstatement. No one ran, no one was really in a hurry. The patrons were all just patiently waiting their turn with the vendor. But this casual calm crowd was causing angst for a woman I assume was in some sort of managerial capacity in the concession stand.
"MAKE SURE WE ARE CHECKING ID's FOR EVERYONE! NO ONE GETS A BEER WITHOUT AN EYE-DEEEEEE!" she said loud enough for the center fielder to hear.
"CHECK ID's!" she bellowed a few more times.
I know she was making sure that everyone was doing the job they were supposed to, which is good to be sure. But it made me laugh when the graying 50-something man and his totally gray 70-something father in front of me in line both had their ID's out.
After sitting patiently for five or so innings in our seats, Jackie was getting restless. So we walked down the left field line and stood along the fence for a bit. Then was made our way to the area beyond the left field wall.
Monday June 1 was a nice but breezy evening. It had been sunny and warm during the day, but now the temperature was in the mid-60's but the wind out of the southeast was adding a mild chill. So when I leaned up against the outer wall in left field I got a most toasty surprise. It was warm. Very warm. The type of warm one feels under the covers of a slept in bed during the winter. The sun had heated that dark green cement block wall all day and, combined with the shelter it was providing from the wind, was possibly the most comfortable place in the whole stadium.
Of course by July that wall may be the last thing you want to touch.
The Kid in the Gap
After warming up along the outer wall, Jackie and I were goofing around along the inner fence. I looked down in to the gap between the outfield wall and the landscape blocks that make up the retaining wall that held back the soil under the concrete slab I was standing on. I was disgusted by how sloppy and lazy previous patrons had been. Food and beverage containers littered the bottom and they were relatively new. Not weathered as if they were there since last season, they all looked like they had been dropped there in the last week.
A few minutes Jackie and I were standing on the wooden deck, just to the left of where this gap is. Two boys had been playing catch in the grass along the left field line, just to the right of this wall gap. I looked back in the direction of these boys but only saw one of them and he was looking over the railing into the wall gap. Suddenly his older brother scales up out of the gap an over the fence.
"Dropped our ball in there," he said to me.
His brother looked at me like I was a cop about to put the shackles on both of them. I just laughed and said "What ball? I didn't see a kid climb down there for a ball."