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Relax, baseball-haters, the following True-Ass Tales are concerned less with what happens on the field, and more with shenanigans in the stands.
The Sweetest Beer–Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington
I guess you could call me a beer snob. I don’t drink much these days, but when I do, I prefer to drink something good, which means avoiding the mass-produced fermented goat urine flowing from America’s big breweries. Nonetheless, there have been exceptions.
Sometime around 2000, a buddy and I were at the newly-opened Safeco Field to see a Mariners’ game (I have since forgotten the opponent). One our way from our seats to the smoking platform we passed a concession cart. The guy running the stand was looking the other way, and without hesitation and before the vendor had turned back around, my buddy snatched a Miller Lite from the ice-filled cavity at the front of his stand. We kept walking.
When we got to the smoking area we lit up a joint and split the Lite. Despite it being shit beer in a plastic bottle, it was one of the sweetest brews ever to cross my lips.
Love Some Dodgers (LSD) or Man, I AM the Baseball!–Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
One time in the 1990s, me and two of my friends, Earl and You Ho, decided to drop some acid at the ball game. The Pirates were in town.
Rarely have I been so fascinated by a baseball game. The span between each pitch seemed interminable and pregnant with promise, as if the whole of the nine innings or for that matter the season hung on the arc and velocity of that single pitch. We were in the nosebleed seats, just below the top ring of the stadium, and the angle seemed impossibly steep, and left us feeling the slightest shift in movement might send us tumbling down into the seats below.
The kids behind us were throwing popcorn, which streaked over our heads like flame-caught moths, surprising us afresh each time they burst past us and fell dying into vast and unknowable distances below our feet.
The drive home was a harrowing kaleidoscope: the sea of tail lights which are the city’s sclerotic arteries, looming, barbwire enshrouded green freeway signs and the lava-lamp face of You Ho as he piloted us through the night.
Letting It All Out–Coors Field, Denver, Colorado
The last time I was at Coors Field was for a Dodgers-Rockies game. My friend Tyrell got us seats in the club level, where instead of having to stand in the beer line like the unwashed masses, fresh-faced, uniformed attendants would bring the alcohol to us. Perhaps it was the atmosphere of entitlement, the altitude or my own by-then infrequent drinking habits, but I got drunk. Shitty drunk.
We were on the way home when the urge to hurl hit me with immediate, implacable force. I was in the back seat of my buddy’s truck, and although he was quick in pulling over, the vomit was quicker. It was all I could do to get my head out the window before I was spraying mile-high chunks. You should know, I’m a powerful upchucker–it’s all in the diaphragm. I continued vomiting out the window until we got back to Tyrell’s place, where I may have decorated his driveway.
As my (very forgiving!) friend discovered the next morning, I hadn’t been as successful at clearing the car as I’d hoped. The side of the truck, which Tyrell’s company leased for him, was spackled with dried sick. Worse though, I’d managed to get no small amount of the pungent sludge down into the window well, where it was trapped between the panels of the door, free to ferment unmolested.
The story ends happily, though. Tyrell not long after accepted a new job with a different company, who provided him with a new truck of which he was much more fond, not least because it smelled better.
Don’t Write Checks My Ass Can–And Will– Cash–Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles California
Those of you who remember my buddy Dave Chen already know that he has a tendency to begin speaking long before his brain properly engages, and will have no trouble following the path of foolish decisions which resulted in a significant cash outlay for him and for me a torpid stupor of inebriation and satiety.
It began one day when for some reason Dave and I had been discussing stadium beer. “Those beers they have at Dodger Stadium are pretty big,” Dave said, “I’ll bet you couldn’t even drink four of them during a game.” Amazingly, Dave wasn’t joking, and soon we had a bet. If I could drink four large beers during a regular, nine-inning ball game, Dave would pay for all the beer I could drink (including the original four) and all the food I could eat. In the extremely unlikely event that I lost the bet, I would be required to pay for his food and drink. A little rattled by my obvious glee, Dave blundered further, insisting that I had to carry out the bet ON A FULL STOMACH.
The wager was consummated at a Giants-Dodgers match-up. The game was notable not only for the debut of future first-ballot Hall of Famer Dennys Reyes, but also because we were treated to one of the truly rare and pure sights in late 1990’s baseball, a Barry Bonds home run.
As you might imagine, I’d killed the four beers by the third inning and Dave was buying the beer & snacks for another six innings. I don’t remember too much about those later frames, but I do remember approaching a guy selling pizzas.
“I’ll take one,” I said, then jerked a thumb at Dave, “He’s paying.”
Without missing a beat, the guy said to me, “Then why not buy two?”
LA: Separate, But Equal. Well, Separate For Sure–Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
A couple of years ago my wife and I were at a ball game. In the parking lot, I was chatting with two Latino dudes. We were all drinking beers. I was surreptitiously smoking from a pipe I concealed in my hand, but as the other two dudes were smoking cigarettes, they couldn’t smell it.
Security pounced on us from out of nowhere. Officers split us up and spoke to us separately. My officer made me dump the beer (you can’t drink in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium), asked to see my tickets before sending me on my way.
As I was leaving, I saw that one of the Latino guys was getting arrested.
When the Angels Were Cast From the Heavens–Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim, California
In 1995, I went to game between the Seattle Mariners and California Angels (as the Anaheim Angels were then called) which the Mariners won. On the way out, my girlfriend, a self-described “Newport Bitch” and lifelong Angels fan grumbled about the loss.
“Come on, Kathy, the Angels are up twelve games,” I said, not needing to add that the season was growing short and such a deficit nigh-insurmountable, particularly for the until-then, luckless Mariners. “Can’t you just let the M’s have this one game?”
What neither of us could have known, however, was that this game proved to be the first spasm in what would grow to be one of the most spectacular–and to my thinking, delightful–collapses in baseball history (at the time I think it was #3), as the Angels saw their commanding lead begin to erode against a suddenly ascendant Seattle. The Angels and Ms ended the season in a tie for first place in the American League West, necessitating a one-game tie-breaker to determine the AL West Champion.
You’re My F-in Hero, RK!
I Hope You Realize That!
You Always Know How To Make Me Smile.
It’s A Gift, Dude, I’m VERY Sure 😉
Thanks, man! I’ve actually been to Busch, but no funny stories. I just got to walk around the stadium, no game that day.
Carrie Rubin said:
So what you’re saying is, you’re a drunk, acid-tripping, pothead. Eh, I’ll still read your stuff… 😉
Thanks for seeing past my rough & tumble exterior. In all seriousness, however, I should note that all of the stories here (with the exception of the Dodger Stadium parking lot story) occurred BEFORE I had children. The most recent of the debauched stories was the mile-high vomit story, and by that time such behavior was an aberration. Of all the drugs I’ve tried in my life, alcohol has the greatest ability to radically transform my personality and retard my judgement. My drinking these days is generally reserved for ball games or concerts, because even one drink makes it hard to work. I loved, loved, loved psychedelics of all kinds, but they last for hours and I have actual responsibilities.
The reefer? Well, holding on to one vice keeps you human.
Carrie Rubin said:
I figured you were reformed. Just messing with you.
Oh, I didn’t sense any malice on your part, but neither did I want my post to come across as a glorification of intoxication. My bacchanalian past was the right one for me, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as a lifestyle. One thing for which I’m grateful–and I plan to be frank about this with my boys–is that I didn’t start too early. As you know probably better than I do, pot and alcohol use can be very harmful in teens.
I think I’ve said this before, but the stories of the many instances in which I’ve comported myself like a gentleman or acted responsibly just aren’t any fun to read or tell. But there is a danger in this. It reminds me of the story of a friend of mine, who, although two years older than I, didn’t start college until after I’d graduated. For five years (yeah, it took me an extra year–I never said my choices didn’t come with attendant consequences) I’d been telling my friend about college–the parties, the girls, the chemicals. But I never told him the boring or painful stories–the all-nighters writing papers, the lame hours spent at my on-campus job or how terribly lonely and out of place I felt during most of my Freshman year. My friend’s college experience didn’t last a year–he failed out, but not before embarrassing himself through crude, self-destructive behavior and being overly aggressive with women (by which I don’t mean to say he was a rapist–I think he’d scared them off before anything could’ve happened).
So I guess sometimes it’s helpful to say that, while these stories are very much true, they’re by no means the whole truth, in that they show but one aspect of the man I was.
Carrie Rubin said:
I just feel bad for today’s youth knowing everything they do can end up on You Tube.
My one and only experience of American baseball was in 2010 in San Francisco. It was wonderful. As we entered we were each given (partner and I) a little ‘Pablo Sandoval’ figurine (’bout 8″ tall). During the game (which was thrilling) we were greeted by family folk with children, crazy, funny talk and hilarious songs over the PA system, great atmosphere, etc., etc. It was one of many highlights of that visit… You have to understand the rather tense atmosphere of our major game here in Oz to understand fully what I’m saying. Here, football is like ‘war’ between opposing enemies; no funny, light hearted craziness; no ‘take me out to the ballgame’ comraderie. No, it’s hard, it’s fierce, it’s up yours mate…!
Enjoyed the read, and the memories..! I missed the audio…!
Thanks, Carolyn–when you say “our major game here in Oz” do you mean Australian Rules Football (that’s what I’m thinking) or Rugby? No one ever said the Aussies weren’t tough. It was only–what?–thirty or so years ago that Australia was a penal colony, right? You already know that ignorance is PT’s stock in trade.
2010 would have been a good time to see the Giants (or late 2012 for that matter)–you may or may not know that they went on to win the World Series that year (I mentioned it in the post as tied for the WORST WORLD SERIES MATCH UP EVER). I live about 200 miles south of SF (in fact, if you traveled down the coast, you might have passed through my town–did you see a big rock? I mean a REALLY big rock.) so I’ve been to a few games there. However, because I’m a Dodger fan, they aren’t always terribly nice to me. In fact, I wasn’t kidding about the ice–they threw ice at me when I was ten years old.
And I think the Sandoval figure to which you refer is a Bobblehead. That’s pretty cool.
We have four codes in Oz: Aussie Rules; Rugby League; Rugby Union & Soccer. It depends on which state you’re talking about when it comes to popularity. The ‘Aussie Rules’ is the major game for Victorians and holds the highest attendance record. ‘Rugby League’ is my states (NSW) most popular (include Queensland there), and holds the most watched code on Aussie TV. Most Aussie’s have a soft spot for Rugby Union (sort of nationalistic), and Soccer slowly marches up the sports scene too.
I was actually referring to Rugby League in my first comment. (If a Victorian was to read this they may disagree). It is brutal, more brutal than Aussie Rules and Rugby (though both are a close second). I sometimes wonder at the Aussie sports mentality; it seems more like Roman gladiator times..! 😉
Yes, the Giants went on to win (we felt rather chuffed that we had actually seen them). They had played against the St. Louis Cardinals that day; we both loved it! Getting the ‘Bobblehead’ was pretty cool.
We drove down as far as Carmel; quaint, welcoming spot..! I think that would be shy of your hometown..!
William Miller said:
Strangely enough, I’ve never gotten drunk at a ballgame. But I did once smoke pot in the boys room of my Catholic High School. Perhaps I just need to be suitably challenged to rise to the occasion.
boys room of my Catholic High School.
Ha! That’s awesome! I understand you get 33% higher win there’s that much sin involved. I was too much of a puss to do that. In fact, the ONLY time I smoked pot during my high school years was one drunken night in Vancouver BC.
Despite the impression left by the above tales, I’ve only gotten plowed at games on a handful of occasions (two of which are related here). I only get to one MLB game a year these days, during which I typically drink four beers, which gives me a pretty good buzz. Contrast that with yesteryear, when those four beers were polished off by the third. Oof, I get a little queasy just thinking about it.
And you’re so very kind. I always appreciate it!
Madame Weebles said:
My baseball game tales are not filled with nearly such adventure. Usually they involve just hot dogs, soda (I don’t like beer), and yelling at some asshole with a Red Sox cap.
Madame Weebles you should not yell such profanities at me. ( I would never be stupid enough to wear a Red Sox cap in NY)
I feel your pain–I’ve worn the Blue in San Francisco.
Well, these days my adventure quotient is down quite a bit. (I was gonna tag that with ‘unfortunately,’ but I’m not so sure that’s accurate).
never drunk at a baseball game… but doobage and Van Halen.aahh.
Well, doobage and Van Halen go hand-in-hand. Of course, doobage goes hand-in-hand with so many things.
You nailed exactly how I feel about corporate beer, that it’s “mass-produced fermented goat urine flowing from America’s big breweries”. That should be translated into Latin and placed over the entry to the Budweiser factory. Maybe it’s just me, but I think that baseball’s post season dragging into October is ridiculous. If I’m not mistaken, if the World Series lasts seven games, it will end November 1. The Yankees are technically my team, but I have not been to the new stadium because it’s just so expensive, the greed factor turns me off. Wow, baseball makes me cranky. Time to swallow a chill pill!
Wow, baseball makes me cranky
It does that to me too, but for different reasons!
New York would be such an exciting place to see a game. I regret that I never made the opportunity (I was going to write “had,” but we have lots of opportunities in our life, and I’m no different) to go to old Yankee Stadium. The only East Coast stadium I’ve been to was Fenway, and that was a real treat. I get an uptight “everything matters” vibe when I’m on the East Coast (and I’m painting with a broad brush; it’s a little more nuanced than that, but that’s the short version), which translates into exciting baseball.
I’m one of those strange people that don’t like watching or attending sports events. I once lived somewhere where grown men would paint their faces, get reallllllly drunk and yell/scream, high five and all that at football games — just not my scene.
I know you’re talking about baseball and I try to like it, I really do because it seems “nicer” than football but my experiences were never as thrilling as yours. I like the organ music though but I become bored quickly.
Concerts in my earlier youth were more fun. And I don’t like beer but if I must drink it, I prefer the kind that aren’t Bud or those really big ones that come in a really tall can — what are they called? I like the imported ones better if I must drink it, which I don’t. I prefer wine.
Bud or those really big ones that come in a really tall can — what are they called
They’re called “crap beer.” Actually I think you’re probably talking about “tallboys.” I prefered 40s in my misspent youth.
When I drink these days, it’s usually wine (we’re members of a wine club, but mostly my wife, grandma & mother-in-law drink it; alcohol prevents me from working). I ruined myself for white wine back in college, but a nice red wine treats me pretty well. I’m able to stay a gentleman no matter how much I consume.
As so often the case, you touch so many different bases.
“Rarely have I been so fascinated by a baseball game.”
Baseball is by far my favorite sport. It’s got such a nice rhythm to it. Great memories of being a child in the bleachers.
The Latino guys getting arrested indicates perfectly how blind justice is.
Thanks, Tom–and sorry for the late reply.
I like baseball a lot, too–obviously. But my acid-baseball experience (that’s the only time I can recall doing it at the ball park, but I’ve also watched a few games from home “under the influence”) really allowed me to appreciate the game on a different level. I didn’t say this in the post, but the Dodgers lost to the Pirates (I think it was 2-1), but I couldn’t even be disappointed, it was such a well-played and fascinating game.
Some Guy said:
Smak, Coors Field is a great place to watch baseball—if not, regrettably, a place to watch great baseball. They’ve finally given up trying to pass off Killian’s Red as a craft beer, although given the thin air in Denver, sometimes even a Coors product can make folks a bit woozy (as you vividly described).
If you find yourself in the neighborhood again, look me up and we’ll catch a game! I’ll make sure to stock my car with drop-cloths in case the beer vendors are working that particular day.
Of the many things I learned from reading this, the one that came out of nowhere was that Miller Lite came in plastic bottles. I’ve never seen that!
Love and Lunchmeat said:
Angry drunk fans like to throw things. Then again, I live in NY where Social Darwinism is the true rule of law.
Well, New York fans are supposed to be something else. I’ve heard stories of batteries being thrown at players. I’ve never had the opportunity to see a game in New York, unfortunately.
I saw a game in Fenway from right behind home plate. Those fans are NASTY, so I can only imagine what New Yorkers are like.
Well, I wouldn’t recommend it in any case! I think like L&L stated, they’re probably to prevent drunken fans from throwing stuff. It’s odd, though, given that I’ve only seen them (to my recollection) in Seattle, where the fans aren’t notoriously ornery.
El Guapo said:
I’m glad to see that at least one of the tales actually involves the baseball game.
Nothing like going to the stadium. The grass is greener, the crowd is louder. So much better than tv.
Until that one guy next to you gets so hammered he-
I agree with you about being at the ball game. I especially enjoy it now that I only get to go about once a year.
Until that one guy next to you gets so hammered he-
Ha! Yeah, I wouldn’t like that either. Thinking about it, it kind of surprised me, but I’ve never been that person (I mean at a ball game; I have been that person in other environments). And the stories posted above are certainly not typical of my stadium experience, particularly not in the 21st Century (the barfing story is the only bad one which occurred after 2000, and it was kind of an aberration). I was kind of a dumbass throughout my twenties, but I’d like to think I’ve matured now that I have a family. I’m very glad for those stupid times, though.
Thanks as always for reading, Guap! My work projects (and my own time-management skills) have me a little behind on my favorite blogs (yours among them), but I would rather give them the attention they deserve than be hasty.
I don’t know a thing about baseball, tbh, but your post is still entertaining.
Thanks! I knew a lot of people reading this wouldn’t be big baseball fans, so I tried to concentrate on the off-the-field stuff!