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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.