Losing baseball

Some notes from last night’s Cubs-Pirates game, which featured the two worst teams in the league performing a sloppy “After you”/”No, I insist”/”No, no, you first”/”Well, if you insist, I’ll muff this bunt” routine to see who would get the privilege of losing: 1) In my shoulder bag was a grocery sack of sage from Stacey’s garden for my seatmate, Michelle. The bag inspector at the gate looked at it askance. BI: “What’s that?” Me: Sage.” BI:”What?” Me: “Sage. It’s from a garden, for my seatmate.” BI: “What?” Me: “Sage.” BI:”Like you put on food?” Me:”Yeah. You can smell it.” [BI Smells it. Makes a face.] BI: “I’m gonna have to ask about this.” Me: [Astonished] “You’re kidding. Really. You’re not serious.” BI: “I am, too.” She called her manager over, he took one look at it and, presumably deciding that I could neither blow up the stadium with it nor injure anyone by throwing it at them, waved me into the park. 2) During the game, the season ticket holders who sit in my section–those who bothered to attend, that is–had a discussion of whether this is the worst Cubs team we’ve had to watch. I’ve been attending games at Wrigley Field since 1993, and I’ve had season tickets since 1999, and I, like all the rest, weighed in with a resounding “Yes.” You could argue that the 1997 team was worse, but it at least had Sammy Sosa doing his strikeout/homer/strikeout routine. This team didn’t even have Derrek Lee for most of the year, and Ryan Theriot’s remarkable mustache can only go so far towards making up for such bad baseball. 3) The good thing about the Cubs suffering through their third straight disappointing (and second straight flat-out bad) season is that the fair-weather fans are starting to see the storm clouds. The announced attendance for last night’s game was only 32,000 or so, way down from the 40,000+ the Cubs were drawing earlier in the year. But I’d be surprised if the actual attendance was half that. In the center field bleachers the night before, the cameramen had shown a guy stretched out flat, sleeping, and he could have easily reprised his nap in any section of the bleachers last night. Meanwhile, there were only about five beer vendors working the whole of the upper deck, and nary a Super Ropes guy in sight. It’s kinda nice to be able to stretch out a little again. It reminds me of the wonderful days of 1997, pre-Kerry Wood and that first wild card run, when you

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could decide to go to the game day of, with three or four friends, buy upper deck tickets and sit pretty much anywhere. So for all you folks who love Wrigley Field but have given up on attending in recent years–I’m looking at you, Bob and Luke–this is your warning: the glory days may soon be back. Start practicing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” 4) Then, in the 8th of what had been a forgettable ballgame, Matt Capps hung a curve to Derrek Lee, who immediately reminded him of why his pitching coach had advised against such behavior. It was a beautiful night in a beautiful ballpark, and that moment was a good reminder of why we were there.

Lots of zing, lots to sing, everything’s gonna swing, so get ready, here I go

I’m almost all packed. This is because tomorrow I have to get a haircut, visit an ATM, and go to a They Might Be Giants concert, although probably not in that order. In fact, the less money I have at the concert, the less likely I am to buy a bunch of T-shirts. Come to think of it, I should probably show up at my job tomorrow also.

Hey, remember this post from way back in June? I’ve got all that stuff, and more, including a mini pencil sharpener that was mentioned here a few days ago, and my Kroger brand nail clippers (safely ensconced in the suitcase that will be checked, of course). The coins are neatly rolled up, and may confound the security at Bob Hope Airport. I’ve got Tigers and Brewers tickets now, too, and those will be kept very close to me at all times (i.e., they’re safely ensconced in the small carry-on bag). I even have a very important accessory I forgot about in that post: the USB cable to connect my digital camera to a computer. I’m hoping we can figure things out to put a few pictures up here as we go along.

I even got a working VCR since I wrote that post, and I have two videotapes, which include a baseball-related programming item and some game shows.

I’m not bringing a jacket, but I am bringing a sweatshirt, just in case. I hear it was only in the 20s in Toronto today! (That’s a bad Fahrenheit/Celsius joke.)

I think that’s it, unless someone can come up with something we haven’t thought of. Obviously, if we have forgotten something, it should be fairly easy to buy any number of items in Chicago, or in many of the cities we’ll be visiting.

Original comments…

Levi: You’re bringing a videotape of Tiger Town? Or is it Rookie of the Year?

thatbob: Ooh, I hope you have _The Life and Times of Pansy The Wuss-Wuss Fish Who Couldn’t Keep It Up_. Bob Costas narrates.

Your papers, please

In Boston, we’ll be taking the Green Line from our hotel to Fenway Park for the game. Therefore, this item is of particular interest: they are soon going to start random ID checks of transit passengers in Boston.

If this is still going on in August, as much as I’d love to protest against it, I think becoming a test case would ruin the rest of the trip. So I’ll grudgingly present my ID if necessary, although the real problem may be convincing the officer that the digital camera I’m carrying is for the purpose of taking pictures in and around Fenway Park, since some transit authorities are being a little touchy about photography of their property.

Original comments…

thatbob: Too bad the MBTA will be checking the *identity* of people riding their trains, instead of the *bomb-carrying status* of people riding their trains. I guess they just want to make sure that, in case of a bombing, all of the corpses can be identified?

Anyway, if I were you two, I wouldn’t set foot in an unfamiliar train. Very, very dangerous things, trains. Very dangerous.

Historically unsound.

Levi: Now, does Jim have high enough celebrity status among railfans that the ID check is going to hold us up because of the ensuing autographs, or is he just objecting on grounds of privacy, civil liberties, and silliness?

Jim: I’m certainly no Mike Schafer!