Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Night the Lights Went Out in Ohio...

Good morning....I am dragging a bit as I re-live my college days. These old bones are not designed to travel hours to games, sit and wait, then drive home and eat at midnight. The body is out of whack! This is a younger person's lifestyle. Where is my rocking chair and porch with the dog sitting on my lap as I drink a cup of tea? Buddy and I have been eating late after games at the 24 hour IHOP. Guess what? They have an armed security guard at the door after 11 pm. Whew! I feel much better as I eat my pancakes and look for concealed weapons.

With that said, we traveled to a little community in the northwest section of the state. It took two hours of interstate driving, then we turned onto a route that took us through a region that can be labeled 'small town USA'. Wal Mart has yet to invade this region and after I dropped the kid off at the field, I began my search for a bookstore or pharmacy where I could buy a book...nothing...there were a few closed pizzerias. But nothing else was there. I am not sure how people earn their income without businesses to support it. There is a refinery at the edge of town, so maybe the community works there.

OK, so here we are in this tiny town. The ball field is really a high school field. It was well maintained and the people of the community supported their college team. Behind home plate sat a number of senior citizens who pay $1.00 for their ticket, chat with one another, drink Budweiser's, and yell at the opposing players, pitchers and umpires. I sat in the "family section' where fans are not allowed to bring alcoholic beverages to their seats.

The game was exciting from the perspective that I could watch and listen to the fans behind home plate. They were very funny as they hassled the umpires and batters. 'Libido's' kid was the subject of their harassing. He's a big guy who struck out twice. The guys loved it as they chanted and yelled to break his concentration. Just as they thought that they had succeeded in intimidating Libido's kid, the player lined a single into right field. The peanut gallery settled down.

The team was leading 8-2 going into the 7th inning and Buddy was warming up. Yahoo. I had my camera and was ready to watch the big lefty pitch. It was time and he ran out from the bullpen and was introduced. Yeah....I was the only person who clapped, but I was pretty loud....he began to warm up with the catcher...looking good...ready to dominate. I am snapping pictures....nice...then it happened....the lights went out.

It was 9:30 pm and the lights turned off. Did someone forget to pay the electric bill? What happened? Coaches and umpires gathered at the mound. Lots of conversation....no lights....game postponed until the lights cool off then are reactivated. Yep....we had to wait 30 minutes until the lights would go back on. So we waited. The players were throwing balls and empty Gatorade bottles at one another. Buddy played catch with the catcher and fans began to leave. As we waited for the lights, the umpires announced if the lights were not on in the 30 minute allotment, the game would be over and Buddy's team would win.

So, what do you think happened? That's right...he did not get to pitch with the big MLB scout in the stands....he picked up his glove, drank a water, and we drove back to town past the refinery and down the interstate. And so goes the saga of the bullpen pitcher and his bullpen mom as they travel to a variety of regions with the unexpected always expected.

With that said, here is an update on our slum lord...the manager showed up at the apartment yesterday and began to take photos. She was very apologetic and angry. I showed her everything from the crusted and stained toilet to the dirt that took years to develop. Frank from maintenance came and cleaned out the filters from the bathroom and air conditioners, which were grimy. The manager then said that the cleaning crew would be in. It was at that point that I told her that I was moving out until it was habitable and I would give her the bill for the hotel. She approved it and we left town to check into our hotel. And there you have it. I was not overly sensitive about the filth...I was right and she was appalled, so we are both on the same page.

After reviewing the last 24 hours, I must say that the people that I have met have been incredibly friendly. They have been welcoming and are helping us to find decent pizza and some New York bagels. We still are scratching our heads in disbelief that there are no fresh bagel stores in a 20 mile radius of the town. Do they eat English muffins for breakfast? Is this a business opportunity? We can open a bagel and pizza store OR maybe.....pizza bagels! This could be the business of a life time. We could franchise the idea. Look for it in the small communities throughout the US....Coming soon to a town near you..."Bullpen Mom's Pizza Bagels" for the bagel and pizza lover in you...catchy?

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